LINCOLN — How does a women's basketball team miss 48 shots and still win by 25 points?
By grabbing 23 offensive rebounds and forcing 22 turnovers.
Or if you want to sum up No. 18 Nebraska's 64-39 win against Temple on Sunday in two words: By scrapping.
“We made really good hustle plays,” NU coach Connie Yori said.
“They outworked us in so many ways,” Owls coach Tonya Cardoza added.
Exhibit A: The Huskers' 17-3 run midway through the first half, when they pushed a 14-6 lead to 31-9 in six minutes. NU (2-0) forced four Temple turnovers in that stretch while Nebraska freshman Sadie Murren popped two 3-pointers and senior guard Lindsey Moore scored six straight.
With a roster that featured six freshmen and two sophomores, the Owls (1-1) wilted in the face of Nebraska's deny-the-ball pressure.
They threw passes into the bleachers. They resorted to reckless, twisting drives into the lane, hoping to drawing fouls. Referees whistled charges instead. Several Temple layup attempts might as well have been turnovers as they whooshed by the rim into the waiting arms of a Husker.
“They were getting worn out,” Murren said of Temple. Like Nebraska, Murren said, the Owls (1-1) played their season opener Friday at home. “But they had to travel here, get up early, go on a plane, and we knew if we kept pushing the ball up the court we'd wear them down eventually.”
Cardoza said Temple “got rattled” and will use the loss as a lesson that “you don't stand a chance” when the offense doesn't take care of the ball.
Meanwhile, the Husker offense suffered from poor shooting. Forward Jordan Hooper missed 15 of 19 shots. Sophomore Emily Cady made two shots. NU made 32.7 percent of its shots for the game and 27.8 percent in the second half.
But the Huskers compensated by repeatedly getting offensive rebounds. Hooper said NU practices that religiously in practice, as Yori asks her team to rebound even made baskets, just to make a point about its importance.
“Everybody hustled to the boards,” said Hooper, who led NU with 12 points and 14 rebounds. “Guards, posts, everybody.”
The Huskers also forced several jump ball tie-ups amid the many scrums on the floor.
The effort plays helped NU forge a 36-17 halftime lead. Temple scored the first five points of the second half to creep within 14. NU's Moore hit a jumper and sophomore forward Hailie Sample put together a three-point play to end the mini-run and threat. Yori used a mixture of veterans and young players in her lineup for most of the second half.
Nebraska now gets the week to practice for a seven-day, four-game stretch that includes road contests at USC and South Dakota State.
“We won't have a lot of time to prepare between the games, so this week we really have to focus on our sets and get our defense down,” Murren said.
Contact the writer:
402-202-9766, firstname.lastname@example.org, twitter.com/swmckewonOWH