WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: NEBRASKA 87, PENN STATE 69
LINCOLN — The Nebraska women's basketball team got a boost from its bench Tuesday night, and leading the way was Anya Kalenta.
The 6-foot-3 senior from Belarus recorded her first career double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds as she helped the Huskers roll to an 87-69 victory over Penn State before 4,486 at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
Kalenta came into the game averaging 3.3 points and 3.6 rebounds per game. She and NU's other reserves didn't score any points in Saturday's 66-56 loss at Rutgers, but Tuesday the NU bench outscored Penn State's 28-6.
"Anya can score. She can put the ball in the basket," Nebraska coach Connie Yori said on her postgame radio show on the Husker Sports Network.
"Without Rachel Blackburn the last few games, Anya has got to do more for us, and I think she showed that she's capable of that."
Kalenta's basket with just more than two minutes left in the third quarter capped a 30-4 Husker run that turned a tight game into a blowout.
There were seven lead changes and three ties in the first 15 minutes before Nebraska gained some separation. After Penn State's Lindsey Spann hit a 3-pointer to cut Nebraska's lead to 28-27 with 2:53 left in the half, the Huskers scored 10 straight to take a 38-27 halftime lead.
Freshman Jessica Shepard had two lay-ins during that 10-0 run, and Natalie Romeo knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers. Romeo, who canned eight 3s and scored 32 points when Nebraska won at Penn State three weeks ago, hit five treys and scored 19 points Tuesday.
"She had 19 points on 12 shots," Yori said. "That's great production."
Nebraska carried the momentum into the second half. Six Huskers hit field goals in the first eight minutes to widen their lead to 58-31 with 2:05 left in the third quarter.
Shepard finished with 20 points, while Rachel Theriot contributed nine points, eight rebounds and 14 assists. Nebraska had 26 assists on its 33 field goals.
"When we play together, play hard, play smart, we can be a lot of fun," Yori said. "I thought there was a lot of good things we did on both ends."
Nebraska (16-6, 7-4 Big Ten), which has won seven of its last eight and is 13-1 at Pinnacle Bank Arena this season, returns to action at 1 p.m. Sunday at Indiana.