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Huskers get 'another chance to prove ourselves,' will face UT Martin in WNIT
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Huskers get 'another chance to prove ourselves,' will face UT Martin in WNIT

Amy Williams and Nebraska pushed Maryland to the brink before falling in the Big Ten tournament.

LINCOLN — Nebraska women’s basketball was invited to the Women’s National Invitation Tournament on Monday and is set to play UT Martin on Friday in the eight-team Memphis, Tennessee, region.

"We are heading into the postseason looking at the WNIT as a great opportunity," coach Amy Williams said in a press release. "We think we have a team that had a season worthy of NCAA Tournament selection, but we weren't chosen.

“Now we have another chance to prove ourselves while getting our young players some invaluable experience. We are excited to keep playing, and we are going to try and make the most of it."

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The Huskers (12-12, 9-10 in the Big Ten) are coming off an 83-73 loss to Maryland in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten tournament. The Terrapins are a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament.

Junior point guard Sam Haiby, second-team All-Big Ten, gained national attention for a team-high 24 points, nine rebounds and six assists against Maryland. Guard Ashley Scoggins put up 14 points and was 4 of 8 from beyond the arc.

NU played arguably its best basketball against UM and took a turn leading the Big Ten champion in the fourth quarter.

Nebraska has defeated five top-25 teams this season — including NCAA tourney No. 10 seed Michigan State and No. 7 seed Northwestern. NU also beat No. 6 seed Rutgers, which was not ranked at the time. The Huskers are the only Big Ten team to be invited to the WNIT.

Creighton was also invited to the WNIT after going 9-11 on the season and 6-7 in the Big East Conference. The Bluejays are in the Rockford, Illinois, region and face Bowling Green (20-6) at 2 p.m. Friday.

NU’s opponent, UT Martin won’t have to travel far from Martin, Tennessee, to Collierville, Tennessee, for the contest, which starts at 11 a.m. The Skyhawks are 20-5 and are the top-ranked team in the Ohio Valley Conference.

Senior Chelsey Perry paces UT Martin with an average of 22.5 points per game and 7.1 rebounds. The 6-foot-2 forward is semifinalist for the 2021 Becky Hammon Mid-Major Player of the Year Award.

Like Nebraska, the Skyhawks average about 70 points per contest, so each team will likely be playing in their comfort zone.

The regions are Charlotte, North Carolina; Forth Worth, Texas; Memphis and Rockford. The first through third rounds of the WNIT will be played Friday to Monday, and the semifinals and championship games will in Memphis on March 26 and 28.

Each of the 32 teams invited are guaranteed two games. This year marks the first 32-team bracket since 2006. The games will be available through streaming on FloHoops.

Williams is very familiar with the WNIT. She led South Dakota to a 2016 WNIT Championship, the school’s first title, months before being named Nebraska’s coach.

Nebraska pushes top-seeded Maryland but falls short at Big Ten women's basketball tourney

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