Nebraska women knock off another ranked foe with 10-point victory over No. 25 Rutgers

PISCATAWAY, N.J. — The Nebraska women call themselves the “road warriors.”

NU still hasn’t lost a true road game this season. Sunday’s 52-42 upset of No. 25 Rutgers was the Huskers’ biggest yet, and it was built on defense.

Nebraska led for the last 35 minutes, consistently keeping at bay the Scarlet Knights, who shot 29.3 percent from the field. Rutgers also missed its last six shots, going scoreless over the final 5:56. NU’s defense over that stretch helped extend a 45-42 lead into the final margin of victory.

“Our team took a step forward today, particularly on the defensive end of the floor,” coach Amy Williams said in a postgame radio interview.

The win meant Nebraska, which survived 20 turnovers, has won back-to-back games against ranked teams for the first time since the 2014 NCAA tournament. The Huskers (14-6, 5-2 Big Ten) knocked off No. 20 Iowa last week. NU dealt Rutgers (17-5 and 5-3) its first home loss of the season.

The Scarlet Knights’ RPI — No. 11 coming into the game — should help Nebraska’s improving chances for a NCAA tournament bid. NU’s road record helps offset a lack of signature nonconference wins and their low RPI (No. 75) headed into Sunday’s game. It made the Huskers a decided underdog.

But in a homecoming of sorts, freshman center Kate Cain had one of her best games of the season. Cain, from nearby Middletown, New York, finished with 14 points, eight rebounds and three blocks, all of which led the Huskers.

“She had a lot of family and friends and former teammates in the stands today, so that was kind of a special opportunity for her to get back here close to home,” Williams said. “I thought she did a good job disrupting things down in the paint and then got us some points in the paint.”

Nebraska’s perimeter defense on Rutgers’ guards — particularly leading scorer Tyler Scaife — also played a role in the win. Scaife averages 20.5 points, and she scored 20. But it took her 26 shots to get there. No other Scarlet Knight hit more than two shots.

The Huskers, meanwhile, shot 46.8 percent from the floor, including 58.3 percent in the third quarter. Each of NU’s starters scored at least seven points, and senior guard Jasmine Cincore finished with 11 points, seven rebounds and two steals.

With the win, NU is one game out of three-way tie between Maryland, Ohio State and Michigan for first place in the Big Ten. NU hosts Purdue, in a logjam just behind Nebraska, Wednesday.

“This season is rolling, and we’re having a great time and we’re competing with everybody,” Cincore said. “It’s great. I feel it.”

Nebraska (14-6, 5-2)……..11 16 15 10—52

At Rutgers (17-5, 5-3)………  7 15 13    7—42

NU: Simon 3-7 1-1 7, Cain 6-10 2-4 14, Cincore 5-11 1-1 11, Eliely 4-4 0-0 9, Whitish 3-8 0-0 9, Mitchell 0-0 0-0 0, Washington 0-0 0-0 0, Kissinger 0-4 0-0 0, Morton 0-2 0-0 0, Stallworth 1-1 0-0 2, Wood 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-47 4-6 52.

R: Carey 2-10 1-2 5, Jenkins 1-4 0-0 2, Cryor 0-0 0-0 0, Greene 2-6 0-0 6, Rollins 1-2 0-1 2, Gilles 0-0 0-0 0, Mack 0-0 0-0 0, Harris 2-3 0-0 4, Keeling 0-0 0-0 0, Wallace 0-1 0-2 0, Fitzpatrick 0-0 0-0 0, Sanders 1-6 1-2 3, Scaife 8-26 3-4 20. Totals 17-58 5-11 42.

3-point goals: NU 4-13 (Whitish 3-5, Eliely 1-1, Morton 0-1, Cincore 0-1, Simon 0-2, Kissinger 0-3), R 3-12 (Carey 0-3, Greene 2-5, Scaife 1-3, Rollins 0-1). Assists: NU 11 (Whitish 5), R 6 (Hill 2). Fouled out: none. Rebounds: NU 40 (Cain 8), R 29 (Carey 8). Total fouls: NU 12, R 14. Att.: 1,887.

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