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Nebraska fends off Tarleton | Hofbarker

Nebraska women’s basketball had to go back to the Victory Column.

It wasn’t pretty for much of the game, but the Huskers pulled it off Tuesday night at Pinnacle Bank Arena. NU improved to 3-2 with their 71-53 win over Tarleton.

“This game gave us a lot of challenges with everything we’ve been through,” said coach Amy Williams. “This was one of those games where it was an opportunity to focus on mental toughness.

“Tarleton gave us everything we could ask for.”

Both teams struggled in the first half, with Nebraska making 37.1 percent of their shots and Tarleton connecting on 35.7 percent. Then the teams took turns taking control.

Nebraska appeared to end the game on a 14-3 run to take a 45-27 lead at the 6:07 mark. But the Huskers would only take one shot for the rest of the quarter.

Tarleton ran off a 16-3 run and forced five NU turnovers to close the gap to just five points.

Then, in winning time, Nebraska did what was needed.

The Huskers choked the Texans with 4-of-16 shots in the final frame while going 10-of-17 themselves. That pushed the quarter to a 23-10 Nebraska advantage and a NU win.

Alexis Markowski had her second double-double of the season with 24 points and 18 rebounds. In the second half alone, Markowski had 16 points and 12 rebounds.

“What I’m most proud of is the way[Markowski]played defensively,” Williams said of her big second, as Markowski also had three blocked shots and stopped the Texans from gaining confidence in the color.

Issie Bourne also hit a double-double and added 14 points with 10 rebounds.

Jaz Shelley had a full stat line of eight points, six rebounds and 12 assists.

As a team, Nebraska shot 45.5 percent and went 4 of 23 from deep. In addition to struggling from three-point shooting, the Huskers also struggled to keep the ball.

Nebraska has committed 21 turnovers. Part of the reason was the loss of two ballhandlers, one of whom was making her season debut.

Less than two minutes into the game, Allison Weidner retired with an injury. From the stands, it looked like she’d been stung in the eye as she wrestled the ball away from a Texan before scoring.

Weidner left the floor and never returned to the bench.

Sam Haiby saw the floor for the first time this season and saw six minutes of action. But when she went off the floor in the third quarter, Haiby seemed to slip and a pair of sneakers were needed to help her get to the tunnel.

Haiby also never returned to the bench.

After slipping in two games, Nebraska travels to San Juan for the Puerto Rico Clasico. The Huskers play Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Friday and Mississippi State on Saturday.