RUTGERS 66, NEBRASKA WOMEN 56
PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Turnovers led to a reversal of fortunes Saturday for the Nebraska women's basketball team.
The Huskers saw their six-game winning streak end with a 66-56 loss at Rutgers, committing 20 turnovers to Rutgers' 13 and getting outscored 23-11 in points off turnovers.
Nebraska had committed just five turnovers in a win at home against Rutgers two weeks earlier.
"We just turned it over too much, and their defensive intensity was a lot greater in this game than it was the first time we played them," NU coach Connie Yori said after the game on the Husker Sports Network. "They looked like a hungry team. We looked like more of a content team."
Nebraska jumped to a 20-8 lead after one quarter but was outscored 58-36 the rest of the way in falling to 6-4 in the
Big Ten and 15-6 overall.
It was 49-49 with 6:50 left after two free throws by NU freshman center Jessica Shepard, who finished with 23 points. The Huskers rebounded a Rutgers miss but threw the ball away heading upcourt. On their next possession, Shepard couldn't convert an inside shot. Rutgers scored after both possessions to trigger a 9-2 run and take command.
"We had a couple of turnovers that were just silly, just hurried," Yori said.
The Scarlet Knights, led by former Iowa coach C. Vivian Stringer, broke a four-game losing string in improving to 13-9 and 4-6.
"It's always good to get off the slide," Stringer said.
Sophomore guard Natalie Romeo added 18 points for the Huskers, going 4 of 8 from 3-point range, and senior guard Rachel Theriot contributed 11 points and six assists.
Romeo and Theriot both played all 40 minutes, and junior forward Allie Havers played 39. Yori used three reserves who played a combined eight minutes. The Huskers, who were missing injured forward Rachel Blackburn, seemed to wear down against the physical Rutgers defense.
"It's easy for fans to look at conference standings and say 'Chalk that one up' or 'Chalk that one up,'" Yori said. "There are no easy games in this league."
The Huskers return to action Tuesday night when they host Penn State at 7 p.m. at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
This report includes material from the Associated Press.