LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Amy Williams is stingier with compliments in her third year of coaching the Nebraska women’s basketball program.
The Huskers on Thursday night hung with No. 5 Louisville for three quarters before a late Cardinal run cemented an 85-68 loss. It’s the kind of silver-lining result that might have drawn praise from Williams in previous years.
But Williams expected NU (2-4) to handle Louisville’s signature pressure defense. The Huskers instead committed a season-high 23 turnovers.
“We didn’t handle the pressure, and it’s disappointing because we know we’re better than that,” Williams said on Husker Sports Network after the game. “But with 23 turnovers you just don’t give yourself a chance to compete in a game like this against a team like this. We know it’s just too many turnovers — several that just led immediately to second-chance points for them.”
The 7-0 Cardinals, looking to return to the Final Four, hit 51.6 percent of their shots. All-America guard Asia Durr had 25 points and eight assists.
Nebraska shot the ball well enough — hitting 42.3 percent from the field — and logged 14 assists. NU led for a chunk of the first quarter, taking its last lead at 11-10 when guard Nicea Eliely made a layup. Louisville promptly went on an 11-3 run to end the quarter and never trailed again. The Cardinals led by just 12 headed into the fourth quarter.
“They showed resilience,” Williams said. “We talked before the game that we’re going to continue to fight and we don’t back down. We just don’t back down. And we want to really instill that in our team. And I thought they did bounce back and fight back, but, against a really great team like Louisville, you cannot have runs.”
The Huskers were led by forward Maddie Simon, who had 16 points. Hannah Whitish scored 15 and Sam Haiby scored 12. Center Kate Cain had five points and 10 rebounds. Williams said Simon, a senior, is starting have more urgency in practice because she’s in her final season.
“One thing we’ve been trying to pull out of Maddie is more production all around — not just points, but rebounds and all over,” Williams said. “But I thought she set the tone with her communication.”
NU next plays at Creighton on Sunday.