Tear'a Laudermill scored a career-high 18 points, but No. 21 Nebraska was outscored 6-2 in the final 1:30 to drop a 63-59 decision at Welsh-Ryan Arena on Sunday.
With the loss, Nebraska slipped to 13-5 overall and 3-3 in the Big Ten, while Northwestern improved to 13-7 and 3-4 in the conference.
Nebraska overcame game-long foul trouble for Rachel Theriot and Emily Cady to lead 55-52 with 3:41 left, but Northwestern made the plays down the stretch as the Huskers shot an icy 27.3 percent in the second half and went just 6-for-10 at the foul line after halftime.
Laudermill's 18 points included 3-of-4 shooting from long range and a 7-for-8 effort at the free throw line. She added three steals and a pair of rebounds for the Big Red.
Cady added her fifth straight double-double and ninth of the season with 12 points and 10 rebounds to go along with four assists, while Jordan Hooper scored all 11 of her points in the first half and added eight boards. Hooper was 0-for-7 from the field in the second half and went just 1-for-4 at the free throw line for the game.
The Huskers got a huge lift from Allie Havers off the bench, as the 6-5 freshman scored eight points and grabbed 10 boards in 17 minutes to help Nebraska overcome foul trouble. Theriot was held to eight points before fouling out while adding seven assists. Brandi Jeffery accounted for NU's other two points in the game, coming on a layup to give the Huskers a 51-49 lead with 8:13 left.
Nia Coffey led Northwestern with 22 points and 10 rebounds, while Christen Inman added 12 points and six boards. Inman scored Northwestern's final four points, including a three-pointer to push the Wildcats' lead to 62-57 with just under 20 seconds left.
Ashley Deary gave the Cats three in double figures with 10 points, five rebounds and five assists.
Northwestern hit 39 percent of its shots for the game, including 7-of-17 three-pointers and 10-of-15 free throws. Nebraska outrebounded the Cats 47-39, but lost the turnover battle 16-15. The Huskers finished at just 32.3 percent shooting for the game, including 5-of-17 from long range and 14-of-21 at the line.
Nebraska went to the locker room tied at halftime after taking a pair of seven-point leads after five straight points from Laudermill with just over two minutes left in the half. But Theriot and Cady were each hit with three personal fouls late in the half sending Nebraska to the locker room with foul trouble.
Hooper led the Huskers with 11 first-half points, while Laudermill added nine points. Havers gave Nebraska a huge lift off the bench with six points on 3-of-3 shooting to go along with a team-high five first-half rebounds in just eight minutes. Havers' contributions were key in helping the Huskers overcome first-half foul trouble.
Nebraska outrebounded Northwestern 21-20 in the first half, but lost the first-half turnover battle 8-7. The Huskers hit just 37.9 percent from the field, including 30.8 percent (4-13) from three-point range. Nebraska also knocked down 8-of-11 free throws.
Coffey led Northwestern with 14 first-half points, while Lauren Douglas added six points despite being whistled for three fouls of her own. The Wildcats hit 40 percent of their first-half shots, including 3-of-9 three-pointers. The Cats were also 3-of-4 at the free throw line.
The Huskers return home for a mid-week Big Ten clash with Michigan on Wednesday. Tip-off between Nebraska and the Wolverines is set for 7 p.m. with tickets available now on Huskers.com. Fans are encouraged to arrive early to join the Huskers in celebrating the jersey retirement of former 2010 All-American, Senior CLASS Award winner and WNBA star Kelsey Griffin. The ceremony is scheduled to begin shortly before 6:45 p.m., and doors open at 5:30 p.m.