No. 16 Nebraska opened just 3-of-17 from the field, falling behind 28-7, and the Huskers were unable to recover in an 82-66 women's basketball loss at No. 19 Purdue on Sunday afternoon.
With the victory, Nebraska closes the regular season 22-6 overall and 12-4 in the Big Ten. The Huskers will be the No. 2 seed with a Michigan State home loss later today, or the No. 3 seed in the Big Ten Tournament with a Spartan win. NU has earned a first-round bye at the tournament, and will play in the quarterfinals on Friday, March 7 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
Purdue improved to 21-7 overall and 11-5 in the Big Ten, while notching its sixth consecutive win. The Boilermakers secured the No. 4 seed and a first-round bye in the tournament as a the two-time defending champions. The Huskers had their nine-game winning streak snapped.
Sophomore point guard Rachel Theriot led the Big Red with 24 points on 10-of-15 shooting, including a career-high 4-of-4 from three-point range. Theriot hit 7-of-8 shots from the field in the second half as a bright spot for the Huskers. She added three rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block while playing the full 40 minutes.
Jordan Hooper added 11 points and eight rebounds, while Emily Cady pitched in 10 points, seven rebounds and four assists for the Huskers. Tear'a Laudermill pitched in nine points, while Brandi Jeffery helped the Huskers hang around with nine points off the bench.
After trailing by 20 at halftime, 43-23, the Huskers pulled within 13 at 54-41 after a Hooper putback to cap a 9-2 NU surge with 11:39 left. But NU could get no closer.
Purdue senior Courtney Moses led all scorers with 29 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the field, including 3-of-6 from long range. She also hit 10-of-11 free throws. Liza Clemons added 12 points and April Wilson contributed 10 points for the Boilermaker starters.
Purdue got huge contributions from Bridget Perry and Hayden Hamby off the bench. Perry scored all 12 of her career-high points in the second half to help hold off the Husker rally, while Hamby scored seven of her career-high 10 points on three straight possessions in the first half. Whitney Bays contributed eight points and 10 rebounds off the Boiler bench.
Purdue shot 47.5 percent (28-59) for the game, including 7-of-19 (.368) from long range. The Boilers also hit 19-of-24 free throws, outscoring Nebraska by 12 points at the line.
The Huskers finished 38.8 percent (26-67) from the field, despite matching the Boilermakers from long range at 7-of-19. NU won the turnover battle 14-9 and committed just two turnovers in the second half. But the Big Red got outrebounded 44-30.