LINCOLN — The Big Red took a red-eye flight out of the city on Wednesday morning. Lots of basketball and hopefully some beach time await the Nebraska women’s basketball team as they travel to San Juan for the Puerto Rico Clasico.
“It’s a business trip,” said second striker Alexis Markowski on Tuesday night after NU’s 71-53 win over Tarleton. The team left at 4 a.m. on Wednesday. “It’s Puerto Rico and we’re going to do some fun things, but we’re going down there to go 2-0 and play together as a team.”
The Huskers (3-2) head to the event with question marks and concerns – where they will play Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Friday and Mississippi State on Saturday.
The status of guards Allison Weidner and Sam Haiby – who left the Tarleton game with injuries – remains unknown, even though they both flew to Puerto Rico by plane. Weidner’s left eye collided with an opponent’s elbow 54 seconds into Tuesday’s game. Haiby, who has returned from a serious knee injury, played six minutes on Tuesday before limping off the pitch.
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But coach Amy Williams has two major frustrations with her team, which lost badly at No. 16 Creighton and Drake. First, NU shoots 30.2% from 3-point range, with the team’s strongest shooters Jaz Shelley (5/27) and Callin Hake (4/16) missing the most. Second, the Huskers average 14 turnovers per game. They signed 21 in the win over Tarleton, which happily pushed the Nebraska guards all over the place.
“You have to get tough and dig deep,” Williams said of the sales. “And you have to invite and want that physicality. And our team is more than capable of pulling together and handling teams that want to compete with us. So we have to accept that.”
NU players have already done the work necessary to make shots from 3-point range, Williams said, and she’s confident the shooting tide will turn. Markowski too.
“Keep shooting — that’s exactly what I’m going to tell the guards,” Markowski said. “I’ll be there to get the board and I want you to keep shooting because eventually they’re going to start falling for us.”
Should Haiby or Weidner play on Friday, NU likely adds Maddie Krull to the starting lineup. Krull, a South Dakota transfer, started the second half of Tuesday night’s game. She’s only fired 4.4 shots per game as she’s adjusted to playing an off guard role instead of point guard, which she had played at USD.
Mississippi State, Nebraska’s other opponent In this case, it’s 4-1 with a 63-62 loss at South Dakota State. MSU has one of the best defenses in the nation, stopping opponents 33.1% from shooting from the ground and 26.9% from 3-point range.
Texas A&M Corpus Christi vs. Nebraska
When: Friday at 12:30 p.m
Where: San Juan, Puerto Rico
TV | Radio: FloSports | 107.3 FM in Lincoln, 590 AM in Omaha (Huskers Radio Network)
Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (2-2)
C – Bruna Anguera 6-2 Fr. 5.0
F—Alecia Westbrook 6-1 Sr. 10.3
F – Makinna Serrata 6-0 Sr. 9.0
G – Violeta Verano 5-9 Jr. 5.0
G – Maya Ellis 5-8 So. 4.8
C – Alexis Markowski 6-3 So. 15.6
F – Isabelle Bourne 6-2 Jr. 4/11
G – Jaz Shelley 5-9 Jr. 9.4
G – Trinity Brady 5-11 So. 3.6
G – Maddie Krull 5-9 So. 5.2