LINCOLN–(KFOR/NU Athletics Mar. 15)–The Nebraska Women’s Basketball team advanced from the first round of the WNIT on Wednesday night, after earning a 74-65 win over Missouri State at Pinnacle Bank Arena.

Nebraska now waits for the winner of Thursday night’s first-round WNIT game between Colorado State and Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls. Date, time and location for Nebraska’s second-round game will be announced when determined by the WNIT.

Sam Haiby scored a season-high 25 points for the Huskers, while Isabelle Bourne added a double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds.  Haiby hit 7-of-11 shots from the floor and knocked down 11-of-13 free throws to lead the Huskers. She added four rebounds, three assists, a steal and no turnovers in 33 minutes of work to help Nebraska improve to 17-14 overall while earning its first postseason home win inside Pinnacle Bank Arena.

Bourne connected on 6-of-10 field goals, including 1-of-2 threes, while knocking down 3-of-4 free throws. Her 12 rebounds were just one shy of a season high, as she notched her fourth double-double of the year and ninth of her career.

Jaz Shelley put three Huskers in double figures with 11 points on 3-of-6 three-point shooting, while adding six assists, three steals and two blocks. Shelley’s night included a buzzer-beating half-court shot that sent the crowd into a frenzy and the Big Red to halftime with a 38-32 lead.

As a team, Nebraska hit 46.3 percent (25-54) of its shots from the floor, but just 5-of-19 three-pointers (.263). However, the Huskers made up for their slow night from long range by connecting on 19-of-26 free throws (.731). The Huskers lost the battle of the boards, 47-36, to one of the nation’s best rebounding teams, but won the turnover battle, 14-10, and outscored the Lady Bears, 14-9 in points off turnovers.

Kennedy Taylor led the Lady Bears with 21 points and a game-high 14 rebounds, including nine offensive boards, while Aniya Thomas added 17 points and five assists. Sydney Wilson put three Lady Bears in double figures with 12 points and eight rebounds, while Paige Rocca added eight points and eight boards.

In an entertaining first half capped by Shelley’s half-court heave, Nebraska carried a 38-32 lead to halftime. It was Shelley’s second three-pointer of the half, as the Huskers hit just 2-of-13 three-pointers – both from Shelley – in the opening 20 minutes.

Missouri State rallied from a 22-15 deficit at the end of the first quarter to take a 32-30 lead with 2:45 left in the half, before the Big Red closed the half with an 8-0 run that included a three-point play by Haiby and a bucket by Markowski preceding Shelley’s half-court shot.

Missouri State fought back early in the second half, getting a three-point play from Taylor and a shot from Thomas to draw within 39-37 just over one minute into the third quarter, but Nebraska answered with back-to-back buckets from Haiby and Krull to push the Husker lead back to 43-37 with 4:37 left in the period. The Huskers held Missouri State without a field goal for the final 8:53 of the third quarter, holding the Lady Bears to 2-for-18 shooting in the period. The Big Red closed the quarter with back-to-back threes from Bourne and Shelley in the final 1:20 to take a 51-41 lead to the final quarter.

Nebraska took its biggest lead of the night on Bourne’s layup to open the fourth period, before back-to-back threes from Rocca and Wilson cut the lead in half to just six points at 53-47 with 8:18 left, ending Missouri’s State 10-minute field goal drought. Haiby answered with a traditional three-point play, and after a basket by Missouri State’s Thomas, Stewart drained a long three to put the Big Red back up 10 points at 59-49 with seven minutes left.

Eventually, Missouri State cut the Husker margin to 60-55, but four points from Bourne and a three-point play from Krull provided the final answer Nebraska needed to extend the margin back to 10 points at 67-57 with 3:15 left. The Huskers closed the game out by making free throws down the stretch.

Nebraska now waits for the winner of Thursday night’s first-round WNIT game between Colorado State and Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls. Date, time and location for Nebraska’s second-round game will be announced when determined by the WNIT.