Lincoln – Ashley Scoggin erupted for 16 points on 4-of-5 three-point shooting and freshman Annika Stewart produced double figures for the second straight game, as Nebraska pulled away down the stretch for a 64-51 win over Idaho State on Sunday at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
The Huskers improved to 2-0 on the young season, while handing the Bengals (1-1) their first loss.
Scoggin, a redshirt sophomore transfer from Salt Lake City Community College, got the Husker offense started in both halves to bounce back from a scoreless Big Red debut as a starter in Friday’s 90-61 win over Oral Roberts. The 5-7 guard from Dallas, Ore., scored five of NU’s first seven points in the first quarter, but Nebraska still trailed 13-12 at the end of the opening 10 minutes.
Stewart, who finished with a career-high 15 points in just nine ultra-productive minutes off the bench, added a three-pointer in the first quarter before pitching in five points with another three-pointer in the second period. Nebraska still trailed 25-24 at halftime. Both Scoggin and Stewart led the Huskers with eight points apiece in the opening half.
Scoggin set the scoring tone again to open the second half with back-to-back threes in the opening minute to give the Huskers a brief 30-28 lead. However, Idaho State answered Scoggin’s threes with two of its own, including the second from Bengal junior Callie Bourne. The older sister of Nebraska sophomore Isabelle Bourne, Callie threatened a triple-double with nine points, a game-high 14 rebounds and seven assists from her guard spot on the night.
Idaho State took a 32-20 lead on an Ellie Smith free throw with 7:11 left in the third quarter, before Nebraska began to dominate inside. The Huskers tied the game, then took the lead for good on back-to-back layups by 6-5 center Kate Cain. The senior finished with eight points, five rebounds, three assists and two blocks, with all eight of her points coming in the second half.
Cain scored six in the third quarter, while Stewart added three free throws and Isabelle Bourne and Bella Cravens added two more points inside, as the Huskers got 13 straight points from its posts before Sam Haiby capped the quarter with a three-pointer to send Nebraska to the fourth period with its biggest lead of the game at the time at 46-40.
Haiby finished with six points and a career-high 11 rebounds to go along with three assists and two steals, while Cravens added six points, five rebounds and two blocks in a solid 14 minutes off the bench for the Huskers.
The Big Red pounded the paint to pull away in the fourth, as Bourne scored Nebraska’s first five points of the quarter to push the Husker lead to 51-42 with 6:10 left. Bourne finished with nine points, three rebounds, two assists and a steal.
Cain added a putback to give NU its first double-digit lead with 5:33 left. Callie Bourne hit a long two-point jumper for Idaho State to pull the Bengals back within nine, before four straight points in a 36-second span for the offensive-minded Stewart extended the margin to 57-44 with 4:02 left.
Scoggin and freshman Ruby Porter both sank two free throws in the game’s final 50 seconds to maintain NU’s biggest lead of the night at 13 points to close out the win.
As a team, Nebraska hit 35.4 percent (23-65) of its shots from the field, including 7-of-22 three-pointers (.318) against an extremely experienced Idaho State squad that returned its top nine scorers from a year ago. The Huskers also connected on 11-of-17 free throws (.647). Nebraska won the turnover battle, 18-12, but lost the battle of the boards 47-46 to the scrappy bunch of Bengals. However, the Huskers outscored ISU 11-6 in second-chance points.
Nebraska’s defense held Idaho State to just 29.7 percent (19-64) shooting from the field, including just 5-of-24 threes (.208), which was an impressive feat considering the Bengals feature a pair of shooters who have knocked down better than 40 percent of their threes over full seasons for ISU. One of those shooters was All-Big Sky guard Estefania Ors, who hit 3-of-6 threes and finished with a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Another was Dora Goles, who added 10 points. Explosive guard Diaba Konate put three Bengals in double figures with 10 points, five rebounds and four steals.
Nebraska returns to home action on Thursday night by opening Big Ten Conference play against Illinois. Tip-off with the Fighting Illini is set for 7 p.m. with a Big Ten Network telecast live from Pinnacle Bank Arena.