The University of Nebraska’s Cornhuskers wasted little time capitalizing on their height and experience in a women’s basketball season-opener against the young University of Maine Black Bears in Lincoln, Nebraska, on Tuesday afternoon.
The Cornhuskers, who returned all five starters and all but one player off last year’s WNIT team that finished at 13-13, outscored UMaine 28-8 in the first quarter and never looked back on route to a comfortable 108-50 win.
Nebraska shot a blistering 61.2 percent from the floor in the contest, including 53.3 percent from beyond the 3-point arc. UMaine didn’t have a starter taller than 5-foot-11, with Nebraska outrebounding the Black Bears 43-20 and outscoring them 60-28 in the paint.
Six-foot-two sophomore forward Isabelle Bourne from Australia, a Big Ten honorable mention last season, scored a game-high 17 points, grabbed five rebounds and dished out three assists to lead a group of five Cornhuskers in double figures.
Six-foot-three junior forward Bella Cravens added 13 points and eight rebounds, Ashley Scoggin and 6-foot-3 Annika Stewart contributed 12 points apiece and Sam Haiby chipped in with 10 more. Scoggin dished out six assists, Stewart grabbed five rebounds and Haiby had three assists.
Scoggin scored 10 of her 12 points in the first period including all seven in a 7-2 run that built Nebraska’s lead to 13-6. Nebraska closed out the quarter with a 15-2 spurt.
Junior guard Anne Simon paced the Black Bears with 14 points, three rebounds and three assists. The other returning starter off last year’s 17-3 team, graduate student forward Maeve Carroll, produced 11 points, eight rebounds, five assists and two blocked shots.
Sophomore guard Alba Orois had eight points and six assists.
Carroll’s eight rebounds and Orois’ six assists tied Nebraska’s Cravens and Scoggin for the game-highs, respectively. Kansas native Bailey Wilborn netted six points in her UMaine debut.
“Nebraska shot the ball really, really well,” said UMaine head coach Amy Vachon to Learfield IMG College/Black Bear Sports Properties play-by-play man Don Shields after the game. “And our defensive performance wasn’t up to par.
”But we’ll learn from this,” she added.
Vachon liked her team’s second-period performance, in which it was outscored 24-18, and said Carroll played “really hard.”
UMaine will play its home opener against Providence College on Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Memorial Gym in Orono and the Black Bears will play their third of 11 straight non-conference games on Monday when they host Delaware at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor at 7 p.m.