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Washington State vs. Nebraska, 12.22.2017

The Nebraska bench , from left, Hannah Whitish, Tim Goehle, and Chuck Love question a call by the referees during the fourth quarter against Washington State on Friday at Pinnacle Bank Arena. The Cougars defeated the Huskers 73-61.

After a career-high 19 points and five three-pointers in Friday’s loss to Washington State, Nebraska guard Emily Wood was as happy as she could have been given the circumstances.

“I would tell anyone that I would rather score no points and win the game, but it was fun to be able to shoot it well, especially here at home,” Wood said.

Nebraska’s women’s basketball team (9-4) dropped its final nonconference game of the season, losing 73-61 to the Cougars at Pinnacle Bank Arena. The loss halted the Huskers’ five-game winning streak.

Washington State held forward Maddie Simon and center Kate Cain to a combined eight points. Nebraska coach Amy Williams said the Cougars’ length and strength on defense helped cause the struggles and hurt their confidence offensively. Washington State took control early, leading by as many as 14 in the first quarter.

Wood hit two three-pointers near the end of the first quarter to cut WSU’s lead to 23-12. With the inside game struggling to get going, Wood and guard Hannah Whitish were forced to take control of the offense. Whitish had 18 points to go along with six assists and three steals.

Nebraska fell behind by 15 in the third quarter before making a run to cut the deficit to nine. The Huskers would get even closer in the fourth, pulling to within seven with 8 minutes, 20 seconds to go. But the Cougars won the battle on the glass, pulling away several offensive rebounds to keep control of the game.

“On our end we talk about offensive rebounds being energy pills,” Wood said. “They help give you energy and momentum and it’s the opposite when they get them, and I think that took the wind out of our sails a little bit.”

Washington State outscored Nebraska on second-chance points 21-12 and in the paint 38-24.

“Right now, not trying to make any excuses or anything, I think that when you’ve played three games in eight days and we’re playing a little bit shallow with some kids still coming off of injuries and we’re not quite as deep and healthy as we want to be,” Williams said. “So we have a lot of people that were playing fatigued there for a little while in the second half.”

Nebraska is still without freshman standout Taylor Kissinger, who missed her sixth straight game with a knee injury. Williams said she thinks Kissinger is close to returning, but the team is still being cautious in handling the injury.

Nebraska will begin Big Ten play Thursday at home against Ohio State. Williams said Friday’s game helped prepare her team for the upcoming schedule.

“I really think it had that feel, just the competitive game that felt almost like a conference game, and that’s going to be an eye-opener for some of our young players to get us ready and prepared for what’s coming,” Williams said.

Alexys Swedlund and Borislava Hristova each scored 16 points to lead Washington State (7-5).

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