Nov. 28, 2008
Albuquerque, N.M. - Lade Akande scored a team-high 12 points and Melanie Thornton notched her second career double-double, but a late second-period surge by Nebraska broke-open what was a tightly-contested battle en route to a 67-54 decision over Butler in the first game of the Holiday Inn & Suites Express Midtown Thanksgiving Tournament on Friday (Nov. 28) afternoon in The Pit.
A wildly fast-paced affair that featured 10 lead changes throughout the duration had the Bulldogs in front by as many as six points early in the first half and down by as little as three midway through the second before the Huskers closed the game on a 19-9 run to pull away for the win.
Butler looked like a team on a mission in the early going, running out to a six-point edge through the first five minutes. A lay-up and a split pair of free throws by Akande gave the Bulldogs a 9-6 edge before a three-pointer by Brittany Bowen extended the margin to 12-6 with 15:31 to go in the half.
Lay-ups by Bowen and Akande over the next three minutes helped the Bulldogs maintain a four-point advantage at 16-12, but the Huskers would counter with a 7-0 run over the next two minutes to go up 19-16.
Six lead changes and four ties later, the Bulldogs found themselves on the short-end but within prime striking distance heading into the break, trailing Nebraska 33-31 after an exhausting opening period.
The two teams went right back at it at the start of the second, as a trio of lay-ups by Akande brought the scoring back to even three different times only to have the Huskers put themselves back in front moments later.
A 9-2 jaunt by Nebraska pushed itself out to an eight point edge at 48-40 with 12:40 remaining in the contest. The Bulldogs would not relent, however, as Susan Lester tallied a lay-up and ensuing bonus free throw before connecting on a pair of shots from the charity stripe to cut the difference to three at 48-45 with 11:15 to go.
Butler would get no closer, however, as the Huskers quickly built up a nine-point margin with under five minutes to go and, despite another valiant rally attempt by the Bulldogs to trim the difference to five with 2:18 to play, would hold on for the decision in the end.
Thornton picked up the second double-double of her career and of the season, finishing with 11 points on 5-for-8 shooting and team-highs with 10 rebounds and four steals. Akande paced the squad with 12 points on 5-for-10 shooting and added six boards. Bowen, Lester and Terra Burns each chipped in seven points.
Butler closes the Holiday Inn & Suites Express Midtown Thanksgiving Tournament on Saturday (Nov. 29) when it takes on William & Mary beginning at 7:00 p.m. ET (5:00 p.m. MT) at The Pit.