ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Naz Hillmon matched her career best with 35 points, Akienreh Johnson added two clutch free throws and No. 15 Michigan held off upset-minded Nebraska 64-62 Thursday night.
Hillmon scored 18 points by halftime in something of a one-on-one duel with Nebraska’s top scorer, Sam Haiby, who scored 19 and had the Huskers ahead 35-34 at the break.
But Hillmon scored nine in the third quarter, 17 after halftime and pulled down a career-best 22 rebounds as Michigan turned the one-point gap into a nine-point lead going into the final period.
Hillmon’s career effort was just the second 30-20 game in Michigan women’s basketball history and first since 1979.
The Wolverines are off to the program’s best start at 8-0 and rise to 3-0 in Big Ten play and are 5-0 at home. Nebraska (5-4, 3-3) had won its last two, including knocking off then-No. 15 Northwestern.
Haiby was held to two points on 1-for-2 shooting in the pivotal third quarter, finishing with 27 points and nine boards on 10-for-16 shooting. Isabelle Bourne scored five straight to kick off a late 9-0 run as the Huskers rallied to 60-58 with a minute to go.
The Cornhuskers had a last gasp after Whitney Brown deflected a pass with under two seconds left. Bella Craven launched a shot while crossing half court at the buzzer. The shot fell short.
Michigan was playing without transfer Leigha Brown, Nebraska’s leading scorer last season and current Big Ten Player of the Week, who was out for what the program would only call COVID protocols.