Freshman scores 26 in Nebraska’s victory
HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. – Freshman Natalie Romeo tied a school record with seven three-pointers and scored a career-high 26 points to lead seventh-seeded Nebraska to an 86-71 win over Illinois in the second round of the Big Ten tournament on Thursday.
Nebraska (21-9) will play 14th-ranked Iowa, seeded second, in the quarterfinals on Friday.
Hailie Sample and Tear’a Laudermiller had 14 points apiece for the Cornhuskers while Allie Havers added 13 and Emily Cady had 11. Brandi Jeffery had nine rebounds and eight assists to go with her six points.
Ivory Crawford had 19 points and Amarah Coleman 18 for the Illini (15-16), who shot just 34.6 percent.
Romeo, who has started nine straight games since All-America Rachel Theriot was lost for the season to an ankle injury, was 5-for-7 behind the arc in the first half, when the Cornhuskers (21-9) opened a 49-29 lead. She broke her career marks early in the second half with a layup, which she turned into a three-point play. Nebraska shot 61.7 percent and led by 28 with 8:21 to play.
• RUTGERS 63, INDIANA 52: Kahleah Cooper scored 16 points and Betnijah Laney had 12 points and 15 rebounds to lead the fifth-seeded Scarlet Knights (22-8) to a victory over the 12th-seeded Hoosiers (15-16). Rutgers will face fourth-seeded Northwestern in Friday’s quarterfinals. The Wildcats won the only regular-season meeting 80-60 in Evanston.
• MICHIGAN STATE 69, MICHIGAN 49: Aerial Powers recorded her 23rd double-double of the season (16 points, 15 rebounds) to lead the ninth-seeded Spartans (16-14) over the eighth-seeded Wolverines (16-14). Michigan State, which has won a season-high four straight games, will face top-seeded and No. 4-ranked Maryland on Friday. Michigan dropped to 0-5 against the Spartans in Big Ten tournament matchups.