Lincoln, Neb. - The Gophers’ five-game winning streak in Big Ten women’s basketball is over.
And the game wasn’t even close.
Nebraska routed the Gophers 74-50 on Tuesday night at the Pinnacle Bank Arena, where the Cornhuskers improved to 13-2.
Gophers center Amanda Zahui B., after two monster games last week that earned her espnW national player of the year honors, plummeted back to earth. The 6-5 sophomore had only 12 points and six rebounds.
Shae Kelley led the Gophers (22-7, 11-6) with 17 points and 13 rebounds but, besides Zahui, nobody else had more than six points.
‘‘The biggest thing for us was that we didn’t play with high enough energy and intensity,” Gophers coach Marlene Stollings said. “We were there on some of [their] shots, but not there with a purpose of disrupting and really bothering them. We gave them very good looks, and they did a nice job of knocking down those shots.”
The Gophers shot 29.5 percent from the field and were worse on three-pointers, making only 5-for-26 (19.2 percent).
Zahui took only nine shots from the field, making three. She was 6-for-6 on free throws and had four blocks. Last week she had 39 points and a Big Ten record 29 rebounds in one game, and 27 points and 27 rebounds in another.
Those games were at Williams Arena, where the Gophers also rallied from 17 points down to beat then-No. 12 Nebraska 72-69 in a Big Ten opener Dec. 29.
Minnesota is 2-9 all-time in Lincoln. The Gophers’ last victory there was Dec. 5, 2006.
Nebraska (20-8, 9-7), which had lost four of its past six games, had four players in double figures. Natalie Romeo had 21 points and was 6-for-13 on threes. Emily Cady added 17 points and Tear’a Laudermill and Allie Havers 10 apiece. Romeo was averaging only seven points per game.
The first half was full of momentum swings. Nebraska took a 14-6 lead. But the Gophers went on a 11-0 run, which began and ended with Kelley baskets, to take a 15-14 lead.
A subsequent Cornhuskers’ 12-2 run put them ahead 26-17. And, again, the Gophers crept back.
By halftime, Nebraska’s lead was only four points, 32-28. Kelley led the Gophers with 11 points.
The Cornhuskers opened the second half with a 20-2 run and cruised.