Sunday afternoon had to feel pretty damn good for Alexis Markowski and Jaz Shelley. The two veteran Nebraska stars led the Huskers to an 82-79 upset win over No. 2 Iowa, preventing Caitlin Clark from breaking the NCAA women’s all-time scoring record, as well.
It was a huge victory for Nebraska, who had lost to the Hawkeyes 92-73 just a few weeks prior at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Not only did the Huskers boost their NCAA Tournament resumé with the win, they secured their third win in four games.
For Markowski and Shelley, Sunday was even more special. It marked the first time in quite a while Nebraska knocked off Iowa.
“Me and Jazz have talked about this was gonna be our year. We were 0-7 I think against them before now and we’ve been really close,” Markowski said after the game. “We knew this was gonna be the year we were gonna beat them. It’s just — we had a really special moment out there. … To do it at home in front of Husker Nation was awesome.”
Shelley led the way for the Huskers, scoring 23 points in the win, making five-of-10 shots from behind the 3-point line, which included a clutch triple to put Nebraska ahead 78-77 with 30 seconds to play.
She was also responsible for five assists and three rebounds.
Markowski recorded her 14th double-double in the win — which is tied with Clark for most in the Big Ten this season. The 6-foot-3 center finished the night with an impressive stat line, scoring 15 points, collecting 11 rebounds and dishing out four assists. She also had three steals and a block.
Clark also recorded a double-double on Sunday, scoring 31 points and dishing 10 assists in the loss. But the key to the game? The reigning National Player of the Year in women’s college basketball was held without a single point in the fourth quarter.
That’s a big reason why Nebraska was able to overcome a 14-point deficit in the final 10 minutes of the game.
“We switched up our defense and we had some incredible people off the bench that went in and face-guarded her,” Shelley said. “I think our team adjusted really well off the ball to try and contain the other four players. So, I think that’s how we did it.”
Entering Sunday’s game, Clark needed 39 points to break the all-time scoring record, set by Washington’s Kelsey Plum. And while many might’ve been tuned in to see if the Iowa guard hit the mark, it was never discussed in Nebraska’s locker room.
When asked if denying Clark the all-time scoring record at Pinnacle Bank Arena was a specific point of emphasis, Shelly responded matter-of-factly.
“No,” she said.
The fact that the Huskers prevented that from happening? A cherry on top of Sunday’s upset win over the Hawkeyes.
Fleck confirms commitment to Minnesota
P.J. Fleck has seemingly squashed the rumors of having any interest in leaving Minnesota for UCLA. He took time out of an anniversary trip to do so.
On Friday, Fleck’s name surfaced as a “top candidate” to replace Chip Kelly as the head coach at UCLA. Kelly decided to leave his post with the Bruins to become the offensive coordinator at Ohio State.
“Honored to be the Head Football Coach at Minnesota,” Fleck wrote on X. “Ready for an ELITE 2024 season!! Now, back to our wedding anniversary trip!!”
Breathe a sigh of relief, Gopher fans. It sounds like you won’t be scrambling for a new football coach this month.
In his seven seasons at Minnesota, Fleck has led the Golden Gophers to a 50-34 record and five bowl appearances. The team’s best season came in 2019, finishing with an 11-2 record and a victory over Auburn in the Outback Bowl.
The Gophers finished last season with a 6-7 record, which included a win over Bowling Green in the Quick Lane Bowl.
Locksley talks NIL, transfer portal
Maryland football coach Mike Locksley may have given us a peek behind the curtain as to what’s happening in college football these days. In a recent radio interview while in Las Vegas for the Super Bowl, the Terrapins leader indicated that a third-string running back requested $100,000 in NIL money or threatened to transfer.
“And for the first time … Because of this portal, NIL. Your third-team tailback coming in and saying, ‘I need $100,000 or I’m going into the portal.’ And you’re like, ‘Where does this magic $100,000 number come from?’” Locksley said on BMitch and Finlay.
And it just, I mean, I sat in my office and every meeting I had was basically – and we’re seven wins and going to a bowl and taking the next step – but everything coming in was like, ‘I want this. I want that.’”
Locksley did not name any specific players while on the radio. However, running backs Antwain Littleton and Ramon Brown did enter the transfer portal following the 2023 season.
It’s probably not too surprising to anyone that this stuff is happening in college football at this point. But it’s still a little shocking to hear Locksley confirm it.