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Husker women try to get handle on turnovers

December 15, 2018
Nebraska guard Hannah Whitish (3) drives around San Jose State's Danae Marquez (22) at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Dec. 8.

The Nebraska women’s basketball team had 15 turnovers in the first half of its 58-52 win over Kansas on Dec. 5.

Yes, you read that sentence right.

Fifteen turnovers in one half, in game that resulted in a Husker win.

Throwing the ball away has been an Achilles’ heal for Nebraska to start the season.

NU’s 16.8 turnovers per game ranks an abysmal 195th in the country.

When Nebraska is taking care of the ball, however, things look good.

The Huskers outscored KU 28-9 in a 14-minute stretch between the second and third quarters that virtually gave NU the game.

In that time, the Huskers committed five turnovers.

“Funny how that works when you’re not handing the ball to the other team and you give yourself a chance,” Husker coach Amy Williams said after the Kansas win.

It’s not like NU is throwing away points on the defensive end, however.

In the last two games, against Kansas and San Jose State, Nebraska has had a total of 37 turnovers. The Huskers’ opponents have only eight fast-break points in those two games.

The difference in those two statistics is live ball turnovers versus dead ball.

By no means is 37 turnovers a good thing, but when it isn’t turning into automatic points via the fast break on the other end, it’s not quite as bad.

“We don’t talk about that like, ‘Hey if you’re going to turn it over, at least make it in a dead-ball situation,’” Williams said. “It’s not something we plan for, but it absolutely is an advantage when that happens and you can get back and get your defense set.”

The Huskers haven’t given up a lot of points in transition this year, but they have given up a lot of points. NU ranks 284th nationally, giving up 69.9 points per game.

So when the Huskers (4-5) matchup against Denver University (7-3) on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. at Pinnacle Bank Arena, NU will have an opportunity to set a different trend than it has in its first nine games.

Denver is 220th in the country in turnovers forced per game. Forcing turnovers isn’t a large part in the Pioneer defense, and that is good news for Nebraska.

Nebraska will have to stop the high-flying Pioneer offense, though.

Denver is averaging 83.9 points per game this season, good for 16th nationally.

This matchup with Denver will be the second-to-last nonconference game before the Big Ten season starts on Dec. 28.

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