No. 6 seed Kentucky rallies to defeat Nebraska 98-92
Posted: Sunday March 14, 1999 12:52 AM
LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Stymied by Nebraska's trapping defense, Kentucky needed 20 minutes to figure things out. The Wildcats nearly ran out of time.
Erica Jackson scored all of her 18 points, including three 3-pointers, in the second half when sixth-seeded Kentucky rallied to beat the 11th-seeded Cornhuskers 98-92 Saturday night in the first round of the NCAA West Regional.
"We came out tentative, not aggressive in the first half," Kentucky coach Bernadette Mattox said. "They tried to play chaotic basketball and we had to make adjustments. Sometimes it takes a couple minutes or even the first half to settle down."
Mattox is coaching in the women's tournament for the first time after making a Final Four appearance in the men's tournament as an assistant to Rick Pitino in 1993.
The Wildcats (21-10) will UCLA in Monday night's second round at Pauley Pavilion on the UCLA campus.
Kentucky, making its first NCAA tournament appearance in eight years, twice trailed by 10 points in the second half before taking only its second lead of the game with 2:09 remaining.
Nebraska's Brooke Schwartz turned the ball over and Carolyn Alexander scored inside to put Kentucky ahead 86-85. Both teams had trouble handling the ball. Nebraska committed 22 turnovers to Kentucky's 24.
Kentucky trailed by five with about seven minutes left when Jackson grabbed a rebound of her own missed shot and scored. She followed with her third 3-pointer that drew the Wildcats within three.
"Erica Jackson really makes that team go," Nebraska coach Paul Sanderford said. "Our inability to stop her and the fact that we panicked against the press put us under pressure. When we attacked, we were very good. I was disappointed that we couldn't put them away in the end."
Nicole Kubik led the Cornhuskers (21-12) with 32 points - four off her career high. The junior hit two free throws to put Nebraska back on top by one.
"They had five players in double figures," Kubik said. "If we covered somebody, someone else just stepped up for them and made big baskets."
Jaye Barnes scored and Alexander hit two free throws to give the Wildcats the lead for good with 1:17 remaining. Laura Meadows added 16 points and Barnes 15. The Wildcats shot 52 percent, made 31 of 40 free throws and controlled the boards, 37-31.
"We want to make a little bit of noise in this tournament, and it's exciting," Barnes said.
Kubik connected on a 3-pointer that pulled the Cornhuskers within four with 15.5 seconds remaining, but teammate Monet Williams was called for an offensive foul and Kentucky's Natalie Martinez scored to put the game out of reach.
"Jaye Barnes is a veteran player and Natalie Martinez has started two years for us, so they know what it took to win this basketball game," Mattox said.
Down eight points at halftime, Kentucky opened the second half with a 13-3 run for a 47-45 lead. The Cornhuskers snatched the momentum right back, using a 10-3 spurt for a 55-50 lead they wouldn't give up until the final two minutes. Kubik had seven points in a 14-2 run that had Kentucky down by 10 with 10:20 remaining.
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