LINCOLN — For the first time in years, Maddie Krull didn’t start a regular basketball game on the floor, but her smile couldn’t have been wider.
The Millard South graduate and South Dakota transfer scored 18 points and hit four 3-pointers in Nebraska’s 100-36 victory over UNO. She even made a 3 that sent NU into triple digits.
She played better in her home state.
“It’s definitely a dream come true, to come back and play where you came from,” Krull said. “So it’s been fun playing with these guys outside of real games — practice and stuff — but it’s really fun to show who we are and who we want to be this season.
The No. 22 Huskers remain under construction. For now — as of Monday — that means Krull, who helped the Coyotes to two NCAA Tournaments before leaving to coach at West Virginia, came off the bench with 44 seconds left and five minutes left in the first quarter. She didn’t take a shot until the second quarter.
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In the end, Krul took nine and made seven and also finished with two assists. At USD, she was the point guard, distributor for the Sweet 16 team. But the Huskers have two point guards in Jazz Shelley and Allison Weidner. So Krul played strong defense and attempted a 3-pointer that landed in the corner of the court. The extra time Krul spent in the gym, coach Amy Williams said.
What Williams liked most was Krull’s handling of the charges and the tenacity of her defense, she said. At one point, Krull and Shelley ambushed Maverick, a two-man trap that covered 30 feet and ended in theft.
“She’s an energizer, she just makes plays, she just does things, she’s a fast player, she does things for your team,” Williams said. “The 18 points that she put up today were all over the top.”
That off-the-bench production has echoes of a former off-the-bench Husker. Leigh Brown started just six of her 60 games at NU and won Big Ten Sixth Player of the Year honors. Weeks after winning the award, she moved to Michigan.
That won’t be a problem for Krul, who chose NU over several transfer opportunities. Williams does whatever she wants and whatever the team needs.
But Krul could still make the starting lineup.
“We’re not far from anything right now,” Williams said. “We’re still figuring it all out and we’ll continue to work on the rotations.”
Due to two injuries, dual basketball/volleyball player Maggie Mendelson’s late arrival and rare walk-ons, Nebraska fielded just 10 players on Monday. There will be plenty of games in conference play — Houston Christian, Tarleton, Samford — where the outcome is not in doubt, and Williams is free to experiment with 10 of those five combinations.
Trinity Brady was the third starting guard on Monday. She gave prevention and rehabilitation work. Cruel may start on a different day. Or on the ground, in the waning seconds, her team up by 61 and needing one more shot to make it 100.
“I know I’m open,” Krul said. “It was a time of temperature control.”
After the first game of her NU career, she has nothing but warm feelings.
“I want to win games and this team will play more than last year,” Krul said.
Nebraska women’s basketball players in the WNBA