#3 Nebraska Cornhuskers (22-0, 9-0 Big 12)
at Missouri Tigers (11-12, 1-9 Big 12)
Mizzou Arena (15,061)
Columbia, Mo. Saturday, Feb. 13 1 p.m.
Television: Not Available
Radio: Husker Sports Network
(98.1 FM-KFGE-Lincoln, 93.3 FM-KTWI Omaha, 880 AM-KRVN Lexington)
Free Live Audio: Huskers.com (Free)
Live Internet Video: HuskersNside (premium subscribers - provided by Missouri)
No. 3 Nebraska returns wraps up a two-game Big 12 road swing on Saturday by traveling to Columbia, to take on Missouri. Tip-off between the Huskers (22-0, 9-0 Big 12) and Tigers (11-12, 1-9 Big 12) at Mizzou Arena is set for 1 p.m., with live Husker Sports Network radio coverage on Froggy 98.1 KFGE in Lincoln, Twister 93.3 KTWI in Omaha and 880 KRVN in Lexington. Matt Coatney and Jeff Griesch will have the call for free on Huskers.com.
Nebraska heads to Missouri riding a school-record 22-game winning streak, and an 11-game Big 12 regular-season streak. The Huskers have also won 10 consecutive games away from the Devaney Center.
The Huskers notched their third straight win over a top-25 RPI foe at Kansas on Wednesday, improving to 9-0 in Big 12 play for the first time in school history with a 67-60 victory over the Jayhawks. Nebraska became just the second school in Big 12 history to open league play 9-0, joining the 2000 (9-0), 2009 (12-0) and 2006 (16-0) Oklahoma squads. A win over Missouri would give Nebraska a school-record tying 23 wins on the season.
The Huskers, who are 4-0 against Big 12 North opponents this season, will be looking to complete a first-half sweep of Division foes at Missouri, while avenging last year’s 67-66 loss to the Tigers at Mizzou Arena. MU’s win snapped Nebraska’s five-game road winning streak in Columbia.
Nebraska, which also owns its highest national ranking in school history, owns a 5-0 record against Big 12 South Division foes, with four of the wins coming against current top-15 teams. The Huskers have become the first North team to notch five wins against the South since Kansas State in 2003-04.
Missouri heads into the weekend with an 11-12 overall record, including a 1-9 Big 12 mark. While the Tigers have struggled in league play, three of their losses have come by four points or less, including a 37-33 setback at Kansas State in the lowest scoring game in Big 12 history on Wednesday. While Nebraska and Missouri appear on paper to be at opposite ends of the spectrum, the Huskers opened 2009 Big 12 play at 1-8 and 10-12 overall before reeling off five wins in their final seven Big 12 games to earn a Postseason WNIT bid.
#3 Nebraska Cornhuskers (22-0, 9-0)
23 - Kelsey Griffin - 6-2 - Sr. - F - 19.3 ppg, 10.0 rpg
40 - Cory Montgomery - 6-2 - Sr. - F - 12.8 ppg, 5.0 rpg
00 - Lindsey Moore - 5-9 - Fr. - G - 4.6 ppg, 2.1 rpg
22 - Yvonne Turner - 5-8 - Sr. - G - 12.5 ppg, 3.9 rpg
24 - Dominique Kelley - 5-7 - Jr. - G - 12.2 ppg, 4.2 rpg
The Next Wave
44 - Catheryn Redmon - 6-3 - Jr. - C - 4.7 ppg, 5.0 rpg
13 - Kala Kuhlmann - 5-8 - Sr. - G - 4.0 ppg, 1.7 rpg
11 - Nicole Neals - 5-6 - Sr. - G - 3.2 ppg, 0.9 rpg
21 - Harleen Sidhu - 6-1 - So. - F - 2.3 ppg, 1.7 rpg
12 - Layne Reeves - 5-11 - RFr. - G - 1.7 ppg, 0.9 rpg
35 - Jessica Periago - 6-4 - Jr. - C - 1.7 ppg, 2.3 rpg
5 - Kaitlyn Burke - 5-7 - Jr. - G - 1.2 ppg, 0.5 rpg
20 - Katya Leick - 6-1 - Fr. - F - 1.8 ppg, 1.4 rpg
10 - Meghin Williams - 6-1 - Fr. - F - 0.9 ppg, 0.7 rpg
42 - Nikki Bober - 6-4 - Sr. - C - Injured
Head Coach: Connie Yori (Creighton, 1986)
Eighth Season at NU (143-97); 20th Season Overall (338-237)
Missouri Tigers (11-12, 1-9 Big 12)
3 - Amanda Hanneman - 5-11 - Sr. - F - 9.6 ppg, 3.1 rpg
32 - Marissa Scott - 6-2 - Sr. - F - 2.7 ppg, 1.9 rpg
44 - Shakara Jones - 6-2 - Jr. - F - 9.3 ppg, 5.3 rpg
11 - Toy Richbow - 5-6 - Sr. - G - 3.9 ppg, 3.4 rpg
23 - RaeShara Brown - 5-8 - Jr. - G - 9.1 ppg, 4.7 rpg
Off the Bench
4 - Jessra Johnson - 6-1 - Sr. - F - 12.2 ppg, 6.1 rpg
10 - Jasmyn Otote - 5-9 - Jr. - G - 2.9 ppg, 1.5 rpg
34 - Kendra Frazier - 6-5 - So. - C - 2.0 ppg, 1.8 rpg
50 - Christine Flores - 6-3 - So. - F - 9.6 ppg, 4.7 rpg
22 - BreAnna Brock - 6-2 - So. - F - 3.3 ppg, 2.0 rpg
Head Coach: Cindy Stein (Illinois, 1984)
12th Season at MU (184-171); 15th Season Overall (249-194)
Griffin Nation’s Most Productive Player
A pure statistical comparison of the top players in the nation is an imperfect science because of the different roles of players on the court. However, per-40-minute production averages provide an insight somewhat like baseball’s earned run average for pitchers.
Nebraska’s Kelsey Griffin has produced at an All-America level throughout her career, but as a senior the 6-2 power forward from Eagle River, Alaska, is putting up numbers above and beyond any other player in the nation.
Through games Feb. 5, Griffin’s per-40-minute production numbers registered at 29.5 points, 15.2 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2.7 steals per game. Griffin’s 61.7 field goal percentage also ranked among the top six players in the country in the Feb. 5 NCAA statistics.
When compared with the 51 other players in the country who have earned a spot among the 2010 National Player-of-the-Year candidates (Wade Trophy, Naismith Trophy or Wooden Award), Griffin’s scoring and rebounding numbers lead the nation. Only seven other national player-of-the-year candidates (Dawn Evans, Andrea Riley, Monica Wright, Alysha Clark, Tina Charles, Elena Della Donne, Maya Moore) are averaging more than 26 points per 40 minutes. Only four other candidates (Charles, Nnemkadi Ogwumike, Carolyn Swords, Ta’Shia Phillips) are averaging more than 13 rebounds per 40.
Charles, who is considered a leading candidate for national player-of-the-year honors this season, along with teammate Maya Moore, the defending national player of the year, was averaging 1.6 points and 0.9 rebounds less than Griffin through games Feb. 5. Griffin was also averaging one more assist per game and 1.8 more steals per game than Charles. Moore was averaging 2.3 fewer points and 4.1 fewer rebounds, while adding 2.5 more assists per 40 minutes than Griffin. The steals numbers for Griffin and Moore were virtually identical, while Griffin’s field goal percentage (61.7) was well ahead of Moore’s (54.6).
In addition to her measurable productivity in points and rebounds, Griffin’s impact on Nebraska’s lineup is also hard to argue. Last season, without Griffin, Nebraska managed a 15-16 overall record while earning a sixth straight postseason tournament appearance in the WNIT. The Huskers finished with a 6-10 Big 12 mark.
This season, with Griffin back in action after sitting out 2008-09 with a left foot injury that required two surgeries, Nebraska is 22-0 and 9-0 in the Big 12. With seven regular-season games remaining, the Huskers are already plus-seven overall in the win column and plus-three in the nation’s strongest RPI conference.
Two seasons ago with Griffin in the lineup playing with a broken rib all season, Nebraska produced one of the best years in school history by winning 21 games and advancing to the second round of the 2008 NCAA Tournament.
Vote for Griffin as Lowe’s Senior Class Finalist
Nebraska senior forward Kelsey Griffin was named one of 10 finalists for the 2010 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award for NCAA Division I women’s basketball on Wednesday, Feb. 3.
Griffin, a 6-2 power forward from Eagle River, Alaska, is in the midst of one of the most productive seasons in women’s college basketball this year, averaging 19.3 points and 10.0 rebounds while leading the 22-0 Huskers with 41 steals and 18 charges drawn.
The two-time first-team All-Big 12 selection ranks third in the league in scoring and second in rebounding despite averaging just 26.4 minutes per game. She has powered Nebraska to its highest national rankings, longest winning streak and best Big 12 start in school history, while ranking among the top 30 players nationally in scoring, rebounding and field goal percentage.
The two-time first-team All-Big 12 selection is also a candidate for the Wade Trophy, the Naismith Trophy and the Wooden Award, as a national player-of-the-year candidate. In addition to her success on the court in her career, the All-America candidate is also a standout in the classroom and in the community.
In the classroom, Griffin is a two-time first-team academic All-Big 12 selection who carries nearly a 3.5 grade-point average as a biological sciences major. Projected as a high WNBA draft pick in 2010, Griffin hopes to pursue a career in the medical profession following her playing days. In the community, Griffin has been a mentor at Belmont Elementary School for five years, and has served as a volunteer speaker multiple times for "School is Cool" week and the "School is Cool" celebration. She has also spoken several times during American Education Week, while helping the women’s basketball team claim Nebraska’s Life Skills Award of Excellence in 2006.
The Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities. The finalists were chosen by a media committee from the list of 30 women’s basketball candidates who were announced in October.
Fans can vote right now at the award’s official web site: http://www.seniorCLASSaward.com, as well as through text messaging. Fans can text W6 to 74567 to vote for women’s finalists. These votes will be combined with votes from coaches and media to determine the recipient of the award.
In addition to Griffin, the other women’s basketball finalists are: Jayne Appel, Stanford; Amy Beggin, New Mexico; Joy Cheek, Duke; Alysha Clark, Middle Tennessee State; Tyra Grant, Penn State; Allison Hightower, LSU; Ashley Houts, Georgia; Ashley Sweat, Kansas State; and Bianca Thomas, Mississippi.
The 2009-10 season marks the ninth year of the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award, and past women’s basketball recipients include: Sue Bird (Connecticut, 2002), LaToya Thomas (Mississippi State, 2003), Alana Beard (Duke, 2004), Kendra Wecker (Kansas State, 2005), Seimone Augustus (LSU, 2006), Alison Bales (Duke, 2007), Candice Wiggins (Stanford, 2008), Courtney Paris (Oklahoma, 2009).
Big Four Know How to Score for Big Red
Nebraska’s big four scorers of Kelsey Griffin, Cory Montgomery, Yvonne Turner and Dominique Kelley have all put up impressive numbers for the Huskers through 22 games.
Each of NU’s most experienced players are averaging more than 12 points per game and have combined to hit 50.5 percent (431-853) of their shots from the field, including 108-of-264 (40.9 percent) of their three-point attempts. Griffin leads NU with 19.3 points and 10.0 rebounds per game, while Montgomery - NU’s leading scorer and rebounder a year ago - is averaging 12.8 points and 5.0 boards per contest. Turner has increased her season averages to 12.5 points and 3.9 rebounds, by averaging 16.0 points and 4.2 boards per contest in Big 12 action.
Kelley, the lone junior in the experienced foursome, has pitched in 12.2 points and 4.2 rebounds per game.
Griffin ranks sixth nationally (60.8 percent) as an individual and Montgomery joins Griffin in the top 25 nationally at 53.2 percent (24th). Turner ranks among the top long-range shooters in both the Big 12 (5th) and nationally (18th) in three-point percentage (.423) and three-pointers made per game (2.9 - 1st Big 12, 28th nationally).
As a team, the Huskers rank fifth nationally with their 46.6 field goal percentage. Nebraska is second in the Big 12 in that category, trailing only Baylor (.484). Kansas, Texas A&M and Iowa State also rank among the top 30 teams nationally in that category.
Huskers Continue to Rewrite History
At 22-0, Nebraska owns the best start and longest winning streak in school history, surpassing a nine-game winning streak to open the 1996-97 campaign. Nebraska’s 22-0 start is also the best start in Big 12 history, dating back to the inception of the league in 1996-97. The Huskers’ 9-0 Big 12 start is their best league start in school history, surpassing the 1987-88 Huskers who started 5-0 on their way to the Big Eight regular-season title.
Not only have the Huskers been winning, they have been doing it in impressive fashion, with 18 of their 22 victories by double digits, including 10 wins by 20 or more points and six wins by 39 or more. NU’s lone single-digit wins came with a 76-71 victory at Miami on Dec. 5, a seven-point win at Kansas on Feb. 10, an eight-point win at Iowa State, and a nine-point win at No. 9 Baylor. The Huskers have led all 22 opponents by double-digits late in the second half.
Nebraska’s streak is just the seventh of eight or more victories in school history. Three of Nebraska’s eight-game winning streaks have come in Yori’s eight seasons with the Huskers, including 2003-04 and 2005-06.
Then There Were Two: Huskers Join UConn As Only Unbeatens
Nebraska heads into Saturday’s game at Missouri as one of just two unbeaten teams left among the 345 NCAA Division I women’s basketball teams, joining No. 1 Connecticut. UConn owns the nation’s longest winning streak, which reached 63 games after beating DePaul on Thursday, Feb. 11.
Huskers Claim Highest Ranking at No. 3 in AP Poll
Nebraska achieved its highest ranking in school history when the Huskers climbed to No. 3 in the Associated Press Top 25 on Monday, Feb. 8. It was NU’s fourth straight week in the top 10 and ninth straight in the top 25. NU’s first-ever top-10 ranking in either poll came with a No. 9 ranking in the USA Today/ESPN poll on Jan. 12, and NU achieved a No. 4 ranking in the Jan. 26 coaches, where the Huskers have stayed for three straight weeks.
Nebraska is one of seven Big 12 teams in the AP rankings and the highest ranked team in the league. The Huskers are one of just two undefeated teams left among the 345 NCAA Division I schools, and the only Big 12 team with fewer than four losses. Six Big 12 teams are ranked in the AP top 15 this week, including No. 11 Baylor, No. 12 Oklahoma, No. 13 Texas A&M, No. 14 Texas and No. 15 Oklahoma State, while Iowa State climbed two spots to No. 20. Eight Big 12 teams have been ranked at some point this season, including Kansas.
Huskers Running High in Official NCAA RPI
The NCAA released its official RPI rankings on Monday, Feb. 8, and Nebraska was near the top of the chart with a No. 4 national RPI ranking. Only Connecticut, Stanford and Tennessee were ahead of the Huskers.
Big 12 foes Oklahoma (7th), Texas A&M (8th) and Oklahoma State (9th) joined Nebraska in the top 10, while Texas was 11th, Baylor 20th and Kansas 24th, giving the Big 12 seven teams in the RPI top 25.
All 12 of the Big 12 teams were among the top 100, including No. 32 Iowa State, No. 63 Texas Tech, No. 84 Kansas State, No. 90 Missouri and No. 96 Colorado.
Nebraska already owns 12 wins over top-100 RPI teams, including No. 8 Texas A&M, No. 9 Oklahoma State, No. 20 Baylor, No. 32 Iowa State, No. 38 LSU, No. 47 Vermont, No. 51 Miami, No. 56 Creighton, No. 63 Texas Tech, No. 64 UALR, No. 84 Kansas State and No. 96 Colorado. Seven of those wins have come away from the Devaney Center, including six true road victories.
National Numbers Show Huskers Continuing Improvement
In the most recent NCAA statistics (Feb. 8), Nebraska is showing a level of play previously unmatched in program history. The Huskers rank second nationally in scoring margin (22.8 ppg), trailing only UConn’s 39.3 ppg.
Nebraska ranks second nationally in three-point field goal percentage defense (.243), and the Huskers have been even better on the road in the Big 12, allowing Iowa State, Baylor, Texas Tech, Colorado and Kansas to hit just 8-of-57 threes (14.0 percent) in NU’s first five league road games.
Offensively, the Huskers rank fifth nationally in field-goal percentage (.466), and eighth nationally in scoring offense (78.6 ppg). NU also ranks 18th nationally in rebound margin (+7.0 rpg). Those numbers have led to Nebraska’s No. 21 national ranking in scoring defense (55.8 ppg). Finally, the Huskers rank No. 20 nationally in three-point field goals made per game with 7.3.
Scouting the Missouri Tigers
Missouri heads into Saturday’s game with Nebraska carrying a five-game losing streak after a 37-33 loss at Kansas State on Wednesday. Since defeating a top-15 Baylor club, 70-62, for their lone league win in Columbia on Jan. 23, the Tigers have struggled offensively.
MU is averaging just 49.2 points per game over its last five contests, and has failed to hit 40 in back-to-back games against Iowa State and K-State. Missouri has managed 60 or more points only three times in its first 10 Big 12 games, including 61 points in a one-point loss to a top-15 Oklahoma club, and 60 in a loss to a top-15 Oklahoma State squad. Missouri ranks last in the Big 12 overall with 63 points per game on the season, while managing just 53.4 points per game in league play.
The Tigers have remained competitive in Big 12 action with three of their Big 12 losses by four points or less to go along with their eight-point win over Baylor. An RPI top-100 club, Missouri has allowed just 62.8 points per game in league action, with Oklahoma State (75) and Kansas (72) being the only two Big 12 foes to manage more than 65 points.
Missouri ranks last in the league in every shooting category, including field goal percentage (.381), three-point field percentage (.291) and free throw percentage (.649). MU has also been outrebounded, 38.6-37.4 on the season, including a minus-8.3 margin in league action. The Tigers have been strong with the ball, committing just 14 turnovers per game on the year while forcing 19 turnovers per game by the opposition.
Senior forward Jessra Johnson leads MU with 12.2 points and 6.1 rebounds per game, but Johnson has started just six of the Tigers’ 10 league contests. A big-bodied power forward who has historically shot the three well, Johnson has hit just 3-of-25 three-point attempts in Big 12 play and just 10-of-56 overall on the year. Fellow senior Amanda Hanneman has added 9.6 points per game while leading the Tigers with 43 three-pointers, but is just 12-for-55 from long range in league play.
Sophomore Christine Flores, a 6-3 forward, has added 9.6 points and 4.7 rebounds, as a part-time starter.
Missouri’s most consistent starters have been Shakara Jones (9.3 ppg, 5.3 rpg) and RaeShara Brown (9.1 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 3.2 spg) while senior point guard Toy Richbow has also started all 23 games, averaging 3.9 points and 3.4 rebounds per game.
Nebraska leads the all-time series with Missouri 37-30, including a 65-52 win last year at the Devaney Center. In the first meeting last season in Columbia, the Tigers escaped with a 67-66 win at Mizzou Arena on Jan. 17. NU trailed by seven with less than four minutes left, but shut out MU for the final 3:06. NU had multiple chances to win the game in the final 30 seconds, but could not come away with the win. The loss snapped Nebraska’s five-game winning streak in Columbia. Catheryn Redmon had 12 points, 11 rebounds and five blocked shots to help the Huskers, while Kaitlyn Burke led the Huskers with 13 points off the bench. Yvonne Turner added 12 points on four three-pointers, while Cory Montgomery managed 10 points and seven rebounds. Jessra Johnson led MU with 18 points and nine rebounds.
Kelsey Griffin, who did not play against Missouri last season because of a foot injury, had big games against the Tigers as a junior in 2007-08. In two NU wins, Griffin averaged 24.5 points and 8.5 rebounds while hitting 16-of-24 shots from the field.
Nebraska played five Big 12 South foes in its first eight league games and the Huskers notched a perfect 5-0 mark. The Huskers notched their seventh straight win against the South with a 71-60 victory over No. 12 Texas A&M at the Devaney Center on Feb. 6. The win over the Aggies followed on the heels of an 88-67 run past No. 10 Oklahoma State in Lincoln on Feb. 3.
Nebraska produced its largest victory margin in history against a Big 12 opponent with an 89-47 win at Texas Tech on Jan. 27, after posting a 65-56 win at No. 9 Baylor on Jan. 17. The Lady Bears are the only South foe to play the Huskers within single digits this season. NU opened home Big 12 action with a 91-79 win over No. 19 Texas on Jan. 12.
In its five meetings with Big 12 South foes, Nebraska is averaging 80.8 points per game, while surrendering 61.8 points per contest, for an average winning margin of 19 points per game. The Huskers are also a plus-4.2 in team rebounding margin and plus-4.0 in team turnover margin against South Division foes.
Nebraska will shoot for its first 6-0 sweep of the South at Oklahoma on Feb. 24. The Huskers will be gunning for just the third-ever sweep by a North school against the South since the inception of the Big 12 in 1996-97. Iowa State was the last team to do it in 1999-2000, following a Kansas sweep in 1998-99. A North school has won five or more games against the South only eight previous times, most recently Kansas State’s back-to-back 5-1 marks in 2002-03 and 2003-04.
Husker Road Foes Seeing Big Red in 3-D
Nebraska ranks second nationally in three-point field goal percentage defense (.243), but even that impressive statistic has not done the Huskers’ perimeter defense on the road justice this season.
In 10 games away from the Devaney Center, Nebraska has held its opponents to just 18.7 percent (23-123) from beyond the arc. That number is even more staggering when you consider that Nebraska’s road foes have included Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Miami and Vermont, all of which have been ranked in the top 25 this season.
In Big 12 play, the numbers are even more amazing, as the Huskers have held conference road foes to just 8-for-57 shooting from three-point range - 14 percent. In nine Big 12 games overall, NU foes have hit just 24.3 (29-119) percent of their three-point attempts. In Nebraska’s last four games against Big 12 South competition, the Huskers have held their opponents (No. 9 Baylor, Texas Tech, No. 10 Oklahoma State, No. 12 Texas A&M) to a combined 7-for-49 shooting from long range.
In addition to stopping the opposition, Nebraska has produced well offensively from long range on the road. The Huskers have hit 70-of-212 threes in 10 road games, outscoring their opponents 210-69 from three-point territory. In Big 12 play, NU has outscored its road foes 105-24 from behind the arc.
Practice? This Team Loves Talkin’ Bout Practice
Listen to the Nebraska players and coaches talk about the keys to their success so far in 2009-10, and one word repeatedly comes up - "practice." The Huskers love to talk about practice. Since the early days of the season, Nebraska Coach Connie Yori has said that the 2009-10 Huskers are "the best practicing team she has ever coached."
Senior All-America candidate said recently that she entered the season with the mindset that "she would make sure the coaches did not have to coach effort in practice." She went on to say that she has played a minor role in assuring effort, "because my teammates are working so hard every day that I don’t even worry about it."
Senior guard Yvonne Turner told a group of reporters following Nebraska’s win over Albany on Dec. 30 that, "sure it was nice to have a whole week off for Christmas after beating LSU, but I couldn’t wait to get back to practice. I think we were all the same way. We couldn’t wait to get back on the court together."
On Monday, Jan. 18, just hours after Nebraska had achieved its first-ever AP top-10 ranking in school history, junior guard Dominique Kelley told a reporter after practice, "sure, its nice to be ranked, whatever we’re ranked I don’t even know, but what it really shows is how hard we all worked during the offseason and how hard we are working every day in practice to get better."
Nebraska Owns Success Against Top 25 Foes
Nebraska has made a habit of knocking off top-25 opponents during Connie Yori’s eight seasons at the helm. In fact, the Huskers’ win over No. 12 Texas A&M marked the 17th victory over an AP Top 25 foe during Yori’s tenure, including the fifth this season. NU’s 21-point win over No. 10 Oklahoma State on Feb. 3 was the Huskers’ fifth against a top-10 opponent. Before Yori’s arrival, Nebraska had beaten just one top-10 opponent in school history.
Nebraska’s three top-10 wins this season have matched NU’s all-time total in 35 seasons of women’s basketball.
NU’s win at No. 9 Baylor on Jan. 17, marked the Huskers’ first victory against a top-25 team in a true road game under Yori. It was also the Huskers’ first-ever true road win over a top-10 opponent.
The Huskers have already posted five wins over AP Top 25 teams (No. 5 LSU, No. 9 Baylor, No. 10 Oklahoma State, No. 12 Texas A&M, No. 19 Texas) this season, including three wins over top-10 foes.
The Huskers also own a road win over current AP No. 20 Iowa State on Jan. 9, in Ames, while also claiming road wins over previously ranked clubs at Vermont (AP No. 24, Jan. 18), Miami (AP No. 25, Jan. 11), Kansas (as high as No. 18, first nine weeks AP). The Jayhawks, Catamounts and Hurricanes were unranked when they played the Huskers.
The highest-ranked team Nebraska has ever defeated was the 2004-05 Baylor team that went on to win the national title. NU outlasted No. 2 BU, 103-99 in triple overtime on Jan. 12, 2005. The Huskers’ 21-point win over No. 10 OSU on Feb. 3, 2010, marked NU’s largest victory margin ever over a top-10 team. Nebraska’s 29-point win over No. 14 Iowa State in 2005 was NU’s largest victory margin in history over a top-25 foe. Nebraska’s 56-45 win over No. 15 Texas at the Devaney Center in 2008 also marked the lowest point total ever allowed by the Huskers against a ranked opponent. Before Yori’s arrival at Nebraska in 2002-03, the Huskers had not defeated a top-10 team since a 73-67 win over No. 9 Iowa on Dec. 8, 1996, and had never beaten a top-five opponent.
Huskers Get It Done on Court, In Classroom, In Community
Nebraska has not only enjoyed a record-setting run on the court early this season, the Huskers are achieving at high levels in the classroom. During the 2009 fall semester, the women’s basketball team posted a cumulative 3.138 GPA. In addition to the high grade-point averages, seniors Cory Montgomery (business administration) and Nicole Neals (management) earned their bachelor’s degrees from Nebraska in just 3 1/2 years. The two new graduate students received their diplomas at the Devaney Center during commencement exercises on Saturday, Dec. 19. The next day, Montgomery and Neals helped the Huskers roll to a 77-63 win over No. 5 LSU at the Devaney Center.
Nebraska also owns a perfect 100 percent score in the Graduate Success Rate published by the NCAA, and every player that Connie Yori has coached over the past 19 seasons has gone on to earn her degree.
The Huskers have also earned two Nebraska Life Skills Team Awards during Coach Connie Yori’s eight seasons in Lincoln, including the inaugural award in 2003-04. Senior Kelsey Griffin has been a leader in Nebraska’s community service efforts throughout her career and is one of 10 finalists for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award this season.
Nebraska Continues Impressive Schedule Strength
The Big 12 Conference leaves no room for the weak of heart or mind, and Nebraska’s non-conference schedule prepared the Huskers well for the start of the league season. Not only did NU run to its first-ever unbeaten non-conference regular season, the Huskers did it against the strongest non-conference schedule in school history.
When Nebraska’s non-conference season closed, the Huskers’ strength of schedule was ranked No. 25 by CollegeRPI.com. NU, which has played back-to-back top-25 schedules according to CollegeRPI.com, saw its schedule strength climb to No. 18 on Feb. 11, after knocking off RPI No. 23 Kansas in Lawrence.
Huskers Producing Massive Margins to Open Season
Nebraska’s average victory margin of 22.8 points per game through the first 22 contests is the best in school history and ranks second nationally, trailing only UConn’s 39.3 point-per-game advantage.
The 2009-10 Huskers are averaging 78.6 points per game (1,729 total points) on the offensive end, which would rank as the third-best scoring average in school history. Last season, Nebraska averaged just 62.2 points per game, including 59.7 in Big 12 play.
NU Offense Hitting 80 Points with Frequency
With an offense that ranks among the best in school history, Nebraska has hit 80-plus points regularly in 2009-10. Through 22 games, the Huskers have hit 80 or more points on 10 occasions, including six times in the past 11 games. Over the past five games, including two games on the road at Texas Tech and Colorado and two wins over top-12 teams (No. 10 Oklahoma State, No. 12 Texas A&M) the Huskers are averaging 79 points per game.
Nebraska’s offense has been strong against the nation’s best teams. In NU’s nine games against teams that have been ranked in the top 25 at any point this season (Miami, LSU, Vermont, Iowa State, Texas, Baylor, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, Kansas), the Huskers are averaging 76.2 points per game, including 94 points at Vermont, 91 against No. 19 Texas and 88 against No. 10 Oklahoma State.
Last season Nebraska managed 80 points on only two occasions, in the first game (Weber State, 96-47) and last game (Oklahoma State, 82-74) of the regular season.
Three of NU’s 10 80-plus games have crossed the 90-point mark, including a 107-54 win over Washington State (Nov. 22), a 94-50 win at Vermont (Jan. 4) and a 91-79 win over Texas (Jan. 12).
Huskers Dig Defense
NU is surrendering just 55.8 points per game through the first 22 contests, which is on pace for the lowest opponent scoring average in school history. The 1975-76 Huskers allowed a school-record 56.0 points per contest over 30 games on their way to a 21-9 record. Twenty of NU’s 30 games that season came against teams not currently in NCAA Division I.
NU Showing North Division Dominance over Last Five Years
During the past five seasons (including 2009-10), Nebraska leads the North Division with a 30-14 regular-season record against the other five Big 12 North foes. Kansas State is 29-17, while Iowa State is 27-17 in that span.
The Huskers opened North Division play with a 57-49 road win at Iowa State on Jan. 9, and added a 71-56 win over Kansas State on Jan. 23, before running to an 80-64 win at Colorado on Jan. 30. NU added a 67-60 win at Kansas to improve to 4-0 against the North this season. Kansas is 4-3 against the North this year, while Iowa State is 3-2. Kansas State is 4-3, while Colorado is 2-3 and Missouri is 0-6.
Despite suffering multiple season-ending injuries to key contributors in 2008-09, Nebraska battled Big 12 North Division foes with success. During the second half of the league season, the Huskers posted a 3-2 record in Big 12 North rematches to finish the season with a 4-6 regular-season mark against North opponents.
Nebraska closed 2008-09 North Division play with a 75-64 win over Colorado on March 3. The Huskers managed season splits with Kansas State, Kansas, Missouri and Colorado, while surrendering a sweep to Iowa State. The Huskers suffered a 67-66 loss at Missouri on Jan. 17, and a 75-73 loss at Colorado on Jan. 31. In the rematches in Lincoln, NU posted double-figure wins over both the Tigers (65-52) and Buffaloes (75-64). NU also posted a nine-point home win over KU (67-58) on Jan. 21, before notching a 52-47 win over No. 20 KSU in Lincoln on Feb. 25.
Griffin Becomes Third Husker with 1,700 Points, 800 Boards
Kelsey Griffin has cemented her place among the best players in Nebraska women’s basketball history by becoming just the third player in school history with 1,700 points and 800 rebounds. Griffin enters Saturday’s clash at Missouri with 1,772 points and 886 rebounds.
Griffin, who ranks second in NU history with 32 career double-doubles, joins 1993 National Player of the Year Karen Jennings (2,405 points, 1,000 rebounds) and All-American and two-time WNBA All-Star Anna DeForge (1,859 points, 804 rebounds) in that elite group.
Griffin passed Kathy Hagerstrom (874, 1980-83) in the No. 3 on the Husker career rebounding chart, after pulling down 13 rebounds at Kansas on Feb. 10. Griffin needs 114 rebounds to catch Jennings at No. 2 with 1,000.
Turner Shoots to No. 2 on NU Career Three List
Senior Yvonne Turner has hit 63-of-149 three-point attempts (42.3 percent) to lead an impressive Husker three-point barrage through 22 games.
Turner leads the Big 12 with 2.9 made three-pointers per game overall this season, while her 42.3 percent success rate ranks fifth in the league and 28th in the nation. She leads the Big 12 in league games only with 3.9 threes per contest.
Turner buried six threes in back-to-back wins over Baylor and Kansas State, before four threes in NU’s run past No. 10 Oklahoma State on Feb. 6. She added three more triples at Texas Tech, Colorado, No. 12 Texas A&M and Kansas. She owns 164 career threes to rank No. 2 in school history, trailing only former teammate Kiera Hardy (267, 2003-06). Turner has also improved her career shooting percentage to 35.0 percent (164-469), which ranks seventh all-time at Nebraska.
Turner already ranks third on NU’s senior single-season three-point list with 63, and she needs eight threes to catch Kiera Hardy (71, 2006-07) on that list. Amy Stephens owns the senior class record with 85 in 1988-89.
Turner led the Huskers with 57 three-pointers in 2008-09. She hit 44-of-116 three-point attempts (37.9 percent) over the last 22 games. Her shooting success came despite an injured shoulder that plagued her throughout the season and required surgery after the season. Turner did not shoot for more than three months following the surgery.
Turner finished 2008-09 in a tie for second with KU’s Danielle McCray with 2.1 made three-pointers per game, trailing only Iowa State senior Heather Ezell’s 2.4 per contest.
Turner finished second on the Husker junior single-season three-point made list, trailing only three-time All-Big 12 selection Kiera Hardy’s 81 in 2005-06. As a junior, Turner averaged 11.7 points and 3.3 rebounds per game. A two-time Big 12 All-Defensive Team pick, Turner is ranked among the top 10 active Big 12 players in both career three-pointers (164) and career steals (201).
Turner Sizzling from Long Range in Big 12 Play
Yvonne Turner has played huge for the Huskers in Big 12 play, averaging 16.0 points per game, while adding 4.2 rebounds and 1.9 steals per contest. She is also averaging 3.9 made threes per game in league action. She was at her best during a three-game stretch (Texas, Baylor, Kansas State) of 20-point efforts, when she averaged 21 points and 5.7 threes per game. She has produced double figures in all nine Big 12 games.
She had one of her best performances of the season, scoring 17 points with four three-pointers, to go along with three rebounds, two steals and an assist going head-to-head with Oklahoma State All-American Andrea Riley. In Nebraska’s 21-point win, Turner held Riley to 15 points on 4-of-15 shooting from the field, including just 1-for-5 shooting from three-point range. Turner also forced Riley into three turnovers and four personal fouls.
Turner earned the first Big 12 Player-of-the-Week award of her career on Jan. 18, after shooting the Huskers to a pair of wins over top-20 Texas teams. The 5-8 guard from Omaha averaged 21.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 3.5 steals per game in wins over No. 9 Baylor and No. 19 Texas. In the win over the Lady Bears in Waco, Texas, Turner poured in a season-high 22 points while connecting on a career-high six three-pointers. She added six rebounds and a season-high four steals to lead the Huskers to their first-ever true road win over a top-10 foe.
In the Huskers’ 91-79 run past No. 19 Texas, Turner struck for 21 points, six rebounds, two assists and three steals, while hitting 5-of-8 three-pointers. She added 20 points and six more threes in NU’s 71-56 win over Kansas State on Jan. 23.
Montgomery 12th Husker with 1,200 Points, 500 Boards
With 1,228 points and 566 career rebounds, senior forward Cory Montgomery is just the 12th player in Nebraska history with 1,200 points and 500 rebounds in a career.
Montgomery, who joins current Husker teammate Kelsey Griffin on that prestigious Husker list, heads into the Missouri game needing 15 points to catch Brooke Schwartz (1,243, 1997-2000) in 13th on NU’s all-time scoring list. Montgomery needs eight more rebounds to match Nafeesah Brown (1993-94) in 15th with 574.
To reach the top 12 in scoring and rebounding at Nebraska, the 6-2 forward from Cannon Falls, Minn., must amass 1,284 points and 636 rebounds. Montgomery owns 62 double-figure scoring efforts in her career and nine double-figure rebounding efforts.
Montgomery recently matched her season high with 18 points in Nebraska’s win over No. 12 Texas A&M. She established her season high with 18 points in NU’s win at No. 9 Baylor on Jan. 17, when she added six boards and tied a career best with three three-pointers. She added 16 points in NU’s win over No. 19 Texas on Jan. 12. She also had 16 points, and a trio of three-pointers in the Huskers’ run past No. 5 LSU on Dec. 20. Montgomery enters the MU game averaging 12.8 points and 5.0 rebounds per game. She is hitting 40.4 percent (23-57) of her three-point attempts and 80 percent (40-50) of her free throws.
Montgomery has produced double figures in 18 of NU’s 22 games. An honorable-mention All-Big 12 pick as a junior, Montgomery earned a spot on the Saint Mary’s Hilton Thanksgiving all-tournament team by averaging 15 points and five rebounds in a pair of Husker wins over UALR and Saint Mary’s.
She notched her ninth career double-double and first of the season with game highs of 15 points and a season-high 10 rebounds in Nebraska’s win over Idaho State on Nov. 19. She just missed her second double-double of the year with nine points and nine rebounds in NU’s win over Creighton on Dec. 9, and opened Big 12 play with 10 points and eight rebounds in a win at Iowa State on Jan. 9.
Kelley Cranks Up Production As a Junior
Junior guard Dominique Kelley has put up big numbers for Nebraska this season, averaging 12.2 points and 4.2 rebounds in just 23.6 minutes per game. The 5-7 hometown favorite out of Lincoln Northeast High School has produced double figures 17 times this year, including season highs of 18 points against Colorado (Jan. 30), No. 19 Texas (Jan. 12) and Saint Mary’s (Nov. 28).
A consistent scorer and tough defender, Kelley has produced 40 double-figure scoring efforts in her NU career, including 33 over the past 53 games. She produced double digits 16 times as a sophomore, after managing double figures just seven times while starting all 33 games for the Huskers as a true freshman in 2007-08. Kelley also ranks second among the Huskers this season with 11 charges drawn.
Kelley had a big effort on the road for the Huskers with a game-high matching 17 points in NU’s win at UNLV on Nov. 15. She scored 12 of her 17 points in the first half, including a pair of three-pointers.
Kelley produced 16 points in NU’s run past Texas Tech on Jan. 27, and came up big in Nebraska’s road win at Miami. She led five Huskers in double figures with 16 points, while knocking down a pair of three-pointers and 8-of-12 free throws. She also drew two charges and had a game-saving steal in the closing seconds to knock off the previously unbeaten Hurricanes.
She added 14 points, including 11 in the second half, to help Nebraska come back for a road win at Kansas on Feb. 10. She also contributed seven rebounds at KU. Kelley scored a game-high 14 points while matching her season high with seven rebounds in NU’s run past Northern Illinois on Dec. 13. She had 10 points and five boards in the first half to help shoot the Huskers to a 34-17 halftime lead.
Kelley had 13 points, including 11 in the first half, in Nebraska’s win over No. 5 LSU on Dec. 20. Going head-to-head with All-American Allison Hightower from LSU, Kelley held the Naismith Trophy candidate to 15 points on just 7-of-21 shooting. Kelley’s points came on 4-of-7 shooting from the floor. She added 13 more points against No. 10 Oklahoma State, hitting 5-of-7 shots from the field, including 2-of-3 three-pointers, while playing just 17 minutes in a lopsided win over the Cowgirls. Kelley put up 13 more points in NU’s win over Creighton on Dec. 9, when she scored NU’s first four points of the game, and nine second-half points to help power the Huskers to victory. She hit 6-of-8 shots from the field against the Jays.
Kelley added 12 of her 13 points in the first half against Washington State, when she helped NU race to a 59-20 halftime lead. She added another strong effort with 12 points and a season-best seven rebounds to help her celebrate her 21st birthday a day early with a win over Idaho State. Kelley put up 12 more points and tied her season-best with seven rebounds while also dishing out three assists while going head-to-head against Lincoln Northeast High School teammate Charity Iromuanya in a win over Albany on Dec. 30.
She produced an 11-point, five-rebound, five-assist performance in NU’s win over No. 12 Texas A&M on Feb. 6. In the Big 12 opener at Iowa State, Kelley scored nine of her 11 points in the second half, including six straight after NU fell behind 33-29 early in the second half. Her clutch performance helped spark NU to just its second win in the last 13 seasons in Ames. She added 10 points in NU’s win over Kansas State on Jan. 23.
Kelley is shooting 44.1 percent (75-170) from the field and 42.1 percent (16-38) from three-point range, while connecting on 77.3 percent (102-132) of her free throws.
Taken over 40 minutes, Kelley is averaging 20.6 points, 7.1 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.3 steals per game.
Griffin Going Off on Game-By-Game Basis
National Player-of-the-Year candidate Kelsey Griffin is producing the best season of her career as a senior for the Huskers. The 6-2 power forward owns a Big 12-leading 12 double-doubles, including seven in Big 12 play.
Her averages of 19.3 points and 10 rebounds lead the Huskers and rank among the best players in the Big 12, while she is averaging just 26.4 minutes per game. She also leads NU with a career-high 41 steals and 18 charges drawn, while adding 10 blocked shots. She also ranks among the top players nationally with her 60.8 field goal percentage.
In Nebraska’s win over Creighton on Dec. 9, Griffin tied her career high with 31 points and pulled down 11 rebounds. She hit 12-of-16 shots from the field against the Jays and added two assists, two steals and a block.
Eleven days later, Griffin notched her second 30-point game of the season and third of her career with 30 points and 14 rebounds in NU’s win over No. 5 LSU on Dec. 20. She also tied her career best with 12 field goals made against LSU.
She earned MVP honors at the Saint Mary’s Hilton Concord Thanksgiving Tournament by averaging 27.5 points, 13.5 rebounds and 3.5 steals in two games. She opened with 27 points and a career-high-tying 14 rebounds, while adding three steals against UALR (Nov. 27). She produced 28 points, 13 rebounds and a career-high matching four steals in a win over Saint Mary’s (Nov. 28).
In a road win at Vermont, Griffin scored 25 points and pulled down a career-high 16 rebounds on Jan. 4, just days after scoring 27 points and grabbing seven boards on what is thought to be the best shooting performance by a women’s basketball player in the history of the Devaney Center. Griffin went 9-for-9 from the field, including a career-best two three-pointers, while adding 7-for-7 free throw shooting in a win over Albany.
She continued the amazing start to her senior season with 26 points and 10 rebounds in Nebraska’s win over No. 19 Texas on Jan. 12. It marked her seventh game with 25 or more points this season.
Griffin produced her 11th game with 20 or more points by scoring 21 points and grabbing 10 rebounds in NU’s win over No. 12 Texas A&M on Feb. 6. She added three steals, a block and a pair of charges drawn against the Aggies. It was the 28th 20-point scoring effort of her career. She added 24 points in NU’s win at Colorado on Jan. 30, 22 points, 12 rebounds and a career-high five assists in a victory over Kansas State on Jan. 23, and 20 points, 10 rebounds, three assists, two steals and two charges drawn in just 25 minutes in NU’s win at Texas Tech on Jan. 27.
In Nebraska’s 88-67 win over No. 10 Oklahoma State on Feb. 3, Griffin had 19 points, six rebounds and four assists in just 19 minutes, as NU built a 36-point lead against the Cowgirls. In Nebraska’s 67-60 win at Kansas, Griffin notched her 12th double-double with 17 points, 13 rebounds and two steals in just 26 minutes. In a 65-56 victory at No. 9 Baylor on Jan. 17, she added a double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds, while setting career bests with five assists and four charges drawn She owns 13 double-figure rebound totals on the year.
In her career, Griffin has produced 20 or more points on 28 occasions, including 13 games with 25 or more points. She enters the Missouri game with 92 career double-figure scoring efforts and 34 double-figure rebounding performances in her career.
Freshman Moore Off to 22-0 Mark as Starter
Lindsey Moore has helped the Huskers to a 22-0 record as Nebraska’s starting point guard in her first 22 collegiate games. The 5-9 freshman from Covington, Wash., produced the best performance of her career, when she tied a career high with 11 points while grabbing a career-best eight rebounds in NU’s run past No. 10 Oklahoma State on Feb. 3. Moore, the Big 12 leader in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.4-to-1) in league games only, also had five assists - all in the first half - while committing just one turnover over against the Cowgirls.
After a six-assist, two-turnover effort in a win at Kansas on Feb. 10, Moore has taken over the Big 12 lead with 5.7 assists per game through nine league games. On the season, Moore owns 103 total assists and needs just four more to pass KU’s Angel Goodrich for the league lead among all freshmen.
Moore made an immediate impression in the Huskers’ season-opening win over Davidson on Nov. 13 by scoring Nebraska’s first two points of the year on a 15-foot jumper off the opening tip. She finished with five points and a game-high eight assists. She also had just one turnover against the Wildcats.
Last season, Kaitlyn Burke was the only Husker to produce eight assists in a game, which came at Long Beach State on Dec. 12, 2008. Over the three previous seasons, (2006-07, 2007-08, 2008-09), a Husker had produced eight or more assists on only three occasions, including nine from Yvonne Turner at Kansas State on Feb. 27, 2008, and eight from Kiera Hardy at Minnesota on Dec. 5, 2006.
Through 22 games, Moore has already notched eight or more assists four times, including twice in Big 12 play. In Nebraska’s first-ever road win at Texas Tech on Jan. 27, Moore scored five points, distributed eight assists and matched her career high with three steals. Her effort followed on the heels of a career-best performance in a win over Kansas State on Jan. 23, when she notched nine assists, five rebounds and three steals - all career highs at the time - to go along with four points.
Moore also dished out eight assists in NU’s win at Miami on Dec. 5. She added three points, including Nebraska’s final two free throws with less than three seconds left to seal the win. She also snagged a pair of steals.
Moore enters the Missouri game with 103 assists, climbing to No. 4 on the NU freshman single-season assist chart. She needs just two assists to reach Amy Stephens’ freshman total of 105 (3rd, 1985-86). Moore has also become the first Husker since LaToya Howell (159, 2005-06) and Kiera Hardy (101, 2005-06) to reach the century mark.
Moore set her career scoring high with 11 points in NU’s win over Creighton on Dec. 9. Her big night included a three-pointer midway through the second half that put the Huskers up 51-45. She added nine points and seven assists, while committing just one turnover in NU’s run past No. 5 LSU on Dec. 20.
Moore closed non-conference play with an eight-point, two-assist performance at Vermont that included a career-best two three-pointers, which she matched against Oklahoma State, to help the Huskers to a 44-point win over the Catamounts. She added eight points and five assists in NU’s 91-79 win over No. 19 Texas on Jan. 12.
A 2009 Parade All-American and the Washington High School Player of the Year last season, Moore produced the first double-figure scoring effort of her career with 10 points, four assists, three rebounds, a steal and her first career block in NU’s win over Washington State on Nov. 22.
Nebraska Forcing Fresh Look at Levels of Production
Basketball fans are accustomed to charting individual statistics by game, but the depth, experience and style of play of the Huskers this season may cause some folks to take a fresh look at the numbers.
For example, no Husker is averaging more than 27 minutes per game through 22 contests, but the Huskers’ individual numbers still rival all-conference levels of production.
Kelsey Griffin, a two-time first-team All-Big 12 selection makes the strongest case for considering production per minute, rather than per game. Griffin enters the Kansas game ranked third in the Big 12 with 19.3 points per game and second in the league with 10.0 rebounds per game. Those numbers become significantly more impressive considering she has played just 26.4 minutes per game.
Taken over 40 minutes, Griffin would be averaging 29.2 points, 15.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 2.8 steals. In addition to her team-leading 41 steals this season, Griffin has added 10 blocked shots and drawn a team-leading 18 charges. She is also shooting 60.8 percent from the field, which leads the Big 12 and ranks sixth nationally.
Compare that production to current Big 12 scoring leader Andrea Riley, who enters the weekend averaging 26.0 points, 3.6 rebounds, 7.0 assists and 2.3 steals per game. Through 23 games, Riley is averaging 36.5 minutes per game, and her 40-minute production is 28.4 points, 4.0 rebounds, 7.7 assists and 2.3 steals. Riley is also shooting just 36.3 percent from the field.
With 424 points and 221 rebounds in 580 minutes, Griffin is averaging 0.73 points per minute and 0.38 rebounds per minute. Riley averages an impressive 0.71 points per minute, but just 0.10 rebounds. In 2007-08, Griffin led the Big 12 in point production in conference games only with 0.62 points per minute, while ranking second in rebounding with 0.30 rebounds per minute - trailing only 2007 National Player of the Year Courtney Paris on the glass.
The following is a brief listing of Nebraska players and their averages taken over 40 minutes:
- Kelsey Griffin - 29.2 points, 15.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 2.8 steals
- Dominique Kelley - 20.6 points, 7.1 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.3 steals
- Cory Montgomery - 18.9 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.5 assists
- Yvonne Turner - 18.9 points, 5.9 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 2.4 steals
- Harleen Sidhu - 16.8 points, 12.0 rebounds, 2.4 assists
- Katya Leick - 12.4 points, 9.7 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.4 steals
- Catheryn Redmon - 11.4 points, 12.0 rebounds, 5.3 blocks
- Kala Kuhlmann 9.3 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 0.8 steals
- Nicole Neals - 8.7 points, 2.5 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.7 steals
- Layne Reeves - 9.2 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.7 steals
- Lindsey Moore 7.0 points, 3.2 rebounds, 7.1 assists, 1.8 steals
- Jessica Periago 7.0 points, 9.5 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 2.1 blocks
Huskers Cleaning Up the Glass
Coming into the 2009-10 season, Nebraska focused much of its attention on improving its performance on the glass. Last season, playing without two-time first-team All-Big 12 forward Kelsey Griffin for the entire year, and without center Nikki Bober for the entire Big 12 season because of injuries, the Huskers owned a negative-1.5 team rebounding margin. In Big 12 play, that number dipped even lower to negative-4.4.
Through 22 games this season, Nebraska’s focus is paying dividends, as the Huskers carry a plus-7.0 team rebounding margin, which ranks third in the Big 12, trailing only Iowa State (+10.0) and Baylor (+9.6) - two teams NU has already outrebounded head-to-head in league play. The Huskers rank 18th nationally in rebound margin.
Nebraska has outrebounded 18 of its 22 opponents, surpassing the total of 12 foes the Huskers outrebounded in 31 games in 2008-09. Last season, the Huskers outrebounded just five opponents after Christmas, while the 2009-10 Huskers have outrebounded nine opponents since the holiday break.
Only four opponents have outrebounded NU this season - Miami (34-30), LSU (38-36), at Colorado (36-27), No. 10 Oklahoma State (38-32). Nebraska was the first team this season to outrebound Iowa State (Jan. 9), and the Huskers also outrebounded Texas (37-32), and Big 12 rebound margin leader Baylor (47-42) on the Lady Bears’ home court on Jan. 17. NU produced a plus-six rebound margin in the win over Kansas State on Jan. 23, and a Big 12-best plus-14 margin (40-26) at Texas Tech on Jan. 27. The Huskers also outrebounded No. 12 Texas A&M (40-37) and Kansas (37-35).
Nebraska’s best rebounding season in school history came with a plus-8.6 margin in 1997-98, which is the only season that NU has posted a plus-6.0 margin or better. Griffin has led the Huskers on the glass this season by averaging a 10.0 boards per game, including 13 double-digit rebound efforts.
Huskers Starting Fast, Finishing Strong
Nebraska’s high-powered offense is averaging 39.7 points per game in the first half, including a school-record tying 59 first-half points against Washington State at the Devaney Center on Nov. 22. NU added 53 first-half points in a win over Albany on Dec. 30, 51 against No. 10 Oklahoma State on Feb. 3, and 50 first-half points in the win over No. 19 Texas on Jan. 12.
Nebraska has also been stingy on defense in the first half, surrendering just 26.2 points per first half, as the Huskers have headed to the locker room with an average lead of 13.5 points (39.7-26.2) and have allowed only four foes to score 30 first-half points (Texas, 44; Miami, 36; LSU, 34; Kansas State, 34).
Texas A&M, Colorado, Vermont and Creighton each managed 29, while Iowa State and No. 10 Oklahoma State put up 27. Davidson and Saint Mary’s each produced 26 first-half points. The Huskers held South Dakota to one of the lowest first-half totals in school history with just 14 points on Dec. 3, and allowed 17 first-half points to Northern Illinois.
In their 12 home victories, the Huskers are averaging 43.9 points (527 total points) in the first half, while allowing just 26.4 points per first half (317 total points) for an average home halftime lead of 17.5 points.
It hasn’t gone much better for Nebraska opponents in the second half, as the Huskers have averaged 38.9 points after halftime, while the opposition has managed 29.5 points per second half.
Nebraska Knocking Down Triples at Record Pace
As a team, NU ranks fourth in the Big 12 and 20th nationally with 7.3 threes per game, well ahead of school-record pace, which was set last season with 5.5 threes per game. The Huskers also lead the Big 12 and rank second nationally in three-point field goal percentage defense (.243). NU has outscored its opponents by a combined 273 points (483-210) behind the arc this season, an average of 12.4 points per game.
Nebraska knocked down a school-record-tying 12 three-pointers in the road win at No. 9 Baylor on Jan. 17. NU’s 34 attempts against the Lady Bears were also a school record. The Huskers hit 11-of-23 three-pointers against Washington State, which was just one shy of the school record set in the 2008-09 season opener against Weber State. NU added 11-of-31 threes in a run past No. 10 Oklahoma State on Feb. 3. The Huskers also connected on 10 threes against Idaho State, and nine threes against Kansas State, Texas, Miami and UNLV. The Huskers buried eight threes against Vermont, Albany and South Dakota.
Nebraska is shooting 35 percent (161-460) as a team from long range and has already produced the fourth-highest three-point total in school history. NU needs just 13 more threes on the season to break the school record. Under Coach Connie Yori, Nebraska has produced each of the top seven seasons in three-point field goals made in school history.
Huskers Come Back at Kansas
No. 3 Nebraska overcame its largest second-half deficit of the season to turn a 53-48 deficit with eight minutes left into a 67-60 win at Allen Fieldhouse on Wednesday night.
With the victory, Nebraska remained one of only two unbeaten teams in the nation at 22-0 while improving to 9-0 in the Big 12 Conference. The Huskers, who led 30-20 at halftime, watched Kansas hit its first 11 shots of the second half to surge to a lead. KU’s 43-41 lead with 13:30 left marked Nebraska’s first deficit in the second half since trailing No. 9 Baylor, 50-48, with 8:23 left in Waco, Texas, on Jan. 17.
All-America candidate Kelsey Griffin overcame first-half foul trouble to produce her Big 12-leading 12th double-double of the year with 17 points and 13 rebounds in just 26 minutes. The 6-2 forward from Eagle River, Alaska, added a pair of steals and a block to help the Huskers extend the longest winning streak in school history while improving to 10-0 on the road this year, including 5-0 in the Big 12.
Senior guard Yvonne Turner continued her torrid league play with 15 points, including a trio of three-pointers, to go along with four rebounds, two steals and an assist. Junior guard Dominique Kelley added 14 points, including 11 in the second half, despite hitting just 3-of-14 shots from the field. She added seven rebounds, two assists and a steal. Cory Montgomery added eight points and four rebounds, along with a big steal late in the game, while Catheryn Redmon pitched in seven points, three boards, two blocks and a steal off the bench to help the Huskers.
Freshman point guard Lindsey Moore also made big plays down the stretch, recording all three of her career-high matching three steals in the final eight minutes, while adding four points and six assists on the night. The 5-9 native of Covington, Wash., increased her season assist total to 103, becoming the first Husker with 100 assists in a season since since 2005-06.
Trailing 53-49 coming out of the eight-minute media timeout in the second half, Nebraska got three straight defensive stops without allowing a shot to regain the lead. Turner got the first with her steal from LaChelda Jacobs and a layup to make it 53-51 with 7:45 left. Moments later, Montgomery came up with a steal and Redmon converted with a layup at the other end to tie the game at 53, before Moore came up with the first of her three steals and was fouled at the other end with 6:56 left. Moore made both free throws to give NU the lead back at 55-53.
Aishah Sutherland who finished 6-for-6 from the field for 12 points, then hit a baseline jumper to tie the game at 55, before Turner drained her second three of the night off an assist from Moore to give NU a 58-55 lead with 5:38 left, before Griffin converted on a fourth chance inside to give NU a 60-55.
With 1:09 left, Turner hit her final three of the night to push NU’s edge to 64-57, and Kelley hit free throws down the stretch to seal the win. In the final 7:56, Nebraska came up with seven steals to slow KU’s hot-shooting offense, including the final steal of the night by Moore.
The Huskers hit just 33.9 percent (21-62) of their shots from the field, including 4-of-17 three-pointers, while hitting 21-of-31 free throws. Nebraska matched a season high with a plus-10 turnover margin (19-9), while outrebounding the Jayhawks, 37-35.
Kansas, which hit just 26.1 percent of its first-half shots, finished with an opponent season-best 49 percent (24-49) for the game, including 69.2 percent (18-26) in the second half. KU was just 1-for-8 from three-point range, as Nebraska has held its Big 12 road foes to just 8-for-57 combined shooting from long range. The Jayhawks were also 11-for-14 at the line.
Turner Joins Top 10 on NU Career Steals List
With 201 career steals, including 35 in 22 games this season, senior Yvonne Turner ranks No. 8 on Nebraska’s all-time steals list. She needs 14 steals to catch Maurtice Ivy (215, 1985-88) in seventh on the Husker career chart.
Turner owns career highs of eight steals against Florida (Nov. 17, 2007) and Arkansas-Pine Bluff (Jan. 2, 2008). Those totals rank among the top-10 single-game marks in NU history. She is one of only three Huskers to notch eight or more steals twice in a career. She had a season-high four steals at No. 9 Baylor on Jan. 17, 2010, and has produced 17 steals in her last eight games.
Turner solidified her spot as one of the Big 12’s best defenders in 2008-09 by earning her second straight appearance on the Big 12 All-Defensive Team and NU’s Defensive Player-of-the-Year Award. She ranked fourth in the Big 12 with 2.2 steals per game, after leading the Big 12 with 2.6 steals per league game in 2007-08.
Her 81 steals in 2007-08 ranked as the second-best total by a Husker sophomore in history, while ranking eighth overall on NU’s single-season steals list. She registered just 67 steals last season, while playing much of the year with an injured shoulder.
Take Cover When the Big Cat Roars
Center Catheryn Redmon is flying up Nebraska’s career blocked shot chart as a junior. With a career-high matching seven blocks against Albany on Dec. 30, the 6-3 native of Grand Prairie, Texas, moved into fourth on Nebraska’s career block list. She blocked two shots in NU’s win over Kansas on Feb. 10 to increase her career total to 124.
Redmon needs just two more blocks to catch Charlie Rogers (126) in third on the Husker chart. Danielle Page (207) and Janet Smith (238) are the only two Huskers in history with more than 200 career blocks.
The top returning shot-blocker in the Big 12, Redmon is off to a great start in the blocked shot department in 2009-10, with 48 rejections in 362 minutes through the first 22 games. She has blocked two or more shots in 15 of NU’s first 22 games and is averaging 2.2 blocks in just 16.5 minutes per contest.
She needs 11 more to catch Janet Smith (59, 1980-81) in second and 12 more to match Danielle Page’s junior single-season school record of 60 set in 2006-07.
Last season, Redmon produced one of the best single-season block efforts in school history with 67 rejections as a sophomore in 2008-09. She ranked second on the sophomore single-season list, trailing only Janet Smith’s 69 blocks in 1979-80. Redmon is just the third Husker to record 60 or more blocks in a season.
Redmon’s 2008-09 single-season mark was even more amazing considering she blocked 64 of her 67 shots on the year in her 24 games as a starter, after blocking just three shots in limited action through NU’s first seven games of the season. As a starter, Redmon averaged 2.7 blocks per game, including 2.8 in Big 12 Conference action.
Her conference blocks trailed only All-Americans Courtney Paris from Oklahoma (3.1 bpg) and Danielle Wilson from Baylor (3.0 bpg). In fact, Redmon is the only top-five shot-blocker returning to the Big 12 in 2009-10, as Kansas State’s Marlies Gipson and Texas’ Ashley Lindsey both departed the league as seniors. Paris was also a senior in 2008-09, while Wilson left the Baylor team following her junior season.
Redmon continued to increase her defensive dominance inside throughout the 2008-09 season, blocking 30 shots in NU’s final nine games (3.3 bpg), including one of the top single-game block performances in NU history with a career-high seven rejections in the win over No. 20 Kansas State on Feb. 25.
Redmon’s total tied for the second-best mark in school history, trailing only Page’s nine blocks against Baylor on Feb. 3, 2007. Redmon added five blocks in a win over Colorado on March 3 and five more at New Mexico in the second round of the WNIT on March 25.
Huskers Seek Seventh Straight Postseason Appearance
Nebraska claimed its sixth consecutive postseason tournament bid with a trip to the 2009 Postseason WNIT. The Huskers claimed three straight bids in the WNIT in 2004, 2005 and 2006, winning at least one game in all three trips. Nebraska qualified for the NCAA Tournament in 2007 and 2008, advancing to the second round of the Big Dance in 2008 with a win over Xavier in College Park, Md. Before Coach Connie Yori’s arrival at Nebraska for the 2002-03 season, Nebraska had never earned more than three consecutive postseason berths.
Nebraska made its sixth trip to the postseason WNIT in 2009, joining bids in 1992 and 1976. The Huskers have also advanced to seven NCAA Tournaments in school history (2008, 2007, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1993, 1988), dating back to the first full season of varsity women’s basketball at Nebraska in 1975-76.
Huskers Battling Another Strong Schedule
The past two seasons, Nebraska has faced the two strongest regular-season schedules in school history with both ranking among the top 25 nationally. The Huskers’s 2009-10 schedule strength again ranks among the best nationally, coming in at No. 18 in the CollegeRPI.com strength of schedule rankings on Feb. 11.
Last season, the Huskers faced the No. 23 Strength of Schedule in the country according to CollegeRPI.com, while finishing No. 71 nationally in overall RPI. The 2008-09 Huskers played 19 of their 31 games against 2009 postseason qualifiers, including 11 against NCAA Tournament teams
This season, Nebraska’s schedule features 15 regular-season games against 2009 postseason qualifiers, including 10 games against 2009 NCAA Tournament teams.
The Big 12 play features an NCAA Tournament-caliber atmosphere every night. The Big 12 sent six teams to the NCAA Tournament as top-six seeds in 2009, and all six teams (No. 1 Oklahoma, No. 2 Baylor, No. 2 Texas A&M, No. 4 Iowa State, No. 5 Kansas State, No. 6 Texas) closed the regular season in both the Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN Coaches Top 25.
Powerful Big 12 Produced Postseason Success in 2009
The Big 12 was rated as the No. 1 RPI league in the nation for the third consecutive season in 2008-09 by CollegeRPI.com. When the field of 64 teams for the NCAA Tournament was announced, six league teams (Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas State, Texas) earned top-six seeds into the tournament. Three more teams, Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma State, claimed spots in the 48-team WNIT field.
The Big 12 matched the Big East Conference by sending four teams to the NCAA Sweet 16 in 2009, while Oklahoma and Iowa State both advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight. OU went on to the Final Four. In addition to the league’s success in the NCAA Tournament, Nebraska earned a bye to the second round of the WNIT, while Oklahoma State went 1-1 in the tournament. Kansas advanced all the way to the WNIT championship game.
All 12 conference teams closed the 2008-09 regular season among the top 126 teams in the CollegeRPI.com rankings of the 341 teams in NCAA Division I. Only Missouri and Colorado ranked outside the top 100.
In non-conference action in 2009-10, the Big 12 flexed its muscles again as the No. 1 RPI conference in the country. All 12 Big 12 Conference teams are ranked among the top 100 nationally in the RPI as of Feb. 9.
Nebraska Benefits From Big 12 Changes in 2009-10
Last season a Nebraska team that was hit hard by injuries battled to a seventh-place tie in the Big 12 Conference standings, finishing with a 6-10 league record against the nation’s strongest conference.
Entering the 2008-09 campaign, the Big 12 returned 48 starters from the 2007-08 season. Overall, only 35 letterwinners were lost from the Big 12 schools from the 2007-08 season, while 98 letterwinners returned for 2008-09. This season, just 38 starters return for the 2009-10 season across the 12 league schools, including a league-leading six Huskers. A total of just 53 letterwinners are gone from the conference, including just two Huskers, while 96 letterwinners return, including 11 Huskers.
Last season, the top five Big 12 teams (Oklahoma, Baylor, Texas A&M, Kansas State, Iowa State) all featured lineups with more than 375 career starts, while Nebraska ended the year with far and away the most inexperienced starting five, which had just 202 combined career starts.
Baylor lost more than 350 career starts from its lineup last year, while Kansas State and Texas A&M must compensate for the loss of more than 300 combined career starts. Iowa State must replace nearly 300 starts, while Oklahoma needs to not only make up for the more than 200 career starts and the amazing scoring and rebounding production of Courtney and Ashley Paris, but also the unfortunate loss of sophomore shooting guard Whitney Hand to a season-ending knee injury in late-November of this season.
While those five Big 12 teams have drastically new looks in their lineups in 2009-10, the Huskers have been bolstered by the return of Kelsey Griffin to its starting five. Griffin has started 115 games in her NU career. Nebraska also features junior guard Dominique Kelley, who has started 86 straight games to open her career, while senior forward Cory Montgomery made her 54th straight start against Kansas and her 57th career start overall.
Yvonne Turner started her 83rd career game against Kansas, while freshman point guard Lindsey Moore has started the first 22 games of her NU career, and gives the Huskers a starting five with 363 career starts.
Nebraska’s experience doesn’t end at the starting lineup. Junior Catheryn Redmon gives the Huskers a dominant defensive presence inside. The 6-3 center from Texas started NU’s final 24 games last year, while fellow junior guard Kaitlyn Burke started 19 contests a year ago. Senior guard Kala Kuhlmann earned starts in each of NU’s first three games this season to give the Huskers 46 additional games of starting experience.
Huskers a Fixture on FSN in 2009-10
Nebraska was a regular on the Fox Sports family of networks in Big 12 action in 2009-10.
The Huskers played three nationally televised games on FSN during the first half of the 16-game Big 12 Conference schedule. Nebraska made its national TV debut at Baylor on Sunday, Jan. 17, when the Huskers rolled to a 65-56 win over the No. 9 Lady Bears and 6-foot-8 freshman phenom Brittney Griner.
Six days later, Nebraska was back on FSN running to a 71-56 win over Kansas State in front of a school-record crowd of 13,303 at the Bob Devaney Sports Center on Saturday, Jan. 23, at 11 a.m. The Huskers capped their FSN national regular-season appearances with a 71-60 win over No. 12 Texas A&M in front of 10,889 fans at the Devaney Center on Feb. 6.
On Saturday, Jan. 30, Nebraska traveled to Boulder and ran to an 80-64 win over Colorado in a Fox Sports Rocky Mountain game. Nebraska’s top-10 battle with Oklahoma State on Feb. 3 at 7:05 p.m. was televised on Fox Sports Midwest, as NU rolled to an 88-67 win over the Cowgirls. The Huskers played their final televised regular-season game on Fox Sports Midwest at Kansas on Feb. 10, coming back for a dramatic 67-60 victory.
Both of Nebraska’s contests on Fox Sports Midwest feature a free live video stream on Huskers.com. As many as five of NU’s games will appear for free on Huskers.com throughout the season, while all of Nebraska’s non-nationally televised home games will be available to premium subscribers of HuskersNside.
Nebraska’s History of Success at Home
Since the Bob Devaney Sports Center opened in 1976-77, the Huskers are 347-118 (.746) in games played in the arena, including 129-77 (.626) in conference games. Since 2003-04, NU is 83-22 (.790) at the Devaney Center.
NU has posted double-figure home victory totals in seven consecutive seasons, including a perfect 12-0 mark in 2009-10 to stretch the Husker home winning streak to 16 games.
Last season, Nebraska finished with an 11-4 mark, and a 14-2 record in 2007-08.
2009-10 Fastbreaker Backboard Banquet Schedule
The Fastbreakers will host their final Backboard Banquet of 2009-10 on Saturday, Feb. 20, at 11 a.m., before Nebraska’s home battle with Colorado. Premier Catering will serve the meal. For more information, please visit the new booster club website at NUFastbreakers.com. or call Connie Renken at 450-1785.
Backboard Banquet Schedule - Dinner
- Saturday, Feb. 20 (Colorado) - 11 a.m.
Join Fastbreaker Bus Trips to Missouri, Kansas State
The Fastbreakers are planning three bus trips to Nebraska women’s basketball road games during Big 12 Conference play in 2010. Nebraska’s first bus trip to Colorado was a resounding success. The traveling Fastbreakers were joined by nearly 1,000 red-clad Husker fans at the Coors Events Center in Boulder, where they watched the Huskers roll to an 80-64 victory over the Buffs.
Make plans now to join the Fastbreakers’ remaining trips to Missouri (Saturday, Feb. 13) and Kansas State (Saturday, March 6). The Fastbreakers will head to Missouri for a 1 p.m. tip-off in Columbia against the Tigers. The cost of that trip is $65. The road schedule wraps up with Nebraska’s regular-season finale at Kansas State on Saturday, March 6, at noon. The cost for the trip to Manhattan, Kan., is just $50 per person.
To sign up for the bus trips, Fastbreakers can visit the booster club tables in the Northeast corner of the upper concourse before home games or at halftime. All costs must be paid in advance of the trip, and the club’s cancellation policy will be carefully explained at that time.
For more information on the Fastbreaker Booster Club bus trips this season, please contact Connie Renken (450-1785), Donna Boone (429-9563) or Doug Fry (476-5183).