Lincoln - The Nebraska women’s basketball team will celebrate the opening of the new Pinnacle Bank Arena with an NCAA Tournament-caliber home opener against UCLA on Friday, Nov. 8.
In the first regular-season basketball game to ever be played at Nebraska’s new downtown arena, tip time between the Huskers and Bruins will be at noon as part of a special women’s and men’s basketball day-night season-opening doubleheader. The Nebraska men will take on 2013 NCAA Sweet 16 qualifier Florida Gulf Coast the same evening.
Season tickets for Nebraska women’s basketball are on sale now at Huskers.com/arena. Reserved season tickets are just $160 for adults, while adult general admission season tickets are just $80 for the Huskers’ 18 regular-season home games and two exhibition games.
As part of the festivities planned for the game between the Huskers and Bruins, Nebraska Athletics has partnered with Lincoln Public Schools and several other surrounding communities for the “Invest 2 Be The Best” pep rally.
Approximately 5,000 area middle school students are expected to gather at Pinnacle Bank Arena before the game to hear inspirational life skills and academic messages from Husker student-athletes and staff.
“The interest level and enthusiasm from school administrators in Lincoln and nearby communities for the ‘Invest 2 Be The Best’ pep rally has been very strong,” Nebraska Associate Athletic Director for Life Skills Keith Zimmer said. “Through music and other entertainment, students and staff will be encouraged to discover unique talents, get involved in their communities and strive to be multi-dimensional. It promises to be a memorable morning and afternoon, not only to be inspired at the pep rally but to enjoy a marquee women’s basketball game at the new arena.”
Nebraska Executive Associate Athletic Director Marc Boehm said the NCAA Tournament-level of competition and the life skills event will help provide an exciting atmosphere for the arena’s opening.
“We’re thrilled with the caliber of competition our teams will face on opening day and night at Pinnacle Bank Arena,” Boehm said. “With school-record record season-opening crowds for both the men and women promising to be on hand for NCAA Tournament-caliber basketball teams, we think we will set the tone for a memorable first season at the new arena.”
Coach Connie Yori and the Husker women, who advanced to the 2013 NCAA Sweet 16 and finished with a 25-9 overall record, will take on a Bruin team that advanced to the second round of the 2013 NCAA Tournament. The Bruins posted a 26-8 overall mark that included a 14-4 record and a third-place finish in the Pac-12.
“UCLA was an exceptionally talented team last year, and they will be again this season,” Yori said. “We are expecting a great game. We’re excited they agreed to come to Lincoln, and we look forward to a return trip to Los Angeles next year.”
Nebraska finished No. 16 in the final official NCAA RPI and was the Big Ten regular-season runner-up with a 12-4 conference mark. The Bruins closed the year at No. 15 in the NCAA RPI, before having their season end with a loss to Oklahoma in Columbus, Ohio.
The game will mark the sixth-ever meeting between the Huskers and Bruins. Most recently, Nebraska knocked off UCLA in the second round of the 2010 NCAA Tournament at Williams Arena in Minneapolis, Minn. The Huskers defeated the Bruins, 83-70, on March 23, 2010 to advance to their first NCAA Sweet 16. The Bruins won the first four meetings in the series, including a 72-63 win over NU at the Devaney Center on Feb. 3, 1979, in their only previous trip to Lincoln.
Nebraska Women’s basketball season tickets have reached all-time highs with more than 2,600 season tickets sold as of June 18. The Huskers have sold approximately 500 new season tickets for 2013-14, and that number has continued to grow since tickets went on sale May 8.
The Husker women’s opener with UCLA promises to provide not only the largest season-opening crowd in school history, but the largest crowd to ever watch a home non-conference game in the history of Nebraska women’s basketball.
The game between Nebraska and UCLA also will be televised live statewide by NET-HD.