Huskers Head to Texas A&M to Face Mocs
Lincoln - No. 24 Nebraska earned its third NCAA Tournament bid in the last four years by claiming the No. 6 seed in the Norfolk (Va.) Regional when the 64-team field was announced during the 2013 NCAA Women's Basketball Selection Show Monday night on ESPN.
The Huskers (23-8, 12-4 Big Ten), who gathered as a team to watch the show with invited guests at the Hendricks Complex, will face Southern Conference champion Chattanooga (29-3, 19-1 SoCon) on Saturday, March 23, at 5:30 p.m. (central time) at Reed Arena in College Station, Texas. The Lady Mocs earned the No. 11 seed in the Norfolk Regional after earning an automatic bid by claiming their 14th SoCon Tournament title. The game is scheduled to be televised live by ESPN2.
The hosts from Texas A&M (24-9, 11-5 SEC) earned a No. 3 seed after capturing an automatic bid as the SEC Tournament champion. The Aggies, who tied for fourth in the regular-season SEC standings, will face Missouri Valley Conference champion Wichita State (24-9, 15-3 Missouri Valley) at 3 p.m. The Shockers are a No. 14 seed in the regional. The game is scheduled to be televised live by ESPN2.
Coach Connie Yori, the 2013 Big Ten Coach of the Year, will lead the Huskers to their fifth NCAA Tournament appearance in the last seven years (2007, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013). Yori, who is 213-134 in her 11 seasons at Nebraska, is 408-274 in her 23 seasons as a collegiate head coach. Yori, who was the 2010 National Coach of the Year and Big 12 Coach of the Year, will be making her seventh appearance as a head coach in the NCAA Tournament. She also led Creighton to NCAA appearances in 1993 and 2002. In 2002, she was the Missouri Valley Conference Coach of the Year.
Overall, Nebraska will be making the 11th NCAA Tournament appearance in school history. In 2010, current Husker seniors Lindsey Moore and Meghin Williams helped NU to the NCAA Sweet 16 after earning a No. 1 seed in the tournament. Moore and Williams will be making their third NCAA trips as Huskers, after Nebraska earned a No. 6 seed last season in Little Rock, Ark. Nebraska is 5-10 all-time in NCAA Tournament games, with three of the victories coming under Yori.
Moore, a two-time All-Big Ten and Big Ten All-Tournament selection, is a finalist for the Nancy Lieberman Award given to the nation's top point guard. She was also a candidate for the Wade, Naismith and Wooden awards this season. She is expected to make the 130th straight start of her career.
She is joined by two-time first-team All-Big Ten forward Jordan Hooper. The junior was also a Wade, Naismith and Wooden award candidate this year. She leads the Huskers in both scoring and rebounding, ranking among the top 10 players in Nebraska history in both categories.
Sophomores Emily Cady and Hailie Sample, a Flower Mound, Texas, native, have joined Moore and Hooper for all 64 in Nebraska's starting five the last two seasons. Rachel Theriot, a unanimous Big Ten All-Freshman selection this year, rounds out the Huskers' starting five.
Nebraska, which was the No. 16 RPI team in the nation according to the official NCAA RPI released on Monday afternoon, was the regular-season runner-up in the Big Ten Conference. The Huskers went unbeaten in February in the nation's No. 2 RPI conference, and notched the second-longest winning streak in school history with 10 straight wins from Jan. 20 to Feb. 28. NU, which owned the No. 12 Strength of Schedule in the nation, according to RealTimeRPI.com, played 15 of its 31 games against teams that claimed spots in the 2013 NCAA Tournament field. The Huskers went 8-7 against the field, with five of the seven losses coming against teams that earned No. 4 seeds or higher. In fact, 18 of Nebraska's 23 wins this season came against teams that finished in the top 125 of the official NCAA RPI, including six wins over top 50 teams.
Coach Wes Moore has led Chattanooga to nine NCAA Tournament bids in his 15 years at the school. He guided the Lady Mocs to a No. 37 spot in the final regular-season NCAA RPI. Moore owns a 358-112 record as the Lady Mocs' head coach. He also owns the distinction of being the only coach in NCAA history to take different schools to the NCAA Division I, II and III tournaments. He is 558-168 in 24 years as a collegiate coach.
The Lady Mocs, who are making their first NCAA appearance since 2010, earned their second-highest seed in school history, following only the No. 10 seed they claimed in 2004, when they won the only NCAA Tournament game in Chattanooga history (def. Rutgers, 74-69). Chattanooga is 1-10 all-time in 10 NCAA appearances.
If Nebraska can get past the Lady Mocs in Saturday's first round, the Huskers could face a former Big 12 Conference foe in Texas A&M. The Huskers played their final regular-season game in the Big 12 against the Aggies at Reed Arena on March 5, 2011. NU is in its second season in the Big Ten this year, while Texas A&M is in its first year as a member of the SEC. The 2011 Aggies won the NCAA title.
However, Texas A&M must get past a gritty Wichita State team that earned a Missouri Valley Conference co-regular season title with Creighton, before winning the MVC Tournament title Sunday.
Game time for the second round has been set for 8:30 p.m. on Monday, March 25.