Lincoln - Nebraska senior Kelsey Griffin and Coach Connie Yori claimed more national honors on Wednesday, as Griffin claimed All-America honors from the U.S. Basketball Writer's Association and Yori was named the organization's national coach of the year.
Griffin, a 6-2 forward from Eagle River, Alaska, became the first Husker in history to claim All-America honors from the USBWA, just a day after becoming the first-ever Nebraska player to be named to the Associated Press first-team All-America squad. The Big 12 Player of the Year averaged 20.1 points and 10.4 rebounds per game while leading Nebraska to the best season in school history.
Griffin, who joined 1993 Wade Trophy winner Karen Jennings as the only players with 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in their Husker careers, powered Nebraska's run to its first-ever NCAA Sweet 16 and a Big 12 record-tying 30-game winning streak. Griffin was the only player from the Big 12 Conference to earn All-America honors from the USBWA this season, although Baylor's Brittney Griner was the organization's national freshman of the year.
Yori claimed her second national coach-of-the-year honor, after being named the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) National Coach of the Year last week. Yori, who concluded her eighth season at Nebraska by leading the Huskers to a 32-2 overall record that included a perfect 29-0 regular-season mark, is the first women's coach in the history of the Big 12 Conference to win the USBWA Coach-of-the-Year award at a Big 12 school.
The only previous USBWA National Coach-of-the-Year honorees with ties to the conference are current Texas head coach Gail Goestoenkors, who was the 2007 winner at Duke, and Colorado Coach Ceal Barry in 1994, during the days of the Big Eight Conference.
Yori took the reins of the Nebraska program in the summer of 2002, after the Huskers had posted back-to-back losing seasons. In her first year in Lincoln, the Huskers struggled to an 8-20 overall record that included a 1-15 Big 12 mark while competing at times with just five healthy scholarship players.
Since Yori's first season, the Huskers have earned seven consecutive postseason tournament berths, including NCAA Tournament appearances in 2007, 2008 and 2010. Nebraska has won three NCAA Tournament games under Yori, surpassing the school's previous all-time total.
Nebraska's 30-game winning streak this season passed the school's previous best of nine games set in 1996-97. The Huskers' 32 victories also shattered the previous school best of 23 wins, set on multiple occasions. The Huskers captured their first-ever Big 12 regular-season title with a perfect 16-0 league mark, giving NU just its second conference crown in school history. NU also won the 1988 Big Eight regular-season title.
The 2010 Huskers went on to claim their first-ever No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, after winning the league title in the nation's No. 1 RPI conference. Although the Huskers were knocked out of the tournament in the Sweet 16 by Kentucky, NU defeated both of the Big 12's representatives in the NCAA Women's Final Four - Baylor and Oklahoma - on the road during the regular season. The Huskers produced eight wins over top-25 teams during the season, and went 12-2 against teams that advanced to the 2010 NCAA Tournament, including a 10-2 mark against squads that advanced to the second round or beyond.
Nebraska women's basketball also made a major impression at the turnstiles in 2009-10, as the Huskers shattered the school's single-season attendance record by ranking in the top 10 nationally with 7,390 fans per game (previous mark was 5,000). Nebraska averaged well over 11,000 fans per game during Big 12 Conference play to lead the league in that category. The Huskers also produced the first-ever sellout for a women's basketball game at the Bob Devaney Sports Center with 13,595 fans on hand for a Feb. 27 win over Missouri.
"It is an honor to be named the national coach of the year, but it is an award that says more about the commitment of our players and my coaching staff," Yori said. "Our team accomplished great things for our program and rewrote history in many ways this year. Most importantly, they did things the right way and they were a great group of players to coach."
The 2009-10 Huskers featured first-team All-Big 12 performers in Griffin, Cory Montgomery and Yvonne Turner, along with honorable-mention all-conference pick Dominique Kelley and Big 12 All-Freshman Team member Lindsey Moore. Turner was also named the Big 12's Co-Defensive Player of the Year while earning her third straight appearance on the Big 12 All-Defensive Team. Griffin was also one of five players on the conference's All-Defensive squad. Yori was named the Big 12 Coach of the Year.
In addition to the awards on the court, Nebraska led the Big 12 with six first-team academic all-conference performers. Nebraska was also one of just 19 schools in the 64-team NCAA Tournament that carried a 100 percent Graduation Success Rate.
2009-10 USBWA All-America Team
- Jayne Appel, Stanford
- Tina Charles, Connecticut
- Alysha Clark, Middle Tennessee
- Victoria Dunlap, Kentucky
- Kelsey Griffin, Nebraska
- Jantel Lavender, Ohio State
- Maya Moore, Connecticut
- Nnemkadi Ogwumike, Stanford
- Jasmine Thomas, Duke
- Monica Wright, Virginia
Player of the Year: Tina Charles, Connecticut
Coach of the Year: Connie Yori, Nebraska
Freshman of the Year: Brittney Griner, Baylor