Big 12 Champion Huskers Take on Tigers in North Battle
#3 Nebraska Cornhuskers (26-0, 13-0 Big 12)
vs. Missouri Tigers (11-15, 1-12 Big 12)
Bob Devaney Sports Center (13,595) • Lincoln, Neb.
Saturday, Feb. 27 • 7:05 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)
No. 3 Nebraska returns to the Devaney Center to open the final home stand of the 2009-10 season when the Huskers play host to Missouri on Saturday night.
Tip-off between the Big 12 regular-season champion Huskers (26-0, 13-0 Big 12) and Tigers (11-15, 1-12 Big 12) is set for 7:05 p.m., with live radio coverage from the Husker Sports Network 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. A live video stream will also be available to premium subscribers of HuskersNside.
Nebraska clinched its first-ever Big 12 women's basketball title with an 80-64 victory at No. 11 Oklahoma on Wednesday. The Huskers used an 18-1 run over the final 3:30 to clinch their first conference crown since 1988 (Big Eight) and just the second in school history.
All-America and Big 12 Player-of-the-Year candidate Kelsey Griffin produced the fourth 30-point game of her career and third this season with 30 points and 13 rebounds against the Sooners for her 16th double-double of the year. The fifth-year senior increased her season averages to 19.9 points and 10.3 rebounds per game. She leads the Big 12 in rebounding and ranks second in scoring heading into the final three games of the season.
Fellow senior forward Cory Montgomery produced her top performance of the year with 24 points and six rebounds against the Sooners. An All-Big 12 candidate, Montgomery is averaging 13.2 points and 4.9 boards per contest.
Yvonne Turner and Dominique Kelley complete the Big Red's "Big Four" scorers. The Nebraska natives and former state high school players of the year give the Huskers a pair of defensive stoppers who can also shoot the three.
Kelley had a season-high 19 points in the first meeting with Missouri in Columbia, helping the Huskers to an 82-78 come-from-behind win. The Huskers trailed 78-72 with 3:05 left before Turner helped ignite the NU comeback with her defense down the stretch. The two-time Big 12 All-Defensive Team selection scored 19 points and matched her season high with four steals against the Tigers. Turner helped the Huskers force five turnovers on MU's final five possessions in the win.
#3 Nebraska Cornhuskers (26-0, 13-0) Probable Starters
23 - Kelsey Griffin - 6-2 - Sr. - F - 19.9 ppg, 10.3 rpg
40 - Cory Montgomery - 6-2 - Sr. - F - 13.2 ppg, 4.9 rpg
00 - Lindsey Moore - 5-9 - Fr. - G - 5.4 ppg, 2.1 rpg
22 - Yvonne Turner - 5-8 - Sr. - G - 12.3 ppg, 3.6 rpg
24 - Dominique Kelley - 5-7 - Jr. - G - 11.9 ppg, 4.0 rpg
The Next Wave
44 - Catheryn Redmon - 6-3 - Jr. - C - 4.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg
13 - Kala Kuhlmann - 5-8 - Sr. - G - 3.5 ppg, 1.7 rpg
11 - Nicole Neals - 5-6 - Sr. - G - 3.0 ppg, 0.8 rpg
21 - Harleen Sidhu - 6-1 - So. - F - 2.3 ppg, 1.7 rpg
12 - Layne Reeves - 5-11 - RFr. - G - 1.4 ppg, 0.7 rpg
35 - Jessica Periago - 6-4 - Jr. - C - 1.4 ppg, 2.0 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 (147-97); 20th Season Overall (342-237)
Missouri Tigers (11-15, 1-12 Big 12) Probable Starters
3 - Amanda Hanneman - 5-11 - Sr. - F - 9.5 ppg, 2.8 rpg
32 - Marissa Scott - 6-2 - Sr. - F - 2.5 ppg, 2.0 rpg
44 - Shakara Jones - 6-2 - Jr. - F - 9.3 ppg, 5.5 rpg
11 - Toy Richbow - 5-6 - Sr. - G - 4.2 ppg, 3.3 rpg
23 - RaeShara Brown - 5-8 - Jr. - G - 9.8 ppg, 4.5 rpg
Off the Bench
4 - Jessra Johnson - 6-1 - Sr. - F - 12.5 ppg, 6.2 rpg
10 - Jasmyn Otote - 5-9 - Jr. - G - 3.0 ppg, 1.4 rpg
34 - Kendra Frazier - 6-5 - So. - C - 1.9 ppg, 1.8 rpg
50 - Christine Flores - 6-3 - So. - F - 9.4 ppg, 4.6 rpg
22 - BreAnna Brock - 6-2 - So. - F - 3.3 ppg, 2.0 rpg
Head Coach: Cindy Stein (Illinois, 1984)
12th Season at MU (184-174); 15th Season Overall (249-197)
Huskers Clinch Big 12 Title with Win at No. 11 Oklahoma
Kelsey Griffin notched her 16th double-double of the year with 30 points and 13 rebounds and fellow senior forward Cory Montgomery poured in a season-high 24 points to power No. 3 Nebraska over No. 11 Oklahoma to clinch the Huskers' first-ever Big 12 women's basketball title with an 80-64 win at the Lloyd Noble Center on Wednesday.
The Huskers clinched their first conference crown since the 1988 Big Eight title. The Huskers clinched the outright title and the No. 1 seed in the 2010 Phillips 66 Big 12 Championship in Kansas City, Mo., March 11-15.
"This was an accumulation of a lot of hard work by not only all the players on this team, but the teams and players who have come before them," Nebraska Coach Connie Yori said after the game. "This game was a microcosm of our season. This team is the most mentally tough team I have ever coached, and the best practicing team I have ever coached, and the hardest working team I have ever coached. That all came together in the final 3:30 of that basketball game. Our players deserve all the credit, because they earned this win and this title."
The Huskers led by 10 on several occasions in the second half, before the Sooners stormed back to take the lead. OU led 63-62 with 3:29 left, before Nebraska claimed the title with an 18-1 surge down the stretch on OU's home court. Montgomery, who scored 19 points and hit 7-of-9 shots in the second half alone, scored seven points in the first two minutes of the stretch, including the go-ahead basket with 3:13 left.
Yvonne Turner, who managed just five points while being strapped with two early fouls, came up with a huge steal, a layup and a foul to convert a three-point play to push the NU edge to 67-63 with 2:57 to play. Montgomery then buried her fourth three of the game and third of the half to extend the margin to 70-63 with 2:18 left.
After an Abi Olajuwon free throw stopped NU's 8-0 run, Montgomery added a pair of free throws to make it 72-64 with 1:27 left. Dominique Kelley and Griffin then combined for the final eight points to complete Nebraska's first-ever season sweep of the Big 12 South teams with a 16-point victory.
The win over Oklahoma was Nebraska's first for every player on the Husker roster, as NU had lost nine of its last 10 games against the Sooners. It was also NU's first win in Norman since 1998.
The Huskers hit 43.9 percent (29-66) of their shots from the field for the game, including 58.6 percent (17-29) in the second half, scoring on 11 straight possessions to end the game. NU also hit 15-of-19 free throws and 7-of-25 threes. The Huskers outrebounded OU, 45-38, while finishing plus-five in turnover margin (16-11).
OU hit just 39.3 percent (24-61) of its shots, including just 2-of-13 three-pointers. The Sooners were also 14-of-24 at the line. Abi Olajuwon led the Sooners with 16 points and 14 rebounds, while Amanda Thompson and Danielle Robinson each pitched in 15 points.
Nebraska carried a 33-29 lead into the locker room at halftime despite hitting just 32.4 percent (12-37) of its shots from the field, including just 3-of-13 three-point attempts. The Huskers carried the lead thanks to 16 points, seven rebounds and an assist from Griffin in the opening half.
Huskers Add Women's Hoops to Big 12 Title Success
Nebraska secured its first-ever Big 12 title with a 16-point win at No. 11 Oklahoma on Wednesday.
Although it is the Huskers' first Big 12 women's basketball title, Nebraska is a regular in the Big 12 winner's circle. In fact, the crown was the school's 35th Big 12 women's title across all sports, and 55th overall. NU teams have also claimed 12 additional Big 12 tournament titles since the inception of the league in 1996-97.
The women's basketball program became the 13th NU sport to claim a Big 12 title, joining volleyball (10), men's indoor track (9), women's gymnastics (8), men's outdoor track (5), women's indoor track (5), soccer (3) baseball (3), softball (3), football (2), women's swimming and diving (2), women's outdoor track (2) and wrestling (1). Only Texas, which has won 78 titles across 17 sports, has captured more Big 12 hardware than Nebraska.
Griffin Earns Fourth Big 12 Weekly Award of Season
Nebraska senior Kelsey Griffin captured her second straight Big 12 Player-of-the-Week award and fourth of the season on Monday in voting by conference media members.
Griffin, a 6-2 forward from Eagle River, Alaska, averaged 18 points and 11.5 rebounds in 30 minutes per game in wins over No. 13 Iowa State and Colorado at the Devaney Center last week. In Saturday's win over Colorado, the National Player-of-the-Year candidate produced 25 points on 10-of-14 shooting from the field, while adding 12 rebounds and a career-high six assists. She also snagged two steals and blocked two shots in a 16-point win over the Buffs. Griffin added 11 points and 11 rebounds in Nebraska's 60-50 win over the No. 13 Cyclones on Feb. 17.
The award was Griffin's seventh Big 12 Player-of-the-Week honor of her career, joining one as a junior in February of 2008, and two as a sophomore in 2007. She also claimed two Big 12 Rookie-of-the-Week honors as a freshman in 2006.
Baylor's Kimetria Hayden was named the Big 12 Newcomer of the Week.
Griffin Becomes Second Husker with 1,800 Points, 900 Rebounds
Kelsey Griffin has cemented her place among the best players in Nebraska women's basketball history, and recently became just the second player in school history with 1,800 points and 900 rebounds. Griffin enters Saturday's game against Missouri with 1,866 points and 934 rebounds.
Griffin, who ranks second in NU history with 36 career double-doubles, joins 1993 Wade Trophy winner Karen Jennings (2,405 points, 1,000 rebounds) as the only Huskers to accomplish the feat.
Griffin ranks third on Nebraska's career rebounding chart and needs 66 boards to catch Jennings at No. 2 with 1,000. Griffin ranks sixth in Husker history in scoring and is within one point of Nicole Kubik in fifth.
Montgomery 12th Husker with 1,200 Points, 500 Boards
With 1,291 points and 585 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, is coming off a season-high 24-point performance in the Huskers' Big 12 title-clinching win at No. 11 Oklahoma on Wednesday. She also moved into 12th on Nebraska's all-time scoring list. Montgomery needs 26 more rebounds to match Pyra Aarden (1993-96) in 14th with 611.
To reach the top 12 in rebounding at Nebraska, the 6-2 forward from Cannon Falls, Minn., must amass 636 rebounds. Montgomery owns 65 double-figure scoring efforts in her career and nine double-figure rebounding efforts.
Montgomery has played her best against NU's best competition. She had 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 three three-pointers. She had a 17-point, seven-rebound effort in the win over Colorado on Feb. 20, which followed a 16-point performance in a win over No. 13 Iowa State Feb. 17. She added 16 points in NU's win over No. 19 Texas on Jan. 12, and also had 16 points, and a trio of three-pointers in the Huskers' run past No. 5 LSU on Dec. 20. Montgomery enters the Missouri game averaging 13.2 points and 4.9 rebounds per game. She is hitting 40.5 percent (30-74) of her three-point attempts and 81.4 percent (48-59) of her free throws.
Montgomery has produced double figures in 21 of NU's 26 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.
Turner Joins Griffin, Montgomery in 1,000-Point Club
Yvonne Turner recently joined fellow seniors Kelsey Griffin and Cory Montgomery in Nebraska's 1,000-point club, reaching the mark in a win over No. 13 Iowa State on Feb. 17. Turner, a 5-8 guard from Omaha, Neb., owns 1,026 career points, ranking 24th on NU's career scoring list while becoming the 25th Husker to join the 1,000-point club.
Griffin ranks sixth at Nebraska with 1,866 points, while Montgomery ranks 12th with 1,291. Turner, who ranks second in Husker history in career three-pointers (170) and eighth in career steals (213), needs 43 points to join the top 20 in career scoring.
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 26 games.
Each of NU's most experienced players are averaging more than 11 points per game and have combined to hit 50.2 percent (515-1,025) of their shots from the field, including 122-of-319 (38.2 percent) of their three-point attempts. Griffin leads NU with 19.9 points and 10.3 rebounds per game, while Montgomery - NU's leading scorer and rebounder a year ago - is averaging 13.2 points and 4.9 boards per contest. Turner has added 12.3 points and 3.6 rebounds per game - while pouring in 14.6 points and 3.5 boards per game in league action.
Kelley, the lone junior in the experienced foursome, has pitched in 11.9 points and 4.0 rebounds per game.
The last Nebraska team to have four players average in double figures in a season was the 1996 NCAA Tournament squad (Anna DeForge, Tina McClain, Pyra Aarden, Kate Galligan). Only one time between 1995-96 and 2008-09 (13 seasons) did Nebraska feature three players who averaged double figures - Coach Connie Yori's first NU team in 2002-03 (Alexa Johnson, Katie Morse, Margaret Richards). Morse, who averaged 12 points per game, only played the first seven games before suffering a season-ending knee injury.
Husker Fans Coming Out in Droves at Devaney
Nebraska has regularly ranked among the top 30 teams nationally in average home attendance over the past 15 years, but Husker fans have flocked to the Bob Devaney Sports Center in record numbers in 2009-10.
Big Red faithful have come along for the ride during Nebraska's record-setting season, averaging a school-record 6,597 fans per game through 14 home games this season - ranking 10th nationally. NU's Big 12 attendance has been spectacular, as the Huskers have averaged 10,865 fans per game through six home contests. Nebraska has attracted five consecutive crowds of more than 10,000 to the Devaney Center, beginning with a school-record 13,303 fans for Nebraska's win over Kansas State on Jan. 23.
Nebraska's previous single-season average home attendance record was 5,000 fans per game in 1998-99.
Nebraska First North School to Go 6-0 vs. South Since 2000
Nebraska capped a 6-0 sweep of the Big 12 South with an 80-64 victory over No. 11 Oklahoma to clinch the 2010 Big 12 regular-season title on Feb. 24. The Huskers own eight straight wins against the South.
The win over the Sooners followed a 71-60 victory over No. 12 Texas A&M Feb. 6 and an 88-67 run past No. 10 Oklahoma State in Lincoln Feb. 3. Nebraska produced its largest victory margin in history against a Big 12 opponent with an 89-47 win at Texas Tech 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 six meetings with Big 12 South foes, Nebraska is averaging 80.7 points per game, while surrendering 62.2 points per contest, for an average winning margin of 18.5 points per game.
With a 6-0 sweep of the South, Nebraska became the first North team in a decade to sweep the South. Iowa State was the last team to accomplish the feat in 1999-2000, while Kansas (1998-99) is the only other North school to notch a sweep. 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. Iowa State is 4-1 against the South this season.
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 19.9 points and 10.3 rebounds while leading the 26-0 Huskers with 22 charges drawn, to go along with 46 steals and 15 blocked shots.
The two-time first-team All-Big 12 selection ranks second in the league in scoring and first in rebounding despite averaging just 27.3 minutes per game. She has powered Nebraska to its highest national rankings, longest winning streak and first Big 12 Conference title in school history, while ranking among the top 25 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).
Huskers Continue to Rewrite History
At 26-0, Nebraska owns the most wins in a season in school history while extending the longest winning streak in school history to 26 games, nearly tripling a nine-game winning streak to open the 1996-97 campaign. Nebraska's 26-0 start is also the best start in Big 12 history, dating back to the inception of the league in 1996-97. The Huskers' 13-0 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. The 2010 Big 12 regular season champion Huskers have also amassed their most conference wins in history.
Not only have the Huskers been winning, they have been doing it in impressive fashion, with 21 of their 26 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 an 82-78 win at Missouri on Feb. 13, a 76-71 victory at Miami on Dec. 5, a 67-60 win at Kansas on Feb. 10, an eight-point win at Iowa State on Jan. 9, and a nine-point victory at No. 9 Baylor. The Huskers have led 25 of their 26 opponents by double digits in the second half, with only Missouri avoiding a 10-point margin.
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.
Huskers Join UConn As Only Unbeatens
Nebraska heads into Saturday's game with 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 has reached 67 games.
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. NU maintained that ranking the next two weeks, giving the Huskers' six straight weeks in the top 10 and 11 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.
Nebraska is one of seven Big 12 teams in the AP top 25 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 five losses. NU is joined by No. 11 Oklahoma, No. 12 Texas A&M, No. 14 Texas, No. 15 Iowa State, No. 17 Baylor and No. 23 Oklahoma State in the AP Top 25. Kansas was also ranked for nine weeks earlier this season.
Huskers Running High in Official NCAA RPI
The NCAA released its official RPI rankings on Monday, Feb. 22, and Nebraska was near the top of the chart with a No. 3 national RPI ranking. Only Connecticut and Stanford were ahead of the Huskers.
Big 12 foes Oklahoma (7th) and Texas A&M (8th) joined Nebraska in the top 10, while Texas was 11th, Oklahoma State 15th, Baylor 17th and Iowa State 22nd giving the Big 12 seven teams in the RPI top 25.
All 12 of the Big 12 teams were among the top 105, including No. 34 Kansas, No. 36 Texas Tech, No. 89 Kansas State, No. 98 Missouri and No. 103 Colorado.
Nebraska already owns 17 wins over top-100 RPI teams, including No. 7, Oklahoma, No. 8 Texas A&M, No. 11 Texas, No. 15 Oklahoma State, No. 17 Baylor, No. 22 Iowa State (2), No. 28 LSU, No. 34 Kansas, No. 36 Texas Tech, No. 45 Vermont, No. 56 UALR, No. 76 Miami, No. 85 Saint Mary's, No. 89 Kansas State, No. 94 Creighton and No. 98 Missouri. NU also owns two victories over RPI No. 103 Colorado. Ten of NU's top-100 RPI wins have come away from home, including eight true road wins.
National Numbers Show Huskers Continuing Improvement
In the most recent NCAA statistics (Feb. 22), Nebraska is showing a level of play previously unmatched in program history. The Huskers rank fourth nationally in scoring margin (21.1 ppg), while UConn leads the nation at 37 ppg.
Offensively, the Huskers rank seventh nationally in field goal percentage (.468) and 10th in scoring offense (78.5 ppg). NU also ranks 24th in assist-to-turnover ratio, 26th in turnovers per game, 28th in three-point field goals per game and 29th in rebound margin.
Nebraska ranks 40th nationally in three-point field goal percentage defense (.282), but the Huskers have been dominant on the road in the Big 12, allowing Iowa State, Baylor, Texas Tech, Colorado, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma to hit just 18-of-90 threes (20 percent) in NU's first seven league road games. NU was third nationally in the category before Iowa State and Colorado combined to hit 25-of-51 threes last week in Lincoln.
Scouting the Missouri Tigers
Missouri heads into Saturday's game at Nebraska carrying an eight-game losing streak after an 80-79 overtime loss to Colorado at Mizzou Arena on Tuesday. MU's lone league win came with a 70-62 victory over a top-15 Baylor squad.
MU is averaging just 56.4 points per game in Big 12 play, and has managed 60 or more points only five times in its first 13 Big 12 games. The Tigers have struggled to score on the road in conference action, averaging just 49.5 points per game against league foes away from Mizzou Arena. In its seven home league games, MU has produced 62.3 points per game.
The Tigers are coming off a Big 12 season-high 79 points in an overtime loss to Colorado on Tuesday, and scored 78 points in the first meeting with the Huskers on Feb. 13. MU also scored 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.
The Tigers have remained competitive in Big 12 action with five 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 65.0 points per game in league action, with Nebraska (82), Colorado (80, OT), Oklahoma State (75) and Kansas (72) being the only four Big 12 foes to manage more than 65 points.
Missouri ranks last in the league in both field goal percentage (.381) and three-point field percentage (.292) while ranking 11th in free throw percentage (.670). MU has also been outrebounded, 38.0-36.9 on the season, including a minus-6.5 margin in league action. The Tigers have been strong with the ball, committing just 14 turnovers per game on the year while forcing more than 18 turnovers per game by the opposition.
Senior forward Jessra Johnson leads MU with 12.5 points and 6.2 rebounds per game, but Johnson has started just eight of the Tigers' 13 league contests. A big-bodied power forward who has historically shot the three well, Johnson has hit just 5-of-32 three-point attempts in Big 12 play and just 12-of-63 overall on the year. Fellow senior Amanda Hanneman has added 9.5 points per game while leading the Tigers with 49 three-pointers, but is just 18-for-74 from long range in league play.
Sophomore Christine Flores, a 6-3 forward, has added 9.4 points and 4.6 rebounds, as a part-time starter.
Missouri's most consistent starters have been Shakara Jones (9.3 ppg, 5.5 rpg) and RaeShara Brown (9.8 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 3.2 spg) while senior point guard Toy Richbow has also started all 26 games, averaging 4.2 points and 3.3 rebounds per game.
Nebraska leads the all-time series with Missouri 38-30, including an 82-78 win in Columbia on Feb. 13, and a 65-52 win last year at the Devaney Center. In this season's first meeting, Nebraska needed a comeback in the final minutes. NU battled back from a 78-72 deficit with 3:05 left to score the game's final 10 points. The Huskers' six-point deficit was their largest second-half deficit of the season, but NU's defense forced five turnovers in the final two minutes, after forcing just seven Tiger turnovers in the first 38. Yvonne Turner, who tied a season high with four steals, and Lindsey Moore, who matched her season best with three steals, did the most defensive damage, forcing turnovers on MU's final five possessions. Kelsey Griffin led NU with 28 points and 12 rebounds. Turner and Dominique Kelley both contributed 19 points.
NU Showing North Division Dominance over Last Five Years
During the past five seasons (including 2009-10), Nebraska leads the North Division with a 33-14 regular-season record against the other five Big 12 North foes. Kansas State is 29-18, while Iowa State is 29-18 in that span.
The Huskers completed season sweeps of Iowa State and Colorado last week to improve to 7-0 this season against the North. NU will shoot for its third sweep against Missouri on Saturday, after beating the Tigers (82-78) in Columbia on Feb. 13. Iowa State is 5-3 against the North, while Kansas is 5-4 and Kansas State is 4-3. Colorado is 2-5 and Missouri is 0-8.
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.
Husker Road Foes Seeing Big Red in 3-D
In 12 games away from the Devaney Center, Nebraska has held its opponents to just 21.2 percent (33-156) from beyond the arc. That number is even more staggering when you consider that Nebraska's road foes have included Baylor, Oklahoma, 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 18-for-90 shooting from three-point range - 20 percent. In 12 Big 12 games overall, NU foes have hit 31.5 percent (64-203) of their three-point attempts. Amazing considering a three-game stretch from Feb. 13 to Feb. 20, when Missouri, Iowa State and Colorado combined to go 33-for-71 from long range.
In Nebraska's last five games against Big 12 South competition, the Huskers have held their opponents (No. 9 Baylor, No. 10 Oklahoma State, No. 11 Oklahoma, No. 12 Texas A&M and Texas Tech) to a combined 9-for-62 shooting from long range (14.5 percent).
In addition to stopping the opposition, Nebraska has produced well offensively from long range on the road. The Huskers have hit 80-of-246 threes in 12 road games, outscoring their opponents 240-99 from three-point territory. In Big 12 play, NU has outscored its road foes 150-84 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. 11 Oklahoma marked their 19th win over an AP Top 25 foe during Yori's tenure, including their seventh 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 posted six wins over AP Top 15 teams (No. 5 LSU, No. 9 Baylor, No. 10 Oklahoma State, No. 11 Oklahoma, No. 12 Texas A&M, No. 13 Iowa State) this season, including three wins over top-10 foes.
The Huskers also own a road win over current AP No. 15 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 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. The Huskers enter the Missouri game with a No. 19 Strength of Schedule.
Huskers Producing Massive Margins
Nebraska's average victory margin of 21.1 points per game through 26 contests is the best in school history and ranks fourth nationally. UConn leads the nation with its 37.0 point-per-game advantage.
The 2009-10 Huskers are averaging 78.5 points per game (2,040 total points) on the offensive end, which would rank as the sixth-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 26 games, the Huskers have hit 80 or more points on 13 occasions.
Nebraska's offense has been strong against the nation's best. In 11 games against teams that have been ranked in the top 25 at any point this season (Miami, LSU, Vermont, Iowa State-2, Texas, Baylor, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, Kansas, Oklahoma), the Huskers are averaging 75.1 points, including 94 points at Vermont, 91 against No. 19 Texas and 88 against No. 10 Oklahoma State. Iowa State has been the only team to hold the Huskers to fewer than 65 points, doing it twice (57 at Ames, 60 in Lincoln). NU is averaging 78.8 points against the other eight top 25 foes.
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 13 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 57.4 points per game through 26 contests, which is on pace for the lowest opponent scoring average since 1975-76, when the 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.
Turner Shoots to No. 2 on NU Career Three List
Senior Yvonne Turner has hit 69-of-180 three-point attempts (38.3 percent) to lead an impressive Husker three-point barrage through 26 games.
Turner ranks second in the Big 12 with 2.7 made three-pointers per game this season, while her 38.3 percent success rate ranks 10th in the league. She leads the Big 12 in league games only with 3.2 threes per contest.
Turner buried six threes in back-to-back wins over Baylor and Kansas State, before hitting four threes in NU's run past No. 10 Oklahoma State on Feb. 6 and a win over Colorado on Feb. 20. She added three more triples at Texas Tech, at Colorado, No. 12 Texas A&M and Kansas. She owns 170 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 34 percent (170-500), which ranks eighth all-time at Nebraska.
Turner already ranks third on NU's senior single-season three-point list with 69, and she needs two threes to catch 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 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 (170) and career steals (213).
Montgomery Climbing NU Games Played List
Although she is only in her second season as a full-time starter, forward Cory Montgomery is nearing the top of the Husker career games played list. Montgomery is expected to make her 123rd career appearance in a Nebraska uniform on Saturday, which will match Kiera Hardy and Chelsea Aubry in a tie for sixth in school history. Janet Smith owns the NU record with 136 games played.
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 16 double-doubles, including 11 in Big 12 play.
Her averages of 19.9 points and 10.3 rebounds lead the Huskers and rank among the best players in the Big 12, while she is averaging just over 27 minutes per game. She also leads NU with a career-high 46 steals and 22 charges drawn, while adding 15 blocked shots. She also ranks among the top players nationally with her 61.6 field goal percentage. In Big 12 play, she is averaging 20.7 points and 10.5 rebounds per game.
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.
Griffin produced her third 30-point effort of the season and fourth of her career with 30 points and 13 rebounds in Nebraska's Big 12 regular-season title-clinching win at No. 11 Oklahoma on Feb. 24. It was her 14th game with 20 or more points and 10th with 25 or more this season.
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).
Griffin added 28 points on 11-of-15 shooting to go along with 12 rebounds, two assists, two blocks, two charges drawn and a steal in NU's win at Missouri on Feb. 13. She personally accounted for 14 defensive stops against MU. She added 25 points, 12 rebounds, a career-high six assists, two blocks and two steals against Colorado Feb. 20.
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. Griffin added 21 points and grabbed 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. She added 24 points in NU's win at Colorado on Jan. 30, 22 points, 12 rebounds and five assists in a victory over Kansas State 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 a 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 17 double-figure rebound totals on the year.
In her career, Griffin has produced 20 or more points on 31 occasions, including 16 games with 25 or more points. She enters the Missouri game with 96 career double-figure scoring efforts and 38 double-figure rebounding performances in her career.
Kelley Cranks Up Production As a Junior
Junior guard Dominique Kelley has put up big numbers for Nebraska this season, averaging 11.9 points and 4.0 rebounds in just 24.2 minutes per game. The 5-7 hometown favorite out of Lincoln Northeast High School has produced double figures 19 times this year, including a season-high 19 points in Nebraska's win at Missouri on Feb. 13. Kelley hit 5-of-6 shots from the field and 9-of-10 free throws against the Tigers. She also produced 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 42 double-figure scoring efforts in her NU career, including 35 over the past 57 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 14 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 also scored 13 points against Colorado (Feb. 20), Creighton and Washington State.
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.
Kelley is shooting 43.8 percent (84-192) from the field and 40.5 percent (17-42) from three-point range, while connecting on 77.2 percent (125-162) of her free throws. She ranks second on the team with 14 charges drawn.
Freshman Moore Off to 26-0 Mark as Starter
Lindsey Moore has helped the Huskers to a 26-0 record as Nebraska's starting point guard in her first 26 collegiate games. The 5-9 freshman from Covington, Wash., produced the best performance of her career with 18 points and a career-best four three-pointers in Nebraska's win over No. 13 Iowa State on Feb. 17.
Her effort against the Cyclones surpassed her previous career high of 11 points, which came along with a career-best eight rebounds in NU's run past No. 10 Oklahoma State on Feb. 3.
She is coming off her fifth career double-figure performance, including her third in Big 12 play, with 10 points, four rebounds, four assists and a steal in Nebraska's Big 12 title-clinching win at No. 11 Oklahoma on Wednesday. Moore hit 4-of-7 shots from the field, including 2-of-4 three-pointers to help the Huskers to a 16-point win over the Sooners. Moore has hit two or more threes in each of her last three games (8-of-15).
Moore had 11 points in a win over Creighton on Dec. 9, while producing her first career double-digit effort with 10 points in a win over Washington State on Nov. 22. She added nine points, seven assists and just one turnover in NU's run past No. 5 LSU on Dec. 20.
Moore ranks second in Big 12 games with a 2.1-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio, while ranking third with 4.8 assists per game. She has moved into third on Nebraska's freshman single-season assist chart with 115, while becoming the first Husker since 2005-06 (LaToya Howell and Kiera Hardy) to notch 100 assists in a season.
In addition to her success as Nebraska's floor general on offense, Moore has turned up her defensive intensity throughout Big 12 play. Moore owns 17 steals through 13 league games, including back-to-back three-steal efforts in wins at Kansas and Missouri. Moore's late-game defensive heroics allowed the Huskers to post come-from-behind wins in both games.
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 26 games, Moore has 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 closed non-conference play with an eight-point, two-assist performance at Vermont that included a two three-pointers 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.
Huskers Shatter School Three-Point Record
Nebraska is in the process of crushing the single-season school record for three-pointers made through 26 games. The Huskers, who eclipsed the previous record of 173 made threes in 2006-07, passed the old mark in the 25th game of 2009-10. NU added seven more threes in the win over Oklahoma to push the new record total to 185 threes through 26 games.
Under Coach Connie Yori, Nebraska has produced each of the top seven seasons in three-point field goals made in school history.
As a team, NU ranks fourth in the Big 12 and 28th nationally with 7.1 threes per game, well ahead of school-record pace, which was set last season with 5.5 threes per game. NU has outscored its opponents by a combined 240 points (555-315) behind the arc this season, an average of 9.2 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 Colorado (Feb. 20), Kansas State, Texas, Miami and UNLV. The Huskers buried eight threes against Vermont, Albany and South Dakota.
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 28 minutes per game through 26 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 Missouri game ranked second in the Big 12 with 19.9 points per game and first in the league with 10.3 rebounds per game. Those numbers become significantly more impressive considering she has played just 27.3 minutes per game.
Taken over 40 minutes, Griffin would be averaging 29.2 points, 15.2 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 2.6 steals. In addition to her 46 steals this season, Griffin has added 15 blocked shots and drawn a team-leading 22 charges. She is also shooting 61.6 percent from the field, which ranks second in the Big 12 and fifth nationally.
Compare that production to current Big 12 scoring leader Andrea Riley, who enters the weekend averaging 25.5 points, 3.4 rebounds, 6.6 assists and 1.9 steals per game. Through 27 games, Riley is averaging 36.3 minutes per game, and her 40-minute production is 28.1 points, 3.7 rebounds, 7.3 assists and 2.1 steals. Riley is also shooting just 36.3 percent from the field.
With 518 points and 269 rebounds in 709 minutes, Griffin is averaging 0.73 points per minute and 0.38 rebounds per minute. Riley averages an impressive 0.70 points per minute, but just 0.09 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, 2.9 assists, 2.6 steals
Dominique Kelley - 19.7 points, 6.6 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.4 steals
Cory Montgomery - 19.0 points, 7.1 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 0.7 steals
Yvonne Turner - 18.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 2.7 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 - 11.5 points, 11.5 rebounds, 5.0 blocks
Layne Reeves - 8.8 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.6 steals
Kala Kuhlmann - 8.4 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 0.7 steals
Nicole Neals - 8.3 points, 2.2 rebounds, 4.1 assists, 1.7 steals
Lindsey Moore - 7.8 points, 3.0 rebounds, 6.4 assists, 1.7 steals
Jessica Periago - 6.3 points, 9.3 rebounds, 2.5 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 26 games this season, Nebraska's focus is paying dividends, as the Huskers carry a plus-5.7 team rebounding margin, which ranks third in the Big 12, trailing only Iowa State (+9.8) and Baylor (+9.6) - two teams NU outrebounded head-to-head. The Huskers rank 29th nationally in rebound margin.
Nebraska has outrebounded 20 of its 26 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 10 opponents since the holiday break.
Only six opponents have outrebounded NU this season - Miami (34-30), LSU (38-36), at Colorado (36-27), No. 10 Oklahoma State (38-32), at Missouri (34-28) and Iowa State (34-24, Feb. 17). Nebraska was the first team this season to outrebound Iowa State (Jan. 9), and the Huskers also outrebounded Texas (37-32), and 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. 11 Oklahoma (45-38), 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 Big 12-leading 10.2 boards per game, including 16 double-digit rebound efforts.
Huskers Starting Fast, Finishing Strong
Nebraska's high-powered offense is averaging 39.2 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 26.9 points per first half, as the Huskers have headed to the locker room with an average lead of 12.3 points (39.2-26.9) and have allowed only six foes to score 30 first-half points (Texas, 44; Missouri, 38; Colorado, 36; Miami, 36; LSU, 34; Kansas State, 34).
In fact, Iowa State (Feb. 17) became the sixth Husker foe to be held to 20 or fewer points in the first half this season. NU surrendered just 14 to South Dakota and just 17 to Northern Illinois, while Idaho State (19), Washington State (20) and Kansas (20, Feb. 10) also struggled against NU's pressure defense. Texas Tech (21), UALR (23) and UNLV (23) were also just one possession from being added to that list.
In their 14 home victories, the Huskers are averaging 42.6 points (597 total points) in the first half, while allowing just 26.6 points per first half (372 total points) for an average home halftime lead of 16 points.
It hasn't gone much better for Nebraska opponents in the second half, as the Huskers have averaged 39.3 points after halftime, while the opposition has managed 30.5 points per second half.
Turner Joins Top 10 on NU Career Steals List
With 213 career steals, including 47 in 26 games this season, senior Yvonne Turner ranks No. 8 on Nebraska's all-time steals list. She needs two steals to catch Maurtice Ivy (215, 1985-88) in seventh on the NU 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 season highs of four steals at No. 9 Baylor on Jan. 17, 2010, at Missouri on Feb. 13, and against No. 13 Iowa State on Feb. 17, producing 29 steals in her last 12 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 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, climbing into third all-time with Charlie Rogers at 127 after a block against Colorado on Feb. 20.
Danielle Page (207) and Janet Smith (238) are the only two Huskers in front of Redmon on the career block chart.
The top returning shot-blocker in the Big 12, Redmon owns 51 rejections in 409 minutes through 26 games. She has blocked two or more shots in 16 of NU's 26 contests and is averaging 2.0 blocks in just 16 minutes per game.
Redmon needs eight more blocks to catch Janet Smith (59, 1980-81) in second and nine 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. 19 in the CollegeRPI.com strength of schedule rankings on Feb. 26.
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 features an NCAA Tournament-caliber atmosphere every night. The conference 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 105 nationally in the RPI as of Feb. 22.
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 119 games in her NU career. Nebraska also features junior guard Dominique Kelley, who has started 90 straight games to open her career, while senior forward Cory Montgomery made her 58th straight start against Oklahoma and her 61st career start overall.
Yvonne Turner started her 87th career game against Oklahoma, while freshman point guard Lindsey Moore has started the first 26 games of her NU career, and gives the Huskers a starting five with 383 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 349-118 (.747) in games played in the arena, including 131-77 (.630) in conference games. Since 2003-04, NU is 85-22 (.794) at the Devaney Center.
NU has posted double-figure home victory totals in seven consecutive seasons, including a perfect 14-0 mark in 2009-10 to stretch the Husker home winning streak to 18 games. NU's longest home winning streak is 29 games.
Fastbreakers to Make Final Regular-Season Bus Trip to K-State
With three bus trips in the books following the trip to Oklahoma, the Fastbreakers will make their fourth and final bus trip of the 2009-10 regular season when the Huskers travel to Manhattan to battle Kansas State on Saturday, March 6. Tip time at Bramlage Coliseum is set for noon.
The Fastbreakers have added a second bus to Kansas State because of the success of their three previous trips this season to Colorado, Missouri and Oklahoma. The cost of the trip to Manhattan is just $50 per person.
To sign up for the bus trip to Kansas State, 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).
Nebraska to Establish Kathy Branchaud Memorial Scholarship
Nebraska has established the Kathy Branchaud Memorial Women's Basketball Scholarship Fund to honor the life of the former player and Fastbreaker Booster Club board member, who passed away Feb. 11, 2010 at age 58, following a two-year battle with cancer.
Branchaud was honored with a moment of silence before Nebraska's win over Colorado Feb. 20, which was also Nebraska's WBCA Pink Zone game to promote cancer awareness and support people in their fights with cancer.
The Kathy Branchaud Memorial Scholarship will be presented to sophomores, juniors or seniors on the Nebraska women's basketball team. Senior recipients must demonstrate a commitment to pursuing a post-graduate education at the University of Nebraska. Candidates must maintain a 3.2 or above cumulative grade-point average.
To contribute to the Kathy Branchaud Memorial Women's Basketball Scholarship Fund, please contact the Nebraska Athletic Development Office at (402) 472-2367.