No. 1 Seed Nebraska Cornhuskers (32-1, 16-0 Big 12)
vs. No. 4 Seed Kentucky Wildcats (27-7, 11-5 SEC)
Sprint Center (9,455) • Kansas City, Mo. • Sunday, March 28, 9:07 p.m.
Television: ESPN2-HD/ESPN360.com (Pam Ward, Debbie Antonelli, Heather Cox)
Radio: Husker Sports Network
(98.1 KFGE-Lincoln, 93.3 KTWI/1110 KFAB Omaha, 880 KRVN-Lexington)
Free Live Audio: Huskers.com (Free)
NCAA Kansas City Region No. 1 seed Nebraska takes aim at its first-ever Elite Eight appearance when the Huskers collide with No. 4 seed Kentucky in the regional semifinals on Sunday, March 28 at the Sprint Center in Kansas City.
Tip-off between the fourth-ranked Huskers (32-1, 16-0 Big 12) and 19th-ranked Wildcats (27-7, 11-5 SEC) is set for 9:07 p.m. (or 30 minutes after the first regional semifinal game) with live national television coverage by ESPN2-HD and ESPN360.com. Pam Ward and Debbie Antonelli will be on the call for ESPN2, with Heather Cox handling sideline duties. The game will be carried in its entirety on a national basis on ESPN2-HD.
The game will also be carried live on radio by the Husker Sports Network, including Froggy 98.1 KFGE in Lincoln, Twister 93.3 KTWI and 1110 KFAB in Omaha and 880 KRVN in Lexington. Matt Coatney and Jeff Griesch will have the call for free world-wide on Huskers.com.
Big 12 Player-of-the-Year Kelsey Griffin has led the Big Red on a dream season. The 6-2 senior forward from Eagle River, Alaska is a finalist for the Naismith Trophy, Wade Trophy, Wooden Award, Lowe's Senior CLASS Award and the V Foundation Comeback Award after leading the Huskers to the best year in school history. Griffin has averaged 20.3 points and 10.4 rebounds per game this year, and with an 18-point, 14-rebound effort in NU's 83-70 win over No. 22 UCLA on Tuesday, became the second Husker in history with 2,000 points and 1,000 career rebounds. She joins 1993 Wade Trophy winner Karen Jennings in elite company in those categories at Nebraska.
Griffin fills a box score in every category, dishing out nearly two assists per game, while adding nearly two steals per contest. She also leads Nebraska with 27 charges drawn, while adding 24 blocks on the year.
Griffin is joined in a starting five that features an All-Big 12 honoree at every position. Fellow senior forward Cory Montgomery (12.6 ppg, 5.1 rpg) earned first-team All-Big 12 accolades and has climbed into Nebraska's career top 10 in three-pointers made. Senior guard Yvonne Turner, another first-team All-Big 12 pick, ranks second in Husker history in three-pointers made. The Big 12 Co-Defensive Player of the Year also ranks fifth in career steals.
Honorable-mention All-Big 12 guard Dominique Kelley ranks third on the team in scoring with 12.3 points per game, and averaged 16.5 points per contest in Nebraska's first- and second-round NCAA Tournament wins in Minneapolis. Kelley, a 5-7 junior from Lincoln, scored a career-high 22 points to help the Huskers advance to their first-ever Sweet 16 with a win over No. 22 UCLA.
All-Big 12 Freshman Lindsey Moore also played a crucial role in NU's win over the Bruins. The 5-9 point guard from Covington, Wash., scored all nine of her points in the second half and dished out a career-high 11 assists against UCLA. She has averaged 9.5 points and 8.0 assists per contest in NCAA Tournament play.
The Huskers are led by WBCA National Coach of the Year Connie Yori, who has been steadily building the Nebraska program over the past eight seasons. The 2009-10 Huskers have not only shattered the school record for single-season wins (previously 23), they have also achieved the biggest single-season turnaround in the nation at plus-16 games. The greatest single-season improvement in NCAA history is 17 games (Valparaiso, 2002).
No. 1 Nebraska Cornhuskers (32-1, 16-0 Big 12)
23 - Kelsey Griffin - 6-2 - Sr. - F - 20.3 ppg, 10.4 rpg
40 - Cory Montgomery - 6-2 - Sr. - F - 12.6 ppg, 5.1 rpg
00 - Lindsey Moore - 5-9 - Fr. - G - 5.9 ppg, 2.1 rpg
22 - Yvonne Turner - 5-8 - Sr. - G - 11.8 ppg, 3.5 rpg
24 - Dominique Kelley - 5-7 - Jr. - G - 12.3 ppg, 3.9 rpg
The Next Wave
44 - Catheryn Redmon - 6-3 - Jr. - C - 4.3 ppg, 4.5 rpg
13 - Kala Kuhlmann - 5-8 - Sr. - G - 3.5 ppg, 1.5 rpg
11 - Nicole Neals - 5-6 - Sr. - G - 3.0 ppg, 1.0 rpg
21 - Harleen Sidhu - 6-1 - So. - F - 2.2 ppg, 1.7 rpg
12 - Layne Reeves - 5-11 - RFr. - G - 1.3 ppg, 0.7 rpg
35 - Jessica Periago - 6-4 - Jr. - C - 1.1 ppg, 1.6 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 (153-98); 20th Season Overall (348-238)
No. 4 Kentucky Wildcats (27-7, 11-5 SEC)
34 - Victoria Dunlap - 6-1 - Jr. - F - 17.7 ppg, 8.3 rpg
1 - A'dia Mathies - 5-9 - Fr. - G - 13.6 ppg, 4.9 rpg
4 - Keyla Snowden - 5-7 - So. - G - 6.6 ppg, 0.8 rpg
24 - Amber Smith - 5-5 - Jr. - G - 9.3 ppg, 2.7 rpg
25 - Amani Franklin - 5-11 - Jr. - G - 7.4 ppg, 6.4 rpg
Off the Bench
12 - Lydia Watkins - 6-1 - Sr. - F - 6.6 ppg, 4.5 rpg
5 - Carly Morrow - 5-11 - Jr. - G - 5.3 ppg, 1.9 rpg
23 - Rebecca Gray - 5-10 - So. - G - 5.5 ppg, 1.7 rpg
40 - Brittany Henderson - 6-2 - Fr. - F - 2.4 ppg, 2.9 rpg
Head Coach: Matthew Mitchell (Mississippi State, 1995)
Third Season at UK (60-39); Fifth Season Overall (90-68)
Scouting The No. 4 Seed Kentucky Wildcats
The fourth-seeded Kentucky Wildcats punched their ticket to their first NCAA Sweet 16 appearance since 1982 by running past fifth-seeded Michigan State, 70-52, on Monday. The 27-7 Wildcats opened the tournament with an 83-77 win over Liberty in the first round at Freedom Hall in Louisville, Ky., on Saturday, March 20.
Third-year coach Matthew Mitchell led Kentucky to one of the biggest uprisings in the nation this season, as the Wildcats were picked to finish 11th in the preseason SEC poll. Mitchell, who earned SEC and WBCA Regional Coach-of-the-Year honors by leading the Wildcats to a 10-game improvement over a year ago, has his team on the brink of the school's first-ever NCAA Elite Eight appearance.
On the court, Kentucky is led by SEC Player-of-the-Year Victoria Dunlap. The 6-1 junior forward has averaged 17.7 points and 8.3 rebounds per game, while adding staggering steal (104) and block (65) numbers. SEC Freshman-of-the-Year A'Dia Mathies has also been dangerous at both ends of the court, averaging 13.6 points and 4.9 rebounds, while adding 86 steals, 85 assists and 20 blocked shots.
Dunlap and Mathies are the only two Wildcats averaging double figures, but UK features a deep nine-player rotation that includes 5-5 junior guard guard Amber Smith (9.3 ppg, 2.7 rpg) and 5-11 junior guard Amani Franklin (7.4 ppg, 6.4 rpg). Franklin, Smith and Mathies have started all 34 games for Kentucky this season, while Dunlap has started all 33 games in which she has appeared.
Sophomore Keyla Snowden, a 5-7 shooting guard, has moved into the starting lineup late in the season. She averages 6.6 points per game, while leading the Wildcats with 47 three-pointers (39.5 percent).
Junior Carly Morrow, a 5-11 guard, has made 25 starts while averaging 5.3 points and 1.9 boards per game, while hitting 33 threes (27.5 percent). UK's lone senior contributor, Lydia Watkins, a 6-1 forward has added solid numbers off the bench with 6.6 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. Sophomore Rebecca Gray (5.5 ppg, 1.7 rpg) and freshman Brittany Henderson (2.4 ppg, 2.9 rpg) have also made significant contributions on the year.
Kentucky opened the season with an 11-game winning streak before suffering a 57-51 loss at Sun Belt Conference champion Middle Tennessee. The Wildcats opened SEC play with a 61-60 overtime loss at Georgia and also suffered road losses at South Carolina, Vanderbilt, Tennessee and Auburn in SEC regular-season play, before losing again to Tennessee in the SEC Tournament. UK went a perfect 17-0 on its homecourt at Memorial Coliseum, but was just 6-6 in true away games. However, the Wildcats are a solid 4-1 on neutral courts - all coming in the postseason (SEC, NCAA tournaments).
The Wildcats play a suffocating, pressure-packed defense that has forced an average of 23.1 turnovers per game by their opponents. A plus-7.6 turnover margin has propelled UK to 74.1 points per game, while allowing just 58.5 per contest. The Wildcats have shot just 41.7 percent from the field, including just 31.9 percent from long range, but have held opponents to just 38.1 percent shooting, including just 28.7 percent from beyond the arc. UK also owns a plus-0.4 rebound margin.
Kentucky is 4-4 against top-25 teams this season, but 0-3 against top-15 foes. In SEC play, UK's turnover margin dipped to plus-4.9, while league foes outrebounded the Wildcats (0.4 rpg). Kentucky shot just 38.8 percent from the field in the league, including just 29.4 percent shooting from three-point range. Despite the poor shooting performance, UK still managed to outscore league foes by an average of 8.1 points per game.
Nebraska leads the all-time series with Kentucky, 2-1, but the Wildcats won the last meeting and it came in the NCAA Tournament. In 1999, Kentucky notched a 98-92 win over the Huskers in the NCAA Tournament first round at Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles. Western Kentucky Hall of Famer Paul Sanderford was NU's head coach at the time, and current Louisville head coach Jeff Walz was an assistant on Nebraska's staff.
Huskers Taming Cats Throughout 2010 Season
Nebraska has spent much of the 2009-10 season clashing with cats of all shapes and sizes on the court. Since opening the year with an 86-62 victory over the Davidson Wildcats, the Huskers have produced a perfect 11-0 record over cats of various denominations.
Nebraska is 4-0 against "Wildcat" teams, including three wins over the Kansas State Wildcats. The Huskers also knocked off the LSU Tigers from the SEC, along with a pair of wins over the Missouri Tigers. NU opened NCAA Tournament action with a 39-point win over the Northern Iowa Panthers. The Huskers closed regular-season non-conference play with a 44-point win at Vermont. The Catamounts won the America East automatic bid and advanced to the NCAA second round, falling at eventual Kansas City Regional semifinalist Notre Dame.
The Huskers also crushed the Idaho State Bengals (88-41) and the Washington State Cougars (107-54) early in non-conference play.
Overall, Nebraska has defeated its cat opponents by an average of 25.7 points per game (81.8-56.1) this season, with 10 of the 11 victories by double digits. Only Missouri (at Columbia, Feb. 13) has managed to play the Huskers within single digits.
Huskers Bounce Bruins, Advance to First NCAA Sweet 16
Kelsey Griffin notched her 19th double-double of the year and Dominique Kelley scored a career-high 22 points to lead No. 1 seed Nebraska to its first-ever NCAA Sweet 16 appearance with an 83-70 win over eighth-seeded UCLA in the second round of the NCAA Women's Basketball Championship in Minneapolis on Tuesday.
Griffin scored 18 points and pulled down 14 rebounds to become just the second Husker in history with 2,000 points and 1,000 career rebounds.
"We are so excited to make it to the Sweet 16 and do something no Nebraska men's or women's basketball team has ever done in history," Griffin said. "We can't wait to get to Kansas City, and we are excited that our fans will get the chance to come to Kansas City and see us play. Our fans have been awesome all year and we want to see them at the Sprint Center."
Kelley provided an even bigger offensive punch, as the 5-7 junior from Lincoln hit 6-of-7 shots from the field, including her only three-point attempt, while also hitting 9-of-12 free throws. Kelley added four rebounds, two assists and a steal in arguably her best all-around game of the season. Midway through the second half, Kelley answered a UCLA run by scoring eight straight points, before senior Kala Kuhlmann hit her second jumper of the night to give NU its biggest lead of the game at 66-47 with seven minutes to play.
Senior guard Yvonne Turner added 12 points, including a trio of three-pointers, as Nebraska hit 8-of-15 triples for a season-high 53.3 percent shooting from long range.
Freshman point guard Lindsey Moore added a career night of her own with nine points and a career-best 11 assists, while Minnesota native Cory Montgomery scored all nine of her points in the second half to go along with four rebounds and three assists.
As a team, the Huskers hit 55.6 percent (25-45) of their shots from the field against a Bruin defense that had held foes to just 36.6 percent shooting on the season. NU also outscored UCLA 25-9 at the free throw line, while winning the turnover battle, 19-17.
Darxia Morris led the Bruins with 15 points, including a trio of three-pointers, before fouling out, while Doreena Campbell added 15 points of her own off the bench. Jasmine Dixon added 13 points. Markel Walker contributed 11 points and nine rebounds.
UCLA erupted out of the locker room to start the game with a 15-6 lead less than five minutes into the contest. But the Huskers slowed the Bruins' momentum after UCLA's leading scorers - Dixon and Walker - both picked up their second fouls in a span of 30 seconds with more than 10 minutes left.
With Dixon and Walker off the floor, The Huskers went to work, tying the score for the first time at 15 to cap a 9-0 run. Kelley then gave the Huskers their first lead at 24-23 on a three-pointer with 4:38 left in the half.
Turner then extended the lead to 27-25 with her second three-pointer of the half to spark an 11-0 surge that ended with her third three-pointer of the half to give the Huskers a 35-25 edge with 1:02 left in the half.
UCLA took some of NU's steam away in the final 40 seconds by scoring five straight points to go into the locker room, trailing the Huskers 35-30. Kelley led the Huskers with 11 first-half points, while Turner and Griffin both pitched in nine points.
Huskers in the NCAA Tournament
Nebraska earned its first-ever NCAA Sweet 16 bid by beating eighth-seeded UCLA on March 23 in Minneapolis. NU is making its ninth all-time appearance in the NCAA Tournament, and with two victories in 2010, has improved its all-time record to 5-8 in the Big Dance.
Nebraska's 10 juniors and seniors have made history by producing three NCAA Tournament wins in their Husker careers. No other Husker had ever won more than one NCAA Tournament game at Nebraska prior to this season.
The 1988 Big Eight regular-season champion Huskers earned NU's its first-ever NCAA bid. NCAA appearances followed in 1993, 1996, 1998, 1999 and 2000, before Nebraska's recent string of appearances under Coach Yori in 2007, 2008 and 2010.
Nebraska Against the 2010 NCAA Tournament Field
With an 83-70 win over UCLA in the NCAA Tournament second round, the Huskers ran their record to 12-1 against the 2010 NCAA Tournament field. Even more impressively, Nebraska is 10-1 against teams that advanced to the second round. The Huskers are 4-0 against teams left in the Sweet 16, including two wins over Iowa State, a win at Baylor and a win at Oklahoma. Three of NU's four wins over Sweet 16 foes have come on the road.
Huskers Heat Up From Three After Going Cold in KC
Nebraska made the most of its first- and second-round NCAA trip north to Minnesota by connecting on 18-of-35 three-pointers in wins over Northern Iowa and UCLA. The Huskers hit 10-of-20 threes against UNI in the opener, shooting 50 percent from long range for the first time this season.
Nebraska took it up another notch two nights later, draining 8-of-15 threes for a season-best 53.3 percent success. NU's hot shooting followed a rough stretch from beyond the arc in Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City for the Big 12 Tournament, March 12-13.
The Huskers opened the Big 12 Tournament a season-worst 1-for-21 from long range in a 17-point win over Kansas State, before hitting 7-of-20 threes in a 10-point loss to No. 11 Texas A&M. In two games in Kansas City, the Huskers hit just 19.5 percent of their three-pointers.
For the season, Nebraska has hit nearly 34 percent of its three-point attempts.
Huskers Dominating Non-Conference Competition
In 15 regular-season and post-season games against non-Big 12 opponents, Nebraska has put up impressive numbers. The Huskers are 15-0 against non-Big 12 foes, and have averaged 81.1 points while allowing just 53.5 points per contest.
Along with a victory margin of 27.6 points per game against non-league foes, the Huskers have hit 48.1 percent of their shots from the field, including 37.5 percent of their three-point attempts. NU owns a plus-9.0 rebound margin against non-conference opponents, and a plus-2.5 turnover margin.
Nebraska's non-conference schedule strength makes those numbers even more impressive. When the regular-season non-conference schedule ended, NU's schedule strength was ranked No. 25 nationally. Five of NU's 15 non-league foes have played in the 2010 NCAA Tournament, including LSU, Vermont, UALR and UCLA, which all won first-round NCAA games. The Huskers also eliminated Northern Iowa in the first round.
Yori Named WBCA Coach of the Year
Nebraska's Connie Yori was chosen the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) 2010 RUSSELL ATHLETIC/WBCA NCAA Division I Coach of the Year on March 22.
"This is obviously a great honor for me, and I would like to thank all of the people who have supported and encouraged me throughout my career," Yori said. "This award is less about me and more about our team. I think we have the hardest working coaching staff in the country, and the commitment by my assistants has been unbelievable. Most importantly, this award really recognizes the amazing commitment and hard work of our players not only this year, but the players who came before them and helped build the foundation for our program."
The Huskers tied the Big 12 record with a 30-game winning streak this season and set the school record for most wins in a season in the process. Yori's team won has 17 more games this season than the previous. Nebraska became the first Big 12 Conference team to finish a regular season with an unbeaten record (29-0), and just the second Big 12 team to go 16-0 throughout league play.
Yori, who led Nebraska to a No. 1 seed in the Kansas City Region and its first-ever NCAA Sweet 16 appearance, owns a 153-98 record at NU and a 348-238 mark in 20 seasons overall. She has led Nebraska to a record seven consecutive postseason appearances (2004-10) and three NCAA Tournament appearances (2007, 2008 and 2010).
Yori came to Nebraska after 10 years as the head coach at Creighton University where she finished her career as the 2002 Missouri Valley Conference Coach of the Year after leading Creighton to the NCAA Tournament. Overall, Yori spent 17 seasons at Creighton, including four as a player and three as an assistant coach. Between her time spent as an assistant coach and head coach at Creighton, Yori spent one year as the head softball coach at St. Thomas University where she earned her master's degree in sports administration. Yori then spent two seasons as the head coach at Loras College.
Yori graduated from Creighton with a bachelor's degree in journalism in 1986. As a player for the Bluejays, Yori ranks third on the school's all-time scoring list with 2,010 points. A 1992 inductee into the Creighton University Athletic Hall of Fame, Yori owns the school record for career scoring average (20.3 ppg). She also owns school game records for points (42) and field goals made (20). Her No. 25 jersey was also retired by Creighton.
Yori is married to Kirk Helms and the couple has a son, Lukas. Yori is active in the community as a volunteer, including serving as the honorary chairperson of the 2006 Race for the Cure.
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 Feb. 24, and celebrated the championship by cutting down the nets in front of more than 13,000 Husker fans at the Devaney Center following a win over Missouri on Feb. 27. NU completed a perfect Big 12 season with an 82-72 win at Kansas State March 6.
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.
Huskers Shatter Records with 30-Game Winning Streak
Nebraska had its school-record and Big 12-tying 30-game winning streak snapped with an 80-70 loss to NCAA Tournament No. 2 seed Texas A&M in the semifinals of the Big 12 Tournament on Saturday, March 13.
The loss ended an amazing run through the 2009-10 season for the Huskers, surpassing the previous school-record streak of nine straight wins set in 1996-97. Nebraska also stretched its Big 12 Conference regular-season winning streak to 18 games, which it will carry into 2010-11.
Prior to the 2009-10 season, NU's most wins in a season in school history came with 23 (four times, most recently 1997-98). Nebraska's 29-0 regular-season record also marked the first-ever unbeaten regular season by a league team since the formation of the Big 12 in 1996-97.
The Huskers' 16-0 Big 12 season more than tripled the previous best league start in school history, which came with the 1987-88 Huskers' 5-0 start on their way to the Big Eight regular-season title. The 2010 Big 12 regular-season champion Huskers also amassed their most conference wins in history.
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, including 2003-04 and 2005-06.
Griffin Making History with Record Season
Big 12 Player-of-the-Year Kelsey Griffin is in the midst of arguably the best senior season in school history.
Griffin, a 6-2 forward from Eagle River, Alaska, who is a finalist for the Naismith and Wade trophies and the Wooden Award, is averaging 20.3 points and 10.4 rebounds per game. Her scoring average ranks sixth in Nebraska history, while her rebounding average ranks second.
Among NU's all-time seniors, Griffin's scoring average ranks third, trailing only Amy Stephens 21.9 points per game in 1988-89 and 1993 Wade Trophy winner Karen Jennings' 20.9 points per game. Griffin's 10.3 rebounds per game are the most ever by an NU senior.
Griffin also owns the best field goal percentage by a senior in school history, the most free throws made and attempted, while adding 59 steals, 27 charges drawn and 24 blocked shots.
Griffin joins Jennings (1992, 1993) and Maurtice Ivy (1988) as the only conference players of the year in Nebraska history. As a senior, Jennings averaged 20.9 points and 8.0 rebounds per game. Ivy averaged 19.1 points and 6.1 boards per game while leading the Huskers to their only other league championship in history.
Griffin Invited to WNBA Draft Show on April 8
One of the most talented players in the 2010 senior class, Nebraska's Kelsey Griffin is one of the handful of players who has been invited to attend the 2010 WNBA Draft presented by adidas on April 8 at the NBA Entertainment Studios in Seacaucus, N.J.
The Connecticut Sun hold the top pick in the draft, while the Minnesota Lynx control the No. 2 and No. 3 selections, followed by the Chicago Sky and the San Antonio Silver Stars.
The WNBA tips off its 14th season on Saturday, May 15.
Vote Griffin for 2010 Naismith Trophy
Big 12 Player-of-the-Year Kelsey Griffin has been chosen as one of four finalists for the 2010 Naismith Trophy, presented to the nation's outstanding women's basketball player. Griffin is joined as a finalist by UConn's Tina Charles and Maya Moore and Stanford's Jayne Appel.
Fan voting counts for 25 percent of the balloting, and Husker fans can vote for Griffin by texting "VOTE" to 345345. The first screen to appear will be a vote for a Men's Naismith Trophy finalist. After voting for the men's award, a menu will appear to vote for the Women's Naismith Trophy. Kelsey Griffin fans can choose the letter "D" to vote for Griffin. Fans can vote once per day.
Nebraska Coach Connie Yori is also a finalist for the Naismith Coach-of-the-Year award.
Griffin Joins Elite 2,000-Point, 1,000-Rebound Club
Kelsey Griffin cemented her place among the best players in Nebraska women's basketball history by becoming just the second player in Husker history to score 2,000 points and grab 1,000 rebounds. Griffin scored her 2,000th point in NU's opening-round NCAA Tournament win over Northern Iowa on March 21, then added her 1,000th career rebound against UCLA on March 23.
Griffin, who ranks second in NU history with 39 career double-doubles, joined 1993 Wade Trophy winner Karen Jennings (2,405 points, 1,000 rebounds) in that category. Griffin ranks third on Nebraska's career scoring list with 2,018 points and second in rebounding with 1,007.
Griffin Sets School Record for Starts
With 126 career starts heading into the Kansas City Regional, Kelsey Griffin owns Nebraska's career record. She passed Janet Smith, who started 122 games from 1979 to 1982. Smith, an Omaha Burke graduate, appeared in a school-record 136 games during her four-year career, scoring 1,284 points while establishing school records with 1,280 rebounds and 238 blocked shots.
Griffin Rewriting Nebraska Free Throw Records
Kelsey Griffin continues to add to her mastery of Nebraska's free throw record book.
Griffin owns the NU season record with 184 free throws made this year in a school-record 245 attempts. Against Missouri on Feb. 27, Griffin broke the school record for free throws made in a game with 17, while tying her own school record with 18 attempts.
Not surprisingly, the Alaskan has shattered NU's career free throw records with 557 made and 768 attempted. Nicole Kubik held the previous career mark for makes (440) while Deb Powell owned the most attempts (644).
Yori Leading Nation's Most Improved Team
WBCA National Coach-of-the-Year Connie Yori earned her first Big 12 Conference Coach-of-the-Year honor after leading Nebraska to the best regular season in league history.
Yori's 32-1 Huskers not only went 16-0 in the Big 12, they won 12 games by double digits and led 15 of their 16 league opponents by double digits at some point in the game. The Huskers were only outscored by regular-season league foes in three of 32 halves on the year.
Nebraska's dominance this season followed a 15-16 record in 2008-09, which puts NU in position to be one of the nation's most improved teams in 2009-10. The Huskers are plus-17 in the win column and plus-15 in the loss column, giving them a plus-16 mark by official NCAA standards.
The Huskers have a chance to be the most improved team from one season to the next in NCAA Division I history. Valparaiso owns the current best with a 17-game improvement from 2001 to 2002.
Nebraska's improvement is even more amazing by historical standards, considering the Huskers won 15 games and qualified for the postseason in 2009. NU's 15 wins would be the most ever by a nation's most improved team, while the Huskers could be the first-ever postseason team from the previous year, to be the nation's most improved team the next season.
Yori, Griffin Headline Husker Big 12 Hardware Haul
Coach Connie Yori earned her first Big 12 Conference Coach-of-the-Year honor, while senior forward Kelsey Griffin became the first Cornhusker to garner Big 12 Player-of-the-Year accolades.
Yvonne Turner was voted the Big 12's Co-Defensive Player of the Year, along with Baylor freshman center Brittney Griner, who was also the league's freshman of the year. Texas A&M's Danielle Adams was named the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year.
Griffin, a 6-2 power forward from Eagle River, Alaska, and Turner, a 5-8 guard from Omaha, Neb., were both first-team All-Big 12 selections and were both named to the Big 12 All-Defensive Team. Griffin earned first-team All-Big 12 honors for the third time, placing her on a short list of three-time all-conference players at Nebraska that includes Karen Jennings, Maurtice Ivy and Kiera Hardy. Griffin also joined Jennings (1992, 1993 Big Eight) and Ivy (1988 Big Eight) as the only conference players of the year at NU.
Griffin has averaged 20.3 points and 10.4 rebounds per contest while leading the Big 12 with 19 double-doubles. She ranks second among the Huskers with 59 steals, trailing only Turner's 62 steals, while adding 24 blocked shots and a team-best 27 charges drawn. Griffin leads NU with 228 defensive rebounds. Turner earned her third straight spot on the Big 12 All-Defensive Team while claiming first-team all-league honors for the first time in her four-year career. She ranks among Nebraska's all-time leaders with 228 career steals, while also ranking second in school history with 182 career three-pointers. This season she has averaged 11.8 points per game, including 13.9 points per game in league action. She led the Big 12 in threes per game in league action.
Griffin and Turner were joined on the All-Big 12 first team by fellow senior Cory Montgomery. Nebraska's leading scorer and rebounder a year ago, Montgomery has placed her name among the best in Nebraska history by averaging 12.6 points and 5.1 rebounds per game this year. She has joined Griffin as one of only eight players in school history with 1,300 points and 600 rebounds in her career. The 6-2 forward from Cannon Falls, Minn., also ranks among the top 10 three-point shooters in school history in makes and percentage made. Montgomery was an honorable-mention All-Big 12 pick as a junior when she led NU with 15.2 points and 7.8 rebounds per game.
Nebraska junior Dominique Kelley added an honorable-mention All-Big 12 selection. The 5-7 guard from Lincoln has averaged 12.3 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game as one of the Big Red's "Big Four" scorers this season. Kelley has started 97 consecutive games since being named the Nebraska High School Player of the Year in 2007 at Lincoln Northeast.
Point guard Lindsey Moore completed Nebraska's impressive list of accomplishments by earning one of five spots on the Big 12 All-Freshman Team. Moore has averaged 5.9 points, 2.1 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 1.3 steals per game while starting all 33 games for the Huskers. Moore quarterbacked Nebraska's offense to a perfect 16-0 Big 12 mark by averaging 6.6 points, 2.8 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 1.4 steals per game in the league. Over the past nine games, Moore has averaged 9.7 points per game while shooting better than 50 percent from the field and better than 80 percent from the free throw line.
Montgomery Climbing NU Games Played List
While Kelsey Griffin has set the school record for games started, she ranks second in games played among current Huskers. The leader in that category is Cory Montgomery, who will be playing in her 130th career game on Sunday. The 6-2 forward from Cannon Falls, Minn., will move into a tie for second in school history with Kathy Hagerstrom, trailing only Janet Smith, who owns the NU record with 136 games played from 1979 to 1982.
Senior Class Has Shown Consistency for Huskers
Nebraska's senior class is not only the largest in school history, the six Husker seniors have also teamed for more appearances than any senior class in school history.
Despite several season-ending injuries during their respective careers, including two season-ending knee injuries for senior center Nikki Bober, and a foot injury that kept Kelsey Griffin out of the entire 2008-09 campaign, the six seniors have combined for 677 games played.
Cory Montgomery leads the way with 129 appearances, and Griffin has played in 126 games. Yvonne Turner has competed in 125, while Nicole Neals has appeared in 121. Kala Kuhlmann has played 120 games, while Bober saw action in 56. Prior to this season, only 10 players in the 35-year history of Nebraska women's basketball had played in 120 or more games in a Husker uniform. The group has also achieved unprecedented success on the court over the past four seasons. The group has combined to average 22.5 wins per year, while leading the Huskers to four straight postseason appearances, a pair of NCAA Tournament victories and their first-ever Big 12 regular-season title.
Montgomery Eighth Husker with 1,300 Points, 600 Boards
With 1,364 points and 626 career rebounds, first-team All-Big 12 forward Cory Montgomery is just the eighth Husker in history to score 1,300 points and pull down 600 rebounds in a career.
Montgomery joined Husker teammate Kelsey Griffin on that prestigious list by producing 13 points and nine rebounds in NU's regular-season finale at Kansas State. The 6-2 senior from Cannon Falls, Minn., produced her best effort of the year with a season-high 24 points in NU's Big 12 title-clinching win at No. 11 Oklahoma Feb. 24.
Montgomery has moved into 12th on Nebraska's all-time scoring list and climbed to 13th on NU's career rebounding list. She needs 10 rebounds to catch former teammate Danielle Page in 12th. Montgomery owns 67 double-figure scoring efforts, 10 double-figure rebounding efforts and 10 double-doubles in her career.
Montgomery has played her best against NU's best competition. 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 18 points in Nebraska's win over No. 12 Texas A&M. 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 Kentucky game averaging 12.6 points and 5.1 rebounds per game.
Montgomery has produced double figures in 24 of NU's 33 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 10th career double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds against Kansas State on March 12. She posted her first double-double of the season with game highs of 15 points and 10 rebounds in Nebraska's win over Idaho State on Nov. 19.
Turner Joins Griffin, Montgomery in NU Record Book
First-team All-Big 12 guard 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., has climbed to No. 17 on Nebraska's all-time scoring list with 1,097 career points.
Scoring is just one of the ways that the 2006 Nebraska High School Player of the Year has earned her way into the Husker record book. One of the best three-point shooters in school history, Turner ranks second in Husker history with 182 made three-pointers, trailing only former teammate Kiera Hardy's 267 (2004-07). Turner's 81 threes this year have tied her for third on NU's single-season list, matching Hardy's junior season total of 81 (2005-06). Amy Stephens set the school record with 85 threes in 1988-89, which Hardy matched as a sophomore in 2004-05.
Turner first made a name for herself at Nebraska with her defense. The 2010 Big 12 Co-Defensive Player of the Year and three-time Big 12 All-Defensive Team selection had 81 steals as a sophomore in 2007-08 to rank eighth in school history. Her 228 career steals rank fifth on the NU all-time list. She needs just three more to catch Deb Powell in fourth with 231.
With four assists against Kansas on March 3, Turner also reached 200 assists in her career to place herself in elite company among Nebraska's all-time best guards. Turner become just the sixth Husker to score 1,000 points, dish out 200 assists and record 200 steals, joining Anna DeForge, Nicole Kubik, Brooke Schwartz, Amy Stephens and Meggan Yedsena.
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 7,390 fans per game - ranking eighth nationally. NU's Big 12 attendance was spectacular, averaging a Big 12-best 11,383 fans per game. Nebraska drew seven consecutive crowds of more than 10,000 to the Devaney Center to end the season, beginning with a then-school-record 13,303 fans for Nebraska's win over Kansas State on Jan. 23.
Nebraska smashed that record against Missouri Feb. 27, posting the first sellout in school history with 13,595 fans. Over the last seven home games, the Huskers attracted an average of 11,989 fans per game to the Devaney Center. NU's previous single-season average home attendance record was 5,000 fans per game in 1998-99.
NU's success at the turnstiles is even more amazing considering season ticket holders numbered just 1,424 entering the 2009-10 season. With Nebraska's success this season, 2010-11 season tickets went on sale earlier than ever, as the Athletic Department announced "March Madness" pricing for new season ticket buyers beginning on March 8 and continuing through March 31.
During the first two weeks of the promotion, Nebraska has sold more than 1,000 new season tickets for next season, increasing the Huskers' season ticket base by more than 70 percent.
Huskers Spend Nine Weeks in AP Top 10
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 for five weeks, before slipping one spot to No. 4 heading into the NCAA Tournament. The Huskers have spent nine straight weeks in the top 10 and 14 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.
The Huskers have never finished a season in either of the top 25 polls.
Huskers Run High in Official NCAA RPI
The NCAA released its official RPI rankings on Monday, March 15, and Nebraska was near the top of the chart with a No. 4 national RPI ranking. Only Connecticut, Tennessee and Stanford were ahead of the Huskers.
Big 12 foes Texas A&M (6th) and Oklahoma (8th) joined Nebraska in the top 10, while Oklahoma State was 12th, Texas 13th, Baylor 15th and Iowa State 26th giving the Big 12 seven teams in the RPI top 30. All seven teams earned spots in the 64-team NCAA Tournament field.
All 12 of the Big 12 teams were among the top 125, including No. 44 Kansas, No. 58 Texas Tech, No. 89 Kansas State, No. 110 Missouri and No. 121 Colorado.
Nebraska owns 20 wins over top-100 RPI teams, including No. 6 Texas A&M, No. 8 Oklahoma, No. 12 Oklahoma State, No. 13 Texas, No. 15 Baylor, No. 22 UCLA, No. 26 Iowa State (2), No. 29 LSU, No. 39 Vermont, No. 44 Kansas (2), No. 56 UALR, No. 58 Texas Tech, No. 65 Creighton, No. 73 Saint Mary's, No. 80 Miami and No. 89 Kansas State (3). NU also owns wins over RPI No. 110 Missouri (2) and No. 121 Colorado (2). Eleven of NU's top-100 RPI wins have come away from home, including nine true road wins.
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 and all earned Big 12 Conference honors for their performances this year.
Each of NU's most experienced players are averaging 11 or more points per game. Griffin leads NU with 20.3 points and 10.4 rebounds per game, while Montgomery - NU's leading scorer and rebounder a year ago - is averaging 12.6 points and 5.1 boards per contest. Turner has added 11.8 points and 3.5 rebounds per game - while pouring in 13.9 points and 3.6 boards per game in league action to earn first-team All-Big 12 honors. Kelley, the lone junior in the group, has pitched in 12.3 points and 3.9 rebounds on her way to honorable-mention All-Big 12 accolades.
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.
NU Showing North Division Dominance over Last Five Years
During the past five seasons, Nebraska leads the North Division with a 36-14 regular-season record against the other five Big 12 North foes. Iowa State is 32-18, while Kansas State is 30-20 in that span.
The Huskers completed season sweeps of Iowa State, Colorado, Missouri, Kansas and Kansas State to finish 10-0 this season against the North. NU completed its fifth sweep at Kansas State on March 6 (82-72), after beating the Wildcats (71-56) in Lincoln on Jan. 23. Iowa State was 7-3 against the North this year, while Kansas State and Kansas were 5-5. Colorado was 3-7 and Missouri 0-10.
Huskers First North Team 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 regular-season 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 regular-season meetings with Big 12 South foes, Nebraska averaged 80.7 points per game, while surrendering 62.2 points per contest, for an average winning margin of 18.5 points per game.
Nebraska is 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.
Griffin Dominates Fan Vote For Lowe's Senior Class Award
Nebraska senior forward Kelsey Griffin led fan voting for the 2010 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award for NCAA Division I women's basketball when fan voting closed on March 22. Griffin received four times more votes than any of the other nine finalists, receiving 44 percent of the fan vote, which will count one-third toward the final award.
The three-time first-team All-Big 12 selection and Big 12 Player of the Year is 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 three-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.
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).
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. 22 UCLA marked their 20th win over an AP Top 25 foe during Yori's tenure, including their eighth 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.
Nebraska led the Big 12 with six first-team academic all-conference selections this season. Five Husker seniors claimed first-team honors, led by Kelsey Griffin. It was the third first-team award of Griffin's career. She was joined as a three-time first-team selection by senior Kala Kuhlmann, while Cory Montgomery added her third academic award, including her second first-team honor. Nicole Neals and Nikki Bober also claimed first-team honors, along with junior center Jessica Periago. The 6-4 center from France earned her second first-team award.
During the 2009 fall semester, the women's basketball team posted a cumulative 3.138 GPA. In addition to the high grade-point averages, Montgomery (business administration) and 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. 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.
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 19 double-doubles, including 12 in Big 12 play.
Her averages of 20.3 points and 10.4 rebounds lead the Huskers and rank among the best players in the Big 12, while she is averaging fewer than 28 minutes per game. She also owns a career-high 59 steals and 27 charges drawn, while adding 24 blocked shots. She also ranks among the top players nationally with her 60.2 field goal percentage. In Big 12 play, she averaged 21.4 points and 10.6 rebounds per game.
In Nebraska's regular-season finale at Kansas State March 6, Griffin exploded for a career-high 36 points on 15-of-19 shooting from the field. She added seven rebounds against the Wildcats. It was her fourth 30-point effort of the year and fifth in her career.
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 with 30 points and 14 rebounds in NU's win over No. 5 LSU on Dec. 20.
Griffin produced her third 30-point effort of the season with 30 points and 13 rebounds in NU's Big 12 title-clinching win at No. 11 Oklahoma on Feb. 24.
She has scored 20 or more points 17 times, including 11 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 Feb. 13. She 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 then-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 20 double-figure rebound totals on the year, including a 19-point, 17-rebound effort against Missouri Feb. 27, which also included a career-high five blocked shots.
In her career, Griffin has produced 20 or more points on 34 occasions, including 17 games with 25 or more points. She enters the Kentucky game with 103 career double-figure scoring efforts and 41 double-figure rebounding performances in her career.
Turner Shoots to No. 2 on NU Career Three List
Senior Yvonne Turner has hit 81-of-220 three-point attempts (36.8 percent) to lead an impressive Husker three-point barrage through 33 games. Turner ranks third in the Big 12 with 2.5 made three-pointers per game this season, while her 2.8 threes per game in Big 12 games tied Iowa State's Kelsey Bolte for the league lead.
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 owns 182 career threes to rank No. 2 in school history, trailing only former teammate Kiera Hardy (267, 2003-06).
Turner ranks second on NU's senior single-season three-point list with 81. 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 closed her third year ranked 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 three-time Big 12 All-Defensive Team pick, Turner is ranked among the top 10 active Big 12 players in both career three-pointers (182) and career steals (228).
Huskers Earn Seventh Straight Postseason Appearance
Nebraska claimed its seventh consecutive postseason tournament bid by earning a No. 1 seed in the 2010 NCAA Tournament. NU also 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.
All time, Nebraska is making its ninth trip to the NCAA Tournament (1988, 1993, 1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2007, 2008, 2010). The Huskers are 5-8 all-time in the NCAA Tournament and had never advanced past the second round before this season. The Huskers also earned trips to the Postseason WNIT in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2009 as part of their seven-season streak, joining WNIT bids in 1976 and 1992.
Huskers Producing Massive Margins
Nebraska's average victory margin of 19.9 points per game is the best in school history and ranks among the top teams in the nation. The 2009-10 Huskers are averaging 77.7 points per game, 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.
Not only have the Huskers been winning, they have been doing it in impressive fashion, with 27 of their 32 victories by double digits, including 11 wins by 20 or more points and seven 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 31 of their 33 opponents by double digits in the second half, with only Texas A&M (Big 12 Tournament) and Missouri (Columbia) avoiding 10-point margins.
No regular-season Big 12 foe played the Huskers within a possession, and only one - Kansas State in the regular-season finale at Manhattan - led Nebraska at halftime. NU led 15 of its 16 Big 12 opponents by double digits in the second half, as only Missouri kept the Huskers within single digits for the full 40 minutes.
From half-to-half, Nebraska outscored Big 12 opponents in 28 of 32 halves this season. In the entire season, Nebraska lost only six of 66 halves.
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. The Huskers have hit 80 or more points on 16 occasions.
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 16 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 57.8 points per game, 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.
Powerful Big 12 Shoots for More Postseason Success in 2010
The Big 12 is rated as the No. 1 RPI league in the nation for the fourth straight season by CollegeRPI.com. When the field of 64 teams for the 2010 NCAA Tournament was announced, seven league teams (Nebraska, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Baylor, Iowa State, Oklahoma State, Texas) earned top-six seeds in the tournament.
In 2009, the Big 12 matched the Big East Conference by sending four teams to the NCAA Sweet 16, 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 2009-10, every Big 12 Conference teams ranked among the top 121 nationally in the NCAA RPI.
Kelley Cranks Up Production As a Junior
Junior guard Dominique Kelley has put up big numbers for Nebraska this season, averaging 12.3 points and 3.9 rebounds in just 24.3 minutes per game. The 5-7 hometown favorite out of Lincoln Northeast High School earned honorable-mention All-Big 12 accolades with 24 double-figure scoring efforts, including a career-high 22 points in NU's second-round NCAA Tournament win over No. 22 UCLA on March 23.
Kelley has averaged 16.5 points and 4.0 rebounds in NU's first two 2010 NCAA Tournament games.
Her previous season high came with 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 in the Big 12 Tournament semifinal loss to No. 11 Texas A&M on March 13, against Colorado (Jan. 30), No. 19 Texas (Jan. 12) and Saint Mary's (Nov. 28).
A consistent scorer and tough defender, Kelley has produced 48 double-figure scoring efforts in her NU career, including 41 over the past 64 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 15 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. She added 16 points in a win over Kansas on March 3, when she pumped in 14 points in the first half. She played just 22 minutes.
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.
Freshman Moore Leads Huskers to First 30-Win Season
Freshman Lindsey Moore has helped the Huskers to a 32-1 record as Nebraska's starting point guard. The 2009 Washington High School Player of the Year earned one of five spots on the Big 12 All-Freshman Team with her composed and steady play, while leading NU to the best season in school history.
Moore 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 produced her eighth double-figure scoring effort with 10 points, five assists and no turnovers in Nebraska's first-round NCAA Tournament win over Northern Iowa. She had five double-figure efforts in Big 12 play, including 10 points at Kansas State March 6. Moore has averaged 9.8 points and 4.7 assists over the past 10 games.
Moore is coming off a nine-point effort against No. 22 UCLA in the NCAA second round that included a school-record 11 assists. She added eight points, seven assists and a career-high four steals in NU's Big 12 semifinal loss to No. 11 Texas A&M on March 13.
Moore pumped in 14 points to go along with three assists and three steals in Nebraska's run past Kansas on March 3. She added 10 points, four rebounds, four assists and a steal in Nebraska's Big 12 title-clinching win at No. 11 Oklahoma on Feb. 24. 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 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 ranked sixth in Big 12 games with a 1.7-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio, while tying for fourth with 4.6 assists per game. She has moved into third on Nebraska's freshman single-season assist chart with 152, 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 produced 24 steals in 16 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. She also notched four steals in NU's second win against Kansas.
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 33 games, Moore has notched eight or more assists five 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. She had nine assists in a run past Kansas State on Jan. 23.
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.
Turner Moves to Fifth on NU Career Steals List
With 228 career steals, including 62 this season, Big 12 Co-Defensive Player-of-the-Year Yvonne Turner ranks No. 5 on Nebraska's all-time steals list and needs just three more to catch Deb Powell in fourth.
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 31 steals in her last 13 games.
Turner solidified her spot as one of the Big 12's best defenders in 2009-10 by earning her third straight appearance on the Big 12 All-Defensive Team. In Big 12 play this season, she averaged 2.4 steals per contest, including five games with four steals.
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.
Huskers Shatter School Three-Point Record
Nebraska is in the process of crushing the single-season school record for three-pointers made. 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 has increased its 2009-10 total to 220 threes through 33 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 has hit 6.7 threes per game, well ahead of school-record pace, which was set last season with 5.5 threes 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 in just 20 attempts in an NCAA first-round win over Northern Iowa, while adding 10 more threes against Idaho State. NU hit nine threes against Colorado (Feb. 20), Kansas State, Texas, Miami and UNLV. The Huskers buried eight threes against No. 22 UCLA, 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, but NU's individual numbers still rival all-conference levels of production.
Big 12 Player-of-the-Year Kelsey Griffin, a three-time first-team All-Big 12 selection and a Big 12 All-Defensive Team selection makes the strongest case for considering production per minute, rather than per game. Griffin averages 20.3 points per game and a league-leading 10.4 rebounds per game. Those numbers become significantly more impressive considering she has played just 27.6 minutes per game.
Taken over 40 minutes, Griffin would be averaging 29.4 points, 15.0 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.6 steals. In addition to her 59 steals this season, Griffin has added 24 blocked shots and drawn a team-leading 27 charges. She is also shooting 60.2 percent from the field, which ranks among national leaders.
With 670 points and 342 rebounds in 911 minutes, Griffin is averaging 0.74 points per minute and 0.37 rebounds per minute. 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 - 29.4 points, 15.0 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 2.6 steals
Dominique Kelley - 20.2 points, 6.4 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.3 steals
Cory Montgomery - 18.2 points, 7.4 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 0.8 steals
Yvonne Turner - 17.7 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 2.8 steals
Lindsey Moore - 8.4 points, 3.1 rebounds, 6.6 assists, 1.9 steals
Catheryn Redmon - 10.9 points, 11.4 rebounds, 4.9 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.
Nebraska's focus is paying dividends, as the Huskers carry a plus-5.1 team rebounding margin, which ranks third in the Big 12, trailing only Baylor and Iowa State - two teams NU outrebounded head-to-head.
Nebraska has outrebounded 24 of its 33 opponents, surpassing the total of 12 foes the Huskers outrebounded in 32 games in 2008-09. Last season, the Huskers outrebounded just five opponents after Christmas, while the 2009-10 Huskers have outrebounded 15 opponents since the holiday break. Only eight opponents have outrebounded NU this season.
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 10.4 boards per game, including 20 double-digit rebound efforts.
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 139 blocks heading into the NCAA Kansas City Regional.
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 an NU junior season record 63 rejections in 519 minutes. She has blocked two or more shots in 19 of NU's 33 contests and is averaging 1.9 blocks in just 15.7 minutes per game.
Redmon blocked three shots in NU's first-round NCAA Tournament win over Northern Iowa on March 21, after notching four rejections in the Big 12 Tournament semifinals against No. 11 Texas A&M.
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 Starting Fast, Finishing Strong
Nebraska's high-powered offense is averaging 38.6 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 28.0 points per first half, as the Huskers have headed to the locker room with an average lead of 10.6 points (38.6-28.0).
Nebraska has allowed only 10 foes to score 30 or more points in the first half, while holding six opponents to 20 or fewer first-half points on the year. 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.
It hasn't gone much better for Nebraska opponents in the second half, as the Huskers have averaged 39.1 points after halftime, while the opposition has managed 29.8 points per second half.
In 16 home victories, NU averagd 42.9 points (686 total points) in the first half, while allowing just 26.9 points per first half (431 total points) for an average home halftime lead of 16 points.
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 had to compensate for the loss of more than 300 combined career starts. Iowa State replaced nearly 300 starts, while Oklahoma had 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 a school-record 126 games in her NU career. Nebraska also features junior guard Dominique Kelley, who has started 97 straight games, while senior forward Cory Montgomery owns 68 career starts, including 65 straight. Yvonne Turner has started 94 career games, while freshman Lindsey Moore has started her first 33 games, giving NU a starting five with 418 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 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.
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. NU played five nationally televised games on FSN in 2010, including two in the Big 12 Tournament.
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.
Huskers Add ESPN Exposure in NCAA Tournament
Nebraska will be playing its 14th televised game of the season when the Huskers take on Kentucky in the Kansas City Regional semifinal on Sunday, March 28. It will mark the third straight game televised by ESPN2.
The Huskers appeared on FSN five times nationally in 2009-10, while adding three FSN regionally televised games. Nebraska also had one game televised statewide in Nebraska by NET, while adding local TV shares at Texas Tech and Oklahoma.
NU also had 14 games streamed live on Huskers.com, either through its premium service - HuskersNside - or free on Huskers.com.
Nebraska's History of Success at Home
Since the Bob Devaney Sports Center opened in 1976-77, the Huskers are 351-118 (.748) in games played in the arena, including 133-77 (.633) in conference games. Since 2003-04, NU is 87-22 (.799) at the Devaney Center.
NU has posted double-figure home victory totals in seven consecutive seasons, including a perfect 16-0 mark in 2009-10 to stretch the Husker home winning streak to 20 games. NU's longest home winning streak is 29 games.
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.
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 and a preference will be given to the player with most improved rebounding percentage from the previous season.
To contribute to the Kathy Branchaud Memorial Women's Basketball Scholarship Fund, please contact the Nebraska Athletic Development Office at (402) 472-2367.