#16/#14 Nebraska Cornhuskers
(11-2 Overall, 1-0 Big Ten)
Michigan State Spartans
(9-5 Overall, 1-0 Big Ten)
Thursday, Jan. 9, 6 p.m. (Central)
Breslin Center (East Lansing, Mich.)
Tickets: Huskers.com / 1-800-8-BIG-RED
Radio: 25-Station IMG College Husker Sports Network
(PBP-Matt Coatney; Analyst-Jeff Griesch)
107.3 FM KBBK-Lincoln; 93.3 FM KFFF-Omaha
Free Live Audio: Huskers.com
National Television: Big Ten Network
(PBP-Eric Collins; Analyst-Mary Murphy)
Huskers Open Big Ten Road Swing with Spartans Thursday
The No. 16 Nebraska women’s basketball team hits the road for the first time in more than a month to face Michigan State in the Big Red’s Big Ten road opener on Thursday night.
Tip-off between the Huskers (11-2, 1-0 Big Ten) and the Spartans (9-5, 1-0 Big Ten) is set for 6 p.m. (CT) with live national television coverage by the Big Ten Network with Eric Collins and Mary Murphy on the call.
The game can be heard live on the Husker Sports Network, including flagships B107.3 FM in Lincoln and the Wolf 93.3 FM in Omaha. Free live audio is available on Huskers.com.
Nebraska, which was the preseason pick of media and coaches to win the 2014 Big Ten title, opened conference play with a 66-65 come-from-behind win over Northwestern in the first-ever Big Ten game at Pinnacle Bank Arena. It was Nebraska’s fifth straight win.
Michigan State also notched a Big Ten-opening victory, crushing Minnesota 81-56 on the Gophers’ homecourt on Saturday at the Barn. It was the third straight win overall for the Spartans, who carry a 6-1 home mark at the Breslin Center this season.
All-American Jordan Hooper leads a talented and experienced starting five for the Big Red. The two-time first-team All-Big Ten forward from Alliance, Neb., ranks among the top three players in the Big Ten by averaging 20.2 points and 10.8 rebounds per game. She notched her seventh double-double with 14 points and 10 boards in last Thursday’s win over Northwestern. Hooper is 53 points and 49 rebounds away from becoming just third Husker and fifth Big Ten player in history to reach career milestones of 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds.
Hooper, who is expected to make her 112th consecutive start, has been joined in Nebraska’s starting five by junior forwards Emily Cady (13.2 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 2.2 apg) and Hailie Sample (6.5 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 2.7 apg) for each of the past 80 games.
#16 Nebraska Cornhuskers (11-2, 1-0 Big Ten)
3 - Hailie Sample - 6-1 - Jr. - F - 6.5 ppg, 5.7 rpg
23 - Emily Cady - 6-2 - Jr. - F - 13.2 ppg, 8.5 rpg
35 - Jordan Hooper - 6-2 - Sr. - F - 20.2 ppg, 10.8 rpg
33 - Rachel Theriot - 6-0 - So. - G - 12.1 ppg, 3.8 rpg
1 - Tear’a Laudermill - 5-9 - Jr. - G - 8.8 ppg, 2.8 rpg
Off the Bench
21 - Sadie Murren - 5-8 - So. - G - 4.5 ppg, 1.8 rpg
22 - Allie Havers - 6-5 - Fr. - C - 4.3 ppg, 2.9 rpg
13 - Brandi Jeffery - 5-7 - Jr. - G - 4.3 ppg, 2.3 rpg
10 - Hannah Tvrdy - 5-9 - Fr. - G - 1.8 ppg, 0.6 rpg
11 - Esther Ramacieri - 5-8 - Fr. - G - 0.1 ppg, 0.4 rpg
Head Coach: Connie Yori (Creighton, 1986)
12th Season at NU (226-137); 24th Season Overall (421-277)
Michigan State Spartans (9-5, 1-0 Big Ten)
11 - Annalise Pickrel - 6-3 - Sr. - F - 13.3 ppg, 6.9 rpg
23 - Aeriel Powers - 6-0 - RFr. - F - 13.4 ppg, 7.6 rpg
52 - Becca Mills - 6-4 - Jr. - F - 9.1 ppg, 6.1 rpg
0 - Kiana Johnson - 5-7 - Jr. - G - 8.9 ppg, 2.7 rpg
21 - Klarissa Bell - 5-11 - Sr. - G - 8.8 ppg, 5.1 rpg
Off the Bench
1 - Tori Jankoska - 5-8 - Fr. - G - 11.6 ppg, 3.1 rpg
10 - Branndais Agee - 5-11 - RFr. - G - 6.3 ppg, 4.4 rpg
4 - Jasmine Hines - 6-3 - Jr. - C - 3.3 ppg, 3.3 rpg
40 - Madison Williams - 6-7 - RJr. - C - 3.1 ppg, 2.7 rpg
2 - Cara Miller - 6-1 - So. - G - 2.7 ppg, 1.3 rpg
14 - Anna Morrissey - 5-10 - Jr. - G - 2.2 ppg, 0.2 rpg
5 - Mariah Harris - 5-11 - So. - G - 0.9 ppg, 0.9 rpg
13 - Taylor Hengesbach - 5-10 - Fr. - G - 0.7 ppg, 0.3 rpg
Head Coach: Suzy Merchant (Central Michigan, 1991)
Seventh Season at MSU (149-67); 19th Season Overall (350-187)
Husker Hot Shots - Nebraska’s Starting Five
#35, Jordan Hooper, 6-2, Sr., F, Alliance, Neb. (20.2 ppg, 10.8 rpg)
• Senior All-American Jordan Hooper needs 29 points to catch fellow Alliance, Neb., native Amy Stephens (1,976 points, 1986-89) at No. 4 on Nebraska’s all-time scoring list. Hooper is 53 points and 49 rebounds away from becoming just the third Husker in history to achieve the 2,000-point, 1,000-rebound career milestones. Hooper would become just the fifth Big Ten Conference player in history to achieve those combined plateaus.
• Hooper is also a candidate for CoSIDA Academic All-America honors with a 3.45 GPA as a psychology major. She is scheduled to graduate in May. Hooper is also a Senior CLASS Award candidate.
• Hooper has joined former Husker first-team All-Americans Karen Jennings and Kelsey Griffin as the only players in school history with 1,900 points and 900 rebounds. Hooper ranks No. 5 in school history with 1,947 points and No. 4 in the NU record book with 951 career rebounds.
• Hooper ranks No. 8 nationally among all active NCAA Division I players with 1,947 career points. She ranks No. 3 in the Big Ten in scoring this season and No. 33 nationally with 20.2 points per game.
• Through games Jan. 5, Hooper ranked second in the Big Ten and 28th nationally with 10.8 rebounds per game. With 951 career rebounds, Hooper ranks No. 10 among all active NCAA Division I players.
• Hooper, who owns 33 career double-doubles, is averaging a double-double with 20.2 points and 10.8 rebounds through 13 games. Her seven double-doubles this season are tied for 27th nationally.
• Hooper is expected to make her 112th consecutive start in Thursday’s game at Michigan State. She will move within one spot of Amy Stephens (113) at No. 8 on the NU career starts list.
• Hooper needs just two assists to match her previous single-season career high of 22.
• Hooper has scored in double figures in 97 of her 111 career games, including 40 20-point performances. She owns eight career 30-point efforts, including 33 points and 14 boards against Utah State (Dec. 8) and 30 points and 11 rebounds against ORU (Dec. 29) this season. She has grabbed double-digit rebounds on 39 occasions, including nine times this year.
#23, Emily Cady, 6-2, Jr., F, Seward, Neb. (13.2 ppg, 8.5 rpg)
• Emily Cady is nearly averaging a double-double with 13.2 points and 8.5 rebounds. She owns four double-doubles this season (Alabama, Southern, Washington State, Utah State) and 12 in her career.
• With 12 career double-doubles, Cady needs one more to crack Nebraska’s top-10 list in that category. Kathy Hagerstrom (1980-83) and Carol Garey (1979-80) are tied for ninth with 13.
• Cady ranks No. 6 overall in rebounding (8.5 rpg) and No. 5 in defensive rebounds (6.6 pg) in the Big Ten. She is also No. 4 in the conference in field goal percentage (.561).
• Cady needs six rebounds to become the 17th player in school history to reach the 600-rebound milestone. She is 67 rebounds away from joining the Nebraska top 10 in career rebounds (661).
• Cady, who crossed the 800-point career scoring mark against Northwestern, needs just one more steal to reach the 100 steal mark for her career. Cady will become just the ninth Husker in history with 800 points, 600 rebounds, 100 assists and 100 steals in her career.
• Cady ranks 10th in NU history with 71 career blocks. She needs 17 more to catch Casey Leonhardt (88, 2000-01) in ninth on the Husker career chart. Only seven Huskers have 100 career blocks.
#33, Rachel Theriot, 6-0, So., G, Middleburg Heights, Ohio
(12.1 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 5.7 apg)
• Rachel Theriot ranks No. 2 in the Big Ten in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.2-to-1) and No. 3 in the Big Ten in free throw percentage (.909, 30-33). She also ranks No. 4 in the conference in assists (5.7 apg).
• Theriot has scored in double figures on eight occasions this season, including a career-high 28 points at Utah (Nov. 15), when she added a career-best seven rebounds. Theriot owns 15 career double-figure scoring efforts and one career 20-point game.
• Theriot has scored 157 points through 13 games. Last season, she didn’t score her 157th point until game 27, when she had 19 points in a win over Iowa to reach 159 on Feb. 24.
• Theriot is 30-of-33 at the line in 2013-14. She went 10-for-17 in 34 games with 28 starts in 2012-13.
#3, Hailie Sample, 6-0, Jr., F, Flower Mound, Texas (6.5 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 2.7 apg)
• Hailie Sample is expected to join Jordan Hooper and Emily Cady in Nebraska’s starting front line for the 81st consecutive game on Thursday’s game at Michigan State.
• Sample is averaging 6.5 points and 5.7 rebounds, while ranking second on the team with 2.7 assists per game. She produced double figures for the third time with a season-high 13 points in NU’s win over Creighton on Dec. 14. Sample owns nine career double-figure scoring performances, including a career-high 20 points in last season’s loss at Creighton.
• Sample is tied for 13th in the Big Ten with 2.0 offensive rebounds per game.
• Over the last four games, Sample has posted 12 assists against three turnovers.
#1, Tear’a Laudermill, 5-9, Jr., G, Riverside, Calif. (8.8 ppg, 2.8 rpg)
• Tear’a Laudermill has averaged 11.0 points, 2.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.8 steals during Nebraska’s five-game winning streak. The last three games, Laudermill is averaging 13.3 points, 3.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.7 steals.
• Laudermill has produced double figures in each of the last three games, producing 14 points, a career-high-matching five assists, no turnovers and two steals in NU’s Big Ten-opening win over Northwestern (Jan. 2). She scored a career-high 15 points in NU’s win over South Dakota (Dec. 21) and added 11 points, a career-high five assists and a season-high three steals in just 18 minutes against ORU (Dec. 29).
• Laudermill has six double-figure scoring efforts in the last nine games. She had just four double-figure efforts in the first 65 games of her career.
• Laudermill owns five blocked shots this season - all in the last 12 games. She produced five blocked shots in the first 62 games of her career, all coming last season.
• Laudermill is Nebraska’s No. 2 active career three-point shooter with 49 makes. Jordan Hooper leads NU with 241 in her career.
• Nebraska’s front line players Jordan Hooper, Emily Cady and Hailie Sample are expected to make their 81st consecutive starts together in Thursday’s Big Ten road opener at Michigan State. The group is averaging 39.8 points and 25 rebounds per game this season.
• Emily Cady, Hailie Sample and Rachel Theriot have combined to step up their production from a year ago. The trio combined for just 248 points in NU’s first 13 games last season. This year, the group has produced 413 points in 13 contests - combining for 12.7 more points per game than 2012-13.
• Junior guard Brandi Jeffery started NU’s first three games. She missed the Southern game with an injury but has returned for Nebraska’s last nine games. During Nebraska’s five-game winning streak, Jeffery is averaging 6.0 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game, while going 6-of-12 from three-point range.
• Nebraska ranks No. 8 nationally with 62,664 fans at home this season. The Huskers rank 12th nationally with an average home attendance of 5,697 per game. The Huskers drew 10 of the top-16 non-conference home crowds in school history this season, including a record 9,750 vs. UCLA (Nov. 8).
Big Red, Big Picture
• Nebraska 2013-14 recruiting class is ranked No. 9 nationally by ESPN.
• Nebraska has sold more than 3,500 all-session tickets for the NCAA Lincoln Regional (March 29-31).
• Nebraska recognized 2013 All-American Lindsey Moore during the Oral Roberts game (Dec. 29) for her part in helping the Minnesota Lynx to the 2013 WNBA title. The first-round pick in the WNBA Draft returned to Lincoln from her professional team in Italy to receive a minute-long standing ovation.
• Nebraska will retire 2010 All-American Kelsey Griffin’s jersey at the Michigan game (Jan. 29). The 2010 Senior CLASS Award winner and Nebraska Female Student-Athlete of the Year will have her number raised at Pinnacle Bank Arena, but not permanently retired. Current Husker Emily Cady shares Griffin’s No. 23. Griffin, a four-year WNBA veteran, will make a return trip to Lincoln from her club team in Australia.
• The Huskers have advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 twice in the last four seasons (2010, 2013).
• NU has earned NCAA Tournament trips in five of the past seven seasons (2007, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013).
• Coach Connie Yori is the winningest coach in Husker history (226 victories) and has won conference coach-of-the-year honors in the Big Ten (2013), Big 12 (2012) and Missouri Valley (2002). She was the national coach-of-the-year in 2010.
Scouting the Michigan State Spartans
Michigan State enters its Big Ten home opener against Nebraska at the Breslin Center on Thursday night following an 81-56 road run past Minnesota at the Barn in Minneapolis on Saturday. The Spartans, who advanced to the second round of the 2013 NCAA Tournament after running to an appearance in the Big Ten Tournament championship game, carry a 9-5 record into the game with the Huskers.
MSU’s five losses include setbacks to unbeaten and No. 2 Notre Dame, and single-digit losses to current top-25 teams Florida State (60-58) and Oklahoma State (63-57), who have combined for two losses. They also have suffered losses to Virginia Tech (10-3) and IPFW (7-7).
The Spartans closed the first half in Minnesota on a 22-5 surge after Gopher star Rachel Banham was whistled for her second personal foul, and Minnesota never recovered.
A balanced and explosive Michigan State bunch hit 10-of-12 shots from the floor to close the first half, then shot 68 percent (17-25) from the field in the second half. The Spartans head into the game with Nebraska having hit 27 of their last 37 shots (73 percent).
Michigan State put five players in double figures against Minnesota, and the Spartans’ top scorer entering the game - Annalise Pickrel - finished with nine points and six rebounds. Aerial Powers, MSU’s leading scorer entering Thursday’s game, had 13 points and eight boards.
Powers, a 6-0 redshirt freshman forward, leads the Spartans in scoring, rebounding and steals with 13.4 points, 7.6 rebounds and 1.9 steals per contest. Pickrel, a 6-3 senior forward, has added 13.3 points and 6.9 rebounds per game, ranking second on the team in both categories while leading MSU with 16 blocked shots on the season.
Becca Mills, a 6-4 junior forward, has added 9.1 points and 6.1 rebounds per game, including 12 points and nine rebounds on a perfect shooting day (5-5) against the Gophers.
Fellow junior Kiana Johnson, a speedy 5-7 point guard, has pitched in 8.9 points and 2.7 rebounds per game, while leading MSU with 6.1 assists per game.
Klarissa Bell, a 5-11 senior guard who earned preseason All-Big Ten honors, ranks fifth in scoring (8.8 ppg) and fourth in rebounding (5.1 rpg) among the MSU starting five. She also ranks second on the team with 3.6 assists per contest. Bell went a perfect 4-for-4 from the field and 3-for-3 from three-point range to finish with 11 points, six rebounds, five assists, two steals and a block in the win at Minnesota.
Michigan State also carries one of the Big Ten’s most experienced and talented benches. Freshman Tori Jankoska, a 5-8 freshman guard, ranks third among the Spartans in scoring with 11.6 points per game. Jankoska, who leads MSU with 26 three-pointers on the season, scored a team-high 14 points in Saturday’s win at Minnesota. She powered an MSU bench that outscored Minnesota’s 23-2 in the game.
Redshirt freshman guard Branndais Agee has added 6.3 points and 4.4 boards per game off the bench, while 6-3 junior center Jasmine Hines has contributed 3.3 points and 3.3 boards.
Hines, a part-time starter and major contributor for MSU the past two seasons, has battled injury so far this season. Redshirt junior Madison Williams, a 6-7 center who has been plagued by knee injuries throughout her career, is also contributing for the Spartans off the bench, averaging 3.1 points and 2.7 boards per game.
Sophomore guard Cara Miller (2.7 ppg, 1.3 rpg) and junior guard Anna Morrissey (2.2 ppg, 0.2 rpg) also have been regular contributors for the Spartans this season.
Michigan State’s Suzy Merchant, who notched her 350th career win at Minnesota in her 19th season as a collegiate head coach, will take aim at her 150th victory in her seventh season at MSU. She has designed a Michigan State offense that is averaging 76.9 points per game and shooting 45.4 percent from the field this season. Those numbers are strikingly similar to Nebraska’s 76.2 points per game and 45.0 percent shooting.
Led by Jankoska (26-79), Pickrel (24-54) and Bell (16-44), the Spartans have hit 35 percent of their three-pointers on the season. They also are shooting 69.6 percent from the free throw line. MSU has outscored its opponents by an average of 12.8 points and outrebounded the opposition by 7.8 boards per game. The Spartans also own a plus-0.3 turnover margin.
Nebraska vs. Michigan State Series History
Nebraska and Michigan State have split the two games in the short head-to-head history between the two schools. Both teams have held serve on their home courts in the first meetings between them as Big Ten foes. Michigan State rolled to a 73-53 victory over a short-handed Husker squad on Feb. 23, 2012, at the Breslin Center in East Lansing.
Last season, Nebraska evened the all-time series at one game apiece with a 59-54 win over the Spartans at the Bob Devaney Sports Center on Jan. 24, 2013. Jordan Hooper had 25 points and seven rebounds in last year’s win, while Kiana Johnson had then-career highs of 22 points and four threes.
Huskers Outlast Wildcats in Big Ten Opener, 66-65
Rachel Theriot and Tear’a Laudermill joined forces to power No. 18 Nebraska to a 66-65 victory over a young and talented Northwestern team on Jan. 2, in the first-ever Big Ten Conference game at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln.
A crowd of more than 6,000 and a BTN national television audience witnessed an exciting back-and-forth struggle that featured tons of runs but no leads by either team of more than seven points. Northwestern used an 11-0 run late in the game to turn Nebraska’s seven-point edge into a 65-61 lead with just under three minutes left.
Laudermill nailed her second three of the game with just under 2:30 left to cut the margin to one, before Theriot hit the game-winner with just over 1:30 remaining. Theriot, who finished with game highs of 19 points and eight assists, added her sixth rebound of the night on Northwestern’s final shot attempt, as the Huskers won their Big Ten opener for the third straight season.
Theriot, who added a pair of shot-clock buzzer-beaters in the half, teamed with Laudermill to have a hand in every Husker bucket in the second half. The backcourt duo combined for 19 points and seven assists without committing a turnover after halftime.
Laudermill produced double figures for the third straight game, finishing with 14 points while matching her career high for the second straight game with five assists.
All-American Jordan Hooper added her seventh double-double of the season with 14 points and a game-high 10 rebounds for the Huskers, while Emily Cady just missed a double-double of her own with 11 points and nine boards for the Big Red.
Hailie Sample managed four points, seven rebounds and a career-high three steals, including a pick of fellow Flower Mound, Texas native Ashley Deary with just over one minute left in the game, as the Huskers kept Northwestern off the scoreboard for the final 2:45.
Freshman Christen Inman led the Wildcats with 19 points by hitting all eight of her shots from the field and both of her free throws - Northwestern’s final points. Fellow freshman Nia Coffey pitched in 16 points and nine boards, while sophomore Lauren Douglas scored all 13 of her points in the second half.
Nebraska Celebrates Season One at New Arena
Nebraska celebrates its first season in Pinnacle Bank Arena in 2013-14. The arena, located in the historic Haymarket in downtown Lincoln just steps away from the Nebraska campus, will serve as the new home for Husker men’s and women’s basketball teams.
The $179 million project was completed in the summer of 2013 after being approved by voters in May of 2010. A ribbon cutting ceremony that included Governor Dave Heineman, Lincoln Mayor Chris Beutler, UNL Chancellor Harvey Perlman, Director of Athletics Shawn Eichorst and Husker coaches Connie Yori and Tim Miles, tipped off the opening of the new arena in late August.
The 470,400-square foot arena project has sparked a revitalization of the Haymarket District, including the addition of several new hotels and upscale housing options. It also has added the Railyard, an outdoor entertainment area adjacent to the arena. The Railyard includes “The Cube” a massive outdoor screen that will serve as a hub for other entertainment options.
In “Season One” at Pinnacle Bank Arena, the Husker women’s basketball program has experienced more than a 50 percent increase in season ticket sales, surpassing the 3,200 mark. The number shattered NU’s previous season ticket record.
The women’s program was also selected as one of four NCAA Regional hosts for the 2014 NCAA Tournament. The Huskers will play host to the NCAA Sweet 16 and Elite Eight rounds at Pinnacle Bank Arena, March 29-31. Nebraska has advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 in two of the past four seasons, but Lincoln has not played host to an NCAA Tournament game in men’s or women’s basketball since 1993.
On the men’s side, the Huskers have sold out for the season, guaranteeing a school-record average of more than 15,000 per game in their first year at the arena.
Hooper Creating Historic Husker Career
Senior Jordan Hooper is leaving a legacy of success at Nebraska, while making her mark on the national landscape. The 6-2 forward from Alliance, Neb., ranks No. 8 among active NCAA Division I scorers with 1,947 career points. She ranks No. 10 among active Division I rebounders with 951 career boards. Hooper also ranks seventh among active career three-point shooters with 241 makes and is one of only two forwards among the top 25, joining UConn’s Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis.
Hooper is one of only 10 active Division I players to achieve career milestones of 1,500 points and 800 career rebounds.
She ranks No. 6 in career field goal attempts (1,709), No. 7 in career three-point field goal attempts (716), No. 13 in career field goals made (672) and tied for No. 24 in career free throws made (362) among all active NCAA Division I players.
Hooper Chasing Big Ten All-Time Elite
Jordan Hooper is bidding to become just the fifth player in Big Ten Conference history to achieve combined career milestones of 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds. She enters the Michigan State game needing 53 points and 49 rebounds to reach those two elite levels.
In the storied history of Big Ten women’s basketball, only four players - Jessica Davenport and Jantel Lavender from Ohio State, Jenna Smith from Illinois and Laura Coenen from Minnesota - have achieved the dual milestones.
Lavender (2008-11) scored 2,818 points and grabbed 1,422 rebounds, while Davenport (2004-07) had 2,303 points and 1,094 rebounds for the Buckeyes. Smith (2007-10) produced 2,160 points and 1,217 rebounds for the Fighting Illini, while Coenen (1982-85) was the first Big Ten player to achieve the marks with 2,044 points and 1,029 rebounds for the Golden Gophers.
Hooper, who is on track to rank among the top 10 career scorers and rebounders in Big Ten history, would join Davenport, Lavender and Smith as the only players in Big Ten history to rank among the top 10 on both lists. All three of those players were chosen in the top 15 in their respective WNBA Drafts.
Hooper Named Candidate for Senior CLASS Award
Nebraska’s Jordan Hooper has been selected as one of 30 candidates nationally for the Senior CLASS Award for women’s basketball.
The Senior CLASS Award announced its list of candidates on Wednesday, Oct. 30. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must display notable achievements in community, classroom, character and competition. The acronym for “Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School,” the 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.
Hooper, a 6-2 senior forward from Alliance, Neb., is a two-time honorable-mention All-American and a two-time first-team All-Big Ten selection. She has also been a nominee for CoSIDA Academic All-America honors. In the community, she has volunteered her time at Belmont Elementary School, Saint Elizabeth’s Regional Medical Center and participated on Nebraska’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.
On the court, Hooper has led the Huskers to back-to-back NCAA Tournament appearances, including a trip to the 2013 NCAA Sweet 16. She has started 111 consecutive games and serves as a team captain. She could challenge Nebraska career records for points, rebounds and three-pointers made.
Hooper is one of only two women’s basketball student-athletes in the Big Ten Conference to earn a spot on the elite list of 30 Senior CLASS Award candidates, joining Penn State’s Maggie Lucas.
The list of 30 candidates will be narrowed to 10 midseason by a national media committee for the 2014 Senior CLASS Award. The 10 finalists will be placed on the official ballot for a nationwide vote. Fan balloting will be coupled with votes from coaches and media to determine the recipient of the award.
Hooper Named to Wade, Wooden, Naismith Lists Again
Two-time All-American Jordan Hooper has been named a preseason national player-of-the-year candidate for the Wade and Naismith trophies and the Wooden Award again in 2013-14.
Hooper, a 6-2 senior forward from Alliance, Neb., is a two-time WBCA and Associated Press honorable-mention All-American and a two-time first-team All-Big Ten selection. She is poised to become just the third player in Nebraska history to score 2,000 points and grab 1,000 rebounds in her career, joining 1993 Wade Trophy winner Karen Jennings and 2010 first-team WBCA All-American Kelsey Griffin.
Hooper, who has scored 1,947 points and pulled down 951 rebounds in starting the first 111 games of her Husker career, is also in position to shatter the school’s three-point record. She enters the Michigan State game with 241 made three-pointers, just 26 shy of the school record held by three-time first-team All-Big 12 guard Kiera Hardy (2004-07). Hooper has averaged nearly 72 three-pointers per season at Nebraska, including 81 a year ago when she helped shoot the Huskers to the 2013 NCAA Sweet 16.
Over the summer, Hooper helped the USA Basketball Women’s World University Games Team to a gold medal in Kazan, Russia. In the championship, Hooper earned a start and scored nine points while grabbing nine rebounds while going head-to-head against several members of Russia’s 2012 Olympic Team.
Hooper was one of three players from the Big Ten to earn mention on the preseason lists for both the Wade Trophy and Wooden Award, joining Penn State’s Maggie Lucas and Minnesota’s Rachel Banham.
Huskers End Perfect Five-Game Home Stand
Nebraska put the finishing touches on a perfect home stand with a Big Ten-opening win over Northwestern on Jan. 2. The Big Red posted an average winning margin of 23.2 points per game, while averaging 80 points per game during the home stand, which included four non-conference games against 2013 postseason teams (Utah State, Creighton, South Dakota, Oral Roberts).
During the home stand, Nebraska shot 47.3 percent from the field, including 39.6 percent (36-91) from three-point range, while adding a sizzling 80.7 percent (88-109) shooting at the free throw line. NU posted a plus-7.2 rebound margin and a plus-1.8 turnover margin during the stand.
Husker Front Line to Make 81st Straight Starts Together
Nebraska’s starting forwards of Jordan Hooper (111), Emily Cady (80) and Hailie Sample (80) have joined each other in the Huskers’ starting five for 80 consecutive games.
The inside trio has been joined in the Husker starting lineup for each of the last 41 games by Rachel Theriot. Brandi Jeffery started the first three games of 2013-14 with the quartet, after starting the first three games of 2012-13 with Hooper, Cady and Sample before being replaced in the starting five by Theriot. Tear’a Laudermill has taken over the starting role the past 10 games.
Consistent starting lineups are nothing new for the Huskers under Coach Connie Yori. In 2011-12, fifth-year senior guard Kaitlyn Burke joined Moore, Hooper, Cady and Sample in NU’s starting lineup for every game. Three times in Yori’s first 12 seasons at Nebraska, the Huskers have used the same starting five for every game in a season, including all 33 games in 2011-12. The 2006-07 Huskers featured the same starting five for 32 games on their way to a 22-10 season and the NCAA Tournament. Yori’s 2003-04 Huskers also used the same starting five for 30 games on their way to an 18-12 season and a WNIT bid.
A full year with the same starting five is rare in women’s college basketball. In fact, Nebraska was the only Big Ten team to feature the same starting five throughout 2011-12, and was one of only three teams in the 2012 NCAA Tournament to start the same five every game. Kansas State and BYU were the others.
Over the past nine seasons, Nebraska has used only 22 different starting lineups in 272 games.
Big Red Playing Big on Boards
Nebraska has produced a plus-8.5 rebounding margin over its first 13 games of 2013-14, outrebounding the opposition by an average of 42.5-34.0. Jordan Hooper has led the barrage on the boards by averaging 10.8 rebounds per game, which ranks second in the Big Ten. Hooper owns a 15-rebound game against Creighton, 14-rebound efforts against Washington State and Utah State, 13 rebounds against Alabama, 12 boards at Utah, 11 rebounds against UCLA and ORU, and 10 against Northwestern and UMass-Lowell. Emily Cady (8.5 rpg) has added four double-digit rebound games of her own with 14 boards against Southern, 13 against Washington State, 11 rebounds against Alabama and 10 against Utah State. She ranks fifth in the Big Ten in rebounding.
Nebraska’s returning front line of Hooper, Cady and Hailie Sample have combined to average 25 rebounds per game, while sophomore point guard Rachel Theriot has added 3.8 boards per contest. The combined total of the four Husker starters (28.8 rpg) is just 5.2 rebounds short of the output of the NU opponents (34.0 rpg).
Free Throws Pay Off Big For Big Red
Nebraska has outscored its first 13 opponents by an average of 17.7-6.9 (+10.8 ppg) at the free throw line. The Huskers have attempted 294 free throws, more than doubling the 143 attempts by their opponents. The Huskers are shooting 78.2 percent at the line as a team, which ranks eighth nationally.
Rachel Theriot ranks third in the Big Ten with her .909 (30-33) accuracy at the stripe, while Brandi Jeffery (.875, 7-8), Tear’a Laudermill (.870, 20-23), Emily Cady (.821, 55-67), Jordan Hooper (.822, 60-63) and Sadie Murren (6-8, .750) are all making 75 percent or better of their free throws. Hailie Sample has hit 22-of-33 (.667) of her free throws, including 14 of her last 15 attempts. Sample, Cady, Hooper, Theriot and Laudermill have all had double-digit streaks of made free throws this season.
Nebraska’s primary front line players of Hooper (60), Cady (55), Hailie Sample (22) and Havers (18) have outscored NU’s opponents, 155-90 at the line.
Huskers Preseason Pick to Win Big Ten
Nebraska was voted the preseason pick to win the Big Ten regular-season title by both conference coaches and media in 2014. The picks were announced as part of Big Ten Media Day in Chicago, Oct. 31.
The Big Ten coaches and select media panel chose the Huskers to finish on top of the final conference standings, while defending champion Penn State was picked No. 2. Michigan State was No. 3 in a selection process where voters only chose their top three teams. The Big Ten does not do a full preseason ranking of all 12 teams in women’s basketball.
Husker senior Jordan Hooper was a unanimous choice of Big Ten coaches to the preseason All-Big Ten team. The 6-2 forward from Alliance, Neb., also earned a spot on the five-player media team. Preseason Big Ten Player of the Year Maggie Lucas from Penn State was a unanimous choice to both all-conference teams, while Minnesota’s Rachel Banham added a unanimous selection from the league media.
@RachTheRiot Wreaking Havoc on Opposing Defenses
Rachel Theriot has produced a great start to her first season as Nebraska’s starting point guard. The 6-0 sophomore is averaging 12.1 points, 3.8 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 1.2 steals per game. Last season, All-American Lindsey Moore averaged 15.0 points, 3.4 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 1.2 steals per game.
Theriot erupted for a career-high 28 points, while matching her career best with seven rebounds in NU’s 75-69 win at Utah on Nov. 15. She added four assists while going a career-best 8-for-8 at the free throw line. She scored 19 points and had five rebounds in the second half alone, while going 6-for-6 at the line in the game’s final 35 seconds to seal the victory.
In Nebraska’s Big Ten-opening win over Northwestern, Theriot played possibly the best all-around game of her career with game highs of 19 points and eight assists while committing just one turnover. She added six rebounds, two steals and a blocked shot while playing the full 40 minutes. She also hit two huge shot-clock buzzer-beaters late in the second half and grabbed NU’s final defensive rebound.
Theriot pumped in 17 points and dished out five assists in a win over Alabama, after distributing a career-high nine assists in the season-opening victory over UCLA. She had 13 points and eight assists in a win over Southern Nov. 24, before adding 10 points, six rebounds and six assists against Washington State, Nov. 30. Theriot contributed 12 points and five assists in a loss at No. 18 North Carolina on Dec. 4, before producing 11 points, four rebounds and eight assists in the win over Utah State Dec. 8.
Theriot owns eight double-figure scoring efforts this season, including each of the last two games and five of the past seven contests.
As a starter at shooting guard as a freshman, the Middleburg Heights, Ohio, native averaged 6.2 points, 2.8 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game and earned Big Ten All-Freshman honors.
Laudermill Excelling as a Starter
Tear’a Laudermill has solidified Nebraska’s starting lineup over the last 10 games, producing the most consistent and efficient stretch of her career. The 5-9 junior guard from Riverside, Calif., is averaging 9.9 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 20.5 minutes per game as a starter.
In Nebraska’s first three games this season, Laudermill averaged 5.3 points, 2.0 rebounds and 1.0 assist in 21 minutes per game off the bench.
Laudermill’s production has steadily increased throughout her Husker career in a similar way that former Husker All-Big 12 guard and current professional Yvonne Turner grew during her career. Laudermill averaged 4.0 points and 1.5 rebounds per game as a freshman, before contributing 5.9 points and 1.8 boards per game as a sophomore. This season, she has increased her season averages to 8.8 points and 2.8 boards per game.
The most notable jump though has come in Laudermill’s efficiency. As a freshman in 2011-12, Laudermill shot just 27 percent from the field and 52.4 percent at the free line. As a sophomore, Laudermill hit 35.1 percent of her shots from the field and 73.8 percent of her free throws. This season, she is shooting 44.1 percent from the field and a sparkling 87.0 percent at the line.
Laudermill has been at her best during Nebraska’s five-game winning streak, averaging 11 points, 2.2 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.4 steals while hitting 48.6 percent (18-37) of her shots from the field, including 42.1 percent (8-19) of her threes. She is also 100 percent (11-11) at the free throw line. Her production over the last five games has come in just 20.2 minutes per contest.
Jeffery Heats Up During Home Stand
Guard Brandi Jeffery continues to play a major role in the Husker backcourt as a junior. The 5-7 guard from Vacherie, La., has averaged 4.3 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.6 assists so far this season, improving her production of 3.5 points, 1.9 rebounds and 0.6 assists from a year ago when she played 30 games and made six starts.
Jeffery, who has seen added time at the point this year, owns 20 assists this season and has already surpassed her season assist total (19) from a year ago, while committing just 11 turnovers compared to 29 last season and 51 in 33 games as a freshman.
Jeffery has provided the Huskers with consistent production during NU’s 5-0 home stand, averaging 6.0 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 19.2 minutes per contest. She has shot the ball well during the stretch, including 6-for-12 (.500) from three-point range. She is also a perfect 4-for-4 from the foul line during the stand.
During Nebraska’s first eight games this season, Jeffery was just 9-for-22 (.409) from the field, including 1-of-11 (.091) from long range, averaging 3.1 points, 2.0 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 14 minutes per game.
Murren Gives Big Red More Off Bench
The Big Ten leader in three-point field goal percentage (.519), Sadie Murren is growing into a dangerous weapon for the Huskers. The 5-8 sophomore guard out of Wahoo High School and Colon, Neb., solidified the Big Red bench during its five-game home stand, averaging 6.0 points and 2.4 rebounds in the stretch.
In fact, Murren has scored 30 points in 66 minutes over the last five games, surpassing the 27 points she scored in 186 minutes and 18 games all of last season. During the stand, Murren hit 8-of-16 three-pointers and all four of her free throw attempts.
Murren produced double figures with 11 points in back-to-back wins over South Dakota and ORU, and pulled down a career-high eight rebounds against USD. Murren, who has a trio of double-figure scoring efforts on the year, including career highs of 12 points and four three-pointers in a win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Nov. 21, has already doubled her total points (54) from 2012-13 (27) and doubled her number of three-pointers (14) from last season (7). She also owns five more rebounds in 29 fewer minutes.
An outstanding student and one of NU’s most active volunteers, Murren is also a candidate for CoSIDA Academic All-America honors. She carries a 3.98 GPA as a business administration major.
Havers, Tvrdy Helping Experienced Huskers
True freshman Allie Havers and Hannah Tvrdy have played important supporting roles for Nebraska’s experienced lineup in 2013-14.
Havers, a 6-5 center from Paw Paw, Mich., is Nebraska’s only true interior player off the bench, behind veterans Jordan Hooper, Emily Cady and Hailie Sample. Havers has averaged 4.3 points and 2.9 rebounds in 14 minutes per game. She is shooting 45.2 percent from the field and 72 percent from the free throw line. Havers’ role became even more valuable with the departure of fourth-year forward Katie Simon, who left the team in early December to focus on completing her degree in May.
Tvrdy saw action in all 12 of Nebraska’s non-conference games. The 5-9 guard from Seward, Neb., has averaged 1.8 points and nearly an assist per game while averaging nearly 13 minutes per contest.
A third freshman, Esther Ramacieri, also contributed for the Huskers both inside and out in non-conference play. The 5-8 guard from Repentigny, Quebec, Canada, saw action in nine games, including time at the power forward spot in each of NU’s final four non-conference contests.
Huskers Sign Top Recruiting Class in School History
A five-player signing class and a talented walk-on who received other NCAA Division I scholarship offers have given Nebraska the best recruiting class in school history - coming in at No. 9 in ESPN’s class rankings on Nov. 21.
Each of Nebraska’s scholarship recruits ranked among the top 25 nationally by ESPN at their position. Tennessee Class 2-AA Player of the Year Jasmine Cincore, Kansas Class 4A Player of the Year Kaylee Page, California prep stars Natalie Romeo and Darrien Washington, and Washington High School standout Chandler Smith will join Coach Connie Yori’s Huskers. Emily Wood, a walk-on from Salina, Kan., completed the six-player NU freshman class for 2014-15.
Smith, a 6-0 guard from Washington, signed her letter of intent Monday, Nov. 18, after being ranked as the No. 62 player in the nation by ESPN. Her addition propelled the Huskers up seven spots in ESPN’s class rankings for 2014. Page and Romeo headline the Husker class. The 6-2 Page was ranked No. 42 nationally by ESPN, while Romeo was No. 55. Romeo, a 5-7 point guard from the Bay Area, has been ranked as high as the No. 27 player overall nationally by Full Court Press.
Romeo’s club teammate, the 6-2 Washington, was ranked as the No. 16 post player in the nation by ESPN, while Cincore was ranked as ESPN’s No. 24 point guard in the 2014 class, despite being projected as a combo guard for the Huskers.
“We are excited about the potential of this recruiting class, and we hope all six players have outstanding senior seasons in high school this year,” Yori said. “We have built quite a bit of momentum in recruiting the past few years and this class is part of it.”
Nebraska’s previous top recruiting class, which came with current Husker juniors Emily Cady, Hailie Sample, Tear’a Laudermill and Brandi Jeffery, was ranked No. 24 nationally in November of 2010.
Nebraska’s six newcomers will be expected to replace the loss of Jordan Hooper, a two-time All-American who is the only senior on the Huskers’ 11-player roster in 2013-14.
Page, a 6-2 senior at Wamego High School in Kansas, was ranked as the No. 13 wing/shooting guard nationally by ESPN. She averaged 20.8 points, 8.1 rebounds, 4.3 blocked shots, 3.0 assists and 1.8 steals per game as a junior. A gifted shooter, Page knocked down 57 three-pointers for the Red Raiders in 2012-13. She helped Wamego to the Kansas Class 4A state championship while playing for her father, Jim Page, who was the Kansas Coach of the Year.
Romeo, ESPN’s No. 12 point guard nationally as a four-year starter at Carondelet High School in California, averaged 21.4 points, 6.7 assists and 6.3 steals per game as a junior to help the Cougars to the North Coast Section Division II title for the third consecutive season. Along the way, she earned East Bay Athletic League MVP and Nor Cal Prep Player-of-the-Year honors in 2012-13, helping Carondelet to a top 20 national ranking as a team. Romeo has been a starter for one of the premier club programs in the nation, the Cal Stars Elite, since she was an eighth grader. As a member of the Cal Stars program, Romeo has earned all-tournament or MVP honors at 16 national tournaments.
Smith’s signing brought even more talent to the Husker 2014 class. Smith plays point guard for her high school and club teams, but was ranked as the No. 18 wing in the country by ESPN. The 6-0 guard from Brewster High School in Washington, averaged 21.3 points, 9.2 rebounds, 6.9 assists and 4.2 steals as a junior to lead the Bears to a Class 1A state championship. She had 26 points and 10 rebounds in the 2013 state title game, after producing 35 points and 12 boards in the 2012 Class 2B championship game.
Cincore brings more athleticism and strength to the perimeter for the Huskers. The 5-8 guard will add a gritty defensive presence along with an expanding offensive game to the NU backcourt. As a junior at Briarcrest Christian in 2012-13, Cincore averaged 15 points, seven rebounds, four assists and three steals per game while leading her team to the state semifinals.
Washington adds size and potential to the Nebraska inside game. The 6-2 Washington plays at Skyline High School in the Bay Area and on the Cal Stars Elite. She is relatively new to basketball, but brings excellent athleticism to the court.
Wood, a 5-5 guard from Salina Central High School, turned down scholarship offers from Harvard and Dartmouth and Western Illinois to walk-on at Nebraska. She is a two-time Kansas Class 5A all-state selection and averaged 11.2 points and 2.3 assists per game as a junior. She has hit 132 career three-pointers as a three-year starter at Salina Central.
Huskers to Honor All-American Griffin with Jersey Retirement
The Nebraska women’s basketball program is adding another name and number to its wall of honor inside the new Pinnacle Bank Arena - and this one is a legend.
Kelsey Griffin, one of the most accomplished Huskers both on and off the court in program history, will be honored by Nebraska with the retirement of her No. 23 jersey on Wednesday, Jan. 29, when the Huskers take on Michigan. She will join 1993 Wade Trophy Winner and CoSIDA Academic All-America Hall of Famer Karen Jennings (No. 51) and 1988 Big Eight Player-of-the-Year Maurtice Ivy (No. 30) among Nebraska’s retired jersey honorees.
Griffin, a first-team All-American on the court and a national player-of-the-year finalist in 2010, became the face of Nebraska women’s basketball for five seasons (2006-10). The lightly recruited 6-2 forward from Eagle River, Alaska, powered Nebraska’s rise to national prominence by earning three first-team All-Big 12 Conference awards.
Griffin also led Nebraska to a trio of NCAA Tournament appearances in 2007, 2008 and 2010. Her final season as a Husker, she etched a permanent place in Husker history as part of a six-player senior class that led Nebraska to an unbeaten regular season (29-0), 30 consecutive victories, a Big 12 Conference regular-season title and Nebraska’s first-ever trip to the NCAA Sweet 16. She captured Big 12 Player-of-the-Year honors while leading NU to a 32-2 final record that included a 16-0 Big 12 mark.
She ranks No. 3 on Nebraska’s all-time scoring list with 2,033 points, while ranking No. 2 in the Husker record book with 1,019 career rebounds. She joins 1993 Wade Trophy winner and fellow first-team All-American Karen Jennings as the only players in Nebraska history with 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds. Griffin also set Nebraska’s career record with 40 double-doubles in her four years on the court in Lincoln. Her 127 career starts rank No. 2 in school history.
As a senior, Griffin averaged 20.1 points and 10.4 rebounds per game, including 20 double-doubles. She also earned a spot on the Big 12 All-Defensive Team by notching 60 steals, 26 blocked shots and took a remarkable 29 charges on the year.
Griffin was NU’s first-ever winner of the Senior CLASS Award, recognizing her achievements in the community and the classroom, while honoring her character and success in competition. She was honored as Nebraska’s Female Student-Athlete of the Year in 2009-10, before earning the No. 3 overall pick in the 2010 WNBA Draft.
Griffin earned a spot on the WNBA All-Rookie Team with the Connecticut Sun in 2010. She completed her fourth professional season with the Sun in 2013, starting all 34 games and averaging career bests of 8.7 points and 5.0 rebounds per game. In her four-year WNBA career, she has played in 133 games with 61 starts for Connecticut. Griffin also has played professionally in Hungary, Israel and most recently for the Bendigo Spirit in Australia’s WNBL. In 2012-13, Griffin led the Spirit to the WNBL title and was named the MVP of the championship series. She has returned to Australia for the 2013-14 campaign, where she plays alongside former Husker teammate and 2012 Olympian Chelsea Aubry.
NCAA Lincoln Regional All-Session Tickets Selling Strong
The University of Nebraska was awarded one of four regional host sites for the 2014 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament, announced by the NCAA on Wednesday, Oct. 9. The Huskers will host the four-team regional at Pinnacle Bank Arena in downtown Lincoln, March 29 and 31.
All-session tickets went on sale to the general public on Wednesday, Nov. 20 at 8 a.m., and sales have been strong, surpassing 3,500.
All-session reserved seats are $40, while all-session general admission seating is available for just $25 over three games. The GA seats include lower level seats behind each basket (sections 101 and 112), along with 200 and 300 Level seats. Student tickets are available for just $15 ($5 per game if purchased in advance, all-session).
“It’s an exciting time to be a part of the Nebraska women’s basketball program, and the NCAA Regional announcement just keeps that building,” Coach Connie Yori said. “We’ve got a long way to go as a team before we can even think about the possibility of getting back to the Sweet 16 this year, but it is certainly a great opportunity for men’s and women’s basketball fans to have a chance to watch college basketball being played at a really high level at the end of March in Lincoln.”
The last time the University of Nebraska served as a host for the an NCAA men’s or women’s basketball tournament came on March 17, 1993, when the Husker women defeated San Diego, 81-58, in the first round at the Bob Devaney Sports Center. It is the only game the Nebraska women’s basketball team has ever played on its home court in the NCAA Tournament.
The other three NCAA Regional sites are Louisville, Ky., Notre Dame, Ind., and Stanford, Calif. The 16 NCAA first- and second-round locations are Baylor, Duke, Iowa, Iowa State, Kentucky, LSU, Maryland, North Carolina, Penn State, Purdue, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Toledo, UConn, UCLA and Washington.
The NCAA Women’s Final Four will be held at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn., April 6-8.
Hooper Powers Team USA to Gold at World University Games
Nebraska’s Jordan Hooper scored nine points and grabbed nine rebounds while making her first international start, powering the USA Basketball Women’s World University Games Team to a 90-71 victory in the gold medal game on July 15.
Hooper, a 6-2 senior forward from Alliance, Neb., erupted in her first USA start, pouring in five points, including the game’s first three-pointer, to go along with three early rebounds to fuel the U.S. team’s 13-3 lead to open the game. She also played a major role defensively in helping the United States to its third straight World University Games gold medal.
Hooper scored seven first-quarter points to help the USA take a 22-13 lead at the end of the quarter. She played the entire first period and finished with 31 minutes in the game. In the tournament, Hooper finished with 6.5 points and 5.8 rebounds in 15.7 minutes per game, giving her per 40-minute averages of 16.6 points and 14.9 boards.
Hooper started the second quarter on the bench, and while she was out, the Russian team quickly trimmed the USA margin to 25-21 with 7:46 left in the first half.
Hooper immediately returned to the court and helped shut out the Russians for the next three minutes to ignite a 7-0 USA run. Hooper’s offensive rebound and assist to Crystal Bradford (Central Michigan) in the corner for a three-pointer, gave the USA a 38-25 lead with 2:43 left in the half. It was the first of back-to-back threes by Bradford in a 45-second stretch to send the U.S. squad to halftime with a 41-27 lead. With Hooper keying the defense, the USA allowed six points in the final seven-plus minutes of the half.
Nebraska’s two-time All-American played every minute of the third quarter. She again keyed a U.S. defense that helped the team build a 68-47 lead at the end of three quarters.
Hooper’s final bucket came with 7:30 left in the game, giving the USA a 75-55 lead.
Looking Back at Nebraska’s 2013 Sweet 16 Season
No. 24/18 Nebraska women’s basketball team capped one of the best seasons in school history by making its second NCAA Sweet 16 appearance in the past four years in 2013.
Although the sixth-seeded Huskers fell to the second-seeded Duke Blue Devils, 53-45, in the Norfolk (Va.) Regional semifinal game, Nebraska celebrated the second-most victories in school history. NU finished the season with a 25-9 overall record that included a 12-4 Big Ten regular-season mark. Nebraska’s Big Ten runner-up finish also marked the second-most conference wins in school history.
All nine of Nebraska’s regular-season losses came at the hands of 2013 postseason teams, including seven setbacks to teams that advanced to at least the second round of the 2013 NCAA Tournament.
Along with advancing to the NCAA Sweet 16, the Huskers closed the 2013 campaign at No. 24 in the final Associated Press Poll (regular season) and No. 18 in the final USA Today/Coaches Top (post-NCAA Tournament). It marked the third time in the past four years the Huskers have finished in the top 25 in both polls. NU climbed seven spots in the final USA Today poll, the second-largest jump from the end of the regular season, trailing only NCAA runner-up Louisville’s leap from No. 17 to No. 3.
Senior point guard Lindsey Moore joined junior forward Jordan Hooper as the first teammates in school history to be named to the AP All-America team in the same season. Moore, a Big Ten All-Tournament selection and second-team All-Big Ten choice for the second straight year, earned the first All-America accolades of her career by claiming honorable mention from the AP. Moore was also a finalist for the Nancy Lieberman Award, presented to the nation’s top point guard, for the second straight year.
Hooper, a two-time first-team All-Big Ten choice, captured honorable-mention All-America accolades from both the AP and the WBCA for the second straight season. Moore and Hooper were both preseason candidates for the Wade, Naismith and Wooden national player-of-the-year awards, becoming the first teammates in history to earn mention on those distinguished lists as well.
2012-13 Nebraska Team Season Highlights
• 2013 NCAA Sweet 16 (second appearance in last four years)
• 25 wins (second-highest victory total in school history) - 25-9 overall record
• 12 Big Ten wins (second-most conference wins in school history) - 12-4 Big Ten record
• Big Ten regular-season runner-up finish / Big Ten Tournament semifinalist
• No. 16 in final NCAA RPI. Nebraska played the No. 12 Strength of Schedule in the nation.
• No. 18 in final USA Today/Coaches Top 25; No. 24 in final AP Poll (regular season)
• No. 16 nationally in average home attendance (5,243)
• 10 victories over 2013 NCAA Tournament teams (10-8)
• Nebraska’s 74-63 win at No. 9 Texas A&M on March 25 marked the Huskers’ first true road NCAA Tournament victory in history and the highest seed (No. 3) NU has ever defeated in the tournament.
• 10-game winning streak (Jan. 20-Feb. 28), second-longest winning streak in school history
• Nebraska closed season with seven-game winning streak in true road games (active streak)
• Big Ten No. 2 RPI Conference in the nation and 6-0 in first-round NCAA Tournament games
• Coach Connie Yori was named the Big Ten Coach of the Year
• Nebraska was one of 25 teams in the 64-team NCAA Tournament field with a perfect 100 percent graduation rate. NU has had a 100 percent grad rate in each of NU’s five tournament appearances under Coach Connie Yori.
Yori Captured Big Ten Coach-of-the-Year Honors
Nebraska’s Connie Yori was named the Big Ten Coach of the Year in voting by conference coaches for 2013. Yori captured her second conference coach-of-the-year award in the last four seasons and her first in the Big Ten. In 2012-13, Yori guided Nebraska to 10 straight conference wins, including a perfect February, as the Huskers finished with a 12-4 Big Ten mark as the regular-season runner-up.
Yori’s young squad overcame a plethora of injuries and a 2-3 Big Ten start to play for a share of the Big Ten title in the regular-season finale against No. 7 Penn State at the Devaney Center. Although Nebraska came up short against the Lady Lions, Yori’s team finished the regular season with a 22-7 overall record that included a Big Ten-best 7-1 road mark in conference play.
Yori captured Big 12 Coach-of-the-Year honors in 2010 on her way to WBCA, AP, USBWA, Naismith and Kay Yow National Coach-of-the-Year awards. She led the Huskers to the 2010 NCAA Sweet Sixteen after capturing the Big 12 regular-season title with a perfect 16-0 record. The 2009-10 Huskers, which featured first-team All-American Kelsey Griffin and first-team All-Big 12 picks Cory Montgomery and Yvonne Turner, finished with a 32-2 overall record.
Before becoming Nebraska’s head coach in 2002-03, Yori claimed Missouri Valley Conference Coach-of-the-Year honors in her final season at Creighton in 2002. In Yori’s first 11 seasons as NU’s coach, her Huskers have earned a total of 32 all-conference awards (10 first team, 2 second team, 11 honorable mention, 5 freshmen, 4 defensive).
Yori’s 2012-13 Huskers Notched Another 20-Win Campaign
Coach Connie Yori is in the midst of leading the Huskers to the most successful era in school history. The 2012-13 Huskers earned their second NCAA Sweet 16 selection in the past four years, while rolling to 25 wins - the second-highest victory total in school history. It was Nebraska’s fifth 20-win season in the past seven years.
Prior to Yori leading her 2006-07 Huskers to 22 wins, Nebraska had only managed five 20-win seasons in the previous 26 years. NU has managed 14 20-win seasons in 38 full seasons of women’s basketball as a varsity sport.
Over the past seven seasons, Nebraska has averaged 21.7 wins, including the three highest victory totals in school history - 32 wins in 2009-10, 25 in 2012-13 and 24 wins in 2011-12. Over the past four years, NU has averaged 23.5 wins per year. Prior to Yori’s arrival in 2002-03, Nebraska’s record for most wins in a season was 23 (1978-79, 1979-80, 1992-93, 1997-98).
Hooper Joins Prestigious 1,900-Point, 900-Rebound Club
Jordan Hooper has reached a truly elite combination with 1,900 points and 900 rebounds in her career. Following her 30-point, 11-board effort against ORU on Dec. 29, Hooper has pushed her career totals to 1,947 points and 951 rebounds. She is just the third player in school history to reach those levels of production.
Only first-team All-Americans Karen Jennings (1990-93) and Kelsey Griffin (2006-10) have achieved both of those marks, and by the end of this season both will have their Husker jerseys retired.
Hooper Closing in on Husker Career Three-Point Record
Senior Jordan Hooper owns 241 career three-pointers, just 26 shy of the Husker career record set by Kiera Hardy (267, 2004-07).
Hooper became the first Husker junior to reach 200 career threes in 2012-13. Hardy ended her junior campaign in 2005-06 with 196.
Hooper, who hit 67 three-pointers in each of her first two seasons as a Husker, knocked down 81 in 2012-13, to match Hardy’s 2005-06 total for the most by a junior in school history.
Hooper did not attempt a three-pointer on her way to a 33-point, 14-rebound performance against Utah State Dec. 8. It is the only game in Hooper’s career without a three-point attempt. She also went without hitting a three in Nebraska’s win over Creighton on Dec. 14. It marked just the second time in her career that she went without a made three-pointer in consecutive games, joining a home game against Kansas (0-2) on Jan. 16, 2010, and a road game at Kansas State (0-3) on Jan. 22, 2010 during her freshman season.
She has never gone three straight games in her career without hitting a three. Hooper connected on a three-pointer in NU’s win over South Dakota on Dec. 21, before going 4-for-8 from long range in Nebraska’s final non-conference victory over Oral Roberts on Dec. 29.
Hooper Puts Up Double-Doubles at Record Rate
Jordan Hooper ranks third all-time at Nebraska with 33 career double-doubles, following her 14-point, 10-rebound effort in NU’s Big Ten-opening win over Northwestern on Jan. 2. It was her seventh double-double of the season and second straight after a 30-point, 11-rebound performance in a win over Oral Roberts on Dec. 29. It was Hooper’s third double-double in NU’s current five-game winning streak, including a 33-point, 14-rebound effort in a win Utah State on Dec. 8.
Hooper, who produced three double-doubles in Big Ten play in 2013, has produced some monstrous doubles in her career. In fact, 19 of her career double-doubles have included 20-point scoring efforts, including five of her eight career 30-point games.
Her 30th career double-double came with 24 points and 14 rebounds in a loss to Washington State on Nov. 30.
Last season in a win at 2013 NCAA second-round participant South Florida, Hooper poured in 24 points and had 14 rebounds. The previous game against 2013 NCAA second-round participant Florida State, Hooper erupted for 36 points and 12 boards in a win on Dec. 8, 2012.
She recorded her 20th career double-double with 29 points and 10 boards against Idaho State on Dec. 1, 2012.
In the 2012 Big Ten Tournament, Hooper produced three double-doubles in four games, including 25 points and 10 boards against No. 21 Purdue and 21 points and 10 rebounds against No. 14 Ohio State. Earlier in the 2011-12 season, Hooper had 19 points and a career-high 18 rebounds in a win at Wisconsin on Feb. 19, 2012. She added 22 points and 15 rebounds against Iowa on Jan. 26, 2012.
Hooper led the Big Ten and ranked among the top 25 players nationally with 14 double-doubles in 2011-12. Hooper, who produced double figures in 32 of Nebraska’s 33 games, recorded 14 double-figure rebounding performances as a sophomore. Hooper’s 14 double-doubles ranked as the third-highest single-season total in school history, trailing only first-team All-American Kelsey Griffin’s 20 in 2009-10, and Nafeesah Brown’s 16 in 1993-94. Griffin and Brown were both seniors when they produced their impressive double-figure totals.
As a sophomore, Hooper became just the fifth player in Nebraska history to post double-figure double-doubles in a season, joining Griffin (10, 2006-07, 20, 2009-10), Brown (16, 1993-94), Karen Jennings (13, 1990-91, 13, 1991-92), Maurtice Ivy (10, 1985-86) and Carol Garey (10, 1978-79).
Hooper recorded double-doubles in a personal-best four straight games from Dec. 18, 2011, to Jan. 5, 2012.
Nebraska’s History of Success at Home
Nebraska has opened the Pinnacle Bank Arena era with a 10-1 home record in 2013-14, including a 77-49 win over UCLA (Nov. 8) in the first-ever regular-season basketball game at the arena. NU added a 62-48 victory over Alabama (Nov. 11), a 78-55 win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff (Nov. 21), an 87-64 win over Southern (Nov. 24) and a 77-42 victory over UMass-Lowell (Nov. 27).
NU lost its first-ever game to Washington State (76-72) at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Nov. 30, but bounced back with a 95-75 win over Utah State on Dec. 8. The Huskers added a 63-38 win over Creighton on Dec. 14, before rolling to an 87-53 win over South Dakota on Dec. 21 and an 89-53 victory over Oral Roberts on Dec. 29. NU won its first-ever Big Ten home game with a 66-65 thriller over Northwestern Jan. 2.
The Huskers have improved to 398-131 (.752) all-time at home. The Huskers have gone 134-35 (.793) over the last 11 seasons at home, posting double-figure home victory totals in each of the last 11 seasons, including 10-1 in 2013-14. NU went a perfect 16-0 at the Bob Devaney Sports Center in 2009-10.
Nebraska played in the Devaney Center from 1976-77 through 2012-13, posting a 388-130 record, including 146-88 (.624) mark in conference play. NU went 13-4 at home in 2012-13.
Big Ten Network Provides Major Exposure for Huskers
For the third consecutive season, Nebraska expects to have every regular-season and postseason game available in national television/video form for Husker fans to follow all the action.
In 2013-14, at least seven regular-season Nebraska women’s basketball games will be televised live nationally by the Big Ten Network, including each of NU’s first five Big Ten Conference contests. An eighth regular-season game (Illinois, Feb. 27) could be picked up by BTN, and Nebraska’s early round games in the Big Ten Conference Tournament also will be televised by BTN.
If the Huskers can advance to the Big Ten championship game in Indianapolis, that game will be televised by ESPN. It would give Nebraska three appearances on the ESPN family of networks in just over two weeks, following a Feb. 24 clash with Penn State and NU’s regular-season finale at Purdue on March 2. Both those games will be televised live nationally by ESPN2. Nebraska’s Big Ten/ACC Challenge game at North Carolina on Dec. 4 was streamed live world-wide by ESPN3.
Nebraska’s first nationally televised game of the season will come at Utah on Nov. 15, when the Huskers appear on the Pac-12 Network. NU also will make two appearances on Nebraska Educational Television (NET) in 2013-14. The first game in the history of Pinnacle Bank Arena appeared on NET when the Huskers battled the UCLA Bruins on Nov. 8. Nebraska will be back on NET again against Michigan on Jan. 29.
Both of Nebraska’s NET games will be streamed live to the Big Ten Digital Network (BTDN aka BTN.com All-Access). Throughout the season, BTDN will provide video streams to at least 16 games for BTN.com All-Access subscribers.
Nebraska’s inaugural exhibition game at Pinnacle Bank Arena against Pittsburg State on Oct. 29 was streamed live for free on Huskers.com. NU’s Nov. 30 game with Washington State also was streamed live on Huskers.com.
For the first time in school history in 2011-12, all 33 games played by the Huskers were delivered by national television or live video streams to Husker fans. In 2012-13, Nebraska enjoyed its highest level of national TV exposure in school history, while adding two outstanding alternative video streaming sources. NU’s game with Duke was the 34th game of 2012-13 available world-wide to fans and the 16th nationally televised game. It was NU’s fourth game on ESPN2. The Huskers had 10 nationally televised games on the Big Ten Network, one on CBS and one on the Pac-12 Network.
The Big Ten Network distributed 10 other Nebraska women’s basketball games through live video streams on BTN.com, including two that were televised live in the state of Nebraska by NET. HuskersNside, the live video area on Huskers.com, took care of the rest of NU’s games in 2012-13.
Husker Sports Network, Huskers.com Carries NU World-Wide
The Husker Sports Network enters its 20th season of producing and marketing the live broadcasts of Nebraska women’s basketball in 2013-14. Women’s basketball play-by-play announcer Matt Coatney and color commentator Jeff Griesch are in their 13th season together as the Huskers’ broadcast team.
The Husker Sports Network and Nebraska women’s basketball have teamed up for well over a decade to take every game, home and away, around the world for free on Huskers.com.
In addition to carrying every women’s basketball game free on Huskers.com, the Husker Sports Network flagship stations B107.3 FM-KBBK (Lincoln) and The Wolf 93.3 FM-KFFF (Omaha) provide strong FM signals for Husker women’s basketball and volleyball. 880-AM-KRVN (Lexington) also provides a huge AM signal statewide in central Nebraska, while more than 20 stations have joined the Husker Sports Network’s women’s basketball coverage across the state.
Fastbreakers Offer Travel Opportunities to Follow Huskers
The Fastbreakers Nebraska Women’s Basketball Booster Club is offering a pair of opportunities to follow the Huskers on the road this season.
The first trip being organized is for Nebraska’s Feb. 1 showdown with Iowa in Iowa City. The second trip will join the Huskers at the 2014 Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis, March 6-9.
For complete information on the travel opportunities, visit the Nebraska women’s basketball home page on Huskers.com and click on “Fastbreakers Travel” in the right side menu options. Fans can also e-mail Gary Schuster at email@example.com.
Fastbreakers Prepare for More Fun with Pregame Parties
The Fastbreakers Women’s Basketball Booster Club has set the dates for four Pregame Parties in Lincoln for the 2013-14 season.
With the new development in the Haymarket District, the Fastbreakers invite fans to take a tour of some of the new restaurants in the area at these fun new events. Each Pregame Party will begin two hours prior to the tip-off for select games, and wrap up 30 minutes before the game begins to allow fans to get to their seats in time for the game.
Pregame Parties will feature great food and drink specials at each location, lots of door prizes, and a different Husker spirit item provided for each fan in attendance. There is no cost to attend (food and drink will be available for purchase), and no RSVP is required. At the season’s end, fans will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite location, where next year’s events will be held.
The first Pregame Party was held on Thursday, Nov. 21 at the Courtyard Marriott Bistro, just two blocks from Pinnacle Bank Arena. The party began at 5 p.m., prior to the game against Arkansas-Pine Bluff, which tipped off at 7 p.m.
The second Pregame Party was held on Sunday, Dec. 8 (game vs. Utah State). NU’s upcoming Pregame Parties will be Thursday, Jan. 16 (game vs. Minnesota) and Saturday, Feb. 8 (game vs. Michigan State).
Locations will be announced on Huskers.com, Twitter, Facebook and at Husker Women’s Basketball games. Questions can be directed to the Huskers Athletic Fund at (402) 472-2367 or 800-8-BIG RED, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Husker Home Attendance Soars Past 60,000
Through 11 home games, the Huskers have attracted 62,664 fans including 10 of the top-16 largest home non-conference crowds in school history. NU has drawn 5,000 or more fans for eight of its first 11 home games at Pinnacle Bank Arena, including seven of 10 home non-conference games. The Big Red drew only five home non-conference crowds of 5,000 or more in 37 seasons at the Devaney Center.
Nebraska’s total home attendance of 62,664 ranks No. 8 nationally, while NU’s average home attendance of 5,697 ranks 12th.
Nebraska attracted almost 15,000 fans to Pinnacle Bank Arena in its season-opening weekend, including a non-conference school-record crowd of 9,750 for a season-opening win over UCLA on Nov. 8. The Huskers added a crowd of 4,924 for a Veterans Day win over Alabama on Nov. 11.
The 14,674 fans over two games nearly matched the 15,221 fans who attended Nebraska’s eight home non-conference games in Coach Connie Yori’s first season in 2002-03.
Nebraska’s average home attendance of 5,658 marked the best single-season non-conference average in school history, crushing the 4,049 fans per game the Huskers averaged during home non-conference action in 2012-13. With just one more home non-conference game than a year ago, the Big Red attracted 20,139 more fans than last season (36,436), which was also a school non-conference record.
Growing interest in Nebraska women’s basketball is not new. In fact, 13 of the 21 largest non-conference home crowds in school history have come over the last 21 home games for the Big Red.
Game One Featured Nebraska Life Skills Sportsmanship Pep Rally
Game One presented by Ameritas at Pinnacle Bank Arena featured more than just a top-25 showdown between the Nebraska and UCLA women’s basketball teams on Nov. 8.
The special day-long celebration of the regular-season openers for both the Nebraska men’s and women’s basketball teams at their new downtown arena tipped off with an energy-filled pep rally featuring an all-star cast of speakers and entertainers.
The Nebraska Life Skills Sportsmanship Pep Rally on the morning of Nov. 8 on the new home court of the Huskers reached more than 4,500 middle-school youth from nearly 50 schools across Nebraska.
Students from Centennial to Crete, Norris to North Bend Central, Seward to Sandy Creek and Wahoo to Wilber-Clatonia joined students from several private schools in Lincoln for a morning of motivational messages and exciting basketball action.
The sportsmanship pep rally, which was organized with assistance from the Nebraska High School Sports Hall of Fame, included messages from nationally recognized speakers.
Nebraska’s men’s basketball coach Tim Miles, baseball coach Darin Erstad, two-time NCAA and Olympic wrestling champion Jordan Burroughs, along with NCAA discus champion Chad Wright all delivered inspirational messages. Amanda Burau from Nebraska’s national champion women’s bowling team, Mattie Fowler from the Huskers’ Women’s College World Series softball team and Shavon Shields from the men’s basketball team added impressive messages, along with former women’s basketball player Meghin Williams. Acrodunk, a nationally acclaimed high-flying dunk team, added a spectacular performance.
The Huskers’ tip time was moved to noon to accommodate the students’ attendance at the pep rally and their return to their home schools.