Dayna Finch completed her fifth season as an assistant coach at Nebraska in 2014-15, helping the Huskers to their fourth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance and fourth straight 20-win season.
In 2013-14, the Huskers produced the second-best winning percentage (.788) in school history on their way to a 26-7 overall record. The Big Red finished the season in the top 25 for the third consecutive season, closing the year at No. 13 in the AP Poll and No. 17 in the USA Today/Coaches Top 25. The Huskers also finished No. 19 in the final NCAA RPI and No. 11 nationally in average home attendance in their first season at the new Pinnacle Bank Arena.
NU, which went 12-4 in Big Ten regular-season play and played for a share of the conference title on the final day of the season for the second straight year, won three straight games over Minnesota, No. 19 Michigan State and No. 23 Iowa in Indianapolis to roll to their first Big Ten Tournament title.
After earning the second-highest NCAA Tournament seed in school history (No. 4), Nebraska notched a 74-55 win over Fresno State in Los Angeles to become the first Husker team to win an NCAA Tournament game in back-to-back seasons.
Finch coordinated a 2013-14 Nebraska offense that ranked second in the Big Ten in scoring offense (75.6 ppg), while leading the conference in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.3) and free throw percentage (.798). The Huskers also ranked second in the Big Ten in assists (17.0 apg) and three-point field goals made per game (7.0).
She worked primarily with a young Husker guard corps that emerged into one of the Big Ten's best in 2013-14. Point guard Rachel Theriot enjoyed a breakout season, capturing first-team All-Big Ten honors before being named the MVP of the Big Ten Tournament. Theriot ranked fifth nationally with 7.1 assists per game, while leading the Big Ten with a 2.7 assist-to-turnover ratio.
A remarkably efficient player, Theriot ranked third in the Big Ten in three-point percentage (.430) and fourth in free throw percentage (.885), while ranking 14th in the conference with 14.1 points per game, including 15.6 points per game in league play in 2013-14. Theriot hit 50 percent of her threes and 50 percent of her shots from the field overall in Big Ten play.
As a junior in 2014-15, Theriot was a candidate for Wade, Naismith and Wooden National Player-of-the-Year awards before suffering a season-ending injury in practice on Feb. 3. Theriot still earned second-team All-Big Ten honors after averaging 16.5 points and 5.2 assists through the first 21 games.
Theriot will return to contend for All-America and major national honors on and off the court as a senior in 2015-16.
Finch also helped Tear'a Laudermill emerge into one of the Big Ten's most explosive guards as a junior. Laudermill earned second-team All-Big Ten honors in her first season as a starter. The Moreno Valley, Calif., native averaged 11.8 points per game on the season and 13.5 points per game in Big Ten action. Laudermill hit 44.3 percent of her three-pointers in league play, including a school-record-tying seven threes in a win over No. 8 Penn State on Feb. 24.
In 2014-15, Laudermill added honorable-mention All-Big Ten honors, while finishing fifth in school history with 157 career threes.
Finch, who also assists the Husker program with opponent scouting and recruiting, played a major role in Nebraska signing the the first two top-10 recruiting classes in school history.
Nebraska's 2015-16 freshman class was ranked as the No. 8 recruiting class in the nation by ESPN after the fall signing period in 2014. Led by Nebraska Gatorade High School Players of the Year Jess Shepard (2013, 2014) and Maddie Simon (2015) and Kansas prep post Rachel Blackburn, the 2015-16 Huskers could make an immediate impact.
NU's 2014-15 freshman class was ranked No. 9 nationally by ESPN, including Natalie Romeo (California), Chandler Smith (Washington), Jasmine Cincore (Tennessee), Darrien Washington (California) and Emily Wood (Kansas). The Huskers added 2014 NJCAA All-America forward Anya Kalenta to the class in the spring signing period.
Nebraska's success in 2013-14 followed an NCAA Sweet 16 season in 2012-13. The Huskers ran to a 25-9 overall record and a 12-4 Big Ten mark, finishing No. 16 in the final NCAA RPI, No. 16 in the final NCAA attendance rankings and No. 18 in the final USA Today/Coaches Top 25.
In 2012-13, Nebraska led the Big Ten with 6.5 three-pointers made per game, while also leading the conference in assist-to-turnover ratio.
Lindsey Moore was a finalist for the Nancy Lieberman Award, presented to the nation's top point guard, for the second straight season while earning Associated Press All-America honors. A two-time All-Big Ten pick, Moore closed her career as Nebraska's all-time leader in assists (699), starts (132) and minutes played (4,360). Moore also ranked 11th in career scoring (1,673), ninth in career steals (208) and fourth in three-pointers made (173).
As a senior, Moore earned a spot on the Big Ten All-Tournament Team for the second straight year. She also ranked among the top 15 players in the Big Ten in seven different categories, including No. 1 in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.14) and No. 3 in assists (5.7 apg).
Theriot joined Moore in the Husker backcourt for the first time in 2012-13. The 6-0 guard from Middleburg Heights, Ohio, captured a spot on the Big Ten All-Freshman Team by averaging 7.9 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.5 assists in conference action. She was even better in NU's run to the NCAA Sweet 16, averaging 8.7 points in three NCAA Tournament games.
Theriot's production in her rookie season came despite playing with a foot injury the entire year that required surgery in early April.
"Dayna has knowledge and understanding of the game of basketball beyond her years," Nebraska Coach Connie Yori said. "She brings a lot of energy and a good amount of creativity to our staff, and she also does a nice job for us in recruiting. Dayna also has great character, and we expect her to be a tremendous asset to our staff and our players in the future."
In 2011-12, Finch helped tutor the Husker post players, including honorable-mention All-American and first-team All-Big Ten forward Jordan Hooper.
Nebraska's offense ranked third overall in the Big Ten in 2011-12 with 71.4 points per game, helping power the Huskers to the second-highest win total in school history with 24. The Husker forwards also played a major role in Nebraska leading the Big Ten with 7.0 made three-pointers per game, as Hooper and Emily Cady combined to connect on 92 of NU's 230 threes.
With Finch coordinating Nebraska's inside game, the Huskers ranked among the top teams in the Big Ten in offensive rebounding (2nd, 15.5 orpg) and rebound margin (3rd, +3.4 rpg).
Hooper led the Big Ten with 9.3 rebounds per game, which ranked among the top 25 players in the nation. Hooper also ranked among the top 25 players nationally with 18.9 points per game.
In addition to Hooper's success, Cady claimed Big Ten All-Freshman honors by averaging 9.9 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. Cady ranked 11th in the Big Ten on the boards and 28th in the conference in scoring.
"I try to bring a high level of energy and enthusiasm to the gym each day," Finch said. "I want to help young players reach their full potential both on and off the court, and I think Coach Yori and our Nebraska staff have consistently done that over the years. It's exciting to be a part of that."
Finch was originally recruited by Yori out of high school to play guard at Creighton. Finch went on to be one of the top three-point shooters in Missouri Valley Conference history, connecting on 294 threes in 121 career games with the Jays.
Finch spent her first two seasons playing for Yori at Creighton, before Yori took the top job at Nebraska in 2002-03. Finch closed her Creighton playing career by earning a spot on the WNIT All-Tournament Team in 2004. Following her playing career, Finch rejoined Yori as a graduate assistant at Nebraska during the 2004-05 and 2005-06 seasons.
Finch gained her first full-time coaching position as an assistant at Northern Colorado for two seasons in 2006-07 and 2007-08, before rejoining Coach Jim Flanery at Creighton for the 2008-09 and 2009-10 campaigns as an assistant coach.
Before embarking on her coaching career, Finch set the Creighton and Missouri Valley Conference record with 294 career three-pointers. She closed her CU career with 1,260 points, while also ranking 10th in school history with 182 steals.
As a senior, Finch led the Bluejays with 13.9 points and 3.9 rebounds per game. She added 2.8 assists and 2.4 steals per contest, while ranking as one of the nation's top three-point shooters. She knocked down 98-of-250 threes on the season, connecting on 39.2 percent of her shots from long range. She ranked seventh nationally with 3.1 three-pointers per game, while ranking 27th nationally in three-point field goal percentage in 2003-04.
Finch capped her senior season by averaging 17 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game to help the Jays to the Postseason WNIT title.
Finch was a part of three teams that qualified for the postseason at Creighton, including Yori's 2002 Missouri Valley Conference championship team that advanced to the NCAA Tournament.
In addition to her success on the court, Finch was a standout in the classroom, capturing 2004 Missouri Valley Conference Scholar-Athlete-of-the-Year honors. The two-time first-team academic All-Missouri Valley selection was also a first-team CoSIDA Academic All-District VII pick. She closed her career with a 3.67 grade-point average as a psychology major.
As the head coach at Creighton, Yori recruited Finch out of high school in Kansas. The two-time Kansas Class 3A Player of the Year in 1999 and 2000, Finch produced a spectacular prep career at Smith Center High School. The two-time first-team all-class selection averaged 27 points, five rebounds and two assists per game as a senior. She was also an AAU All-American in 1999, and was an honorable-mention All-American by USA Today in both 1999 and 2000.
Finch earned her bachelor's degree in psychology from Creighton in 2004, before claiming her master's degree in leadership education from Nebraska in 2006.
Finch, who was born in Quinter, Kan., on April 4, 1982, married former Nebraska fullback Tim Weltmer on Aug. 14, 2004. The couple has three children, including daughter Deklynn (3), and sons Drake (1) and Darris (infant).