The Nebraska women's basketball team plans to honor its first NCAA Tournament team when the Huskers return to the Bob Devaney Sports Center to take on Utah on Sunday, Nov. 23.
The game, which was announced by Nebraska on June 25, will mark the Huskers' first game at the Devaney Center since moving into their new home at Pinnacle Bank Arena for the start of the 2013-14 season.
The Devaney Center, which has been converted into the permanent home of the Nebraska volleyball team, has received extensive renovations with a new seating capacity of nearly 8,000. In NU's final women's basketball season at the Devaney Center in 2012-13, capacity was more than 13,000.
The event will be the first college basketball game back at the Devaney Center since the massive internal and external renovations. The Devaney Center did hold games in the 2014 boys and girls high school state tournaments.
The return to the Devaney Center for the contest with Utah was necessitated by a scheduling conflict with "Disney On Ice" at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Nebraska plans to make the day special by honoring the 1988 Big Eight champion Huskers, who went a perfect 13-0 at the Devaney Center on their way to the school's first NCAA Tournament bid.
The 1988 team featured Big Eight Player of the Year Maurtice Ivy and All-Big Eight guard Amy Stephens, who has returned to Nebraska as an assistant coach for the 2014-15 season. Two-time CoSIDA Academic All-American Stephanie Bolli was also a major contributor for that Big Red team under Coach Angela Beck.
"We plan on making it a fun day for our fans to get back inside the Devaney Center and watch some great basketball," Nebraska Executive Associate Athletic Director Marc Boehm said. "We are going to make the most of our one-game return this season by honoring our first NCAA Tournament team, and highlighting some of our great memories from our time at the Devaney Center."
The battle between the Huskers and the Utes will be the second in a two-game series. Last season, Nebraska worked its way to a 75-69 victory over Utah at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City on Nov. 15, 2013. It was a breakout game for point guard Rachel Theriot, who erupted for 28 points, seven rebounds and four assists while playing the full 40 minutes for the first time in her career. Theriot went on to earn first-team All-Big Ten and conference tournament MVP honors before being named an honorable-mention Associated Press All-American as a sophomore in 2013-14.
Theriot is one of four starters back for the Big Red in 2014-15, joining senior second-team All-Big Ten selections Emily Cady and Tear'a Laudermill and senior Big Ten All-Defensive Team member Hailie Sample. Nebraska will also feature seven newcomers who have been ranked among the top 10 incoming classes in the nation by ESPN.
"We are expecting a great game from Utah," Nebraska Coach Connie Yori said. "Rachel played a great second half to help us come back to win last year. We know Utah will be hungry for a win against us this year."
Nebraska's game with Utah will be part of an 18-game home schedule in 2014-15 that includes 17 games in the second season at Pinnacle Bank Arena. NU's two exhibition games and 15 regular-season home games at Pinnacle Bank Arena will be part of a 17-game season ticket package that will be available to the public starting on Monday, July 28.
The game with Utah at the Devaney Center will be a separate, single-game ticket outside of that season ticket package. Tickets for the Utah game and advance parking for that game also will go on-sale to the public beginning on Monday, July 28.
Nebraska's 2013-14 women's basketball season ticket holders will have the first opportunity to renew their season tickets and purchase Utah tickets, beginning in mid-July.
Single-game tickets for the rest of Nebraska's outstanding home schedule will not go on sale until late October or early November. The Big Red's 2014-15 home schedule at Pinnacle Bank Arena will include showdowns with 2014 NCAA Women's Final Four qualifier Maryland, Sweet 16 participant Penn State and NCAA second-round qualifiers Duke, Purdue and Iowa. All five of those teams finished the 2013-14 season ranked among the top 25 teams in the nation.
The Huskers also will face 2014 postseason qualifiers Minnesota and Michigan at the arena, along with Big Ten home games against Illinois, Ohio State and Wisconsin in Nebraska's first-ever nine-game home conference schedule.
Nebraska's non-conference home games include the season opener with Pepperdine on Saturday, Nov. 15, and contests with Alcorn State, Northern Colorado, Bakersfield and High Point, which went 22-11 and won the 2014 Big South regular-season title on its way to the Postseason WNIT.