Hooper Powers Huskers Past Bengals
Lincoln - Jordan Hooper scored a season-high 29 points and added 10 rebounds to power No. 21 Nebraska to a 60-51 women's basketball win over defending Big Sky champion Idaho State at the Devaney Center Saturday.
With the victory, Nebraska improved to 6-2, while the Bengals, who return four starters from last year's 2012 NCAA Tournament team, slipped to 3-3 on the season.
Hooper, a 6-2 junior forward from Alliance, Neb., hit 12-of-23 shots from the field to fuel a Husker offense against a notoriously stingy Bengal defense. The All-American notched her third double-double of the season and 20th of her career with 10 boards.
Senior point guard Lindsey Moore added 13 points, five assists, four rebounds, two steals and a block for the Huskers, while Rachel Theriot and Tear'a Laudermill both added six points.
Nebraska finished the game hitting just 37.7 percent (20-53) from the field, including just 2-of-17 (11.8 percent) from three-point range, while adding 62.1 percent shooting (18-29) at the free throw line. The Huskers outrebounded Idaho State, 43-33, and won the turnover battle, 21-19.
Lindsey Reed led the Bengals with 16 points and six rebounds, while Cydney Horton added 11 points and eight boards. The Huskers held ISU to just 36.7 percent (18-49) shooting for the game, including 5-of-15 three-point shooting. The Bengals were also 10-of-15 at the free throw line.
Hooper was the only gun firing for the Huskers in the first half, pouring in 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting, while adding five rebounds. Hooper scored NU's first seven points in the opening 2:30 to put the Huskers up 7-0. She ended the half with eight straight points in the final 55 seconds to snap a score tied at 23 and send the Huskers to halftime with a 31-23 edge.
Theriot added four points on 2-of-4 shooting in the first half, but the rest of the Huskers were 0-of-10 from the field, including 0-for-5 from long range. Nebraska capitalized on tough defense throughout the half, outscoring Idaho State 18-0 in points off turnovers. NU forced 12 ISU turnovers, while committing seven of its own.
The Huskers were aggressive offensively, forcing 15 fouls by the Bengals, including three on All-Big Sky forward Ashleigh Vella. NU went 12-of-20 at the free throw line, while ISU hit 5-of-9 shots at the line. The Huskers also outrebounded Idaho State, 20-19.
Reed led the Bengals with six first-half points. ISU hit just 8-of-22 shots from the field, including 2-of-6 threes.
Nebraska's lead grew as large as 17 points with three minutes left in the second half after a pair of Laudermill free throws. Moore and Hooper combined for nine points in an 11-0 run that turned a 42-39 lead into a 53-39 edge with five minutes left. NU's 11-0 run against the Bengals lasted nearly nine minutes. NU held ISU scoreless from 13:04 until 4:23.
The Huskers wrap up their stretch of three straight games against conference champions and NCAA Tournament teams when they travel to Omaha to take on Creighton on Wednesday. Tip-off between the Huskers and Jays is set for 7:05 p.m. with free live audio on Huskers.com provided by the Husker Sports Network.