Next up for Nebraska is a Thursday night 6 p.m. (central) visit to the Crisler Center in Ann Arbor as the Huskers try for a season sweep over Michigan. NU then returns home Sunday afternoon for its only meeting of the season with the Indiana Hoosiers in a noon (central) tip-off at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln.
Michigan has lost three of its last four games and comes into Thursday night’s match-up with a 15-9 overall record and 6-5 mark in Big Ten play. Michigan and Nebraska met in Lincoln just two weeks ago on Jan. 29. Husker All-American Jordan Hooper erupted for 25 points and 10 rebounds. Tear’a Laudermill matched her then-career high with 18 points and had three straight threes to open the second half to help lead NU to an 84-51 win, handing Michigan its first road loss of the season.
Theriot produced her first career double-double with 10 points and 11 assists. Nebraska shot a sizzling 53.3 percent from the field and dished out a season-high 27 assists while committing just seven turnovers. The Huskers had 27 assists on 32 made baskets.
Nebraska's 84 points were the second-most allowed by Michigan, trailing only the 86 scored by No. 2 Notre Dame on Dec. 14. The Wolverines had been allowing just 57.7 points per game in Big Ten play.
On the flip side, Nebraska held Michigan to just 36.4 percent (20-55) from the field, including 5-of-12 from three-point range. The Wolverines were 6-of-9 at the line. Nebraska dominated the boards, 38-28, against a Michigan team that entered the game with better than a plus-nine rebound margin per game on the season. The Wolverines also managed just seven assists, while committing 11 turnovers.
The Huskers lead the all-time series 8-1, and are 4-0 all-time in Ann Arbor, including last season’s 57-39 win. NU opened the second half on a 21-0 run and held Michigan to a season-low 39 points, the second straight game in which Nebraska limited its opponent to less than 40 points. The Huskers shut out the Wolverines for the first 8:40 of the second half. Jordan Hooper led Nebraska with 14 points and 12 rebounds.
Siera Thompson, a 5-7 freshman guard, is in the midst of the best three-point shooting season by a freshman in Michigan history. Her 47.2 percent from beyond the arc leads the Big Ten and is fourth nationally, but she was only 1-for-5 from long range in Sunday’s lost to Purdue. Thompson has hit at least one three-pointer in all 24 games this season. She had 12 points and two three-pointers against the Huskers earlier this season. She leads the Wolverines in scoring (13.9 ppg) and has connected on 59-of-125 threes this season. In Big Ten games, she is shooting an impressive 49.1 percent (27-of-55).
Shannon Smith ranks second on the team in scoring (13.9 ppg). The 5-7 junior guard played her freshman year at North Carolina before transferring to Trinity Valley Community College, which she led to a junior college national championship. She was named the national tournament MVP. Her father Kevin was a former captain for Michigan State and was a forward for the Spartans from 1979 to 1982.
Nicole Elmblad, a 5-11 junior wing, is one of two Wolverines to start all 20 games. Last season, Elmblad started at forward despite being listed as a guard, because of her strong rebounding presence. She had a breakout season, averaging 4.3 points and 5.4 rebounds in 29 minutes per game. This year, Elmblad has almost tripled her scoring output (12.0 ppg) while averaging 7.9 rebounds per contest. She also leads Michigan in steals (35). She had a team-high 16 points earlier this season against the Huskers.
Cyesha Goree saw limited playing time last year, but Coach Kim Barnes Arico says Goree is a different player now. The 6-3 forward has lost over 20 pounds due to improved conditioning in the offseason. She has started every game, leads the team in rebounds (9.2 rpg) and adds 11.1 points per game.
Senior Val Driscoll rounds out Michigan’s probable starting lineup. The 6-4 center missed all of 2012-13 due to a knee injury, but has started 19 games this season and leads the team in blocked shots (56). Driscoll adds 4.9 points and 5.7 rebounds per game.
Barnes Arico is in her second season guiding the Michigan program. She spent 10 years as the head coach at St. John’s, guiding the Red Storm to four NCAA Tournaments. Barnes Arico is the winningest coach in St. John’s history.
Michigan is 0-5 at the Crisler Center under Barnes Arico against ranked teams after Sunday’s loss to Purdue. Michigan had a 14-point lead at the 7:30 mark in the first half, holding Purdue to 0-of-11 shooting from the floor to start the game. However, Purdue rallied and held Michigan scoreless as part of key 8-0 run in the final minutes of the game. The loss dropped the Wolverines to 6-6 at home this season.
Before facing the Huskers in Lincoln Sunday afternoon, Indiana hosts league-leading Penn State Thursday night in Bloomington. Heading into the week, the Hoosiers were 17-6 overall and 4-6 in Big Ten play after knocking off Wisconsin 76-69 last Saturday at Assembly Hall.
Indiana has the most wins in a season since 2008-09 and its most league wins since the 2009-10 season. The Hoosiers only committed seven turnovers against the Badgers and are 6-1 this season when committing fewer than 10 turnovers. Indiana leads the Big Ten Conference with just 12.9 turnovers per game.
Indiana makes a lot of three-pointers and are equally as good at denying the opponent from scoring from beyond the arc. The Hoosiers lead the league in three-pointers scored per game (7.6) and are holding their opponents to a conference-best 26.0 percent shooting from long-range.
Indiana has won two straight games, including a road win at Illinois on Feb. 2. The Hoosier win at Illinois gave IU its first road Big Ten victory since Feb. 10, 2011. IU is 7-4 in true road games this season. The seven true road victories ties for the most among all Big Ten teams. Indiana will play 14 true road games during the 2013-14 regular season, more than any other Big Ten team.
Second-year Indiana Head Coach Curt Miller has committed to a youth movement and the Hoosiers get over 76 percent of their scoring from first-year players. The emergence of 5-5 freshman point guard Larryn Brooks has helped key the Hoosiers’ resurgence this season. She has scored in double-figures seven times, including a 22-point effort in Saturday’s win over Wisconsin. Brooks has eclipsed the Indiana freshman season record for free throws with 103.
Freshman guard Taylor Agler rarely leaves the floor, playing 94 percent of the total minutes for the Hoosiers. She and Brooks are the only two IU players to start every game this season. Agler is the daughter of Brian Agler, current coach of the WNBA Seattle Storm and former head coach at Kansas State.
The all-time series between Nebraska and Indiana is tied 2-2. The Huskers defeated the Hoosiers 67-38 in Bloomington last season. NU gained a 62-48 victory over IU at the Devaney Center in Lincoln in 2012. Indiana won the first meeting between the two schools, 83-80 in overtime on Nov. 26, 1994 at the Devaney Center.
I cordially invite you to join Jeff Griesch and me for Nebraska women’s basketball on the Husker Sports Network. Our radio broadcast Thursday evening begins with the pre-game show at 5:45 p.m. (central) with the tip-off scheduled for 6 p.m. on the Husker Sports Network including KBBK (B107.3) in Lincoln, KFFF 93.3 in Omaha, KRVN 880 in Lexington; KCOW 1400 in Alliance, KLIQ 94.5 in Hastings, KNEB 94.1 in Scottsbluff, KBRB 1400 in Ainsworth, KSID 1310 in Sidney
, KHUB 1340 in Fremont, KBLR 97.3 in Blair, KRGI 1430 in Grand Island, KODY 1240 in North Platte and many others. All Husker Women’s Basketball broadcasts are also available for free worldwide on the internet at www.huskers.com. I hope you can join us.
There are a number of ways to get enhanced information about our broadcast and Husker Women’s Basketball via social media. You can learn more about the team on the Nebraska Women’s Basketball Facebook page or follow the team on their official Twitter page @huskerswbb. I also invite you to friend me on Facebook (Matt Coatney) or follow me on Twitter @coatman1.
Go Big Red!