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Coatney's Call: Illinois, Purdue Preview
Matt Coatney is the voice of Nebraska women's basketball on the Husker Sports Network.
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Courtesy: NU Media Relations
02/26/2014
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#16 Nebraska vs. Illinois
Thursday, Feb. 27, 7 p.m. (central)
Pinnacle Bank Arena (Lincoln, Neb.)
Radio: Husker Sports Network
(Matt Coatney-PBP; Jeff Griesch-Analyst)
107.3 FM-KBBK, Lincoln; 93.3 FM-KFFF, Omaha; 1400 AM-KCOW, Alliance; 1430 AM-KRGI, Grand Island; 1230 AM-KHAS, Hastings; 1400 AM-KBRB, Ainsworth; 1240 KODY, North Platte
Internet: Free live audio on Huskers.com

#16 Nebraska at #19 Purdue
Sunday, March 2, 1 p.m. (central)
Mackey Arena (West Lafayette, Ind.)
Television: ESPN2 (Bob Picozzi-PBP; Rosalind Gold-Onwude-Analyst)
Radio:
 Husker Sports Network
(Matt Coatney-PBP; Jeff Griesch-Analyst)
107.3 FM-KBBK, Lincoln; 93.3 FM-KFFF, Omaha; 1400 AM-KCOW, Alliance; 1430 AM-KRGI, Grand Island; 1230 AM-KHAS, Hastings; 1400 AM-KBRB, Ainsworth; 1240 KODY, North Platte
Internet: Free live audio on Huskers.com
Huskers Honor Hooper on Senior Night, Travel to Purdue Sunday
Time comes and goes so quickly. I’ll never forget Nebraska women’s basketball Coach Connie Yori telling me about an incoming freshman four years ago. She said, “Matt, I don’t usually tell you someone’s really good, do I?  You’re just going to have to believe me.  She’s REALLY good.”
And she was.  And she got better.  Along the way, that incoming freshman set the Husker career three-point record, was twice named first-team All-Big Ten, became a two-time All-American, started in the Gold Medal Game for Team USA in Russia last year at the World University Games and has set a plethora of other records and gathered a treasure trove of accolades. 
This Thursday night, Nebraska will honor that long-ago incoming freshman after the final home regular-season game of her college career.  Jordan Hooper  has been a very special player for the Husker program, but she’s also an incredible young lady.  She is the favorite daughter of Alliance, Box Butte County and the entire Nebraska Panhandle region, but she’s also the embodiment of everything Husker fans admire about Nebraska players – humble, tough, self-deprecating, a great teammate and loyal.
It’s been an extreme pleasure and an honor to describe her games on the radio in her college career, but it’s been even better to become her friend.

Hooper started Monday night’s matchup with Penn State off in style by hitting a three-pointer on Nebraska’s first possession.  Hooper only took nine shots in the game, but posted her 37th career double-double with 19 points and 12 rebounds, as the Huskers blew out the Lady Lions 94-74.

Nebraska held as much as a 32-point lead and came one three-pointer away from tying the school record for three’s in a game. Nebraska’s 72.7 percent from beyond the arc (16-of-22) was the highest percentage any Division I women’s basketball team has shot in a single game this season. The hottest long-range shooter for Nebraska was junior guard Tear’a Laudermill. 

Tee hit her first six three-point attempts and tied a school record with seven triples en route to a career-high 27 points. 

Sophomore point guard Rachel Theriot was named Big Ten Player of the Week Tuesday afternoon, averaging 21.5 points, 6.0 assists and 5.0 rebounds in wins over Penn State and Ohio State. Theriot had 17 points and eight assists against the Lady Lions to help Nebraska to its eighth straight win.

The Huskers control their own destiny in terms of gaining the top seed in next week’s Big Ten Tournament and gaining at least a share of the conference regular-season title. Wins in the Huskers' final two regular-season games would give Nebraska the overall No. 1 seed in next week’s Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis.

Thursday 7:05 p.m. matchup against Illinois at Pinnacle Bank Arena will be the final regular-season home game for the Huskers in 2013-14. The Illini have lost eight games in a row and are 9-18 overall and 2-12 in Big Ten play. NU won an earlier meeting this season 75-56 in Champaign, Ill., on Jan. 12.  The Huskers erupted for 49 points in the second half and had four players score in double figures. Hooper had a game-high 22 points while Emily Cady posted a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds.

Like last season, Illinois and the ‘Buzz Defense’ lead the league in steals (11.1 per game).  However, the team ranks last in the Big Ten in scoring margin, field goal percentage, field goal percentage defense and rebounding margin.  

Senior Amber Moore, a 5-11 guard/forward, leads the Big Ten in three-point field goals per game (2.89). Last year, the sharp-shooting Moore set a program record for single-season three-pointers (86) and stepped up her production in the postseason, averaging 16.8 points in the team’s four WNIT games.  She leads this season’s team in scoring (14.8 ppg) and three-pointers (78).  Her 285 career triples are fourth all-time in the Big Ten and are the most in Illinois history.

Junior Ivory Crawford, a 5-10 guard, is the only Illinois player to start all 27 games this season. She leads the team in steals (57) and is second on the team in scoring (14.6 ppg). However, Crawford’s three lowest scoring games of the conference season have come in the last three games. After scoring in double figures in every league game and posting at least 12 points in the first 11 Big Ten games, Crawford has scored five, seven and 11 points, respectively, in Illinois’ last three contests.  She had 19 points and eight rebounds earlier this season against Nebraska.

Jacqui Grant, a 6-3 freshman center, has missed the last five games with mononucleosis and is doubtful to play against Nebraska.

Second-year Illini Head Coach Matt Bollant’s starting lineup the last two games has included Moore and Crawford along with Taylor Gleason, Sarah Livingston and Ashley McConnell.  Gleason, a 5-8 freshman guard, has started five games and averages 3.7 points per game. Livingston, a 6-2 freshman, has started five games and averages 3.4 points per game. McConnell, who is a former walk-on who went on scholarship for the second semester, has started the last five games and averages 1.5 points per game. 

Nebraska leads the all-time series with Illinois 5-3, but the Illini held Nebraska to its lowest offensive output of the season in the last meeting between the two teams in Lincoln, a 62-52 Illini win at the Devaney Center in 2013.  NU committed a season-high 26 turnovers and was outrebounded 45-36. 

Nebraska finishes the regular season on the road at Purdue in a 1 p.m. (central) clash Sunday that will be televised nationally on ESPN2. The Huskers will look to split the season series after losing at home to the Boilermakers 77-75 on Jan. 19. If Nebraska can defeat Illinois Thursday night, the Huskers will have a chance to win their first Big Ten regular-season championship with a win at Purdue. The teams have faced each other five times in history, all coming in Nebraska’s first three seasons in the Big Ten.

It’s interesting that the first five games of this series have been played at five different venues – Mackey Arena, Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Devaney Center, Sears Centre and Pinnacle Bank Arena. Sunday will the first repeat venue and a return to the triple overtime thriller that started it all.  Freshman Emily Cady’s miracle buzzer-beating three-pointer forced triple-overtime and Nebraska won the first-ever meeting between the two teams 93-89 in 3OT in 2012.

Purdue notched a double-overtime win in the Big Ten Tournament Championship game later that season and the Boilermakers were victorious in an overtime thriller at the Devaney Center in 2013.  Earlier this year, Whitney Bays scored on a rebound put back with less than two seconds remaining to allow Purdue to escape with a two-point victory at the Pinnacle Bank Arena.

Lincoln native and Southeast High product KK Houser has missed the last five games with an apparent season- and career-ending knee injury. However, recent reports suggest Houser might play on her Senior Day at Mackey Arena. She is scheduled to have her ACL surgically repaired on March 10.

Purdue is on a five-game winning streak since Houser’s injury and come into Sunday’s matchup with Nebraska after a mid-week bye that gives Purdue six days rest while the Huskers play three games in seven days. The Boilermakers are 20-7 overall and 10-5 in Big Ten play. Bays, a 6-2 junior transfer from Maryland, has helped key the five-game winning streak for Purdue.

Despite starting just one game, she averages a team-leading 7.4 rebounds and adds 11.4 points per game. Bays had all 17 of her points in the second half earlier this season against the Huskers.

April Wilson, a 5-7 sophomore guard, has stepped into the starting point guard role for Purdue with Houser’s injury. Wilson leads the team in assists and averages 10.4 points per game.

Senior Courtney Moses had a game-high 21 points and five threes earlier this season against NU. The 5-6 guard is the only Purdue player to start every game this season and averages a team-leading 14.9 points per game to go along with a team-best 70 three-pointers.

Husker fans can play a major role in helping Jordan Hooper win the Senior CLASS Award. Fan balloting counts for 1/3 of the overall total. Vote for Hooper at www.seniorclassaward.com. You may vote once a day per device through March 24. Former Husker Kelsey Griffin won this prestigious award in 2010 and Husker fans can help Jordan Hooper win it this season!

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 6:45 p.m. (central) with the tip-off scheduled for 7:05 p.m. on the Husker Sports Network including KBBK (B107.3) in Lincoln, KFFF 93.3 in Omaha, KCOW 1400 in Alliance, KHAS 1230 in Hastings, KRGI 1430 in Grand Island, KBRB 1400 in Ainsworth, 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! 

Matt  

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