#24 Nebraska Cornhuskers (8-0) vs. Creighton Bluejays (5-1)
Bob Devaney Sports Center (13,595) • Lincoln, Neb.
Wednesday, Dec. 9 • 7:05 p.m. (Central)
Radio: Husker Sports Network
(98.1 FM-KFGE-Lincoln, 93.3 FM-KTWI-Omaha, 880 AM-KRVN-Lexington)
Live Internet Audio: Huskers.com (Free)
Live Internet Video: HuskersNside (premium subscribers)
The No. 24 Nebraska women’s basketball team will try to match the longest winning streak in school history when the Huskers play host to Creighton on Wednesday night in Lincoln.
Tip-off between the Huskers (8-0) and Bluejays (5-1) at the Bob Devaney Sports Center is set for 7:05 p.m., with live radio coverage provided by the Husker Sports Network on 98.1 KFGE in Lincoln, 93.3 KTWI in Omaha and 880 KRVN in Lexington. Matt Coatney and Jeff Griesch will have the call free world-wide on Huskers.com, and a live video stream will also be available to premium subscribers of HuskersNside.
Nebraska is off to its best start since 1996-97, when the Huskers opened an all-time best 9-0 to begin the season. NU opened the 1992-93 campaign 8-0, and this year’s crop of Huskers matched that start with a solid win over a previously unbeaten Miami team on Saturday in Coral Gables, Fla.
Junior guard Dominique Kelley led five Huskers in double figures with 16 points, while senior forward Cory Montgomery pitched in 14 points and Kelsey Griffin nearly produced her third double-double of the year with 13 points and nine rebounds.
Nebraska is 4-0 at home this season and has featured a high-powered offense averaging 89.5 points per game at the Devaney Center. NU’s defense has also been stifling at home, surrendering just 48.8 points per contest for an average winning margin at the Devaney Center of more than 40 points per game.
The Huskers will be counting on a much stiffer test from the 5-1 Bluejays, who entered the year as the preseason pick to win the Missouri Valley Conference title. Creighton’s balanced attack features five starters averaging at least eight points per game. As a team, CU is averaging 68 points per contest, while surrendering just 58.5 points per game. Preseason Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year Megan Neuvirth from West Point, Neb., leads the Jays with 13 points and 6.2 rebounds per game, while Kelsey Woodard has added 13.5 points and 4.0 boards per contest.
Two-time first-team All-Big 12 pick Kelsey Griffin leads Nebraska with 15.9 points, 9.1 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game. Cory Montgomery, Yvonne Turner and Dominique Kelley are all averaging double figures for NU.
#24 Nebraska Probable Starters (8-0)
23 - Kelsey Griffin - 6-2 - Sr. - F - 15.9 ppg, 9.1 rpg
40 - Cory Montgomery - 6-2 - Sr. - F - 13.0 ppg, 5.1 rpg
00 - Lindsey Moore - 5-9 - Fr. - G - 3.8 ppg, 1.5 rpg
22 - Yvonne Turner - 5-8 - Sr. - G - 12.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg
24 - Dominique Kelley - 5-7 - Jr. - G - 11.3 ppg, 4.1 rpg
The Next Wave
44 - Catheryn Redmon - 6-3 - Jr. - C - 7.0 ppg, 6.5 rpg
11 - Nicole Neals - 5-6 - Sr. - G - 5.5 ppg, 1.3 rpg
13 - Kala Kuhlmann - 5-8 - Sr. - G - 4.6 ppg, 1.5 rpg
21 - Harleen Sidhu - 6-1 - So. - F - 2.5 ppg, 1.8 rpg
35 - Jessica Periago - 6-4 - Jr. - C - 2.1 ppg, 3.0 rpg
5 - Kaitlyn Burke - 5-7 - Jr. - G - 2.3 ppg, 0.7 rpg
12 - Layne Reeves - 5-11 - RFr. - G - 2.0 ppg, 1.6 rpg
20 - Katya Leick - 6-1 - Fr. - F - 1.8 ppg, 2.0 rpg
10 - Meghin Williams - 6-1 - Fr. - F - 0.8 ppg, 0.6 rpg
42 - Nikki Bober - 6-4 - Sr. - C - Injured
Head Coach: Connie Yori (Creighton, 1986)
Eighth Season at NU (129-97); 20th Season Overall (324-237)
Creighton Probable Starters (5-1)
11 - Sam Schuett - 6-0 - Jr. - F - 9.3 ppg, 8.0 rpg
21 - Megan Neuvirth - 5-11 - Sr. - F - 13.0 ppg, 6.2 rpg
44 - Kellie Nelson - 6-3 - Jr. - F - 8.0 ppg, 3.5 rpg
3 - Kelsey Woodard - 5-10 - Jr. - G - 13.5 ppg, 4.0 rpg
5 - Chevelle Herring - 5-4 - Sr. - G - 10.7 ppg, 2.7 rpg
Off the bench
20 - Ally Jensen - 5-7 - Fr. - G - 6.5 ppg, 1.2 rpg
15 - Kelsey Crites - 5-9 - Sr. - G - 4.5 ppg, 5.3 rpg
24 - Jasmin Corbin - 5-6 - Fr. - G - 2.8 ppg, 1.7 rpg
33 - Katie Frank - 6-0 - Sr. - F - 1.8 ppg, 2.5 rpg
2 - DaNae Moore - 5-10 - So. - G - 0.5 ppg, 1.5 rpg
Head Coach: Jim Flanery (Creighton, 1987)
Eighth Season at CU (136-93); Eighth Season Overall (136-93)
Huskers Chasing History with Fast Start
At 8-0, Nebraska is off to its best start since 1996-97, when the Huskers opened an all-time best 9-0 to begin the season. NU opened the 1992-93 campaign 8-0, and the 2009-10 Huskers matched the second-best start in school history with a 76-71 win at Miami on Saturday.
The Huskers won each of their first seven games by double digits, including the first four games by 20 or more points. NU has led all eight of its opponents by at least 11 points in the second half.
Nebraska’s success early this season represented only the fourth time in school history that the Huskers produced seven straight wins by double-digit margins. NU’s longest stretch of double-digit wins came with eight during the Huskers’ school-record nine-game streak to open the 1996-97 season. The 1996-97 Huskers opened the season with a 79-70 win at Illinois State before reeling off eight straight wins by at least 10 points.
Coach Connie Yori’s 2005-06 Huskers notched eight straight wins, including seven straight by double figures, as did the 1992-93 Huskers, who opened the season with eight straight victories.
Nebraska’s current eight-game winning streak is just the seventh winning streak of eight or more games in school history. If the Huskers can get past Creighton, it would be just the second nine-game streak in the NU record book.
Three of Nebraska’s eight-game winning streaks have come in Yori’s eight seasons with the Huskers, including 2003-04 and 2005-06.
Huskers Producing Massive Margins to Open Season
Nebraska’s average victory margin of 27.3 points per game through the first eight contests is the largest in school history, well ahead of the 26.1-point per game margin established by the 1996-97 Huskers to open the season.
The 2009-10 Huskers are averaging 81.6 points per game (653 total points) on the offensive end, which is just shy of the 81.8 points per game (654 total points) produced by the 2001-02 Huskers through eight contests. The 2001-02 team scored 76 points in its ninth game to improve to 8-1 on the year.
NU’s 2009-10 early season production also matches the 81.6 points per game (653 total points) of the 1996-97 Huskers. The 1996-97 Huskers posted 75 points in their ninth game - a 75-46 win over Southwest Texas State on Dec. 21, 1996 at the Devaney Center.
The 1987-88 Huskers averaged 85.4 points per game (683 total points) to produce the best offensive start by an NU squad through eight games in Nebraska history.
Huskers Dig Defense
NU is surrendering just 54.4 points per game through the first eight contests, which is the lowest opponent scoring average through the first eight contests of any season since the first full season of varsity women’s basketball at the University of Nebraska in 1975-76.
The 1975-76 Huskers surrendered just 51.1 points through the first eight games, which came against almost an entirely non-Division I schedule. The only contest against a Division I foe came at Creighton, when the Huskers allowed the Bluejays just 31 points. The 1975-76 Huskers allowed a school-record 56.0 points per contest over 30 games on their way to a 21-9 record. Twenty of NU’s 30 games that season came against teams that are not currently in NCAA Division I.
In Coach Connie Yori’s first year at Nebraska in 2002-03, the Huskers surrendered just 54.9 points per game through the first eight contests.
Nebraska Forcing Fresh Look at Levels of Production
Basketball fans are accustomed to charting individual statistics by game, but the depth, experience and style of play of the Huskers this season may cause some folks to take a fresh look at the numbers.
For example, no Husker has averaged 25 minutes per game through the first eight contests, but the individual numbers produced by Nebraska’s top unit are all at an all-conference level.
Kelsey Griffin, a two-time first-team All-Big 12 selection makes the strongest case for considering production per minute, rather than per game. Griffin enters the week ranked 11th in the Big 12 with 15.9 points per game, while ranking fourth in the league with 9.1 rebounds per game. Those numbers become significantly more impressive considering she has played just 21.6 minutes per game - just over one 20-minute half of basketball per game.
Taken over 40 minutes, Griffin is averaging 29.4 points, 16.9 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 3.9 steals per game. Griffin is also shooting 59.8 percent (49-82) from the field, including 42.9 percent (3-7) from three-point range. She has also knocked down 26-of-36 free throws (72.2 percent).
Compare that production to current Big 12 scoring leader Andrea Riley, who entered the week averaging 25.6 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game. Through seven games, Riley is averaging 39.3 minutes per game, and her 40-minute production is 26.0 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.2 steals - all three numbers coming in well below Griffin’s 40-minute averages.
With 127 points in 173 minutes, Griffin is averaging a staggering 0.73 points per minute and 0.42 rebounds per minute. Riley averages an impressive 0.65 points per minute, but just 0.09 rebounds. In 2007-08, Griffin led the Big 12 in point production in conference games only with 0.62 points per minute, while ranking second in rebounding with 0.30 rebounds per minute - trailing only 2007 National Player of the Year Courtney Paris on the glass.
The following is a brief listing of Nebraska players and their averages taken over 40 minutes:
- Kelsey Griffin - 29.4 points, 16.9 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 3.9 steals
- Cory Montgomery - 22.4 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.7 assists
- Yvonne Turner - 20.9 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 2.6 steals
- Dominique Kelley - 20.3 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 1.4 steals
- Catheryn Redmon - 14.9 points, 13.9 rebounds, 5.1 blocks
- Nicole Neals - 12.3 points, 2.8 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 2.2 steals
- Kala Kuhlmann – 11.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.6 steals
- Jessica Periago – 7.5 points, 10.5 rebounds, 3.1 assists
- Lindsey Moore – 6.1 points, 2.4 rebounds, 7.3 assists, 2.0 steals
Scouting the Creighton Bluejays
Creighton comes to Lincoln with a 5-1 record after rolling to a 69-58 win over Saint Louis on Friday, Dec. 4. Preseason Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year Megan Neuvirth led the Jays with 20 points, three rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block against the Billikens. Sam Schuett nearly added a double-double with 11 points and nine rebounds to go along with four blocks, while Ally Jensen added 11 points off the bench on a trio of three-pointers. Kelsey Woodard rounded out four Jays in double figures with 10 points.
Woodard, a 5-10 junior guard from Bellevue, Neb., leads CU with 13.5 points per game, while adding 4.0 rebounds and 2.3 assists per contest. Woodard also leads Creighton with 20 three-pointers through six games, while knocking down 41.7 percent (20-48) of her attempts.
Neuvirth, a senior forward from West Point, Neb., has added 13.0 points and 6.2 rebounds, while leading CU with 2.8 steals per game.
Senior point guard Chevelle Herring, a teammate of Nebraska’s Yvonne Turner at Bellevue East High School, gives the Jays three players averaging in double figures with 10.7 points, 2.7 rebounds and a team-best 3.8 assists per contest. In addition to her ability to explode to the basket on dribble penetration, Herring has also hit 11-of-28 threes (39.3 percent) early in the season.
Schuett, a 6-0 junior forward out of Millard West High School, has added 9.3 points and a team-leading 8.0 rebounds per game. Schuett has hit 10-of-26 three-point attempts (38.5 percent). In her last appearance at the Devaney Center, Schuett erupted for 30 points off the bench, including 4-of-5 three-point shooting, in a 79-65 CU loss on Nov. 30, 2007.
Kellie Nelson, a 6-3 junior center out of Omaha Westside, rounds out CU’s probable starting five with 8.0 points and 3.5 boards per game. Nelson has missed Creighton’s last two contests with a bruised knee, and has been replaced with 6-0 senior forward Katie Frank out of South Sioux City. Frank has averaged 1.8 points and 2.5 boards per contest on the year.
Ally Jensen, a 5-7 freshman guard from Ames, Iowa, has been CU’s most explosive player off the bench, averaging 6.5 points and 1.2 rebounds in 16.2 minutes per game. Jensen ranks second among the Bluejays with 12 three-pointers and has buried 54.5 percent (12-22) of her long-range attempts to open her career.
Senior guard Kelsey Crites from Clinton, Iowa, provides another solid guard off the bench for the Jays. Crites is averaging 4.5 points and 5.3 rebounds per game, while adding 2.0 assists per contest. Jasmin Corbin (2.8 ppg, 1.7 rpg) and DaNae Moore (0.5 ppg, 1.5 rpg) round out the Creighton lineup.
The Bluejays have been devastating from long range early in the season, connecting on 10.5 three-pointers per game while hitting 39.4 percent of their attempts. In fact, CU has been more accurate from outside the arc than inside (38.7 percent). The Jays have also struggled early at the free throw line, hitting just 64 percent of their attempts, while opponents have attempted 19 more free throws than CU.
Despite being somewhat undersized, the Jays own a 39.7-38.5 rebound edge over the opposition, while outscoring their first six foes by an average of 9.5 points per game. The Jays own a nine-point win over Kansas State, a 23-point win over Arkansas State and a 19-point win over Davidson. They also notched a 63-61 overtime win at UC Davis before beating Saint Louis. CU’s lone loss came with a 66-59 setback at Marquette on Nov. 19.
Griffin One of Six Huskers in 1,400-Point, 700-Rebound Club
Kelsey Griffin continues to cement her place among the best players in Nebraska women’s basketball history as a senior for the Huskers.
In a 62-45 win over UALR on Nov. 27, the 6-2 forward from Eagle River, Alaska, scored 27 points, while matching her career high with 14 rebounds to lead NU past UALR. Griffin’s big night pushed her past the 1,400-point and 700-rebound marks in her career.
Griffin became the sixth player in Nebraska history to produce 1,400 points and 700 rebounds in a career, joining Karen Jennings, Maurtice Ivy, Anna DeForge, Deb Powell and Kathy Hagerstrom.
Griffin produced another huge night in the Huskers’ 84-73 run past Saint Mary’s on Nov. 28, when she erupted for 28 points and 13 rebounds. She has increased her career totals to 1,475 points and 738 boards.
Teammate Cory Montgomery, who became the 24th member of NU’s 1,000-point club in the win over UALR, also has a chance to join Griffin on the 1,400-700 list by the end of the season. Last year, Montgomery produced 470 points and 241 rebounds, and she needs 349 points and 202 more rebounds to reach those levels.
Montgomery Climbs to 20th on Husker Career Scoring List
Senior Cory Montgomery moved up to No. 20 on Nebraska’s career scoring list with back-to-back 14-point efforts last week in wins over South Dakota and Miami.
The 6-2 forward from Cannon Falls, Minn., enters the Creighton game with 1,051 points. Her 14-point performance in the win at Miami pushed her ahead of Cathy Owen (1,048 points) on NU’s all-time scoring list. Montgomery needs just 18 points to catch Kate Galligan (1993-96) on the Husker career chart with 1,069 points, and just 23 points to tie Tina McClain (1994-97) in 18th with 1,074 points.
Montgomery has also pulled down 498 rebounds in her career and is just two boards away from becoming the 16th player in NU history with 1,000 points and 500 rebounds.
Turner Draining Threes at Record Rate
Senior Yvonne Turner has hit 24-of-49 three-point attempts (49.0 percent) to lead an impressive Husker three-point barrage through the first eight games. Turner’s 3.0 threes made per game are tied for third in the Big 12 and are on track to challenge the school-record pace set by Amy Stephens with 2.9 threes per game in 1988-89. Stephens hit 85 threes in 29 games in 1988-89, while Kiera Hardy hit a record-tying 85 threes in 32 games in 2004-05.
Turner is tied for 26th nationally in the NCAA’s most recent statistical rankings released Dec. 7, with 3.0 made threes per game. Her 49 percent success rate also ties for 29th in NCAA Division I.
Turner has increased her career total to 125 made threes, while improving her career numbers to 33.9 percent (125-369). Turner ranks sixth in Nebraska history in career three-pointers and needs just four more to catch Husker greats Nicole Kubik (1997-2000) and Amy Stephens (1986-89) on the Husker career chart.
Last season, Turner led the Huskers with 57 three-pointers in 2008-09. She hit 44-of-116 three-point attempts (37.9 percent) over the last 22 games, despite missing 19 consecutive long-range attempts following a shoulder injury in the second half against Iowa State. The recurring injury required surgery at the end of the season.
Before the three-game slump, Turner had connected on 47.7 percent (21-44) of her attempts dating back to the Long Beach State game on Dec. 12. After missing her first three attempts against No. 8 Baylor, she knocked down three straight three-pointers in the second half against the Lady Bears.
In Big 12 Conference action, Turner finished in a tie for second with KU’s Danielle McCray with 2.1 made three-pointers per game, trailing only Iowa State senior Heather Ezell’s 2.4 per contest.
Turner finished second on the Husker junior single-season three-point made list, trailing only three-time All-Big 12 selection Kiera Hardy’s 81 in 2005-06. As a junior, Turner averaged 11.7 points and 3.3 rebounds per game. A two-time Big 12 All-Defensive Team pick, Turner is ranked among the top 10 active Big 12 players in both career three-pointers (125) and career steals (178).
Huskers Cleaning Up the Glass
Coming into the 2009-10 season, Nebraska focused much of its attention on improving its performance on the glass. Last season, playing without two-time first-team All-Big 12 forward Kelsey Griffin for the entire year, and without center Nikki Bober for the entire Big 12 season because of injuries, the Huskers owned a negative-1.5 team rebounding margin. In Big 12 play, that number dipped even lower to negative-4.4.
Through eight games this season, Nebraska’s focus is paying dividends, as the Huskers carry a plus-10.1 team rebounding margin, which ranks third in the Big 12. Nebraska outrebounded its first seven opponents in 2009-10, before being outrebounded, 34-30, by a Miami squad that was also plus-12 on the glass heading into the Dec. 5 game in Miami.
Last season, Nebraska outrebounded only 12 foes in 31 games. NU outrebounded only five foes after Christmas last season.
NU was plus-23 on the glass against Idaho State and plus-21 against Washington State, after opening the season plus-12 against Davidson and plus-seven at UNLV. The Huskers were plus-11 (37-26) against South Dakota after posting a plus-10 margin (37-27) against UALR, giving NU five double-digit rebound margins through eight games. Last year, Nebraska managed only three double-digit rebound margins all season (vs. Butler, at UTEP, at Kansas).
Nebraska’s best rebounding season in school history came with a plus-8.6 margin in 1997-98, which is the only season that NU has posted a plus-6.0 margin or better.
Griffin has led the Huskers on the glass this season by averaging 9.1 boards per game, including three games with 13 or more rebounds. Her 9.1 rebounds rank fourth in the Big 12.
Catheryn Redmon is averaging 6.5 rebounds per game off the bench, which is tied for 18th in the league. Redmon averaged 5.5 boards per game as a starter a year ago. Cory Montgomery is contributing 5.1 rebounds per contest, while junior guard Dominique Kelley has added 4.1 rebounds per game after averaging just 3.3 boards per game last season.
Huskers Firing Off to Fast First-Half Starts
Nebraska’s high-powered offense is averaging 40.5 points per game in the first half, including a school-record tying 59 first-half points against Washington State at the Devaney Center on Nov. 22.
The Huskers’ big first-half scoring average has come despite putting up just 22 first-half points against a UALR team that ranked third nationally in scoring defense a year ago.
Nebraska has also been stingy on defense in the first half, surrendering just 23.4 points per first half, as the Huskers have headed to the locker room with an average lead of 17.1 points (40.5-23.4). Miami became the first NU foe to score 30 points in a first half against the Huskers. The Hurricanes trailed 38-36 at home to the Huskers, and entered the game averaging 81.6 points per game.
Before Miami scored 36, Davidson and Saint Mary’s each produced opponent bests of 26 first-half points, while the Huskers held South Dakota to one of the lowest first-half totals in school history with just 14 points on Dec. 3.
In their four home victories, the Huskers are averaging 46.8 points in the first half, while allowing just 19.8 points per first half for an average home halftime lead of 27 points.
It hasn’t gone much better for Nebraska opponents in the second half through the first eight contests, as the Huskers have averaged 41.1 points after halftime, while the opposition has managed 31 points per second half.
Nebraska’s success has allowed its starting five to get plenty of rest early in the season, as Kelsey Griffin, Cory Montgomery, Yvonne Turner, Dominique Kelley and Lindsey Moore, are all averaging fewer than 25 minutes per game. Nebraska’s starters are combining to play an average of 115 minutes while the deep Husker bench has seen an average of 85 minutes per game of playing time.
Nebraska Knocking Down Triples at Record Pace
As a team, NU ranks second in the Big 12 with 8.0 threes per game, well ahead of school-record pace, which was set last season with 5.5 threes per game. Nebraska knocked down eight triples in the opener against Davidson, before hitting nine on the road at UNLV and 10 against Idaho State. Nebraska hit 11-of-23 three-pointers against Washington State, which was just one shy of the school record of 12 set in last year’s season opener against Weber State. UALR held Nebraska to just 3-for-11 from three-point range, and NU connected on just 6-of-25 threes at Saint Mary’s, before coming back home to hit 8-of-22 three-pointers in a win over South Dakota. The Huskers knocked down 9-of-23 threes in a road win over previously unbeaten Miami on Dec. 5.
At the Devaney Center Nebraska has hit 9.3 threes per game, connecting on 37-of-95 shots from long range for a 38.9 percent success rate.
Griffin Earns Spot on Naismith Trophy Watch List
Nebraska senior Kelsey Griffin was one of 50 players around the country named to the Naismith Trophy Watch List on Nov. 18.
Griffin, a 6-2 forward from Eagle River, Alaska, is a two-time first-team All-Big 12 selection and ranks No. 1 among active career rebounders and No. 3 among active career scorers in the Big 12 Conference.
She earned her third straight selection to the Preseason All-Big 12 team chosen by the league coaches this season, becoming just the third player in history to earn that honor, joining former All-Americans Courtney Paris (Oklahoma) and Tiffany Jackson (Texas).
Griffin, who has been projected as a high WNBA draft pick, will also contend for national honors off the court this season. The biological sciences major owns a 3.4 GPA and is expected to be a candidate for CoSIDA Academic All-America honors. She was also included among the 30 preseason candidates for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award, recognizing student-athlete achievement on the court, in the classroom and in the community.
Griffin Comes Back Strong As Senior
Senior forward Kelsey Griffin has put together an impressive start to the season in her return to the court after missing the 2008-09 campaign with a foot injury.
The 6-2 All-America candidate from Eagle River, Alaska, has averaged 15.9 points and 9.1 rebounds in just 21.6 minutes per game in powering the Huskers to an 8-0 start. Griffin had two of the best efforts of her career with 27 points and a career-high-tying 14 rebounds, while adding three steals against UALR (Nov. 27), before adding 28 points, 13 rebounds and a career-high matching four steals in a win over Saint Mary’s (Nov. 28).
Griffin added a 15-point, nine-rebound effort against Washington State, when she played just 14 minutes. She opened the season with 13 points, seven rebounds, two assists, a block and a steal in just 18 minutes in an 86-62 win over Davidson on Nov. 13. Griffin followed that performance with nine points, 13 rebounds, two assists, a block and two steals in a road win at UNLV. She added 14 points, three rebounds and a career-high matching four assists in Nebraska’s run past Idaho State, and pitched in 13 points and nine boards in a win at Miami on Dec. 5.
Taken over 40 minutes, Griffin would be averaging 29.4 points, 16.9 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 3.9 steals per game. She has averaged 0.73 points and 0.42 rebounds per minute.
In addition to her team-leading 17 steals this season, Griffin has added three blocked shots and drawn a team-leading eight charges in eight games for the Huskers. Through eight games, Griffin’s 59.8 field goal percentage ranks 21st nationally.
Montgomery’s Hot Shooting Helps Huskers
Senior forward Cory Montgomery notched her ninth career double-double and first of the season with game highs of 15 points and 10 rebounds in Nebraska’s 88-41 win over Idaho State on Nov. 19. She hit 7-of-12 shots from the field, while adding an assist and a steal in a strong all-around effort.
Through eight games, the 2009 honorable-mention All-Big 12 pick from Cannon Falls, Minn., is shooting 56.0 percent (42-75) from the field, which ranks 45th among all NCAA Division I players. She has hit 47.1 percent (8-17) from three-point range, which would also rank among the top 50 players nationally, but she does not meet the NCAA minimum of 2.0 made threes per game. She is also 12-of-16 (75 percent) at the free throw line.
She earned a spot on the Saint Mary’s Hilton Thanksgiving all-tournament team by averaging 15 points and five rebounds in a pair of Husker wins over UALR and Saint Mary’s. She has produced double figures in seven of NU’s eight games, with season highs of 15 points against UALR, Saint Mary’s and Idaho State. She also pulled down a season-best 10 boards against Idaho State.
Montgomery is averaging 13.0 points and 5.1 rebounds in 22.6 minutes per game, which over 40 minutes would come to 22.4 points and 8.8 rebounds per contest.
Kelley Cranks Up Production to Start Junior Season
Junior guard Dominique Kelley has put up big numbers in Nebraska’s first eight games by averaging 11.3 points and 4.1 rebounds in just 22.1 minutes per game. The 5-7 hometown favorite out of Lincoln Northeast High School had a season-high 18-point performance in Nebraska’s win at Saint Mary’s on Nov. 28. She led NU at the line against the Gaels by hitting 10-of-13 free throws. She also grabbed four rebounds, while dishing out two assists and grabbing two steals.
She had another big effort on the road for the Huskers with a game-high matching 17 points in NU’s win at UNLV on Nov. 15. Kelley scored 12 of her 17 points in the first half, including a pair of three-pointers, to help shoot Nebraska to a 36-23 halftime lead.
Kelley came up big again in Nebraska’s road win at Miami, leading five Huskers in double figures with 16 points, while knocking down a pair of three-pointers and 8-of-12 free throws. She also drew two charges and had a game-saving steal in the closing seconds to knock off the previously unbeaten Hurricanes.
Kelley added 12 of her 13 points in the first half against Washington State, when she helped NU race to a 59-20 halftime lead. She added another strong effort with 12 points and a season-best seven rebounds to help her celebrate her 21st birthday a day early with a win over Idaho State.
Kelley, who owns five double-figure scoring efforts this season, is shooting 42.9 percent (24-56) from the field and 35.3 percent (6-17) from three-point range, while connecting on 75.0 percent (36-48) of her free throws.
Taken over 40 minutes, Kelley is averaging 20.3 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.4 steals per game. Kelley averaged 9.7 points and 3.3 rebounds in 26.3 minutes per game as a sophomore starter in 2008-09.
Big Four Bury Big Shots for Big Red
Nebraska’s big four scorers of Kelsey Griffin, Cory Montgomery, Yvonne Turner and Dominique Kelley have all put up solid numbers for the Huskers through the first seven games.
Each of NU’s most experienced players have averaged double figures in points and have combined to hit 51.4 percent (147-286) of their shots from the field, including 41-of-90 (45.6 percent) of their three-point attempts.
Griffin (21st) and Montgomery (45th) both rank among the top 50 players in NCAA Division I in field goal percentage, making Nebraska one of only four teams in the country with two players among the NCAA leaders in that category.
Connecticut has three players (Maya Moore, Tina Charles, Kalana Greene) ranked among the top 50 in field goal percentage, while Stanford (Nnemkadi Ogwumike, Jayne Appel) and Oklahoma (Abi Olajuwon, Danielle Robinson) also have a pair in the top 50.
Cat Smash Fever
Junior Catheryn Redmon has picked up where she left off last season in the blocked shot department. Although Redmon has moved to a reserve role with the return of two-time first-team All-Big 12 forward Kelsey Griffin from injury, Redmon still leads the Huskers with 19 blocks through eight games. With 2.4 blocks per game, Redmon is tied for 19th nationally in the most recent NCAA Division I statistical rankings.
The top returning shot-blocker in the Big 12 this year, Redmon produced 67 blocks in 31 games last season to average 2.2 blocks in 23.2 minutes per contest. Through eight games in 2009-10, Redmon is averaging 2.4 blocks in just 18.8 minutes per game and continues to climb Nebraska’s career block chart. She has moved into sole possession of seventh with 95 blocks. Redmon, who has blocked two or more shots in six of NU’s first eight games, needs just nine more blocks to join the top four shot-blockers in Husker history.
In addition to her shot-blocking success, Redmon is averaging 7.0 points and 6.5 rebounds per game after putting up a career-high 14 points and grabbing seven rebounds in Nebraska’s win over South Dakota on Dec. 3, and 12 points, four rebounds, three blocks and two steals in a win at Miami on Dec. 5.
Redmon also just missed a pair of double-doubles early in the season. She had an eight-point, 10-rebound effort against Washington State, after finishing with eight points and nine boards at UNLV on Nov. 15. Redmon owns 18 offensive rebounds through NU’s first eight games.
Redmon is one of several Huskers with outstanding 40-minute production averages. Through eight games, she is averaging 14.9 points, 13.9 rebounds and 5.1 blocks per 40 minutes.
Freshman Moore Helps Huskers to 8-0 Mark as Starter
Lindsey Moore has helped the Huskers to a 8-0 record as Nebraska’s starting point guard in her first eight collegiate games. The 5-9 freshman from Covington, Wash., made an immediate impression in the Huskers’ season-opening win over Davidson on Nov. 13 by scoring Nebraska’s first two points of the year on a 15-foot jumper off the opening tip. She finished with five points and a game-high eight assists. She also committed just one turnover against the Wildcats.
Last season, Kaitlyn Burke was the only Husker to produce eight assists in a game, which came at Long Beach State on Dec. 12, 2008. Over the three previous seasons, (2006-07, 2007-08, 2008-09), a Husker had produced eight or more assists on only three occasions, including nine from Yvonne Turner at Kansas State on Feb. 27, 2008, and eight from Kiera Hardy at Minnesota on Dec. 5, 2006.
Moore produced her second eight-assist effort in her first eight games by dishing out eight assists in NU’s win at previously unbeaten Miami on Dec. 5. She added three points, including Nebraska’s final two free throws with less than three seconds left to seal the win. She also snagged a pair of steals.
Moore enters the Creighton game with a 1.9-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio (36-19), which ranks seventh in the Big 12 Conference.
A 2009 Parade All-American and the Washington High School Player of the Year last season, Moore leads the Huskers with 4.5 assists per game, which ranks seventh in the Big 12, while adding 3.8 points, 1.5 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game. She also leads Nebraska in minutes played.
Moore produced the first double-figure scoring effort of her career with 10 points, four assists, three rebounds, a steal and her first career block in NU’s win over Washington State on Nov. 22.
Huskers Hold Off Hurricanes, Improve to 8-0
Dominique Kelley led five Huskers in double figures with 16 points and made several huge defensive plays down the stretch to help Nebraska match its second-best start in school history with a 76-71 win over previously unbeaten Miami at the BankUnited Center on Saturday afternoon.
With the win, Nebraska improved to 8-0 while Miami slipped to 7-1 on the season. Kelley hit 2-of-5 three-pointers and 8-of-12 free throws, including two free throws in the final seconds to seal the Husker victory. In addition to her offensive success, Kelley made a key steal on Miami’s final possession to set up her free throws and took a charge on Miami star Shenise Johnson with 38.8 seconds left.
"Dominique made some huge plays in the game," Nebraska Coach Connie Yori said. "She made some great defensive plays by drawing charges and then the big steal, and she also hit free throws late. That is a great win for us. Miami has some firepower and they are going to win some games in the ACC this year. But we were just a little bit better today because we played hard, we played together and we played as a team."
Cory Montgomery added 14 points and five rebounds, while Kelsey Griffin just missed a double-double with 13 points, nine rebounds, a block, two steals and two charges drawn to help the Huskers. Junior center Catheryn Redmon added 12 points, four rebounds, three blocks and two steals in a key role after Griffin sat out the first nine minutes of the second half after committing three first-half fouls. Yvonne Turner added 10 points, including 3-of-8 three-pointers, while adding a pair of steals and two assists.
Freshman point guard Lindsey Moore contributed three points, including NU’s final two points of the game on a pair of free throws with 2.6 seconds left to ice the win, while also tying her career high with eight assists. She also notched a pair of NU’s 11 steals in the game. Senior guard Kala Kuhlmann also hit both of her three-point attempts on the day to finish with six points while helping to slow down Miami stars Riquna Williams and Shenise Johnson.
Williams, who entered the game averaging 24.4 points per game as the ACC’s leading scorer, finished with 18 points, but also committed six turnovers. Johnson, who averaged 17 points per contest, managed just 12, while hitting just 5-of-13 shots from the field and committing six turnovers of her own.
Freshman guard Stephanie Yderstrom scored 15 points in just her second career game for the Hurricanes, while Charmaine Clark added 10 points and seven assists to help Miami.
Nebraska hit 26-of-55 shots from the field to finish at 47.3 percent, including 9-of-23 three-pointers (39.1 percent). The Huskers prevailed despite hitting just 15-of-24 free throws (62.5 percent) and being outrebounded for the first time this season, 34-30. NU did force 24 turnovers, including 17 in the second half, including six charges drawn. NU did turn the ball over 23 times.
Miami hit 27-of-59 (45.8 percent) of its shots from the field, but just 2-of-8 three-pointers. The ‘Canes also knocked down 15-of-18 free throws (83.3 percent) on their homecourt.
After leading 38-36 at the half, Nebraska trailed 55-54 with 8:40 left, before Kuhlmann drained a three-pointer from the wing to give the Huskers the lead for good. Griffin added a layup and a jumper, before Montgomery contributed a layup of her own to make it 63-55 Huskers with 6:24 left. Miami responded to cut the lead to 63-60 on a Williams jumper, before NU erupted on an 8-0 run to take its biggest lead at 71-60 with 2:54 left on a pair of Kelley free throws.
The Hurricanes fought back, but Griffin and Kelley combined to draw three offensive fouls down the stretch to foul Williams and Johnson out of the game in the final two minutes.
Miami took its biggest early lead on a Johnson layup to make it 14-10, before Turner ignited a 16-3 Nebraska surge by burying back-to-back three-pointers. Kuhlmann added a three and Redmon hit back-to-back layups off assists from Moore before Nicole Neals hit a pair of free throws to cap the surge and give NU its biggest lead of the half at 25-17 with 10:43 left before halftime.
The Hurricanes answered Nebraska’s run to cut the Husker lead to just two at 38-36 at the half by outscoring NU 8-3 down the stretch in the final three minutes.
The Hurricanes hit 43.8 percent (14-32) of their first-half attempts, including 1-of-2 three-pointers. Miami also connected on 7-of-8 free throws while committing just seven turnovers. Williams led UM with nine points, while Johnson contributed eight points to power the Hurricanes in the first half.
Huskers Seek Seventh Straight Postseason Appearance
Nebraska claimed its sixth consecutive postseason tournament bid with a trip to the 2009 Postseason WNIT. The Huskers claimed three straight bids in the WNIT in 2004, 2005 and 2006, winning at least one game in all three trips. Nebraska qualified for the NCAA Tournament in 2007 and 2008, advancing to the second round of the Big Dance in 2008 with a win over Xavier in College Park, Md.
Before Coach Connie Yori’s arrival at Nebraska for the 2002-03 season, Nebraska had never earned more than three consecutive postseason berths.
Nebraska made its sixth trip to the postseason WNIT in 2009, joining bids in 1992 and 1976. The Huskers have also advanced to seven NCAA Tournaments in school history (2008, 2007, 2000, 1999, 1998, 1993, 1988), dating back to the first full season of varsity women’s basketball at Nebraska in 1975-76.
Griffin Ranked Among Nation’s Top Five Power Forwards
Nebraska senior Kelsey Griffin was recognized by ESPN.com as one of the country’s top five power forwards in an article published on-line on Nov. 11. Griffin, a two-time first-team All-Big 12 selection and 2010 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award candidate, joined Xavier’s Amber Harris, Gonzaga’s Heather Bowman, Arizona’s Ify Ibekwe and Florida State’s Jacinta Moore on the listing of the top power forwards in the country. Harris and Ibekwe are juniors, while Bowman, Monroe and Griffin are all seniors.
Against Davidson, the 6-2 forward from Eagle River, Alaska, made her first regular-season appearance since the second round of the 2008 NCAA Tournament at College Park, Md. Interestingly, Griffin went head-to-head with a two of the nation’s top 10 big players in College Park.
In the first round of the 2008 NCAA Tournament, Griffin took on Xavier’s Harris, who was ranked as the No. 1 power forward, and center Ta’Shia Phillips, who made the list as one of ESPN.com’s top five centers.
Griffin dominated the game with the Musketeers, erupting for 26 points, while adding four rebounds and three steals. She also took three charges against Xavier despite playing with a protective vest around her mid-section to protect a broken rib. Griffin alone outscored Harris (14) and Phillips (9) who combined for 23 points, as Nebraska posted a 61-58 victory. Like Griffin, Harris missed the 2008-09 season with an injury.
Griffin, who became just the third player in Big 12 history joining Oklahoma’s Courtney Paris and Texas’ Tiffany Jackson to earn three preseason first-team all-conference honors, is one of four current players from the league to earn spots on the ESPN.com power rankings.
Oklahoma’s Danielle Robinson was chosen as the nation’s top point guard, while Oklahoma State’s Andrea Riley also made the list at the point. Kansas’ Danielle McCray, the 2009-10 Preseason Big 12 Player of the Year, was selected as one of the country’s top five small forwards.
ESPN.com’s selection panel of Mechelle Voepel, Charlie Creme, Melanie Jackson and Graham Hays picked Stanford’s Jayne Appel as the nation’s top center, while Connecticut’s Maya Moore was the country’s top small forward. Virginia’s Monica Wright was tabbed the best shooting guard in the nation entering the 2009-10 season.
Griffin to Contend for National Honors in 2009-10
Two-time first-team All-Big 12 forward Kelsey Griffin will contend for All-America honors on the court, in the classroom and in the community in 2009-10.
After redshirting in 2008-09 while recovering from a left foot injury, Griffin returns as the No. 1 active rebounder (738) and No. 3 active scorer (1,475 points) in the Big 12 Conference. After becoming only the third player in Big 12 history to be named a three-time preseason first-team all-league selection, Griffin will contend for All-America honors on the court.
The two-time first-team academic All-Big 12 honoree will also contend for CoSIDA Academic All-America honors in the classroom while carrying better than a 3.4 GPA as a biological sciences major. In the community, she is a Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award candidate after being named to the 2007 Big 12 Winter Good Works Team.
A projected 2010 WNBA first-round draft pick, Griffin was dominant down the stretch for the Huskers as a junior, averaging 19 points and nine rebounds per game over the Huskers’ last 12 contests in 2007-08.
Griffin finished 2007-08 as the No. 7 scorer (15.3 ppg) and No. 12 rebounder (7.2 rpg) in the Big 12 Conference, despite playing with a cracked rib the entire season, which limited her playing time to just 25.9 minutes per game. Despite being limited by the injury, Griffin ranked among the top three players in the Big 12 in points per minute and rebounds per minute, joining 2006 National Player of the Year Courtney Paris. Griffin trailed only Andrea Riley in points per minutes, while trailing only Paris in rebounds per minute across the league.
In NU’s last 12 games of 2007-08, Griffin scored 20 or more points on six occasions, including a 26-point effort against Xavier’s inside duo of Amber Harris and Ta’Shia Phillips to lead the Huskers to their first NCAA Tournament win in 10 seasons. Griffin notched four double-doubles in those 12 games, including a season-high 14 rebounds at Texas Tech.
Griffin was at her best in Big 12 play, ranking fifth with 16.8 points per game and sixth with 8.2 rebounds per contest, despite being the focus of every opposing defense. She also ranked among the top 10 players in the league in both field goal and free throw percentage. She had season highs of 26 points against Xavier, at home against Colorado and at home against Missouri, carrying NU to victories in all three games.
She opened February as the Big 12 Player-of-the-Week on Feb. 4. She produced 23 points and nine rebounds in a win at Missouri on Feb. 3, after going for 19 points and 11 rebounds against No. 18 Kansas State on Jan. 30. She added 25 points in a comeback win at Colorado on Feb. 6, producing 17 second-half points.
Defensively, Griffin led the Huskers with 20 charges drawn in 2007-08, while adding a career-best 40 steals. She also blocked 25 shots on the year.
Griffin ranks 10th on Nebraska’s all-time scoring list with 1,475 points, seventh on NU’s career rebounding list with 738 and ninth on the Husker career block chart with 71.
Montgomery Aims for Memorable Senior Season
Nebraska Coach Connie Yori likes to call senior Cory Montgomery the forgotten player in the Big 12. Yori also believes the 6-2 forward from Cannon Falls, Minn., is the most underrated player in the league.
Last season, Montgomery was overlooked by league coaches for first- or second-team All-Big 12 honors despite ranking among the top 10 players in the league in both scoring and rebounding with 15.2 points (7th) and 7.8 rebounds per game (8th).
Entering the 2009-10 campaign, Montgomery was again passed over by the Big 12 coaches for preseason All-Big 12 honors, not earning a vote for either first-team or honorable-mention honors despite ranking sixth among active Big 12 players in career rebounding and ninth in career scoring.
Montgomery is out to prove that she belongs among the league’s elite players in 2009-10, while making it a memorable campaign for the Huskers.
Last year, in her first season as a starter, Montgomery was a force inside for the Huskers, averaging 16.2 points and 7.8 boards in Big 12 action. She was at her best over the last seven games of the season, as the honorable-mention All-Big 12 selection increased her production to 19.6 points and 9.0 rebounds per game. Her efforts earned her Nebraska’s Offensive Player-of-the-Year Award at the conclusion of the season.
Montgomery capped the regular season with a career-high 30 points to go along with 11 rebounds in a win at Oklahoma State on March 7 for her seventh double-double of the year. She added 20 points and nine boards against Kansas on March 12, before pitching in 17 points and seven rebounds while tying her career high with a trio of three-pointers in a second-round WNIT loss at New Mexico on March 25.
Montgomery produced double figures in 15 of NU’s last 17 games, including seven 20-point efforts. She had a 20-point, nine-rebound night at Kansas on Feb. 28, which followed a 21-point, eight-rebound effort in a win over No. 20 Kansas State on Feb. 25. She also scored 21 points in the first meeting with KSU on Jan. 27. She notched a then-career high with 24 points, while adding nine boards at Colorado on Jan. 31. She added 22 points and a career-best 14 rebounds against No. 8 Baylor (Feb. 4), while playing a career-high 38 minutes. She notched 24 double-figure scoring efforts on the season.
Overall, Montgomery owns 13 career 20-point efforts, including 11 in 2008-09. She also owns nine career double-doubles, including seven in 2008-09, and one this season.
One of the best free throw shooters in the Big 12 and the nation, Montgomery finished second in the league with her 85.6 percent accuracy at the stripe, which ranked 20th in the final NCAA Division I statistical rankings. She also finished fifth on NU’s single-season free throw percentage list.
Although 2008-09 marked her first year as a full-time starter, Montgomery is one of the most experienced Huskers. In 2007-08, she averaged 9.4 points and 4.5 rebounds per game as one of the most productive reserves in the Big 12, while also starting four games in place of an injured Kelsey Griffin at the end of the non-conference season.
Montgomery scored in double figures 15 times in 2007-08. She set a season high with 21 points in a win over USC (Dec. 8, 2007), before matching that effort with 21 points and eight boards in 23 minutes off the bench in a victory at Iowa State (Jan. 19, 2008). She also produced her first career double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds in a win over Robert Morris (Dec. 2, 2007).
Turner Trying to Turn Up Nebraska’s Pressure
Yvonne Turner solidified her spot as one of the Big 12’s best defenders in 2008-09 by earning her second straight appearance on the Big 12 All-Defensive Team and NU’s Defensive Player-of-the-Year Award. She ranked fourth in the Big 12 with 2.2 steals per game, after leading the Big 12 with 2.6 steals per league game in 2007-08.
Her 81 steals in 2007-08 ranked as the second-best total by a Husker sophomore in history, while ranking eighth overall on NU’s single-season steals list. She registered just 67 steals last season, while playing much of the year with an injured shoulder. She also spent more minutes on the floor, and without Kelsey Griffin and Nikki Bober in Nebraska’s inside rotation, the Huskers were forced to back off their defensive pressure because of a lack of depth.
This season, the Huskers have their deepest and most experienced lineup in at least a decade, and Turner and the Huskers are hoping that means more steals and easy transition baskets.
Last season, Nebraska totaled just 208 steals on the year, including just 93 in Big 12 action, after producing 266 steals overall and 121 thefts in Big 12 play in 2007-08.
With 178 career steals, including 12 in eight games this season, Turner is approaching Nebraska’s all-time top 10 on that list, needing 10 steals to catch three-time first-team All-Big 12 guard Kiera Hardy (2004-07) in 10th at 188. Turner owns career highs of eight steals against Florida (Nov. 17, 2007) and Arkansas-Pine Bluff (Jan. 2, 2008). Those totals rank among the top-10 single-game marks in NU history. She is one of only three Huskers to notch eight or more steals twice in a career.
Huskers Geared Up for Another Strong Schedule
The past two seasons, Nebraska has faced the two strongest regular-season schedules in school history with both ranking among the top 25 nationally.
Last season, the Huskers faced the No. 23 Strength of Schedule in the country according to CollegeRPI.com, while finishing No. 71 nationally in overall RPI. The 2008-09 Huskers played 19 of their 31 games against 2009 postseason qualifiers, including 11 against NCAA Tournament teams
This season, Nebraska will face another challenging schedule that will feature 15 regular-season games against 2009 postseason qualifiers, including 10 games against 2009 NCAA Tournament teams.
The highlight of Nebraska’s non-conference schedule will come with a Dec. 20 showdown against No. 5 LSU at the Devaney Center. The Huskers battled the Tigers on New Year’s Day in Baton Rouge, and will be looking to even the two-game home-and-home series when the preseason SEC favorites come to Lincoln. LSU advanced to five consecutive NCAA Final Fours before settling for a trip to the second round with a young squad a year ago.
Nebraska will face preseason Missouri Valley Conference favorite Creighton on Dec. 9 at the Devaney Center, and will also square off with preseason America East favorite Vermont at Burlington, Vt., on Jan. 4. The Catamounts lost to 2009 national champion Connecticut in the NCAA Tournament first round a year ago. The Huskers faced their first tough test against defending Sun Belt champion UALR in the first game of the Saint Mary’s Hilton Tournament in Moraga, Calif., on Nov. 27. UALR returned four starters from a team that finished with a 26-7 record a year ago, but Nebraska still rolled to a 17-point win.
The Huskers also faced a stiff test at unbeaten Miami on Dec. 5. The Hurricanes entered the game with a 7-0 record and four starters averaging in double figures, but NU held on for a 76-71 road win.
Once Big 12 play begins, Nebraska will be faced with an NCAA Tournament-caliber atmosphere every night. The Big 12 sent six teams to the NCAA Tournament as top-six seeds in 2009, and all six teams (No. 1 Oklahoma, No. 2 Baylor, No. 2 Texas A&M, No. 4 Iowa State, No. 5 Kansas State, No. 6 Texas) closed the regular season in both the Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN Coaches Top 25.
In addition, Kansas returns five starters from a team that advanced to the WNIT championship game, while Oklahoma State also advanced to the WNIT and Texas Tech was postseason eligible.
Powerful Big 12 Produced Postseason Success in 2009
The Big 12 was rated as the No. 1 RPI league in the nation for the third consecutive season in 2008-09 by CollegeRPI.com. When the field of 64 teams for the NCAA Tournament was announced, six league teams (Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas State, Texas) earned top-six seeds into the tournament. Three more teams, Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma State, claimed spots in the 48-team WNIT field.
The Big 12 matched the Big East Conference by sending four teams to the NCAA Sweet 16 in 2009, while Oklahoma and Iowa State both advanced to the NCAA Elite Eight. OU went on to the Final Four. In addition to the league’s success in the NCAA Tournament, Nebraska earned a bye to the second round of the WNIT, while Oklahoma State went 1-1 in the tournament. Kansas advanced all the way to the WNIT championship game.
All 12 conference teams closed the 2008-09 regular season among the top 126 teams in the CollegeRPI.com rankings of the 341 teams in NCAA Division I. Only Missouri and Colorado ranked outside the top 100.
Nebraska Hopes to Benefit From Big 12 Changes in 2009-10
Last season a Nebraska team that was hit hard by injuries battled to a seventh-place tie in the Big 12 Conference standings, finishing with a 6-10 league record against the nation’s strongest conference.
Entering the 2008-09 campaign, the Big 12 returned 48 starters from the 2007-08 season. Overall, only 35 letterwinners were lost from the Big 12 schools from the 2007-08 season, while 98 letterwinners returned for 2008-09.
This season, just 38 starters return for the 2009-10 season across the 12 league schools, including a league-leading six Huskers. A total of just 53 letterwinners are gone from the conference, including just two Huskers, while 96 letterwinners return, including 11 Huskers.
Last season, the top five Big 12 teams (Oklahoma, Baylor, Texas A&M, Kansas State, Iowa State) all featured lineups with more than 375 career starts, while Nebraska ended the year with far and away the most inexperienced starting five, which had just 202 combined career starts.
Baylor loses more than 350 career starts from its lineup last year, while Kansas State and Texas A&M must compensate for the loss of more than 300 combined career starts. Iowa State must replace nearly 300 starts, while Oklahoma needs to not only make up for the more than 200 career starts and the amazing scoring and rebounding production of Courtney and Ashley Paris, but also the unfortunate loss of sophomore shooting guard Whitney Hand to a season-ending knee injury in late-November of this season.
While those five Big 12 teams will have drastically new looks in their lineups in 2009-10, the Huskers will be bolstered by the return of Kelsey Griffin to its starting five. Griffin has started 101 games in her NU career. Nebraska also features junior guard Dominique Kelley, who has started 72 straight games to open her career, while senior forward Cory Montgomery made her 39th straight start against Miami and her 43rd career start.
Yvonne Turner started her 69th career game against Miami after coming off the bench the first three games this season. Freshman point guard Lindsey Moore has started the first eight games of her NU career, and gives the Huskers a starting five with 293 career starts.
Nebraska’s experience doesn’t end at the starting lineup. Junior Catheryn Redmon gives the Huskers a dominant defensive presence inside. The 6-3 center from Texas started NU’s final 24 games last year, while fellow junior guard Kaitlyn Burke started 19 contests a year ago. Senior guard Kala Kuhlmann earned starts in each of NU’s first three games this season to give the Huskers 46 additional games of starting experience.
Take Cover When the Big Cat Roars
Center Catheryn Redmon produced one of the best single-season block efforts in school history with 67 rejections as a sophomore in 2008-09. She ranked second on the sophomore single-season list, trailing only Janet Smith’s 69 blocks in 1979-80. Nebraska’s overall single-season mark was set by Danielle Page with 78 in 2007-08. Redmon is just the third Husker to record 60 or more blocks in a season.
Redmon is off to a great start in the blocked shot category this season, with 19 rejections in 150 minutes through the first eight games. Last season, Redmon only had five blocks through the first eight games and did not record her 19th block until the 15th game of the season at Texas when she had two against the Longhorns to push her season total to 20 on Jan. 14.
Redmon’s 2008-09 single-season mark was even more amazing considering she blocked 64 of her 67 shots on the year in her 24 games as a starter, after blocking just three shots in limited action through NU’s first seven games of the season. As a starter, Redmon averaged 2.7 blocks per game, including 2.8 in Big 12 Conference action.
Her conference blocks trailed only All-Americans Courtney Paris from Oklahoma (3.1 bpg) and Danielle Wilson from Baylor (3.0 bpg). In fact, Redmon is the only top-five shot-blocker returning to the Big 12 in 2009-10, as Kansas State’s Marlies Gipson and Texas’ Ashley Lindsey both departed the league as seniors. Paris was also a senior in 2008-09, while Wilson left the Baylor team following her junior season.
Redmon continued to increase her defensive dominance inside throughout the 2008-09 season, blocking 30 shots in NU’s final nine games (3.3 bpg), including one of the top single-game block performances in NU history with a career-high seven rejections in the win over No. 20 Kansas State on Feb. 25. Redmon’s total tied for the second-best mark in school history, trailing only Page’s nine blocks against Baylor on Feb. 3, 2007. Redmon added five blocks in a win over Colorado on March 3 and five more rejections at New Mexico in the second round of the WNIT on March 25.
Redmon ranks seventh on Nebraska’s career block list with 95, and needs six more to catch Katie Morse in sixth on the all-time list.
Huskers a Fixture on FSN in 2009-10
Once Big 12 play heats up in January, Nebraska will become a regular on the Fox Sports family of networks.
The Huskers will play three nationally televised games on FSN during the first half of the 16-game Big 12 Conference schedule. Nebraska makes its national TV debut at Baylor on Saturday, Jan. 17, when the Huskers take on 6-foot-8 dunking machine Brittney Griner and the Lady Bears.
Six days later, Nebraska will be back on FSN at the Bob Devaney Sports Center when the Huskers play host to the Kansas State Wildcats on Saturday, Jan. 23, at 11 a.m.
On Saturday, Jan. 30, Nebraska travels to Boulder to take on Colorado in a game that will be televised by Fox Sports Rocky Mountain, with a 4:30 p.m. central time tip-off. NU’s next contest with Oklahoma State on Feb. 3 at 7:05 p.m. will be televised on Fox Sports Midwest as part of the Huskers’ third-tier television agreement.
Nebraska plays its third national TV contest in its first eight Big 12 games when the Huskers square off with Texas A&M at the Devaney Center on Saturday, Feb. 6, at Noon.
The Huskers return to Fox Sports Midwest for road action at Kansas on Wednesday, Feb. 10, at 7 p.m.
Both of Nebraska’s contests on Fox Sports Midwest will also feature a free live video stream on Huskers.com. As many as five of NU’s games will appear for free on Huskers.com throughout the season, while all of Nebraska’s non-nationally televised home games will be available to premium subscribers of HuskersNside.
Many of Nebraska’s road games will also be available through the premium service on HuskersNside.
All of Nebraska’s games will be available with free live audio on Huskers.com.
Nebraska’s History of Success at Home
Since the Bob Devaney Sports Center opened in 1976-77, the Huskers are 339-118 (.742) in games played in the arena, including 125-77 (.619) in conference games. NU has posted double-figure home victory totals in six consecutive seasons, including an 11-4 mark last season and a 14-2 record in 2007-08.
Nebraska’s success at home is even more remarkable considering the strength of the Huskers’ home schedule the past two years. Nebraska’s only losses at the Devaney Center in 2008-09 came to top-25 foes Oklahoma, Ohio State, Iowa State and Baylor. NU also put up top-25 wins over No. 20 Kansas State and No. 24 Arizona State.
In 2007-08, 11 of NU’s 16 home games came against teams that advanced to the postseason in 2008, with the Huskers rolling to an impressive 9-2 record. Not only did Husker foes advance to postseason play, 10 of the 11 opponents won at least one game in the postseason, including 2008 NCAA Elite Eight qualifier Texas A&M.
Since 2003-04, NU is 75-22 (.773) at the Devaney Center. The Huskers own eight straight home wins dating back to a loss to then-No. 8 Baylor last season.
2009-10 Fastbreaker Backboard Banquet Schedule
The Fastbreakers have announced their Backboard Banquet schedule for the 2009-10 season. Each Backboard Banquet will be held before the game, beginning at 11 a.m. (LSU, Dec. 20; Colorado, Feb. 20). Each meal will be served by Premier Catering and reservations can be made by calling Rose Sousek in the Nebraska women’s basketball office at (402) 472-6462.
Backboard Banquet Schedule - Dinner
- Sunday, Dec. 20 (LSU) - 11 a.m.
- Saturday, Feb. 20 (Colorado) - 11 a.m.
For more information on the Fastbreakers Backboard Banquets, please visit the new booster club website at NUFastbreakers.com. or call Connie Renken at 450-1785.
Join Fastbreaker Bus Trips to Colorado, Missouri, Kansas
The Fastbreakers are planning three bus trips to Nebraska women’s basketball road games during Big 12 Conference play in 2010. Make plans now to join the Fastbreakers’ trips to Colorado (Saturday-Sunday, Jan. 30-31), Missouri (Saturday, Feb. 13) and Kansas (Saturday, March 6).
The two-day trip to Colorado tips off the booster club’s road trip schedule. The cost of the trip to Boulder is $95 per person, plus the cost of the hotel room. The Huskers and Buffaloes tip off at 4:30 p.m. Central time on Jan. 30.
Two weeks later, the Fastbreakers will head to Missouri for a 1 p.m. tip-off in Columbia against the Tigers. The cost of that trip is $65. The road schedule wraps up with Nebraska’s regular-season finale at Kansas State on Saturday, March 6, at noon. The cost for the trip to Manhattan, Kan., is just $50 per person.
To sign up for the bus trips, Fastbreakers can visit the booster club tables in the Northeast corner of the upper concourse before home games or at halftime. All costs must be paid in advance of the trip, and the club’s cancellation policy will be carefully explained at that time.
For more information on the Fastbreaker Booster Club bus trips this season, please contact Connie Renken (450-1785), Donna Boone (429-9563) or Doug Fry (476-5183).