The No. 24 Nebraska women’s basketball team takes aim at the best start and longest winning streak in school history when the Huskers play host to Northern Illinois on Sunday afternoon in Lincoln.
Tip-off between the Huskers (9-0) and Huskies (3-5) at the Bob Devaney Sports Center is set for 2:05 p.m., with live radio coverage provided by the Husker Sports Network on 98.1 KFGE in Lincoln and 93.3 KTWI in Omaha. Matt Coatney and Jeff Griesch will have the call free world-wide on Huskers.com, and a free live video stream will also be available for fans on Huskers.com.
Nebraska matched the best start and longest winning streak in school history with a 69-56 victory over Creighton on Wednesday to improve to 9-0. The Huskers matched the 1996-97 NU squad that also opened the year 9-0.
NU’s record-tying win over the Bluejays included a huge game from 2010 Naismith Trophy candidate Kelsey Griffin. The 6-2 senior forward from Eagle River, Alaska, matched her career high with 31 points, while posting her 23rd career double-double with 11 rebounds. Griffin, who hit 12-of-16 shots from the field, scored 22 points and grabbed nine rebounds in the second half alone. She also scored NU’s final eight points of the game.
Junior guard Dominique Kelley added nine of her 13 points in the second half, while freshman guard Lindsey Moore pumped in a career-high 11 points. Cory Montgomery, who became just the 16th Husker in history to reach 1,000 points and 500 rebounds in a career, added nine points and nine boards in a solid effort.
Nebraska improved to 5-0 at home this season with all five wins coming by double digits. The Huskers have featured a high-powered offense at home, averaging 85.4 points per game at the Devaney Center. NU’s defense has also been stifling, surrendering just 50.2 points per contest for an average winning margin at the Devaney Center of 35.2 points per game.
Coach Carol Owens brings her Northern Illinois squad to Lincoln with a 3-5 record, but the Huskies could easily be 6-2, after suffering a trio of single-digit losses, including a two-point loss to Western Illinois, a six-point loss to Northern Iowa and an eight-point loss at UW-Milwaukee. The Huskies also lost 78-67 to a top-25 DePaul team.
#24 Nebraska's Probable Starters (9-0)
23 - Kelsey Griffin - 6-2 - Sr. - F - 17.6 ppg, 9.3 rpg
40 - Cory Montgomery - 6-2 - Sr. - F - 12.6 ppg, 5.6 rpg
00 - Lindsey Moore - 5-9 - Fr. - G - 4.6 ppg, 1.4 rpg
22 - Yvonne Turner - 5-8 - Sr. - G - 10.9 ppg, 3.1 rpg
24 - Dominique Kelley - 5-7 - Jr. - G - 11.4 ppg, 3.8 rpg
The Next Wave
44 - Catheryn Redmon - 6-3 - Jr. - C - 6.2 ppg, 6.3 rpg
11 - Nicole Neals - 5-6 - Sr. - G - 4.9 ppg, 1.1 rpg
13 - Kala Kuhlmann - 5-8 - Sr. - G - 4.4 ppg, 1.4 rpg
21 - Harleen Sidhu - 6-1 - So. - F - 2.5 ppg, 1.8 rpg
35 - Jessica Periago - 6-4 - Jr. - C - 1.9 ppg, 2.8 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 (130-97); 20th Season Overall (325-237)
Northern Illinois Probable Starters (3-5)
32 - Mauvolyene Adams - 6-0 - Jr. - F - 13.9 ppg, 8.8 rpg
44 - Ebony Ellis - 6-3 - Jr. - C - 12.3 ppg, 10.9 rpg
3 - Kylie York - 5-8 - Sr. - G - 6.9 ppg, 2.8 rpg
21 - Courtney Shelton - 5-8 - So. - G - 3.5 ppg, 2.9 rpg
23 - Marke Freeman - 5-5 - Jr. - G - 17.3 ppg, 3.9 rpg
Off the Bench
4 - Tenisha Wilson - 5-8 - So. - G - 6.3 ppg, 1.0 rpg
24 - Sarah Rogers - 5-8 - So. - G - 3.1 ppg, 5.7 rpg
25 - Bianca Brown - 5-9 - Jr. - G - 1.4 ppg, 1.3 rpg
33 - Shaakira Haywood - 6-2 - Fr. - F - 1.4 ppg, 1.8 rpg
2 - Brittney Callahan - 5-7 - Fr. - G - 1.1 ppg, 0.3 rpg
1 - Terriel Cannon - 5-9 - Jr. - G/F - 1.0 ppg, 0.3 rpg
Head Coach: Carol Owens (Northern Illinois, 1980)
Fifth Season at NIU (59-67); Fifth Season Overall (59-67)
Huskers Hope to Rewrite History Against Huskies
At 9-0, Nebraska has matched its best start and longest winning streak in school history, dating back to 1996-97 when the Huskers also opened the season 9-0. The Huskers will be shooting for the first 10-game winning streak in school history when they take on Northern Illinois on Sunday at the Devaney Center.
Not only have the Huskers been winning, they have been doing it in impressive fashion, with eight of their nine victories by double digits. Nebraska’s lone single-digit win came with a 76-71 victory at previously unbeaten Miami on Dec. 5.
The Huskers won each of their first seven games by double digits, including the first four games by 20 or more points. NU added a 13-point win over Creighton on Wednesday, and the Huskers have led all nine opponents by at least 11 points in the second half.
Nebraska’s current nine-game winning streak is just the seventh winning streak of eight or more games in school history. Three of Nebraska’s eight-game winning streaks have come in Yori’s eight seasons with the Huskers, including 2003-04 and 2005-06.
Nebraska Fighting To Be One of Last Unbeatens Standing
After Wednesday night’s win over Creighton, Nebraska was one of just 15 unbeaten teams left among the 345 NCAA Division I women’s basketball teams. While the Huskers were powering past Creighton, Xavier fell to a top-25 Michigan State squad, and previously unbeaten Indiana State slipped to Butler.
Here is the list of NCAA Division I unbeatens as of Thursday, Dec. 10: Nebraska, Connecticut, Stanford, Tennessee, Notre Dame, LSU, Texas A&M, Florida State, Georgia, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Kentucky, James Madison, UW-Green Bay and St. Bonaventure.
Two of those unbeatens, No. 5 LSU and No. 10 Texas A&M, will make trips to the Devaney Center this season. The Huskers battle LSU on Sunday, Dec. 20, at 1:05 p.m., and will face Texas A&M on Saturday, Feb. 6 at Noon.
NU Enters Top 25 in AP, Coaches Polls This Week
The Nebraska women’s basketball team entered the Associated Press Top 25 for the first time this season, by claiming the No. 24 spot in Monday’s poll. The Huskers added a No. 23 ranking in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll on Tuesday. Nebraska joined the AP Top 25 for the first time since the week of Feb. 18, 2007, after knocking off previously unbeaten Miami in Coral Gables, Fla., on Saturday, Dec. 5.
The Huskers earned 131 points in the poll, 49 points ahead of No. 25 Maryland, which also joined the top 25 this week. Nebraska is just 10 points behind No. 23 Kansas, 11 points back of No. 22 California and 12 points behind No. 21 Michigan State.
Nebraska is one of only 10 unbeaten teams in this week’s AP Top 25, and one of six Big 12 Conference teams in the rankings. Baylor is ranked No. 6 in this week’s poll, while unbeaten Texas A&M is No. 10. Oklahoma is ranked 16th, while Texas is No. 17. Oklahoma State and Texas Tech are also receiving votes in the poll.
Three Huskers Ready to Graduate after Finals Week
Senior forward Cory Montgomery, senior guard Nicole Neals and former Husker guard Tay Hester are all scheduled to receive their bachelor’s degrees during Commencement at the Bob Devaney Sports Center on Saturday, Dec. 19.
Montgomery and Neals will both be earning their bachelor’s degrees in just 3 1/2 years. Montgomery carries a 3.289 grade-point average as a business administration major. She is a two-time academic All-Big 12 selection, and plans to continue her education to earn a teacher’s certificate from Nebraska.
Neals will be graduating as a management major with a minor in marketing, and plans to begin pursuit of her master’s degree in business administration from Nebraska.
Hester, who spent the 2007-08 and 2008-09 seasons as a starter for the Huskers, will earn her bachelor’s degree in psychology. Hester started her collegiate career at UTEP before transferring to Mt. San Antonio College.
Nebraska Moves Game Time with Albany on Dec. 30
The tip-off time for the Nebraska women’s basketball game with Albany on Dec. 30, has been moved to 3:05 p.m. for the benefit of Husker fans who will also want to watch the Nebraska football team’s battle with Arizona in the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl.
Nebraska’s women’s basketball game with the Danes at the Devaney Center was originally scheduled for 7:05 p.m., the same time as kickoff for the Holiday Bowl.
Albany graciously agreed to the proposed change in game time on Tuesday, Dec. 8.
Huskers Producing Massive Margins to Open Season
Nebraska’s average victory margin of 25.7 points per game through the first nine contests is the second-largest in school history, trailing only the 26.4-point per game margin established by the 1996-97 Huskers to open the season. The 1996-97 Huskers lost their 10th game of the year, 65-59 to Colorado, dropping their margin to 21.1 points per game.
The 2009-10 Huskers are averaging 80.2 points per game (722 total points) on the offensive end, which is just shy of the 81.1 points per game (730 total points) produced by the 2001-02 Huskers through nine contests. The 2001-02 team scored just 59 points in its 10th game to slip to 8-2 on the year.
NU’s 2009-10 early season production also just trails the 80.9 points per game (728 total points) of the 1996-97 Huskers. The 1996-97 Huskers managed only 59 points in their 10th game.
The 1987-88 Huskers averaged 84.1 points per game (841 total points) to produce the best offensive start by an NU squad through 10 games in Nebraska history.
Huskers Dig Defense
NU is surrendering just 54.6 points per game through the first nine contests, which is the lowest opponent scoring average through the first nine 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 50.4 points through the first nine 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 55.6 points per game through the first nine 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, only freshman point guard Lindsey Moore (25.3 mpg) is averaging more than 25 minutes per game through the first nine contests, but the individual numbers produced by Nebraska’s top unit are rivaling all-conference levels of production.
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 weekend ranked seventh in the Big 12 with 17.6 points per game, while ranking third in the league with 9.3 rebounds per game. Those numbers become significantly more impressive considering she has played just 23.0 minutes per game - just over one 20-minute half of basketball per game.
Taken over 40 minutes, Griffin is averaging 30.5 points, 16.2 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 3.7 steals per game. Griffin is also shooting 62.2 percent (61-98) from the field, including 37.5 percent (3-8) from three-point range. She has also knocked down 33-of-49 free throws (67.3 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.
With 158 points and 84 rebounds in 207 minutes, Griffin is averaging 0.76 points per minute and 0.41 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 - 30.5 points, 16.2 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 3.7 steals
- Cory Montgomery - 21.0 points, 9.3 rebounds, 1.9 assists
- Dominique Kelley - 19.9 points, 6.6 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.4 steals
- Yvonne Turner - 18.3 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 2.2 steals
- Catheryn Redmon - 13.7 points, 13.9 rebounds, 5.1 blocks
- Nicole Neals - 11.6 points, 2.6 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 2.1 steals
- Kala Kuhlmann – 10.7 points, 3.5 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.3 steals
- Lindsey Moore – 7.2 points, 2.3 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 2.1 steals
- Jessica Periago – 7.2 points, 10.5 rebounds, 2.9 assists
Scouting the Northern Illinois Huskies
Coach Carol Owens brings Northern Illinois to Lincoln with a 3-5 record after dropping an 85-57 decision at Illinois State on Dec. 4. The game against ISU was the first game in a three-game road swing for the Huskies, which will also include a Dec. 17 battle at Loyola (Ill.). The game against Loyola will be the sixth game for NIU inside the state of Illinois.
Although the Huskies are off to a 3-5 start, they have been extremely competitive in several of their setbacks, including a 50-48 loss to Western Illinois, an eight-point loss at UW-Milwaukee, a six-point loss to Northern Iowa and an 11-point loss to a top-25 DePaul squad. NIU also owns wins over Bradley, at IUPUI and Southern Illinois.
Marke Freeman, a 5-5 junior guard, leads the Huskies with 17.3 points while adding 3.9 rebounds per game. She also leads NIU in assists (2.4 apg) and steals (2.3 spg), while hitting nearly 90 percent (34-38) of her free throws.
Mauvolyene Adams, a 6-0 junior forward, has added 13.9 points and 8.8 rebounds per game, while 6-3 junior center Ebony Ellis has been a force inside with 12.3 points and 10.9 rebounds per game. Ellis has struggled at the free throw line early, hitting just 52.6 percent (30-57) of her attempts, but she is averaging 7.1 trips to the line per game.
Senior Kylie York, a 5-8 guard, has contributed 6.9 points and 2.8 rebounds, while leading the Huskies with 18 three-pointers on the year. Courtney Shelton, a 5-8 sophomore guard, rounds out NIU’s probable starting five with 3.5 points and 2.9 rebounds per game. Tenisha Wilson (6.3 ppg, 1.0 rpg), Sarah Rogers (3.1 ppg, 5.7 rpg) and Bianca Brown (1.4 ppg, 1.3 rpg) have been Northern Illinois’ most active players off the bench while providing support in the backcourt. Terriel Cannon and Brittany Callahan have also seen significant playing time in the backcourt, while Shaakira Haywood, a 6-2 freshman forward, has provided additional size.
Northern Illinois is averaging 66.6 points while surrendering 68.8 points per contest, but the Huskies are outrebounding the opposition, 41.0-38.2. They have also been nearly even in the turnover department (-0.7). NIU is shooting just 38.7 percent from the field, including 27.5 percent from three-point range, while hitting 65.7 percent of their free throws.
Northern Illinois leads the all-time series with Nebraska, 2-1, including a 93-69 win at the Devaney Center on Jan. 6, 1990. Current NIU coach Carol Owens was a senior on that Huskie team that went on to finish 26-5 on the season. The Huskies added an 87-84 win the following season in DeKalb, Ill., on Dec. 5, 1990. The last meeting between the two schools came on Dec. 30, 1997, when the Huskers rolled to an 89-46 win.
In addition to playing at the Devaney Center, Owens also coached against the Huskers as an assistant in her final season on Muffett McGraw’s staff at Notre Dame in 2004-05. Owens helped guide the Fighting Irish to a 73-57 win over the Huskers in the second round of the Preseason WNIT at South Bend, Ind., on Nov. 14, 2004. In 10 seasons as an assistant at Notre Dame, Owens helped the Irish produce a 252-75 record, including a pair of Final Four appearances and one national title. She was also the coach of the 2008 U.S.-Under 18 national team and the 2009 Under-19 World Championship Team that captured the gold medal.
As a player at Northern Illinois, Owens scored more than 2,000 points and grabbed more than 1,000 career rebounds.
Griffin One of Six Huskers in 1,500-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.
With a 31-point, 11-rebound effort against Creighton on Wednesday night at the Devaney Center, Griffin pushed her career totals to 1,506 points and 749 rebounds as one of just six players in NU history to reach 1,500 points and 700 boards in her career. Griffin joins Karen Jennings, Maurtice Ivy, Anna DeForge, Deb Powell and Kathy Hagerstrom on that distinguished list of Huskers.
On her next rebound, Griffin will tie Debra Powell for sixth on NU’s career rebounding list with 750, and needs just 29 boards to catch 1988 Big Eight Player of the Year Maurtice Ivy in fifth on the Husker rebounding chart.
Teammate Cory Montgomery, who became the 16th member of NU’s 1,000-point, 500-rebound club in the win over Creighton, also has a chance to join Griffin in the distinguished list of six Huskers on the 1,400-700 list. Montgomery needs 340 points and 193 more rebounds to reach those levels by season’s end.
Montgomery Becomes 16th Husker with 1,000 Points, 500 Boards
Senior Cory Montgomery became just the 16th Nebraska women’s basketball player in history to produce 1,000 career points and 500 career rebounds after putting up nine points and nine rebounds in Nebraska’s win over Creighton on Wednesday.
The 6-2 forward from Cannon Falls, Minn., heads into Sunday’s game against Northern Illinois with 1,060 points, which ranks 20th in Husker history. Montgomery needs just nine points to catch Kate Galligan (1993-96) on the Husker career chart with 1,069 points, and just 14 points to tie Tina McClain (1994-97) in 18th with 1,074 points.
Montgomery crossed the 500-rebound plateau in the first half against Creighton, and finished the night with 507 career rebounds. She enters the Northern Illinois game ranked 21st on NU’s all-time rebound list and needs just six boards to catch Brooke Schwartz (1997-2000) in 20th, and 11 rebounds to match Margaret Richards (2001-04) in 19th with 518.
Turner Draining Threes at Record Rate
Senior Yvonne Turner has hit 24-of-51 three-point attempts (47.1 percent) to lead an impressive Husker three-point barrage through the first nine games. Turner’s 2.7 threes made per game are tied for fifth 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 was tied for 26th nationally in the NCAA’s most recent statistical rankings released Dec. 7, while her 47.1 percent success rate also ranked among the top 50 players in NCAA Division I.
Turner has increased her career total to 125 made threes, while improving her career numbers to 33.7 percent (125-371). 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 nine games this season, Nebraska’s focus is paying dividends, as the Huskers carry a plus-9.2 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. The Huskers bounced back to outrebound Creighton, 38-36, on Dec. 9.
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 nine 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 9.3 boards per game, including four double-digit rebound efforts. Her 9.3 rebounds per game rank third in the Big 12.
Catheryn Redmon is averaging 6.3 rebounds per game off the bench, after averaging 5.5 boards per game as a starter a year ago. Cory Montgomery is contributing 5.6 rebounds per contest.
Huskers Firing Off to Fast First-Half Starts
Nebraska’s high-powered offense is averaging 39.3 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 24 points per first half, as the Huskers have headed to the locker room with an average lead of 15.3 points (39.3-24.0) and have allowed only one foe to score 30 first-half points (Miami, 36).
Creighton managed 29, while Davidson and Saint Mary’s each produced 26 first-half points. 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 five home victories, the Huskers are averaging 43.4 points in the first half, while allowing just 21.6 points per first half for an average home halftime lead of 21.8 points.
It hasn’t gone much better for Nebraska opponents in the second half through the first nine contests, as the Huskers have averaged 40.9 points after halftime, while the opposition has managed 30.6 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 26 minutes per game. Nebraska’s starters are combining to play an average of 119 minutes while the deep Husker bench has seen an average of 81 minutes per game of playing time.
Nebraska Knocking Down Triples at Record Pace
As a team, NU ranks third in the Big 12 with 7.4 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, before being held to just 3-of-12 shooting from long range by Creighton on Dec. 9.
At the Devaney Center Nebraska has hit 8.0 threes per game, connecting on 40-of-107 shots from long range for a 37.4 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 17.6 points and 9.3 rebounds in just 23.0 minutes per game in powering the Huskers to a 9-0 start. Griffin has had three of the best efforts of her career through the first nine games of her senior season.
Griffin is coming off a 31-point, 11-rebound, two-assist, two-steal, one block effort in a win over Creighton, when she hit 12-of-16 shots from the field. Her 31 points tied her career high, which was set in the fourth game of her career on Nov. 27, 2005, against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. Her 12 field goals were a career high, while her 34 minutes played against the Jays were also a career high.
Her effort in the win over Creighton followed a pair of big performances in California. She opened the Saint Mary’s Hilton Concord Thanksgiving Tournament with 27 points and a career-high-tying 14 rebounds, while adding three steals against UALR (Nov. 27). She produced 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 30.5 points, 16.2 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 3.7 steals per game. She has averaged 0.76 points and 0.41 rebounds per minute.
In addition to her team-leading 19 steals this season, Griffin has added four blocked shots and drawn a team-leading eight charges in nine games for the Huskers. She is also shooting 62.2 percent from the field, which ranks in the top 20 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.
She just missed her second double-double of the year with nine points and nine rebounds on 4-of-6 shooting from the floor in NU’s win over Creighton on Dec. 9. Through nine games, the 2009 honorable-mention All-Big 12 pick from Cannon Falls, Minn., is shooting 56.8 percent (46-83) from the field, which ranks among the top 50 players in NCAA Division I. She has hit 50 percent (9-18) 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 nine 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 12.6 points and 5.6 rebounds in 23.9 minutes per game, which over 40 minutes would come to 21.0 points and 9.3 rebounds per contest.
Kelley Cranks Up Production to Start Junior Season
Junior guard Dominique Kelley has put up big numbers in Nebraska’s first nine games by averaging 11.4 points and 3.8 rebounds in just 23.0 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.
She is coming off a 13-point performance in NU’s win over Creighton on Dec. 9, when she scored NU’s first four points of the game, and second-half points to help power the Huskers to victory. She hit 6-of-8 shots from the field against the Jays and dished out two assists to go along with one steal.
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 six double-figure scoring efforts this season, is shooting 46.9 percent (30-64) from the field and 33.3 percent (6-18) from three-point range, while connecting on 75.5 percent (37-49) of her free throws.
Taken over 40 minutes, Kelley is averaging 19.9 points, 6.6 rebounds, 3.3 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 nine games.
Each of NU’s most experienced players have averaged double figures in points and have combined to hit 52.2 percent (169-324) of their shots from the field, including 42-of-95 (44.2 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 21 blocks through nine games. With 2.3 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 nine games in 2009-10, Redmon is averaging 2.3 blocks in just 18.2 minutes per game and continues to climb Nebraska’s career block chart. She has moved into sole possession of seventh with 97 blocks. Redmon, who has blocked two or more shots in seven of NU’s first nine games, needs just seven more blocks to join the top four shot-blockers in Husker history.
In addition to her shot-blocking success, Redmon is averaging 6.2 points and 6.3 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 19 offensive rebounds through NU’s first nine games.
Redmon is one of several Huskers with outstanding 40-minute production averages. Through nine games, she is averaging 13.7 points, 13.9 rebounds and 5.1 blocks per 40 minutes.
Freshman Moore Helps Huskers to 9-0 Mark as Starter
Lindsey Moore has helped the Huskers to a 9-0 record as Nebraska’s starting point guard in her first nine 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 nine 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.
She followed a strong effort at Miami with a career-high 11 points in NU’s win over Creighton on Dec. 9. Moore’s big night included a three-pointer midway through the second half that put the Huskers up 51-45.
A 2009 Parade All-American and the Washington High School Player of the Year last season, Moore leads the Huskers with 4.1 assists per game, which ranks eighth in the Big 12, while adding 4.6 points, 1.4 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.
Griffin’s 31 Carries Huskers Past Creighton
Kelsey Griffin tied her career high with 31 points and posted her third double-double of the season with 11 rebounds to power No. 24 Nebraska to a 69-56 victory over Creighton at the Devaney Center on Wednesday.
Thanks to the huge performance from Griffin, who scored 22 points and grabbed nine rebounds in the second half alone, the Huskers matched their best start and longest winning streak in school history by improving to 9-0 on the year. Creighton, which was led by 25 points and 12 rebounds from preseason Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year Megan Neuvirth, slipped to 5-2 on the young season.
Griffin, who matched her career high of 31 points set against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in the fourth game of her career on Nov. 27, 2005, carried the Huskers down the stretch by scoring NU’s final eight points and 16 of the Huskers’ final 20 in the last seven minutes. Griffin’s strength at crunch time allowed NU to turn a six-point lead at 51-45 into a 14-point victory.
The All-America candidate hit 12-of-16 shots from the field and added two assists, two steals and a blocked shot in one of the best all-around efforts of her career, while playing a career-high 34 minutes.
Junior guard Dominique Kelley also had a big second half, pumping in nine points after intermission to finish with 13 points. Kelley, who hit 6-of-8 shots from the field, added two assists, one rebound and a steal. Kelley’s final points came on a three-point play with 4:02 left to push Nebraska’s lead to 61-55, after Neuvirth had pulled the Jays within three on a banked three-pointer from the left wing with 5:21 left. It was Creighton’s last field goal.
Freshman point guard Lindsey Moore added a career-high 11 points, including Nebraska’s lone three-pointer of the second half, after CU had cut the Huskers’ lead to 48-45 on a Neuvirth jumper with 8:58 to play.
Senior forward Cory Montgomery also played a solid all-around game for the Huskers, adding nine points, nine rebounds, two assists, and a steal, while drawing a crucial charge late in the game.
While Neuvirth carried the Bluejays, only Kelsey Woodard joined her in double figures with 12 points, five rebounds and a game-high five assists. No other Jay managed more than six points.
After leading 30-29 at the half, Nebraska bolted out of the locker room at halftime on an 8-0 run with the first four points coming from Griffin and the next four coming from Kelley to take its biggest lead of the game at that point at 38-29 with 16:39 left in the game. After Neuvirth scored following a Creighton timeout, Kelley and Griffin hit back-to-back baskets to push Nebraska’s lead to double digits for the first time at 42-31 with 14:08 left. Neuvirth answered by scoring 10 of CU’s next 14 points to pull the Jays within 48-45.
Nebraska finished the game at 50 percent (26-52) from the field, including 3-of-12 from three-point range. The Huskers also hit just 14-of-24 free throws, but hit 8-of-9 in the final 6:14 to seal the win. NU outrebounded CU, 38-36, and matched the Jays with 21 turnovers.
Creighton hit just 37.1 percent (23-62) of its shots from the field, including just 6-of-19 threes. The Jays entered the contest averaging 10 made three-pointers per game. CU also hit just 4-of-6 free throws.
The Huskers built an eight-point lead on two occasions in the first half, the last time coming after a Griffin layup to make it 21-13 with 10:42 left before intermission. Griffin led the Huskers with nine first-half points, while Montgomery added seven points and seven boards, and Moore pitched in seven points. Kelsey Woodard, Megan Neuvirth and Kellie Nelson brought the Bluejays back to within 30-29 at halftime.
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 (749) and No. 3 active scorer (1,506 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 1,506 points, seventh on NU’s career rebounding list with 749 and ninth on the Husker career block chart with 72.
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 nine 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 powered past preseason Missouri Valley Conference favorite Creighton, 69-56, 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 102 games in her NU career. Nebraska also features junior guard Dominique Kelley, who has started 73 straight games to open her career, while senior forward Cory Montgomery made her 40th straight start against Miami and her 44th career start.
Yvonne Turner started her 70th career game against Creighton after coming off the bench the first three games this season. Freshman point guard Lindsey Moore has started the first nine games of her NU career, and gives the Huskers a starting five with 298 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 21 rejections in 164 minutes through the first nine games. Last season, Redmon only had eight blocks through the first nine games and did not record her 21st block until the 16th game of the season at Missouri when she had five against the Tigers to push her season total to 25 on Jan. 17.
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 97, and needs four 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 340-118 (.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 76-22 (.776) at the Devaney Center. The Huskers own nine straight home wins dating back to a loss to then-No. 8 Baylor last season.
NU Shows North Division Dominance over Last Four Years
Over the last four years, Nebraska leads the North Division with a 26-14 regular-season record against the other five Big 12 North foes. Kansas State and Iowa State are both 25-15 over the past four years.
Despite suffering multiple season-ending injuries to key contributors in 2008-09, Nebraska still battled Big 12 North Division foes with success. During the second half of the league season, the Huskers posted a 3-2 record in Big 12 North rematches to finish the season with a 4-6 regular-season mark against North opponents.
Nebraska closed 2008-09 North Division play with a 75-64 win over Colorado on March 3. The Huskers managed season splits with Kansas State, Kansas, Missouri and Colorado, while surrendering a sweep to Iowa State. The Huskers suffered a 67-66 loss at Missouri on Jan. 17, and a 75-73 loss at Colorado on Jan. 31. In the rematches in Lincoln, NU posted double-figure wins over both the Tigers (65-52) and Buffaloes (75-64). NU also posted a nine-point home win over KU (67-58) on Jan. 21, before notching a 52-47 win over No. 20 KSU in Lincoln on Feb. 25.
Huskers Have Success Against Top 25 Foes
Nebraska has made a habit of knocking off top-25 opponents during Connie Yori’s eight seasons at the helm. In fact, the Huskers’ win over No. 20 Kansas State marked the 12th victory over a ranked foe during Yori’s tenure. The Huskers notched two wins over top-25 foes in 2008-09, including a victory over No. 24 Arizona State on Dec. 28.
Included in those victories is a 103-99 triple overtime win over No. 2 and eventual national champion Baylor on Jan. 12, 2005, which marks the highest ranked team Nebraska has ever defeated. The Huskers also posted an 18-point win over No. 9 Kansas State in 2004, and a 29-point win over No. 14 Iowa State in 2005 - NU’s largest victory margin in history over a top-25 foe. Nebraska’s 56-45 win over No. 15 Texas last season at the Devaney Center also marked the lowest point total ever allowed by the Huskers against a ranked opponent.
Before Yori’s arrival at Nebraska in 2002-03, the Huskers had not defeated a top-10 team since a 73-67 win over No. 9 Iowa on Dec. 8, 1996, and had never beaten a top-five opponent.
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).