No. 12 Huskers Open Big 12 Play at ISU
#12/13 Nebraska Cornhuskers (13-0, 0-0 Big 12)
at NR/#23 Iowa State Cyclones (12-1, 0-0 Big 12)
Hilton Coliseum (14,356) • Ames, Iowa
Saturday, Jan. 9 • 7 p.m.
Radio: Husker Sports Network (98.1 FM-KFGE-Lincoln, 93.3 FM-KTWI Omaha)
Live Internet Audio: Huskers.com (Free)
Live Internet Video: HuskersNside (Premium Subscribers - Provided by ISU)
The No. 12 Nebraska women’s basketball team opens Big 12 Conference action in one of the toughest road environments in college basketball when the Huskers take on Iowa State Saturday in Ames.
Tip-off between the Huskers (13-0) and Cyclones (12-1) at Hilton Coliseum is set for 7 p.m. with live radio coverage on the Husker Sports Network on Froggy 98.1 KFGE in Lincoln and Twister 93.3 KTWI in Omaha. Matt Coatney and Jeff Griesch will have the call free world-wide on Huskers.com. A live video stream will also be available to HuskersNside subscribers on Huskers.com.
Nebraska heads into Big 12 play after completing the first unbeaten regular-season non-conference schedule in school history. Nebraska’s 13-0 start is the best in school history, and NU’s 13-game winning streak is also an all-time best. The Huskers’ No. 12 national ranking in the Jan. 4 Associated Press Top 25 also matches the highest ranking in school history.
The Huskers capped their record-setting non-conference season with a 94-50 win over RPI No. 14 Vermont in Burlington, Vt., on Monday, Jan. 4. The defending America East champions surrendered their most points all season, and NU’s 44-point margin surpassed the 42-point margin produced by defending national champion and current No. 1 UConn (84-42) against the Catamounts in Storrs, Conn., this season. No other Vermont opponent had managed 70 points, including Big 12 foe Oklahoma State, which escaped the Patrick Gymnasium with a 68-63 win.
Iowa State, which advanced to the 2009 NCAA Elite Eight to cap one of the best seasons in school history a year ago, also heads into Big 12 play with momentum. The Cyclones own an 11-game winning streak and joined the top 25 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll on Tuesday. ISU leads the Big 12 in scoring defense (50.6 ppg), three-point percentage (.443) and three-pointers made (9.3 pg). The Cyclones also rank second in the league in rebound margin (+13.0 rpg) and third in the conference in scoring margin (+24.0 ppg) and assists per game (16.5).
Iowa State carries a 12-game home winning streak into its game with the Huskers, and Nebraska is just 1-11 in its last 12 trips to Hilton Coliseum. NU’s only victory since the 1996-97 season came with an 82-72 win on Jan. 19, 2008. The Huskers lead the all-time series with Iowa State, 38-33, but the Cyclones swept last year’s series.
#12 Nebraska Cornhuskers (13-0) Probable Starters
23 - Kelsey Griffin - 6-2 - Sr. - F - 19.2 ppg, 10.2 rpg
40 - Cory Montgomery - 6-2 - Sr. - F - 12.8 ppg, 5.1 rpg
00 - Lindsey Moore - 5-9 - Fr. - G - 4.7 ppg, 1.5 rpg
22 - Yvonne Turner - 5-8 - Sr. - G - 10.0 ppg, 3.6 rpg
24 - Dominique Kelley - 5-7 - Jr. - G - 11.6 ppg, 4.1 rpg
The Next Wave
44 - Catheryn Redmon - 6-3 - Jr. - C - 6.0 ppg, 6.1 rpg
13 - Kala Kuhlmann - 5-8 - Sr. - G - 5.0 ppg, 1.8 rpg
11 - Nicole Neals - 5-6 - Sr. - G - 4.0 ppg, 0.9 rpg
21 - Harleen Sidhu - 6-1 - So. - F - 3.0 ppg, 2.0 rpg
12 - Layne Reeves - 5-11 - RFr. - G - 2.4 ppg, 1.3 rpg
35 - Jessica Periago - 6-4 - Jr. - C - 1.9 ppg, 2.8 rpg
5 - Kaitlyn Burke - 5-7 - Jr. - G - 1.2 ppg, 0.5 rpg
20 - Katya Leick - 6-1 - Fr. - F - 1.4 ppg, 1.5 rpg
10 - Meghin Williams - 6-1 - Fr. - F - 0.5 ppg, 0.5 rpg
42 - Nikki Bober - 6-4 - Sr. - C - Injured
Head Coach: Connie Yori (Creighton, 1986)
Eighth Season at NU (134-97); 20th Season Overall (329-237)
Iowa State Cyclones (12-1, 0-0) Probable Starters
33 - Chelsea Poppens - 6-2 - Fr. - F - 10.0 ppg, 6.5 rpg
-or-42 - Amanda Zimmerman - 6-1 - Fr. - F - 5.9 ppg, 2.9 rpg
2 - Whitney Williams - 5-7 - So. - G - 8.7 ppg, 1.5 rpg
4 - Alison Lacey - 6-0 - Sr. - G - 17.2 ppg, 4.9 rpg
10 - Denae Stuckey - 5-8 - Sr. - G - 5.2 ppg, 6.4 rpg
11 - Kelsey Bolte - 6-1 - Jr. - G - 12.3 ppg, 5.8 rpg
Off the Bench
55 - Anna Prins - 6-7 - Fr. - C - 11.1 ppg, 4.4 rpg
12 - Jessica Schroll - 5-11 - Fr. - G/F - 4.8 ppg, 3.2 rpg
23 - Chassidy Cole - 5-8 - So. - G - 3.5 ppg, 2.2 rpg
30 - Shellie Mosman - 5-10 - Sr. - G - 1.8 ppg, 1.1 rpg
13 - Anna Florzak - 5-10 - Sr. - G - 1.3 ppg, 0.7 rpg
22 - Genesis Lightbourne - 6-0 - Sr. - G - 0.9 ppg, 1.3 rpg
Head Coach: Bill Fennelly (William Penn, 1979)
15th Season at ISU (319-142); 22nd Season Overall (485-195)
Huskers Continue to Rewrite History
At 13-0, Nebraska owns the best start and longest winning streak in school history, surpassing a nine-game winning streak to open the 1996-97 campaign. The Huskers have passed their stiffest tests of the young season with flying colors in a 77-63 pounding of No. 5 LSU on Dec. 20, before adding a 94-50 run past RPI No. 14 Vermont on the road on Jan. 4.
Not only have the Huskers been winning, they have been doing it in impressive fashion, with 12 of their 13 victories by double digits, including eight wins by 20 or more points and five wins by 39 or more. NU’s lone single-digit win came with a 76-71 victory at 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 Dec. 9, and rolled to a 25-point win over Northern Illinois on Dec. 13 to achieve the school-record streak. The Huskers have led all 13 opponents by at least 11 points in the second half.
Nebraska’s streak is just the seventh of eight or more victories 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
Nebraska heads to Iowa State as one of just five unbeaten teams left among the 345 NCAA Division I women’s basketball teams, joining Connecticut, Notre Dame, Georgia and UW-Green Bay.
No. 12 Nebraska Matches Highest AP Ranking in History
Since beating No. 5 LSU on Dec. 20, Nebraska has climbed eight spots to No. 12 in the Associated Press Top 25, which was announced on Monday, Jan. 4. NU was also ranked No. 12 the first week of December in 1997.
Nebraska is one of seven Big 12 teams in the AP rankings and the only unbeaten team remaining in the league. The Huskers are one of just five undefeated teams left among the 345 NCAA Division I schools.
Baylor is ranked No. 5 in this week’s poll, while Texas A&M is No. 10. Oklahoma is ranked 14th, while Texas is No. 15. Oklahoma State entered the top 25 for the first time this week at No. 23, while Kansas slipped to No. 24.
The Huskers open Big 12 Conference play on the road at Iowa State on Saturday, Jan. 9. The Cyclones are 12-1 and received 24 votes in this week’s AP poll, which would put them 28th nationally. ISU entered the national rankings in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll at No. 23 on Tuesday, Jan. 5.
Scouting the Iowa State Cyclones
Nebraska opens Big 12 Conference play on the road at one of the toughest road venues in the league when the Huskers clash with Iowa State at Hilton Coliseum in Ames.
The Cyclones head into conference play with a 12-1 overall record riding an 11-game winning streak. ISU, which advanced to the 2009 NCAA Elite Eight after tying the school record with 27 victories, is receiving votes in the Associated Press Poll this week and entered the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Top 25 at No. 23 on Tuesday.
ISU is just three points from joining the Huskers among the ranks of the unbeaten, as Iowa State’s lone loss came at Drake (78-75) on Nov. 22.
While the Cyclones have produced similar results to last season, Iowa State has featured a much different look this year compared to a year ago. Iowa State lost three senior starters, including Heather Ezell, Nicky Wieben and Amanda Nisleit, and eight letterwinners from last year’s club that went 27-9 overall and 11-5 to tie for third in the Big 12.
Iowa State is led by returning All-Big 12 guard Alison Lacey. The senior from Canberra, Australia, is averaging 17.2 points, 4.9 rebounds and 7.3 assists per game, while hitting 43.2 percent of her shots from three-point range.
Not surprisingly, the Cyclones have thrived beyond the arc early this season, ranking fourth nationally with 9.3 three-pointers made per game. Iowa State is hitting an astounding 44.3 percent of its three-point attempts.
Iowa State has hit 10 or more threes on six occasions this season, including 33 in back-to-back games (17 vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff and 16 vs. Iowa). Twice ISU has hit 10 threes in the first half of games.
Lacey, who has hit 32-of-74 triples, is one of many Cyclones firing on all cylinders from long range. Kelsey Bolte, a 6-1 junior guard, has hit 47.0 percent (31-66) of her threes while averaging 12.3 points and 5.8 boards per game.
Whitney Williams, a 5-7 sophomore guard, has connected on 49.1 percent (27-55) of her long range attempts, while averaging 8.7 points and 1.5 boards per game. Senior Denae Stuckey, who played as a 5-8 point guard the past two seasons, has occupied a role more similar to power forward this year for ISU and has hit 63.6 percent (7-11) of her three-pointers, while leading ISU with 6.4 rebounds per game. Stuckey has also contributed 5.2 points per contest.
A trio of freshmen post players have also seen time in Iowa State’s starting five, led by 6-2 forward Chelsea Poppens, who has averaged 10.0 points and 6.5 boards per game. Poppens has not attempted a three, but fellow freshman forward Amanda Zimmerman has connected on 4-of-9 from long range while averaging 5.9 points and 2.9 boards per game.
Anna Prinns, a 6-7 freshman center from Broomfield, Colo., has also started five games and averaged 11.1 points and 4.4 rebounds while hitting 7-of-13 three-pointers. But Prinns has been bothered by a viral infection that kept her out of six straight games before she came off the bench in a wins over Lafayette (Jan. 3) and South Dakota.
Sophomore Chassidy Cole (3.5 ppg, 2.2 rpg) and freshman Jessica Schroll (4.8 ppg, 3.2 rpg) have also played roles off the bench, along with seniors Anna Florzak (1.3 ppg, 0.7 rpg), Shellie Mosman (1.8 ppg, 1.1 rpg) and Genesis Lightbourne (0.9 ppg, 1.3 rpg).
With contributions coming from across the board, Iowa State has produced an average victory margin of 24.0 points per game, while averaging 74.6 points per contest. The Cyclones have also surrendered just 50.6 points per game, while outrebounding the opposition 40.3-27.3. ISU also owns a plus-0.4 team turnover margin, committing just 14.2 miscues per game.
Nebraska leads the all-time series with Iowa State, 38-33, but Iowa State swept last year’s season series. The Huskers are just 1-11 in their last 12 games at Hilton Coliseum.
Huskers Ready to Run with Top 100
Vermont represented the first of 17 consecutive games for the Huskers against RPI top-100 teams. The Catamounts (No. 15) are the top RPI team the Huskers have faced so far this season. The Huskers enter Big 12 play with four wins over top-100 RPI teams (at No. 15 Vermont, No. 16 LSU, No. 34 Creighton, at No. 63 Miami), and every Big 12 team was ranked in the RPI top 100 by CollegeRPI.com on Jan. 5.
NU’s game at Vermont was the second of nine games scheduled this season against RPI top 25 teams.
The Huskers, who have played a top-25 strength of schedule in each of the past two seasons, head into Big 12 play with a No. 25 schedule strength in the Jan. 5 rankings. With the power of the Big 12, the Huskers could be gearing up for the toughest schedule in school history by season’s end.
Nine of Nebraska’s 13 non-conference foes (LSU, Vermont, Miami, Saint Mary’s, UALR, Creighton, UNLV, Albany, Northern Illinois) own .500 or better records as of Jan. 5, while all of Nebraska’s opponents have won at least five games this season. Overall, Nebraska’s opponents owned a combined record of 101-57 (excluding their 13 losses to Nebraska) and every Husker foe is in the the top 235 in the RPI teams among the 345 Division I women’s basketball schools in the nation.
Huskers Producing Massive Margins to Open Season
Nebraska’s average victory margin of 27.8 points per game through the first 13 contests is the best in school history, leading the 21.9 points per game margin produced by the 1996-97 Huskers.
The 2009-10 Huskers are averaging 80.8 points per game (1,050 total points) on the offensive end, which trails only the 1987-88 Huskers who averaged 85.8 points per game (1,116 total points) to produce the best offensive start by an NU squad through 13 games in Nebraska history.
If the season ended today, Nebraska’s 80.4 points per game would rank as the fourth-best scoring average in school history and only the fourth time that an NU team averaged better than 80 points per game.
Last season, Nebraska averaged just 62.2 points per game, including 59.7 in Big 12 play.
Huskers Dig Defense
NU is surrendering just 53.0 points per game through the first 13 contests, which is the lowest opponent scoring average through the first 13 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 52.5 points through the first 13 games (683 total points), 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.
Huskers Own 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. 5 LSU on Dec. 20 marked the 13th victory over an AP 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, and a win over No. 20 Kansas State on Feb. 25.
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 at the Devaney Center in 2008 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.
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.
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 (25.4 mpg) is averaging more than 25 minutes per game through the first 13 contests, but the Huskers’ individual numbers still rival 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 Iowa State game ranked fifth in the Big 12 with 19.2 points per game, while leading the league with 10.2 rebounds per game. Those numbers become significantly more impressive considering she has played just 24.3 minutes per game - just over one 20-minute half of basketball per game.
Taken over 40 minutes, Griffin would be averaging 31.5 points, 16.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 3.2 steals per game. In addition to her team-leading 25 steals this season, Griffin has added six blocked shots and drawn a team-leading nine charges in 13 games for the Huskers. She is also shooting 63.5 percent from the field, which ranks third nationally and second in the Big 12.
Compare that production to current Big 12 scoring leader Andrea Riley, who enters conference play averaging 23.6 points, 3.8 rebounds, 8.0 assists and 2.7 steals per game. Through 13 games, Riley is averaging 36.1 minutes per game, and her 40-minute production is 26.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, 8.9 assists and 3.0 steals.
With 249 points and 132 rebounds in 313 minutes, Griffin is averaging 0.79 points per minute and 0.42 rebounds per minute. Riley averages an impressive 0.65 points per minute, but just 0.10 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 - 31.5 points, 16.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 3.2 steals
- Harleen Sidhu - 21.5 points, 14.3 rebounds, 3.1 assists
- Cory Montgomery - 20.9 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.8 assists
- Dominique Kelley - 20.5 points, 7.2 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.6 steals
- Yvonne Turner - 16.7 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 2.3 steals
- Catheryn Redmon - 13.2 points, 13.4 rebounds, 5.8 blocks
- Kala Kuhlmann – 11.8 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.4 steals
- Layne Reeves - 11.1 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.9 steals
- Nicole Neals - 10.5 points, 2.4 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 1.6 steals
- Lindsey Moore – 7.4 points, 2.3 rebounds, 6.3 assists, 1.7 steals
- Jessica Periago – 7.1 points, 10.5 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 2.5 blocks
Griffin Closing in on 1,600 Points, 800 Rebounds
Kelsey Griffin continues to cement her place among the best players in Nebraska women’s basketball history as a senior for the Huskers.
The 6-2 senior forward from Eagle River, Alaska, has pushed her career totals to 1,597 points and 797 rebounds and is one of just six players in NU history to reach 1,500 points and 700 boards in her career.
Griffin enters the Iowa State game needing three points and three rebounds to become just the third Husker in history to produce 1,600 points and 800 career rebounds. If she can achieve those levels, Griffin will join 1993 National Player of the Year Karen Jennings (2,405 points, 1,000 rebounds) and All-American and two-time WNBA All-Star Anna DeForge (1,859 points, 804 rebounds) in that elite group.
Griffin also needs just seven rebounds to catch DeForge in fourth place on NU’s career rebounding list.
Montgomery Becomes 16th Husker with 1,000 Points, 500 Boards
Senior Cory Montgomery became just the 16th Husker 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 Dec. 9. Montgomery needs just three points and 51 rebounds to rank among the top 15 players in school history in both of those categories.
The 6-2 forward from Cannon Falls, Minn., heads into the Iowa State game with 1,113 points, which ranks 16th in Husker history. Montgomery needs just three points to match Meggan Yedsena (1991-94) in 15th place on the NU all-time scoring list with 1,116 points.
Montgomery crossed the 500-rebound plateau in the first half against Creighton. She has increased her career total to 523 rebounds. She enters the Iowa State game ranked 19th on NU’s all-time rebound list and needs 16 more to catch former teammate Chelsea Aubry (2004-07) in 18th with 539.
Turner Ranks Among Top Three-Point Shooters in NU History
Senior Yvonne Turner has hit 28-of-66 three-point attempts (42.4 percent) to lead an impressive Husker three-point barrage through the first 13 games. Turner’s 2.2 threes made per game rank 11th 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 has increased her career total to 129 made threes, while improving her career numbers to 33.4 percent (129-386). Turner is tied for fourth in Nebraska history in career three-pointers and needs 16 more to catch Kate Galligan (145, 1993-96) 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 (129) and career steals (184).
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 13 games this season, Nebraska’s focus is paying dividends, as the Huskers carry a plus-10.0 team rebounding margin, which ranks third in the Big 12. Nebraska has outrebounded 11 of its first 13 opponents, including each of the first seven foes in 2009-10. NU was outrebounded, 34-30, by a Miami squad that was 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, and outboarded Northern Illinois, 44-43, on Dec. 13, before being edged, 36-34, by an LSU squad that entered the game plus-12 on the glass. The Huskers notched their biggest rebound margin of the year (+26, 52-26) in the win over Albany on Dec. 30, and followed with a plus-22 (47-25) edge on the boards at Vermont on Jan. 4.
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 seven double-digit rebound margins through 13 games.
Last year, Nebraska managed only three double-digit rebound margins all season (vs. Butler, at UTEP, at Kansas).NU outrebounded only 12 foes in 31 games in 2008-09, including just five after Christmas.
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 a Big 12-best 10.2 boards per game, including seven double-digit rebound efforts.
Huskers Firing Off to Fast First-Half Starts
Nebraska’s high-powered offense is averaging 40.3 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. NU added 53 first-half points in a win over Albany on Dec. 30, which was tied for the 13th-best first-half scoring total in school history.
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 24.6 points per first half, as the Huskers have headed to the locker room with an average lead of 15.7 points (40.3-24.6) and have allowed only two foes to score 30 first-half points (Miami, 36, LSU, 34).
Creighton and Vermont 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, and surrendered just 17 first-half points to Northern Illinois on Dec. 13.
In their seven home victories, the Huskers are averaging 43.1 points (345 total points) in the first half, while allowing just 22.9 points per first half (183 total points) for an average home halftime lead of 20.2 points.
It hasn’t gone much better for Nebraska opponents in the second half through the first 13 contests, as the Huskers have averaged 40.4 points after halftime, while the opposition has managed 28.4 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 26 or fewer minutes per game. Nebraska’s starters are combining to play an average of 121 minutes while the deep Husker bench has seen an average of 79 minutes per game of playing time.
Nebraska Knocking Down Triples at Record Pace
As a team, NU ranks fifth in the Big 12 with 7.1 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. NU added 5-of-12 threes in a win over Northern Illinois on Dec. 13, and 4-of-12 shooting in a run past No. 5 LSU on Dec. 20. The Huskers hit 8-of-25 threes in a win over Albany on Dec. 30, and 8-of-18 at Vermont on Jan. 4.
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 19.2 points and 10.2 rebounds in just 24.3 minutes per game in powering the Huskers to a school-record 13-0 start. Griffin has had six of the best efforts of her career through the first 13 games of her senior season, scoring 25 or more points on six occasions including 25 points and a career-high 16 rebounds in NU’s 94-50 win at RPI No. 14 Vermont on Jan. 4.
Griffin hit 10-of-16 shots from the field and 5-of-5 free throws in 28 minutes against the Catamounts. Her effort against the defending America East champion, followed on the heels of a 27-point, seven-board performance against Albany on Dec. 30. Griffin went 9-for-9 from the field, including a pair of three-pointers, and 7-for-7 at the free throw line to produce her 27 points in just 22 minutes in NU’s 47-point run past Albany.
That effort followed a 30-point, 14-rebound performance in the Huskers’ 77-63 win over No. 5 LSU on Dec. 20.
On Dec. 9, Griffin erupted for 31 points, 11 rebounds, two assists, two steals and one block in a win over Creighton on Dec. 9, 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, which she matched in the win over LSU.
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. She also pitched in nine points, 11 rebounds, three assists and a pair of steals in a win over Northern Illinois on Dec. 13.
Taken over 40 minutes, Griffin would be averaging 31.5 points, 16.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 3.2 steals per game. She has averaged 0.79 points and 0.42 rebounds per minute.
In addition to her team-leading 25 steals this season, Griffin has added six blocked shots and drawn a team-leading nine charges in 13 games for the Huskers. She is also shooting 63.5 percent from the field, which ranks second in the Big 12 and third nationally.
Montgomery’s Hot Shooting Helps Huskers
Senior Cory Montgomery put up a season-high 16 points, including a career-high matching three three-pointers, to help shoot the Huskers past No. 5 LSU on Dec. 20. Montgomery enters Big 12 Conference play averaging 12.8 points and 5.1 rebounds per game, while ranking 24th nationally with her 55.1 field goal percentage. She is also hitting 44.8 percent (13-29) of her three-point attempts and 80.6 percent (25-31) of her free throws.
The 6-2 forward from Cannon Falls, Minn., 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 in NU’s win over Creighton on Dec. 9, before adding 13 points in a win over Northern Illinois on Dec. 13.
An honorable-mention All-Big 12 pick as a junior, Montgomery 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 11 of NU’s 13 games, including 13 or more points in seven of NU’s last nine contests. She also pulled down a season-best 10 boards against Idaho State.
Kelley Cranks Up Production to Start Junior Season
Junior guard Dominique Kelley has put up big numbers in Nebraska’s first 13 games by averaging 11.6 points and 4.1 rebounds in just 22.7 minutes per game. The 5-7 hometown favorite out of Lincoln Northeast High School has produced double figures nine times this year, including 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 added a game-high 14 points while matching her season high with seven rebounds in NU’s run past Northern Illinois on Dec. 13. Kelley had 10 points and five boards in the first half to help shoot the Huskers to a 34-17 halftime lead.
Kelley had 13 points, including 11 in the first half, in Nebraska’s win over No. 5 LSU on Dec. 20. Going head-to-head with All-American Allison Hightower from LSU, Kelley held the Naismith Trophy candidate to 15 points on just 7-of-21 shooting. Kelley’s points came on 4-of-7 shooting from the floor.
Kelley put up 13 more points in NU’s win over Creighton on Dec. 9, when she scored NU’s first four points of the game, and nine 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 put up 12 more points and tied her season-best with seven rebounds while also dishing out three assists while going head-to-head against Lincoln Northeast High School teammate Charity Iromuanya in a win over Albany on Dec. 30.
Kelley, who owns nine double-figure scoring efforts this season, is shooting 46.7 percent (42-90) from the field and 33.3 percent (7-21) from three-point range, while connecting on 80 percent (60-75) of her free throws.
Taken over 40 minutes, Kelley is averaging 20.5 points, 7.2 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.6 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 13 games.
Each of NU’s most experienced players have averaged double figures in points and have combined to hit 52.6 percent (244-464) of their shots from the field, including 53-of-118 (44.1 percent) of their three-point attempts.
Griffin (3rd) and Montgomery (24th) both rank among the top 50 players in NCAA Division I in field goal percentage, making Nebraska one of only five 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), Maryland (Tianna Hawkins, Lynetta Kizer), and Xavier (Ta’Shia Phillips, Amber Harris) 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 34 blocks through 13 games. With 2.6 blocks per game, Redmon ranks 12th nationally in the most recent NCAA Division I statistical rankings (Jan. 3).
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 13 games in 2009-10, Redmon is averaging 2.6 blocks in just 18.2 minutes per game and has climbed to fourth on Nebraska’s career block chart with 110. Redmon, who has blocked two or more shots in 10 of NU’s first 13 games, is also on pace to shatter Nebraska’s junior single-season block mark (60) and challenge the overall single-season mark of 78 set by Danielle Page in 2007-08.
In addition to her shot-blocking success, Redmon is averaging 6.0 points and 6.1 rebounds per game, including a 10-point, eight-rebound and career-high matching seven-block effort in 18 minutes off the bench in a win over Albany on Dec. 30. She also had eight points, eight rebounds and four blocks in a win over Northern Illinois on Dec. 13. She dropped in a career-high 14 points and grabbed 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 26 offensive rebounds through NU’s first 13 games.
Redmon is one of several Huskers with outstanding 40-minute production averages. Through 13 games, she is averaging 13.2 points, 13.4 rebounds and 5.8 blocks per 40 minutes.
Freshman Moore Helps Huskers to 13-0 Mark as Starter
Lindsey Moore has helped the Huskers to a 13-0 record as Nebraska’s starting point guard in her first 13 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 had 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 10 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. She added nine points and seven assists, while committing just one turnover in NU’s run past No. 5 LSU on Dec. 20.
Moore is coming off an eight-point, two-assist performance at Vermont that included a career-best two three-pointers to help the Huskers to a 44-point win over the RPI No. 14 Catamounts.
A 2009 Parade All-American and the Washington High School Player of the Year last season, Moore leads the Huskers with 4.0 assists per game, which is tied for eighth in the Big 12, while adding 4.7 points, 1.5 rebounds and 1.1 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.
NU Crushes Catamounts to Cap Perfect Non-Conference Season
Kelsey Griffin produced another monster performance with her fifth double-double of the season, scoring 25 points and grabbing a career-high 16 rebounds to lead No. 12 Nebraska to a 94-50 win at Vermont on Monday night.
Griffin hit 10-of-16 shots from the field, including all five of her free throw attempts, while producing the highest rebounding total by a Husker in six seasons. She nearly notched her 25th career double-double in the first half alone, leading the Huskers with 17 points and nine rebounds at intermission. Griffin hit 8-of-12 shots from the field in the opening half to power Nebraska to a 42-29 halftime lead.
The Huskers, who finished off the first perfect non-conference season in school history by improving to 13-0, closed the first half on a 10-2 surge then put the Catamounts (11-3) away by opening the second half with a 16-2 eruption in the first five minutes to push the lead to 60-33.
In addition to Griffin’s career-high rebounds, fellow senior Kala Kuhlmann tied her career-best with 13 points on a perfect shooting night. Kuhlmann hit 5-of-5 shots from the field including a career-best three three-pointers. Eight of Kuhlmann’s points came in Nebraska’s decisive runs in the first and second half.
Yvonne Turner added a strong effort with 11 points and five assists, while Cory Montgomery gave Nebraska four players in double figures with 10 points and four rebounds. Dominique Kelley added nine points and three assists, while freshman point guard Lindsey Moore added eight points, including a pair of first-half three-pointers.
Eleven Huskers found the scoring column, as Nebraska produced the most points all season against the Catamounts, surpassing the 84 points scored by defending national champion and current No. 1 UConn in an 84-42 win in Storrs, Conn., on Dec. 3. Vermont entered the game ranked 14th nationally in the RPI. It was Nebraska’s 12th double-digit win of the year, including the eighth by 20 or more points, and fifth by 39 or more.
As a team, Nebraska hit 58.9 percent (33-56) of its shots from the field, including 8-of-18 three-pointers. NU also hit 20-of-25 free throws, while dominating the glass, 47-25. NU committed just 12 turnovers against the Catamounts. The Huskers also held Vermont to just 28.1 percent (18-64) shooting from the field, including just 3-of-14 success from three-point range. UVM did hit 11-of-15 free throws and committed just eight turnovers.
Kendra Seto led Vermont with 18 points, while May Kotsopoulos added 16 points and Courtnay Pilypaitis pitched in eight points, seven rebounds, three assists and three steals.
Nebraska hit 56.3 percent (18-32) of its shots from the floor in the half, including 4-of-11 threes, while knocking down 2-of-3 free throws. NU outrebounded Vermont, 21-13, and committed just five first-half turnovers.
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 (797) and No. 3 active scorer (1,597 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. She also earned a spot on the Naismith Trophy Preseason Watch List.
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 ninth on Nebraska’s all-time scoring list with 1,597 points, fifth on NU’s career rebounding list with 797 and ninth on the Husker career block chart with 74.
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 184 career steals, including 18 in 13 games this season, Turner is approaching Nebraska’s all-time top 10 on that list, needing four 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. The Huskers are in an even better position in terms of schedule strength heading into the 2010 Big 12 season, as NU’s non-conference strength of schedule was an all-time best No. 25 at the end of league play. The Huskers entered league play with the No. 4 RPI in the country, the best-ever in January in school history.
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’s schedule features 15 regular-season games against 2009 postseason qualifiers, including 10 games against 2009 NCAA Tournament teams.
The highlight of Nebraska’s non-conference schedule came with a 77-63 win over No. 5 LSU at the Devaney Center on Dec. 20. A Nebraska home non-conference record crowd of 7,717 saw the Huskers roll past the previously unbeaten Tigers, who were the preseason pick to win the SEC. LSU has advanced to five of the past six NCAA Final Fours.
Nebraska powered past preseason Missouri Valley Conference favorite Creighton, 69-56, on Dec. 9 at the Devaney Center, and dominated 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, and entered the game with NU as the No. 14 RPI team in the nation.
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.
In non-conference action in 2009-10, the Big 12 flexed its muscles again as the No. 1 RPI conference in the country. Big 12 teams entered the first weekend of conference action with a combined 133-28 overall record that was good for 0.612 RPI, well ahead of No. 2 Big Ten (.6058). The Big East ranked as the third-best league (.5980), while the ACC was fourth (.5976) and the SEC was fifth (.5867).
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 have drastically new looks in their lineups in 2009-10, the Huskers have been bolstered by the return of Kelsey Griffin to its starting five. Griffin has started 106 games in her NU career. Nebraska also features junior guard Dominique Kelley, who has started 77 straight games to open her career, while senior forward Cory Montgomery made her 45th straight start against Vermont and her 48th career start.
Yvonne Turner started her 74th career game at Vermont after coming off the bench the first three games this season. Freshman point guard Lindsey Moore has started the first 13 games of her NU career, and gives the Huskers a starting five with 318 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 is flying up Nebraska’s career blocked shot chart as a junior. With a career-high matching seven blocks against Albany on Dec. 30, the 6-3 native of Grand Prairie, Texas, moved into fourth on Nebraska’s career block list. She added a pair of blocks at Vermont on Jan. 4 to increase her career total to 110.
Redmon needs just 16 more blocks to catch Charlie Rogers (126) in third on the Husker chart. Danielle Page (207) and Janet Smith (238) are the only two Huskers in history with more than 200 career blocks.
Redmon is off to a great start in the blocked shot department in 2009-10, with 34 rejections in 236 minutes through the first 13 games. Last season, Redmon did not record her 34th block until the 21st game, when she had four blocks against Baylor to push her season total to 37 on Feb. 4.
Redmon’s 34 blocks this year are already tied with Maurtice Ivy (1986-87) for the fourth-best total by a junior in NU history, and she needs just three more to catch Casey Leonhardt (37, 1999-2000).
Last season, 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’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.
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 Sunday, 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 343-118 (.744) 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 79-22 (.782) at the Devaney Center. The Huskers own 12 straight home wins dating back to a loss to then-No. 8 Baylor last season.
2009-10 Fastbreaker Backboard Banquet Schedule
The Fastbreakers will host their final Backboard Banquet of 2009-10 on Saturday, Feb. 20, at 11 a.m., before Nebraska’s home battle with Colorado. Premier Catering will serve the meal. For more information, please visit the new booster club website at NUFastbreakers.com. or call Connie Renken at 450-1785.
Backboard Banquet Schedule - Dinner
- Saturday, Feb. 20 (Colorado) - 11 a.m.
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).