The No. 11 Nebraska women’s basketball team opens Big 12 Conference home action on Tuesday night by playing host to No. 19 Texas in Lincoln.
Tip-off between the Huskers (14-0, 1-0) and Longhorns (11-4, 0-1) at the Bob Devaney Sports Center is set for 7:05 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 extended its school-record winning streak to 14 games while opening Big 12 action with a rare road win against Iowa State at Hilton Coliseum in Ames. The Huskers battled their way to a 57-49 win to snap Iowa State’s 11-game overall winning streak and 12-game home winning streak entering the contest. ISU was also ranked No. 23 in the Jan. 5 USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll.
Yvonne Turner led four Huskers in double figures with 14 points and seven rebounds, while All-America candidate Kelsey Griffin added her sixth double-double of the year and 26th of her career with 13 points and a game-high 11 boards. Cory Montgomery pitched in 10 points and eight boards, while Dominique Kelley added 11 points and five rebounds to help the Huskers become the first team this season to outrebound the Cyclones.
The Huskers, who will be gunning for their 13th straight home win at the Devaney Center, claimed their highest national ranking in school history on Monday afternoon, when they moved up one spot to No. 11 in the Associated Press Top 25. Texas slipped four spots from No. 15 to No. 19 after a 91-70 home loss to No. 10 Texas A&M in Austin.
Although the Longhorns come to Lincoln with an 11-4 record, three of their losses have come at the hands of top-10 teams, including No. 1 UConn, No. 4 Tennessee and the No. 10 Aggies. UT also suffered a seven-point loss to USC. Texas is one of only three teams to play defending national champion UConn within 25 points this season, joining Stanford (-12) and Florida State (-19). UT lost 83-58 to the No. 1 Huskies.
The Longhorns own a 13-5 edge in the all-time series with Nebraska, but the Huskers were victorious in the last meeting at the Devaney Center, notching a 56-45 win on Jan. 9, 2008.
#11 Nebraska Cornhuskers (14-0, 1-0) Probable Starters
23 - Kelsey Griffin - 6-2 - Sr. - F - 18.7 ppg, 10.2 rpg
40 - Cory Montgomery - 6-2 - Sr. - F - 12.6 ppg, 5.3 rpg
00 - Lindsey Moore - 5-9 - Fr. - G - 4.6 ppg, 1.5 rpg
22 - Yvonne Turner - 5-8 - Sr. - G - 10.3 ppg, 3.9 rpg
24 - Dominique Kelley - 5-7 - Jr. - G - 11.6 ppg, 4.1 rpg
The Next Wave
44 - Catheryn Redmon - 6-3 - Jr. - C - 5.6 ppg, 5.6 rpg
13 - Kala Kuhlmann - 5-8 - Sr. - G - 4.9 ppg, 1.8 rpg
11 - Nicole Neals - 5-6 - Sr. - G - 3.9 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 (135-97); 20th Season Overall (330-237)
#19 Texas Longhorns (11-4, 0-1) Probable Starters
5 - Kathleen Nash - 6-2 - Jr. - F - 13.5 ppg, 7.2 rpg
32 - Kristen Nash - 6-3 - Sr. - F - 4.3 ppg, 4.5 rpg
4 - Erika Arriaran - 5-10 - Sr. - G - 8.7 ppg, 2.6 rpg
10 - Brittainey Raven - 6-0 - Sr. - G - 14.8 ppg, 4.9 rpg
33 - Ashleigh Fontenette - 5-8 - So. - G - 9.1 ppg, 3.3 rpg
Off the Bench
00 - Earnesia Williams - 6-1 - Sr. - F - 5.7 ppg, 3.4 rpg
12 - Yvonne Anderson - 5-7 - So. - G - 4.9 ppg, 1.9 rpg
13 - Lauren Flores - 5-7 - Fr. - G - 2.9 ppg, 0.9 rpg
22 - Ashley Gayle - 6-4 - So. - P - 7.0 ppg, 7.4 rpg
45 - Cokie Reed - 6-4 - Fr. - P - 7.0 ppg, 4.7 rpg
Head Coach: Gail Goestenkors (Saginaw Valley State, 1979)
3rd Season at UT (54-29); 18th Season Overall (450-128)
Huskers Continue to Rewrite History
At 14-0, 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, a 94-50 run past RPI No. 19 Vermont on the road on Jan. 4, and an eight-point road win at Iowa State on Jan. 9
Not only have the Huskers been winning, they have been doing it in impressive fashion, with 12 of their 14 victories by double digits, including eight wins by 20 or more points and five wins by 39 or more. NU’s lone single-digit wins came with a 76-71 victory at 13-2 Miami on Dec. 5, and an eight-point win at 12-2 Iowa State.
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 14 opponents by double-digits 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 into the Texas game 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. UConn faces the Fighting Irish in Storrs, Conn., on Saturday, Jan. 16.
Huskers Claim Highest AP Ranking in School History
Nebraska achieved its highest ranking in school history when the Huskers climbed to No. 11 in the Associated Press Top 25 on Monday, Jan. 11.
Nebraska is one of six 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.
Texas A&M is ranked No. 8 in this week’s poll, while Baylor is No. 9. Oklahoma is ranked 13th, while Oklahoma State jumped to 15th after beating Baylor. Texas rounds out the Big 12 contingent at No. 19, as Kansas fell out of the top 25 after losing to Kansas State on Saturday.
The Huskers opened Big 12 Conference play at Iowa State on Saturday, Jan. 9, and the Cyclones were ranked No. 23 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll at game time. Eight Big 12 teams have been ranked this season.
Scouting the No. 19 Texas Longhorns
Texas comes to Lincoln ranked in the top 20 with an 11-4 overall record and an 0-1 Big 12 mark after suffering a 91-70 home loss to No. 10 Texas A&M on Saturday in Austin.
Although the Longhorns carry four losses to Lincoln, three have come to top-10 teams, including an 83-58 setback to No. 1 Connecticut, and a 78-58 loss at No. 4 Tennessee. UT also took a 61-54 loss to USC on a neutral court.
Senior guard Brittainey Raven has led UT statistically, averaging 14.8 points and 4.9 rebounds per game, despite starting just five games.
The Texas probable starting five features a trio of seniors, including Raven, Erika Arriaran (8.7 ppg, 2.6 rpg) and Kristen Nash (4.3 ppg, 4.5 rpg), while junior guard Kathleen Nash (13.5 ppg, 7.2 rpg) adds more experience to the Longhorn lineup. Last season, Kathleen Nash had 20 points and six rebounds to help shoot Texas to a victory over the Huskers in Austin.
Sophomore guard Ashleigh Fontenette has added 12 starts for the Longhorns, including a start against the Aggies. She has contributed 9.1 points and 3.3 rebounds per game, while leading UT with 3.3 assists per game. Fontenette scored a career-high 21 points on 9-of-13 shooting with three assists and two steals off the bench last year in UT’s 74-60 victory over the Huskers at the Erwin Center on Jan. 14.
During a second-half stretch, Fontenette scored 11 straight points to help the Longhorns overcome a 33-23 first-half deficit to the Huskers.
Although Texas has only 10 players on its roster, each has averaged double-figure minutes and played in all 15 games, while eight have earned at least two starts. Coach Gail Goestenkors has used them in a variety of combinations early in the season.
Sophomore guard Yvonne Anderson, the daughter of Missouri men’s basketball head coach Mike Anderson, has started two games and is averaging 4.9 points and 1.9 rebounds per game. Sophomore Ashley Gayle, a 6-4 post from Las Vegas, Nev., has added 7.0 points and team-leading averages of 7.4 rebounds and 3.3 blocks. Cokie Reed, a 6-4 freshman post from Waco, Texas, has added 7.0 points and 4.7 boards per game.
Senior forward Earnesia Williams has pitched in 5.7 points and 3.4 boards, while freshman guard Lauren Flores rounds out the UT roster with 2.9 points and 0.9 boards per contest.
UT is averaging 77.8 points per game, while surrendering 64.6 points per contest and a plus-6.5 team rebound margin. UT also carries a plus-1.4 team turnover margin. Texas is shooting 43.3 percent from the field, but has connected on a sizzling 37 percent from three-point range. UT has also managed 67.9 percent shooting from the free throw line.
Texas leads the all-time series with Nebraska, 13-5, but the Huskers have won two of the past three contests. In the last meeting at the Devaney Center, NU worked its way to a 56-45 victory over UT on Jan. 9, 2008, a season after posting its first-ever win at Texas with a 79-75 win at the Erwin Center on Jan. 3, 2007. Those wins marked the first back-to-back wins in school history against the Longhorns.
Texas fought back to post a 74-60 win over the Huskers on Jan. 14, 2009, in Austin. Texas owns a 5-3 all-time record at the Devaney Center, a 2-1 edge on neutral courts, and an 8-1 advantage at the Erwin Center.
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. 19) are the top RPI team the Huskers have faced so far this season. The Huskers own six wins over top-100 RPI teams (at No. 19 Vermont, No. 28 LSU, No. 32 Creighton, at No. 48 Miami, at No. 53 Iowa State, vs. No. 81 UALR), including three wins away from the Devaney Center.
Not only was every Big 12 team ranked in the RPI top 100 by CollegeRPI.com on Jan. 11, the dominant dozen were all ranked in the top 90, with 11 in the top 76.
The Huskers, who have played a top-25 strength of schedule in each of the past two seasons, head into the Texas game with the No. 19 schedule strength in the Jan. 11 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.
Ten of Nebraska’s first 14 opponents own .500 or better records as of Jan. 11, while Idaho State (8-9), UNLV (7-9) and Northern Illinois (6-8) are hovering near .500. Every Husker opponent has won at least five games this season. Nebraska’s opponents own a combined 128-67 record (excluding 14 losses to Nebraska), and every Husker foe is in the top 235 in the RPI 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 26.4 points per game through the first 14 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 79.1 points per game (1,107 total points) on the offensive end, which trails only the 1987-88 Huskers who averaged 85.7 points per game (1,200 total points) to produce the best offensive start by an NU squad through 14 games in Nebraska history.
If the season ended today, Nebraska’s 79.1 points per game would rank as the fourth-best scoring average in school history. Last season, Nebraska averaged just 62.2 points per game, including 59.7 in Big 12 play.
Huskers Dig Defense
NU is surrendering just 52.7 points per game through the first 14 contests, which is the lowest opponent scoring average through the first 14 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 52.6 points through the first 14 games (736 total points), which came against almost an entirely non-Division I schedule. The only contests against a Division I foe in the first 14 games came against Creighton, Kansas and Kansas State. 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 also earned a win at USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll No. 23 Iowa State on Jan. 9, 2009.
NU Showing North Division Dominance over Last Five Years
During the past five seasons (including 2009-10), Nebraska leads the North Division with a 27-14 regular-season record against the other five Big 12 North foes. Kansas State is 26-15, while Iowa State is 25-16 in that span.
The Huskers opened North Division play with a 57-49 road win at Iowa State on Jan. 9, while Kansas State posted a win over Kansas in Manhattan. NU, KSU and Colorado are 1-0 in North Division play in 2009-10, while ISU, KU and Missouri are 0-1.
Despite suffering multiple season-ending injuries to key contributors in 2008-09, Nebraska 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.
Griffin Becomes Third Husker with 1,600 Points, 800 Boards
Kelsey Griffin cemented her place among the best players in Nebraska women’s basketball history with her 26th career double-double and sixth of the season with 13 points and 11 rebounds in NU’s win at Iowa State on Jan. 9.
The 6-2 senior forward from Eagle River, Alaska, also pushed her career totals to 1,610 points and 808 rebounds, becoming just the third player in Husker history with 1,600 points and 800 boards in a career.
Griffin joined 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 passed DeForge on NU’s career rebounding list, taking over the No. 4 spot. Griffin needs 66 more rebounds to catch Kathy Hagerstrom (874, 1980-83) at No. 3 on the Husker career rebounding chart.
Montgomery One of 16 Huskers 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.
With 10 points at Iowa State, Montgomery climbed to No. 15 on Nebraska’s career scoring list with 1,123 points. She added eight rebounds at ISU to increase her career total to 531. She needs just 43 rebounds to join the top 15 players in school history in that category as well.
The 6-2 forward from Cannon Falls, Minn., heads into the Texas game needing 80 points to catch Jan Crouch (1,183, 1976-79) in 14th on NU’s all-time scoring list. She ranks 19th on NU’s all-time rebound list and needs eight more to catch former teammate Chelsea Aubry (2004-07) in 18th with 539.
Nebraska Forcing Fresh Look at Levels of Production
Basketball fans are accustomed to charting individual statistics by game, but the depth, experience and style of play of the Huskers this season may cause some folks to take a fresh look at the numbers.
For example, no Husker is averaging 26 minutes per game through the first 14 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 Texas game ranked fifth in the Big 12 with 18.7 points per game, while leading the league with 10.2 rebounds per game. Those numbers become significantly more impressive considering she has played just 24.9 minutes per game.
Taken over 40 minutes, Griffin would be averaging 30.0 points, 16.4 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 3.0 steals per game. In addition to her team-leading 26 steals this season, Griffin has added seven blocked shots and drawn a team-leading nine charges in 14 games for the Huskers. She is also shooting 62.4 percent from the field, which ranks sixth nationally and second in the Big 12.
Compare that production to current Big 12 scoring leader Andrea Riley, who enters Tuesday’s game with Kansas averaging 23.6 points, 3.8 rebounds, 8.0 assists and 2.7 steals per game. Through 14 games, Riley is averaging 36.1 minutes per game, and her 40-minute production is 27.4 points, 4.0 rebounds, 8.6 assists and 2.9 steals.
With 262 points and 143 rebounds in 349 minutes, Griffin is averaging 0.75 points per minute and 0.41 rebounds per minute. Riley averages an impressive 0.68 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 - 30.0 points, 16.4 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 3.0 steals
- Harleen Sidhu - 21.5 points, 14.3 rebounds, 3.1 assists
- Cory Montgomery - 20.0 points, 8.4 rebounds, 1.6 assists
- Dominique Kelley - 20.1 points, 7.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.5 steals
- Yvonne Turner - 16.6 points, 6.2 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 2.1 steals
- Catheryn Redmon - 12.5 points, 12.7 rebounds, 5.5 blocks
- Kala Kuhlmann – 11.2 points, 4.1 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.3 steals
- Layne Reeves - 11.1 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.9 steals
- Nicole Neals - 10.4 points, 2.3 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 1.7 steals
- Lindsey Moore – 7.3 points, 2.4 rebounds, 6.3 assists, 1.6 steals
- Jessica Periago – 7.1 points, 10.5 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 2.5 blocks
Turner Ranks Among Top Three-Point Shooters in NU History
Senior Yvonne Turner has hit 30-of-77 three-point attempts (39 percent) to lead an impressive Husker three-point barrage through the first 14 games.
Turner has increased her career total to 131 made threes, while improving her career numbers to 33 percent (131-397). Turner ranks fourth in Nebraska history in career three-pointers and needs 14 more to catch Kate Galligan (145, 1993-96) in third 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 (131) 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 14 games this season, Nebraska’s focus is paying dividends, as the Huskers carry a plus-9.5 team rebounding margin, which ranks third in the Big 12. Nebraska has outrebounded 12 of its first 14 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.
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 has outboarded all three of its post-holiday foes this year, including a plus-three margin at Iowa State. The Huskers were the first team to outrebound the Cyclones this season, as ISU owns a plus-12 margin on the year.
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 eight double-digit rebound efforts.
Huskers Firing Off to Fast First-Half Starts
Nebraska’s high-powered offense is averaging 39.5 points per game in the first half, including a school-record tying 59 first-half points against Washington State at the Devaney Center on Nov. 22. 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 24.8 points per first half, as the Huskers have headed to the locker room with an average lead of 14.7 points (39.5-24.8) and have allowed only two foes to score 30 first-half points (Miami, 36, LSU, 34).
Creighton and Vermont managed 29, while Iowa State put up 27, including a last-second three-pointer, 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 14 contests, as the Huskers have averaged 39.6 points after halftime, while the opposition has managed 27.9 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 123 minutes while the deep Husker bench has seen an average of 77 minutes per game of playing time.
Nebraska Knocking Down Triples at Record Pace
As a team, NU is tied with Texas for fifth in the Big 12 with 7.0 threes per game, well ahead of school-record pace, which was set last season with 5.5 threes per game. Nebraska knocked down eight triples in the opener against Davidson, before hitting nine on the road at UNLV and 10 against Idaho State.
Nebraska hit 11-of-23 three-pointers against Washington State, which was just one shy of the school record of 12 set in last year’s season opener against Weber State. UALR held Nebraska to just 3-for-11 from three-point range, and NU connected on just 6-of-25 threes at Saint Mary’s, before coming back home to hit 8-of-22 three-pointers in a win over South Dakota. The Huskers knocked down 9-of-23 threes in a road win over previously unbeaten Miami on Dec. 5, 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, before connecting on 6-of-26 threes in a win at Iowa State on Jan. 9.
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 18.7 points and 10.2 rebounds in just 24.9 minutes per game in powering the Huskers to a school-record 14-0 start. Griffin has had six of the best efforts of her career through the first 14 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 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.
She opened Big 12 play with her sixth double-double of the season with 13 points and 11 rebounds at Iowa State on Jan. 9.
Taken over 40 minutes, Griffin would be averaging 30.0 points, 16.4 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 3.0 steals per game. She has averaged 0.75 points and 0.41 rebounds per minute.
In addition to her team-leading 25 steals this season, Griffin has added seven blocked shots and drawn a team-leading nine charges in 14 games for the Huskers. She is also shooting 62.4 percent from the field, which ranks second in the Big 12 and sixth 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 the Texas game averaging 12.6 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. She is also hitting 45.2 percent (14-331) of her three-point attempts and 78.8 percent (26-32) of her free throws.
The 6-2 forward from Cannon Falls, Minn., opened Big 12 play with 10 points and eight rebounds in a win at Iowa State on Jan. 9. She 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 12 of NU’s 14 games, including 13 or more points in seven of NU’s last 10 contests. She also pulled down a season-best 10 boards against Idaho State.
Kelley Cranks Up Production As a Junior
Junior guard Dominique Kelley has put up big numbers in Nebraska’s first 14 games by averaging 11.6 points and 4.1 rebounds in just 23.1 minutes per game. The 5-7 hometown favorite out of Lincoln Northeast High School has produced double figures 10 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.
In the Big 12 opener at Iowa State, Kelley scored nine of her 11 points in the second half, including six straight after NU fell behind 33-29 early in the second half. Her clutch performance helped spark NU to just its second win in the last 13 seasons in Ames.
Kelley, who owns 10 double-figure scoring efforts this season, is shooting 46.0 percent (46-100) from the field and 33.3 percent (8-24) from three-point range, while connecting on 80.5 percent (62-77) of her free throws.
Taken over 40 minutes, Kelley is averaging 20.1 points, 7.2 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.5 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 14 games.
Each of NU’s most experienced players have averaged double figures in points and have combined to hit 51.8 percent (261-504) of their shots from the field, including 57-of-143 (39.9 percent) of their three-point attempts.
Griffin ranks sixth nationally (.624) as an individual and Montgomery would rank 24th but is just under the NCAA minimum of 5.0 made field goals per game. Montgomery is averaging 4.9 made field goals per contest.
As a team, the Huskers rank sixth nationally with their .476 field goal percentage. Nebraska is third in the Big 12 in that category, trailing No. 2 Baylor (.520) and No. 3 Texas A&M. Iowa State is 11th, Oklahoma is 14th and Kansas is 16th.
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 14 games. With 2.4 blocks per game, Redmon ranks 20th nationally in the most recent NCAA Division I statistical rankings (Jan. 11).
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 14 games in 2009-10, Redmon is averaging 2.4 blocks in just 17.8 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 14 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 5.6 points and 5.6 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 14 games.
Redmon is one of several Huskers with outstanding 40-minute production averages. Through 14 games, she is averaging 12.5 points, 12.7 rebounds and 5.5 blocks per 40 minutes.
Freshman Moore Helps Huskers to 14-0 Mark as Starter
Lindsey Moore has helped the Huskers to a 14-0 record as Nebraska’s starting point guard in her first 14 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 closed non-conference play with 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 3.9 assists per game, which is tied for eighth in the Big 12, while adding 4.6 points, 1.5 rebounds and 1.0 steal per game. She also leads Nebraska in minutes played.
Moore produced the first double-figure scoring effort of her career with 10 points, four assists, three rebounds, a steal and her first career block in NU’s win over Washington State on Nov. 22.
Huskers Open Big 12 Play with Road Win at Iowa State
Senior Yvonne Turner led four Huskers in double figures with 14 points and seven rebounds to help fuel No. 12 Nebraska’s 57-49 win over No. 23 Iowa State at Hilton Coliseum on Saturday night.
Kelsey Griffin produced her sixth double-double of the year with 13 points and a game-high 11 rebounds, while junior guard Dominique Kelley contributed 11 points, including nine in the second half, to go along with five boards and two assists. Cory Montgomery pitched in 10 points and eight boards, as Nebraska won for just the second time in the last three years at Hilton Coliseum. NU also snapped ISU’s 11-game overall winning streak and 12-game home winning streak.
Nebraska trailed 33-29 early in the second half after Iowa State opened on a 6-0 run. But Kelley got Nebraska started by scoring four straight points to tie the game at 33 with 14:20 left. Alison Lacey, who led Iowa State with a game-high 23 points, then buried a three-pointer to give ISU a 36-33 lead with 13:59 left.
Kelley scored again for NU, and then the Husker defense took over. After a Lacey free throw pushed the ISU edge to 39-37 with 11:55 left, Nebraska got five straight points from Griffin to take a 40-37 lead with 9:35 to play. Kelley then nailed the Huskers’ lone three-pointer of the second half to push the NU edge to 43-37 with 7:48 to play.
After a Jessica Schroll bucket following an ISU timeout snapped a four-minute scoreless drought, Turner answered with a strong running one-hander from the right side with 7:03 to play. The two teams then played more than three-and-a-half minutes without scoring, before Turner scored again to push NU’s margin to 47-39.
ISU burned another timeout to try and draw up a play to end the ISU drought, but the Cyclones misfired and Griffin was fouled. She stepped to the line and hit both to give NU its biggest lead of the night at 49-39 with 2:58 to play.
Lacey finally got past a Nebraska defense that had allowed just one field goal in an 11:30 span. Her back-to-back baskets, including a three-point play with 1:52 left, trimmed NU’s lead to 49-44, but Nebraska knocked down 10-of-12 free throws down the stretch to seal the victory, after opening the game just 3-for-9 from the stripe.
The Huskers beat the Cyclones despite hitting just 7-of-31 shots from the field, after opening the game 12-for-20, including 5-for-12 from three-point range. NU went just 1-for-14 from long range in the second half. Nebraska survived by committing just three second-half turnovers, and outrebounded ISU, 38-35 on the night.
The Huskers led 29-27 at the half thanks to nine first-half points from Montgomery and eight from Turner. NU hit 50 percent (12-24) of its first-half shots, while Iowa State hit 40 percent (12-30) of its shots and just 1-of-5 three-pointers. ISU, one of the nation’s top three-point shooting teams, did not hit a three until Denae Stuckey rattled in a triple from the right wing with five seconds left in the half.
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 (808) and No. 3 active scorer (1,610 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 1,610 points, fourth on NU’s career rebounding list with 808 and ninth on the Husker career block chart with 75.
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 14 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 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.
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 in 2009-10, as NU’s schedule strength ranked No. 19 on Jan. 11 after knocking off Iowa State in Ames. The Huskers head into the Texas game as the No. 4 RPI team 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 NU’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.
In Big 12 play, Nebraska will face 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. 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 107 games in her NU career. Nebraska also features junior guard Dominique Kelley, who has started 78 straight games to open her career, while senior forward Cory Montgomery made her 46th straight start against Iowa State and her 49th career start.
Yvonne Turner started her 75th career game at Iowa State after coming off the bench the first three games this season. Freshman point guard Lindsey Moore has started the first 14 games of her NU career, and gives the Huskers a starting five with 323 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 249 minutes through the first 14 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
With Big 12 play heating up in January, Nebraska will soon 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).