Huskers Shoot for Upset at No. 9 Baylor
#11/9 Nebraska Cornhuskers (15-0, 2-0 Big 12)
at #9/9 Baylor Lady Bears (14-2, 1-1 Big 12)
Ferrell Center (10,284) • Waco, Texas • Sunday, Jan. 17 • 2:30 p.m.
National Television: Fox Sports Net (FSN)
Radio: Husker Sports Network
(98.1 FM-KFGE-Lincoln, 93.3 FM-KTWI Omaha, 880 AM-KRVN Lexington)
Live Internet Audio: Huskers.com (Free)
The No. 11 Nebraska women’s basketball team puts its school-record 15-game winning streak on the line in possibly its toughest test this season, when the Huskers head to Waco, Texas to tangle with No. 9 Baylor Sunday.
Tip-off between the Huskers (15-0, 2-0) and Lady Bears (14-2, 1-1) at the Ferrell Center is set for 2:30 p.m. with live national television coverage on Fox Sports Net. Andrew Monaco and Dan Hughes will have the call on FSN in the first of seven consecutive television appearances for the Huskers in January and February. Live radio coverage will also be available on the Husker Sports Network on Froggy 98.1 KFGE in Lincoln, Twister 93.3 KTWI in Omaha and 880 KRVN in Lexington. Matt Coatney and Jeff Griesch will have the call free world-wide on Huskers.com.
Nebraska, which carries its highest rankings in school history to Waco, including its first-ever top-10 ranking with a No. 9 ranking in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll on Tuesday, Jan. 12, will face its third consecutive ranked foe in the coaches poll. The Huskers opened conference play with a 57-49 win at then-No. 23 Iowa State on Saturday, Jan. 9, before running past No. 22 Texas, 91-79, at the Devaney Center in Lincoln on Tuesday. The Longhorns were ranked 19th in the AP poll.
The Lady Bears will represent the Huskers’ second top-10 foe of the season, joining Nebraska’s 77-63 win over then-AP No. 5 LSU at the Devaney Center on Dec. 20. The win over the Tigers marked the fourth top-10 win for the Huskers in school history. One of Nebraska’s four top-10 wins came against a No. 2 Baylor squad in a 103-99 triple-overtime game on Jan. 12, 2005 in Lincoln. Baylor went on to win the national title that season.
After winning a defensive slugfest against Iowa State last Saturday, the Huskers won an offensive shootout against Texas Tuesday. All-America candidate Kelsey Griffin led the Huskers with 26 points and 10 rebounds for her seventh double-double of the year. It was also her seventh game of the year with 25 or more points.
Fellow senior Yvonne Turner added a season-high 21 points, including five three-pointers, while senior forward Cory Montgomery matched her season high with 16 points. Junior guard Dominique Kelley also matched her season best with 18 points, as the Huskers scored 80 or more points for the seventh time this season. Last year, Nebraska managed 80 points on just two occasions.
#11/#9 Nebraska Cornhuskers (15-0, 2-0) 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, 5.2 rpg
00 - Lindsey Moore - 5-9 - Fr. - G - 4.8 ppg, 1.5 rpg
22 - Yvonne Turner - 5-8 - Sr. - G - 11.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg
24 - Dominique Kelley - 5-7 - Jr. - G - 12.0 ppg, 4.3 rpg
The Next Wave
44 - Catheryn Redmon - 6-3 - Jr. - C - 5.2 ppg, 5.5 rpg
13 - Kala Kuhlmann - 5-8 - Sr. - G - 4.5 ppg, 1.7 rpg
11 - Nicole Neals - 5-6 - Sr. - G - 3.8 ppg, 0.9 rpg
21 - Harleen Sidhu - 6-1 - So. - F - 3.0 ppg, 2.0 rpg
12 - Layne Reeves - 5-11 - RFr. - G - 2.2 ppg, 1.3 rpg
35 - Jessica Periago - 6-4 - Jr. - C - 1.8 ppg, 2.6 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 (136-97); 20th Season Overall (331-237)
#9/#9 Baylor Lady Bears (14-2, 1-1) Probable Starters
15 - Shanay Washington 6-1 Fr. G 7.4 2.7
20 - Terran Condrey 5-7 So. G 2.8 1.9
21 - Kelli Griffin 5-8 Jr. G 7.1 4.6
42 - Brittany Griner 6-8 Fr. C 18.9 9.1
55 - Morghan Medlock 6-1 Sr. F 11.6 7.9
Off the Bench
5 - Melissa Jones - 5-10 - Jr. - G - 11.6 ppg, 6.6 rpg
24 - Ashley Field - 6-2 - So. - C - 8.3 ppg, 3.6 rpg
3 - Jordan Madden - 6-0 - Fr. - G - 6.2 ppg, 2.3 rpg
1 - Kimetria Hayden - 5-11 - Fr. - G - 4.6 ppg, 1.8 rpg
44 - Mariah Chandler - 6-2 - Fr. - F - 4.0 ppg, 2.8 rpg
4 - Whitney Zachariason - 6-2 - Jr. - F - 2.1 ppg, 1.7 rpg
25 - Lindsay Palmer - 5-10 - So. - G - 1.2 ppg, 1.7 rpg
Head Coach: Kim Mulkey (Louisiana Tech, 1984)
10th Season at BU (251-68); 10th Season Overall (251-68)
Huskers Continue to Rewrite History
At 15-0, 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. 14 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 12-3 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 15 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 One of Last Three Unbeatens Standing
Nebraska heads into the weekend as one of just four unbeaten teams left among the 345 NCAA Division I women’s basketball teams, joining Connecticut, Notre Dame, and UW-Green Bay. UConn faces the Fighting Irish in Storrs, Conn., on Saturday, Jan. 16. Georgia surrendered its undefeated status with a 66-44 loss to Vanderbilt Thursday.
Huskers Claim Highest Rankings 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, then earned its first-ever top-10 ranking in either poll by tying Baylor for No. 9 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll on Tuesday, Jan. 12.
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 last 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.
Griffin Earns Spot on Wooden Award Midseason List
Nebraska’s Kelsey Griffin earned a spot as one of the top 21 candidates for the Women’s Wooden Award, presented to the nation’s top player, when the award’s midseason list was announced on Wednesday.
Griffin, a 6-2 senior forward from Eagle River, Alaska, leads the Huskers with 19.2 points and 10.2 rebounds while shooting 63.1 percent from the field this season. The two-time first-team All-Big 12 selection has powered Nebraska to the school’s first-ever top-10 ranking and a school-record 15-game winning streak to open the season.
Griffin ranks third in the Big 12 Conference in scoring and leads the league in rebounding, while ranking among the top 10 players nationally in field goal percentage. She has produced seven double-doubles this season and 27 in her career, while putting up 25 or more points on seven occasions this season, including a pair of 30-point efforts. She also owns nine double-figure rebounding performances in 2009-10.
"It is great to be mentioned among the top players in the nation," Griffin said. "What it really shows though is how hard my teammates and coaches have worked to help me become a better player during my time at Nebraska. Our team is having a great season so far, and we are going to keep working hard everyday in practice to make sure that continues."
Griffin recently became just the third player in Nebraska history to produce 1,600 points and 800 career rebounds. She enters Sunday’s FSN nationally televised game at No. 9 Baylor with 1,636 points and 818 rebounds. She also set Nebraska’s career record for free throws made (444) on Tuesday in the Huskers’ 91-79 victory over No. 19 Texas. She ranks among the top 10 players in NU history in blocked shots, and leads the Huskers in steals and charges drawn this season.
Earlier this season, Griffin was one of 50 players named to the Naismith Trophy Watch List. She is the No. 1 active career rebounder in the Big 12 and the No. 3 active career scorer in the league.
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.
Scouting the No. 9 Baylor Lady Bears
No. 9 Baylor heads into Sunday’s game with a 14-2 overall record and 1-1 Big 12 mark after working its way to a 57-47 win over No. 13 Oklahoma at the Ferrell Center on Wednesday. Freshman phenom Brittney Griner led the Lady Bears with 12 points, nine rebounds and 11 blocked shots in 39 minutes of action. The 6-8 dunking sensation leads BU with 18.9 points, 9.1 rebounds and is approaching the Big 12 single-season block record already with 99 rejections on the year. The 2009 National High School Player of the Year is shooting 54.6 percent from the field and 69.3 percent at the line
Another freshman, 6-1 guard Shanay Washington, added 12 points, five rebounds and three steals against OU, while junior point guard Kelli Griffin added 12 points and five boards of her own. Griffin, who averages 7.1 points, 4.6 rebounds and a team-leading 4.8 assists, provides experience to a young Baylor roster.
Sophomore forward Ashley Field, who is shooting a stellar 68.8 percent from the field while averaging 8.3 points and 3.6 rebounds per game, made her first start of the year against OU in place of senior forward Morgan Medlock. Medlock had started the previous 15 games for the Lady Bears and is averaging 11.6 points and 7.9 rebounds per game, but had just two points in 17 minutes in BU’s Big 12-opening loss at Oklahoma State on Jan. 9.
Terran Condrey, a 5-7 sophomore guard, is also a recent addition to the Baylor starting five, replacing injured junior Melissa Jones. Jones, a 5-10 guard, has also added 11.6 points and 6.6 boards on the year while leading BU with 2.2 steals per game. Jones has been slowed by a stress reaction in her tibia and has not played in Baylor’s first two Big 12 games.
Jordan Madden, a 6-0 freshman guard, has been a steady contributor off the bench, averaging 6.2 points and 2.3 boards, while fellow freshman guard Kimetria Hayden has added 4.6 points and 1.8 boards despite being slowed recently by an injury. Mariah Chandler, a 6-2 freshman guard, has averaged 4.0 points in 12 contests, including nine points and seven rebounds at OSU. She did not play Wednesday against Oklahoma.
Junior post Whitney Zachariason and sophomore guard Lindsay Palmer have also made contributions for BU this season.
The Lady Bears have featured one of the nation’s most explosive offenses, averaging 81.4 points per game, while ranking among the top teams in the country in scoring defense, surrendering just 54.3 points per contest. Led by Griner, Medlock and Jones, BU has owned the glass, posting a plus-14.1 team rebounding margin. Baylor’s youth has hurt them in the turnover department, as the Lady Bears have committed an average of 19.3 turnovers per game with a negative-1.0 turnover margin.
However, Griner’s presence inside and the Bears’ aggressiveness and length on the perimeter have led opponents to dismal shooting percentages. BU is allowing opponents to hit just 31.1 percent of their shots from the field, including an abysmal 23.7 percent from three-point range. Baylor has hit 51.6 percent of its shots, including 35.6 percent from beyond the arc. BU is also solid at the line, hitting 71.1 percent of its attempts.
Baylor leads the all-time series with NU, 9-5, including the last two wins in the series. Last year, Baylor escaped from the Devaney Center with a 76-71 win, a season after running to a 76-56 victory in Waco. Before last season’s loss in Waco, Nebraska had knocked off Baylor in back-to-back trips to Lincoln, 76-67 on Feb. 3, 2007, and 103-99 in triple-overtime on Jan. 12, 2005. Nebraska has not won at the Ferrell Center in Waco since Feb. 19, 2000.
Huskers Running High in Official NCAA RPI
The NCAA released its official RPI rankings on Monday, Jan. 11, and Nebraska was near the top of the chart with a No. 4 national RPI ranking. Only Stanford, Connecticut and Tennessee were ahead of the Huskers in the RPI, while Oklahoma rounded out the top five. Texas A&M was No. 9, while Oklahoma State was No. 15, Texas was No. 22 and Kansas was No. 29. Baylor appeared at No. 46, while Iowa State came in at No. 52.
All 12 of the Big 12 teams were among the top 90, including No. 59 Texas Tech, No. 72 Colorado, No. 76 Missouri and No. 89 Kansas State.
Huskers Get It Done on Court, In Classroom, In Community
Nebraska has not only enjoyed a record-setting run on the court early this season, the Huskers are achieving at high levels in the classroom. During the 2009 fall semester, the women’s basketball team posted a cumulative 3.138 GPA. In addition to the high grade-point averages, seniors Cory Montgomery (business administration) and Nicole Neals (management) earned their bachelor’s degrees from Nebraska in just 3 1/2 years. The two new graduate students received their diplomas at the Devaney Center during commencement exercises on Saturday, Dec. 19. The next day, Montgomery and Neals helped the Huskers roll to a 77-63 win over No. 5 LSU at the Devaney Center.
Nebraska also owns a perfect 100 percent score in the Graduate Success Rate published by the NCAA. The Huskers have also earned two Nebraska Life Skills Team Awards during Coach Connie Yori’s eight seasons in Lincoln, including the inaugural award in 2003-04. Senior Kelsey Griffin has been a leader in Nebraska’s community service efforts throughout her career and is one of 30 candidates for the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award this season.
Nebraska Continues Impressive Schedule Strength
The Big 12 Conference leaves no room for the weak of heart or mind, and Nebraska’s non-conference schedule prepared the Huskers well for the start of the league season. Not only did NU run to its first-ever unbeaten non-conference regular season, the Huskers did it against the strongest non-conference schedule in school history.
When Nebraska’s non-conference season closed, the Huskers’ strength of schedule was ranked No. 25 by CollegeRPI.com. NU, which has played back-to-back top-25 schedules according to CollegeRPI.com, will surely see its schedule strength climb as conference play continues. With wins over RPI No. 21 Texas and RPI No. 56 Iowa State already in league play, the Huskers have climbed to No. 20 in schedule strength.
Through 15 games, Nebraska already owns five victories over top-50 RPI teams, including No. 21 Texas, No. 22 Vermont, No. 26 LSU, No. 38 Creighton and No. 49 Miami, while adding top-100 RPI wins against No. 56 Iowa State, and No. 81 UALR. No Nebraska opponent is ranked among the bottom 110 teams of the 345 NCAA Division I women’s basketball schools in the CollegeRPI.com rankings.
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. 19 Texas on Jan. 12 marked the 14th victory over an AP ranked foe during Yori’s tenure. It was NU’s second top-25 win this season, joining a 14-point win over No. 5 LSU on Dec. 20. 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.
Huskers Producing Massive Margins to Open Season
Nebraska’s average victory margin of 25.4 points per game through the first 15 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 79.9 points per game (1,198 total points) on the offensive end, which trails only the 1987-88 Huskers who averaged 85.5 points per game (1,282 total points) to produce the best offensive start by an NU squad through 15 games in Nebraska history.
If the season ended today, Nebraska’s 79.9 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.
80 Enough to Keep Huskers Unbeaten
With an offense that ranks among the best in school history, Nebraska has hit 80-plus points regularly in 2009-10. Through 15 games, the Huskers have hit 80 or more points on seven occasions, including three times in the past four games.
Last season Nebraska managed 80 points on only two occasions, in the first game (Weber State, 96-47) and last game (Oklahoma State, 82-74) of the regular season.
Three of NU’s seven 80-plus games have crossed the 90-point mark, including a 107-54 win over Washington State (Nov. 22), a 94-50 win at RPI No. 22 Vermont (Jan. 4) and a 91-79 win over RPI No. 21 Texas (Jan. 12).
Huskers Dig Defense
NU is surrendering just 54.5 points per game through the first 15 contests, which is the lowest opponent scoring average through the first 15 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 53.1 points through the first 15 games (797 total points), which came against almost an entirely non-Division I schedule. The only contests against a Division I foe in the first 15 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.
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 27-15, 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 has posted wins over Kansas and Missouri to open league play 2-0 against the North. NU and Colorado are 1-0 in North Division play in 2009-10, while ISU and KU are 0-1 and Missouri is 0-2.
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.
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 15 games.
Each of NU’s most experienced players have averaged double figures in points and have combined to hit 52.0 percent (284-546) of their shots from the field, including 66-of-159 (41.5 percent) of their three-point attempts.
Griffin ranks sixth nationally (.631) 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 .475 field goal percentage. Nebraska is third in the Big 12 in that category, trailing No. 2 Baylor (.516) and No. 3 Texas A&M (.491). Iowa State is 11th (.456), Oklahoma is 14th (.453) and Kansas is 16th (.461).
Griffin Becomes Third Husker with 1,600 Points, 800 Boards
Kelsey Griffin has cemented her place among the best players in Nebraska women’s basketball history by becoming just third player in school history with 1,600 points and 800 rebounds. After posting her 27th career double-double and seventh of the season with 26 points and 10 boards in NU’s win over No. 19 Texas on Jan. 12.
The 6-2 senior forward from Eagle River, Alaska, pushed her career totals to 1,636 points and 818 rebounds, joining 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 has also passed DeForge on NU’s career rebounding list, taking over the No. 4 spot. Griffin needs 56 more rebounds to catch Kathy Hagerstrom (874, 1980-83) at No. 3 on the Husker career rebounding chart.
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.
With a season-high 16 points against No. 19 Texas, Montgomery has moved to No. 15 on Nebraska’s career scoring list with 1,139 points. She added four rebounds against Texas to increase her career total to 535. She needs just 39 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 Baylor game needing 64 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 four more to catch former teammate Chelsea Aubry (2004-07) in 18th with 539.
Montgomery is coming off a season-best 16 points in NU’s win over No. 19 Texas. She established her season high with 16 points, including a career-high matching three three-pointers, in the Huskers’ run past No. 5 LSU on Dec. 20. Montgomery enters the Baylor game averaging 12.8 points and 5.2 rebounds per game. She is also hitting 44.4 percent (16-38) of her three-point attempts and 81.1 percent (30-37) of her free throws.
Montgomery has produced double figures in 13 of NU’s 15 games, including 13 or more points in eight of NU’s last 11 contests. 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 notched her ninth career double-double and first of the season with game highs of 15 points and a season-high 10 rebounds in Nebraska’s win over Idaho State on Nov. 19. She just missed her second double-double of the year with nine points and nine rebounds in NU’s win over Creighton on Dec. 9, and opened Big 12 play with 10 points and eight rebounds in a win at Iowa State on Jan. 9.
Turner Ranks Among Top Three-Point Shooters in NU History
Senior Yvonne Turner has hit 35-of-85 three-point attempts (41.2 percent) to lead an impressive Husker three-point barrage through the first 15 games.
Turner has increased her career total to 136 made threes, while improving her career numbers to 33.6 percent (136-405). Turner ranks fourth in Nebraska history in career three-pointers and needs nine 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 (136) and career steals (187).
Kelley Cranks Up Production as a Junior
Junior guard Dominique Kelley has put up big numbers in Nebraska’s first 15 games by averaging 12.0 points and 4.3 rebounds in just 23.5 minutes per game. The 5-7 hometown favorite out of Lincoln Northeast High School has produced double figures 11 times this year, including season highs of 18 points against both No. 19 Texas (Jan. 12) and Saint Mary’s (Nov. 28).
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. 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 is shooting 46.7 percent (50-107) from the field and 37.0 percent (10-27) from three-point range, while connecting on 81.4 percent (70-86) of her free throws.
Taken over 40 minutes, Kelley is averaging 20.4 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.5 steals per game.
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 15 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 Baylor game ranked third 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 25.5 minutes per game.
Taken over 40 minutes, Griffin would be averaging 30.2 points, 16.0 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 2.8 steals and 0.8 blocks per game. In addition to her team-leading 27 steals this season, Griffin has added eight blocked shots and drawn a team-leading 10 charges in 15 games for the Huskers. She is also shooting 63.1 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 the weekend averaging 25.3 points, 3.6 rebounds, 7.8 assists, 2.6 steals and 0.1 blocks per game. Through 15 games, Riley is averaging 36.6 minutes per game, and her 40-minute production is 27.6 points, 4.0 rebounds, 8.5 assists and 2.8 steals. Riley is also shooting just 38 percent from the field.
With 288 points and 153 rebounds in 382 minutes, Griffin is averaging 0.75 points per minute and 0.40 rebounds per minute. Riley averages an impressive 0.69 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 - 30.2 points, 16.0 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 2.8 steals
- Harleen Sidhu - 21.5 points, 14.3 rebounds, 3.1 assists
- Dominique Kelley - 20.4 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.5 steals
- Cory Montgomery - 20.1 points, 8.1 rebounds, 1.6 assists
- Yvonne Turner - 17.2 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 2.2 steals
- Catheryn Redmon - 11.9 points, 12.6 rebounds, 5.6 blocks
- Kala Kuhlmann – 10.8 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.3 steals
- Layne Reeves - 10.7 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.8 steals
- Nicole Neals - 10.0 points, 2.3 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 1.7 steals
- Lindsey Moore – 7.7 points, 2.7 rebounds, 6.4 assists, 1.5 steals
- Jessica Periago – 7.1 points, 10.5 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 2.5 blocks
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 15 games this season, Nebraska’s focus is paying dividends, as the Huskers carry a plus-9.2 team rebounding margin, which ranks third in the Big 12, trailing only Baylor (+14.1) and Iowa State (+10.7).
Nebraska has outrebounded 13 of its first 15 opponents, including each of its last four foes, to surpass the total of 12 foes the Huskers outrebounded in 31 games in 2008-09. Last season, the Huskers outrebounded just five opponents after Christmas, while the 2009-10 Huskers have outrebounded each of their four opponents since the holiday break.
Only two opponents have outrebounded NU this season - Miami (34-30) and LSU (38-36). Nebraska was the first team this season to outrebound Iowa State (Jan. 9) and the Huskers also outrebounded Texas (37-32).
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 nine double-digit rebound efforts.
Huskers Firing Off to Fast First-Half Starts
Nebraska’s high-powered offense is averaging 40.2 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, and 50 first-half points in the win over No. 19 Texas on Jan. 12.
Nebraska has also been stingy on defense in the first half, surrendering just 26.1 points per first half, as the Huskers have headed to the locker room with an average lead of 14.1 points (40.2-26.1) and have allowed only three foes to score 30 first-half points (Texas, 44; 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 nine home victories, the Huskers are averaging 43.9 points (395 total points) in the first half, while allowing just 25.2 points per first half (227 total points) for an average home halftime lead of 18.7 points.
It hasn’t gone much better for Nebraska opponents in the second half through the first 15 contests, as the Huskers have averaged 39.7 points after halftime, while the opposition has managed 28.4 points per second half.
Nebraska Knocking Down Triples at Record Pace
As a team, NU is tied with for fifth with Texas and Oklahoma State 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 a season-best 11-of-23 three-pointers against Washington State, which was just one shy of the school record set in the 2008-09 season opener against Weber State. The Huskers also connected on 10 threes against Idaho State and nine against Texas, Miami and UNLV. The Huskers also buried eight threes against Vermont, Albany and South Dakota.
Nebraska is shooting 35.3 percent (107-303) as a team from long range and needs just 13 more threes to produce one of the top-10 season totals in school history.
Under Coach Connie Yori, Nebraska has produced each of the top six seasons in three-point field goals made in school history.
Griffin Going Off on Game-By-Game Basis
Although the 2009-10 campaign is just approaching the halfway point, Kelsey Griffin has already produced seven of the top efforts of her career in leading Nebraska to a 15-0 record and the highest ranking in school history.
Her averages of 19.2 points and 10.2 rebounds lead the Huskers and rank among the best players in the Big 12, while she is averaging just 25.5 minutes per game. She also leads NU with 27 steals and 10 charges drawn, while adding eight blocked shots. She also ranks among the top players nationally with her 63.1 field goal percentage.
In Nebraska’s win over Creighton on Dec. 9, Griffin tied her career high with 31 points and pulled down 11 rebounds. She hit 12-of-16 shots from the field against the Jays and added two assists, two steals and a block.
Eleven days later, Griffin notched her second 30-point game of the season and third of her career with 30 points and 14 rebounds in NU’s win over No. 5 LSU. She also tied her career best with 12 field goals made against LSU.
She earned MVP honors at the Saint Mary’s Hilton Concord Thanksgiving Tournament by averaging 27.5 points, 13.5 rebounds and 3.5 steals in two games. She opened 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).
In a road win at Vermont, Griffin scored 25 points and pulled down a career-high 16 rebounds, on Jan. 4, just days after scoring 27 points and grabbing seven boards on what is thought to be the best shooting performance by a women’s basketball player in the history of the Devaney Center. Griffin went 9-for-9 from the field, including a career-best two three-pointers, while adding 7-for-7 free throw shooting.
She continued the amazing start to her senior season with 26 points and 10 rebounds in Nebraska’s win over No. 19 Texas on Jan. 12. It was her seventh double-double of the year and second straight in Big 12 play. It also marked her seventh game with 25 or more points this season, and her ninth game with double-figure rebounds.
In her career, Griffin has produced 20 or more points on 24 occasions, including 13 games with 25 or more points. She also owns 31 double-figure rebounding performances in her career.
Freshman Moore Helps Huskers to 15-0 Mark as Starter
Lindsey Moore has helped the Huskers to a 15-0 record as Nebraska’s starting point guard in her first 15 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 Catamounts. She added eight points and five assists in NU’s 91-79 win over No. 19 Texas on Jan. 12.
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 ranks eighth in the Big 12, while adding 4.8 points, 1.5 rebounds and 1.0 steal per game.
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.
No. 11 Huskers Topple No. 19 Texas, 91-79
In a classic Big 12 shootout between a pair of top-20 teams, No. 11 Nebraska fired out of the halftime locker room with a 13-2 run to build a 17-point edge, then held on for a 91-79 win over No. 19 Texas Tuesday in Lincoln.
All-America candidate Kelsey Griffin notched her seventh double-double of the year and 27th of her career with game highs of 26 points and 10 rebounds. It was the seventh time this season that Griffin scored 25 or more and her ninth double-figure rebounding effort. Griffin hit 8-of-11 shots from the field and 10-of-12 free throws.
Griffin was far from a one-woman show, as four Husker starters finished in double figures, including a season-high 21 points with a season-best five three-pointers from senior Yvonne Turner. The 5-8 guard out of Omaha added six rebounds, two assists and a season-high three steals in her best performance of the year.
Junior guard Dominique Kelley, a Lincoln native, also matched her season high with 18 points, while adding six rebounds, and senior forward Cory Montgomery matched her season-best with 16 points while pitching in four boards, an assist and a steal in front of 7,036 fans at the Devaney Center.
Senior guard Brittainey Raven led the Longhorns with 22 points, including four three-pointers, while adding four assists and three steals, while Kathleen Nash pitched in 17 points, eight boards and six assists. Nash scored 15 of her 17 points in the first half. Cokie Reed gave the Longhorns a big lift off the bench by scoring 10 of her 12 points in the second half.
Nash and Raven led an inspired Texas team in the first half, as the Longhorns surged to a 34-30 lead after a Raven jumper with 7:48 left in the first half.
Led by the three-point shooting of Turner and Kelley, the Huskers produced an 8-0 run over the next 1:24 to take a 38-34 lead. A Raven three ended the run. Leading 42-41 with 2:23 left in the half, Turner and Kelley hit back-to-back threes again, and Turner added a pair of free throws to push NU’s lead to nine with another 8-0 run over the next 1:49.
Nash hit her third three of the game to cut NU’s lead to 50-44 at the half. It marked the fourth time this season that the Huskers’ high-powered offense had produced 50 or more points in a half and the third time in NU’s last four games. However, Texas’ 44 points marked the second time that NU had surrendered 30 points at home in the first half this season and just the third time all year.
The Huskers opened the second half the same way they ended the first, bursting out of the locker room on another 8-0 run, sparked by a Turner three-pointer and a three-point play by freshman point guard Lindsey Moore, who finished with eight points. Texas managed just one field goal in the first five minutes of the second half, and by the time the dust had cleared, the Huskers held a 17-point lead at 63-46 after another Turner triple.
But the Longhorns refused to throw in the towel. Led by the inside presence of Reed, who scored eight of UT’s 10 points in a span of 3:17 midway through the second half, Texas trimmed the NU lead to eight at 71-63 with 10:10 left. A Raven three-pointer with 6:45 left pulled Texas to the closest margin in the second half at 77-72.
Griffin then took over, scoring NU’s next six points to push the Husker lead back to nine. Nebraska made the plays at both ends and hit free throws down the stretch to seal their 13th double-digit victory of the season.
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.
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 blocked three shots in NU’s win over No. 19 on Jan. 12 to increase her career total to 113.
Redmon needs just 13 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.
The top returning shot-blocker in the Big 12, Redmon is off to a great start in the blocked shot department in 2009-10, with 37 rejections in 263 minutes through the first 15 games. She has blocked two or more shots in 11 of NU’s first 15 games and is averaging 2.5 blocks in just 17.5 minutes per contest.
Last season, Redmon did not record her 37th block until the 21st game, when she had four blocks against Baylor to push her season total to 37 on Feb. 4. Redmon’s 37 blocks this year are tied with Casey Leonhardt (37, 1999-2000) for third on NU’s junior single-season list. She needs 22 more to catch Janet Smith (59, 1980-81) in second and 23 more to match Danielle Page’s school record of 60 set in 2006-07. Redmon could also challenge the overall single-season mark of 78 set by Page in 2007-08.
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. 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.
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 Nearing Top 10 on NU Career Steals List
With 187 career steals, including 21 in 15 games this season, senior Yvonne Turner is approaching Nebraska’s all-time top 10 on that list, needing just one steal 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.
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.
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. 20 on Jan. 14 after knocking off Texas. The Huskers head into the Baylor 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. All 12 Big 12 Conference enter the second weekend of league play ranked among the top 90 teams in the nation in the RPI.
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 108 games in her NU career. Nebraska also features junior guard Dominique Kelley, who has started 79 straight games to open her career, while senior forward Cory Montgomery made her 47th straight start against Texas and her 50th career start.
Yvonne Turner started her 76th career game against Texas. Freshman point guard Lindsey Moore has started the first 15 games of her NU career, and gives the Huskers a starting five with 328 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.
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 344-118 (.745) in games played in the arena, including 126-77 (.621) in conference games. Since 2003-04, NU is 80-22 (.784) at the Devaney Center.
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 has opened the season 9-0 at the Devaney Center and has extended its homecourt winning streak to 13 games.
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.
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).