No. 6 Huskers Travel to Texas Tech in Search of Rare Win
The No. 6 Nebraska women’s basketball team hopes to keep one streak alive while ending another when the Huskers head to Lubbock for a Wednesday night tussle with Texas Tech.
Nebraska has run to a school-record 17-game winning streak while starting 4-0 in Big 12 play for the first time since the league began play in 1996-97. The Huskers’ winning streak has included seven straight wins away from Lincoln, including six true road games. However, NU has never won a road game against Texas Tech in Lubbock, as the Lady Raiders are a perfect 7-0 against the Huskers at home dating back to 1985.
Tip-off between the Huskers (17-0, 4-0 Big 12) and Lady Raiders (13-5, 1-3 Big 12) is set for 7 p.m., with live radio coverage 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.
Television coverage of the game is being provided by the Texas Tech Sports Network in Nebraska by MyTV-10.2/11.2 in Lincoln on Time Warner Cable Channel 110 and Charter Communications Channel 17 in Grand Island. In Omaha, WOWT-DT 6.2 (620/Universal Sports) will provide coverage on Cox Cable Channel 120. Other select community cable networks around Nebraska that already carry MyTV, will also carry the game.
In Texas, Time Warner Cable affiliates in Dallas (Ch. 185), Waco (Ch. 888), Austin (Ch. 888), San Antonio (Ch. 888), Rio Grande Valley (Ch. 888), San Marcos (Ch. 888) and Corpus Christi (Ch. 100), along with MYTX TV 2 in Beaumont and Waco. It is also available in some Texas markets on Fox Sports Plus. TexasTech.com will provide a live video stream on its premium subscription site, RaiderVision All-Access. HuskersNside is not be able to provide live video of the game.
All-America candidate Kelsey Griffin has claimed national attention for her performances so far this season. The 6-2 forward from Eagle River, Alaska, has averaged 19.0 points and a Big 12-leading 10.4 rebounds per game, while ranking sixth nationally with her 60.7 field goal percentage. Griffin owns a Big 12-leading nine double-doubles, including five straight, and has scored 20 or more points eight times. She owns 11 double-figure rebounding efforts, and leads NU with 31 steals and 14 charges drawn. She has added 30 assists, including 10 in the past two games.
Fellow senior Cory Montgomery gives the Huskers one of the most productive and experienced forward duos in the nation, as she averages 13.2 points and 5.1 rebounds per game. The 6-2 native of Cannon Falls, Minn., has hit 53.1 percent of her shots from the field, including 43.5 percent (20-46) of her three-point attempts.
Senior Yvonne Turner has been on fire the last three games, averaging 21.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 3.0 steals per game. The 5-8 guard has hit 17 threes in the past three contests, including a career-high six in back-to-back wins against Baylor and Kansas State. Turner leads the Huskers in scoring in league action with 19.3 points per game, while averaging 4.8 made threes per game. Her 2.8 per game on the year ranks 30th nationally.
Junior guard Dominique Kelley rounds out the Big Red’s "Big Four" scorers with 11.5 points and 4.4 rebounds per game. A Lincoln native, Kelley has made a team-high 81 consecutive starts to open her career.
Freshman guard Lindsey Moore completes NU’s starting five by averaging 4.6 points, 1.7 rebounds and a team-leading 4.2 assists. The 5-9 point guard from Covington, Wash., is a perfect 17-0 as a starter and is coming off a game a win against Kansas State when she produced career highs with nine assistss, five rebounds and three steals, while adding four points.
#6/#6 Nebraska Cornhuskers (17-0, 4-0) Probable Starters
23 - Kelsey Griffin - 6-2 - Sr. - F - 19.0 ppg, 10.4 rpg
40 - Cory Montgomery - 6-2 - Sr. F - 13.2 ppg, 5.1 rpg
00 - Lindsey Moore - 5-9 - Fr. - G - 4.6 ppg, 1.7 rpg
22 - Yvonne Turner - 5-8 - Sr. - G - 12.2 ppg, 4.1 rpg
24 - Dominique Kelley - 5-7 - Jr. - G - 11.5 ppg, 4.4 rpg
The Next Wave
44 - Catheryn Redmon - 6-3 - Jr. - C - 4.6 ppg, 5.1 rpg
13 - Kala Kuhlmann - 5-8 - Sr. - G - 4.2 ppg, 1.8 rpg
11 - Nicole Neals - 5-6 - Sr. - G - 3.4 ppg, 0.8 rpg
21 - Harleen Sidhu - 6-1 - So. - F - 3.0 ppg, 2.0 rpg
12 - Layne Reeves - 5-11 - RFr. - G - 1.8 ppg, 1.1 rpg
35 - Jessica Periago - 6-4 - Jr. - C - 1.6 ppg, 2.5 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 (138-97); 20th Season Overall (333-237)
Texas Tech Lady Raiders (13-5, 1-3) Probable Starters
31 - Ashlee Roberson - 5-11 - Sr. - F - 12.5 ppg, 9.1 rpg
20 - Kierra Mallard - 6-3 - So. - C - 13.9 ppg, 7.7 rpg
14 - Tilmila Martin - 5-6 - Sr. - G - 8.6 ppg, 2.1 rpg
13 - Jordan Murphree - 6-0 - Sr. - G - 12.3 ppg, 4.8 rpg
23 - Monique Smalls - 5-6 Fr. G 5.8 4.0
Off the Bench
1 - Jordan Barncastle - 6-0 - So. - F - 4.7 ppg, 2.2 rpg
5 - Christine Hyde - 5-10 - Fr. - G - 3.6 ppg, 1.6 rpg
24 - Mary Bokenkamp - 5-9 - Fr. - F - 3.0 ppg, 1.1 rpg
3 - Marissa Ashton - 6-0 - Fr. - F - 3.0 ppg, 2.3 rpg
00 - Chynna Brown - 5-8 - Fr. - G - 3.1 ppg, 1.8 rpg
Head Coach: Kristy Curry (Northeast Louisiana, 1988)
Fourth Season at Tech (61-51); 11th Season Overall (240-102)
Huskers Continue to Rewrite History
At 17-0, Nebraska owns the best start and longest winning streak in school history, surpassing a nine-game winning streak to open the 1996-97 campaign. Nebraska’s 17-0 start is also the best start in Big 12 history, dating back to the inception of the league in 1996-97. The Huskers’ 4-0 Big 12 start is also the best in school history, and a win over Texas Tech would move NU to 5-0 in league play for just the second time in school history, joining the 1987-88 Huskers who started 5-0 on their way to the Big Eight regular-season title.
Not only have the Huskers been winning, they have been doing it in impressive fashion, with 14 of their 17 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 Miami on Dec. 5, an eight-point win at Iowa State, and a nine-point win at No. 9 Baylor. The Huskers have led all 17 opponents by double-digits late in the second half.
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.
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.
Then There Were Two: Huskers Join UConn As Only Unbeatens
Nebraska heads into Wednesday’s game at Texas Tech as one of just two unbeaten teams left among the 345 NCAA Division I women’s basketball teams, joining No. 1 Connecticut. UW-Green Bay was the most recent unbeaten to fall, losing to Loyola-Chicago on Jan. 21.
Huskers Claim Highest Ranking at No. 6 in AP Poll
Nebraska achieved its highest ranking in school history when the Huskers climbed to No. 6 in the Associated Press Top 25 on Monday, Jan. 25. It was NU’s second straight week in the top 10 and seventh straight in the top 25. NU’s first-ever top-10 ranking in either poll came with a No. 9 ranking in the USA Today/ESPN poll on Jan. 12.
Nebraska is one of seven Big 12 teams in the AP rankings and the highest ranked team in the league. The Huskers are one of just two undefeated teams left among the 345 NCAA Division I schools, and the only Big 12 team with fewer than two losses.
Texas A&M is ranked No. 8 in this week’s poll, while Oklahoma is No. 11. Baylor (14th), Oklahoma State (15th) and Texas (19th) give the Big 12 six teams in the top 20, while Iowa State joined the AP poll for the first time this week at No. 22. Eight Big 12 teams have been ranked at some point this season, including Kansas.
Huskers Running High in Official NCAA RPI
The NCAA released its official RPI rankings on Monday, Jan. 25, and Nebraska was near the top of the chart with a No. 4 national RPI ranking. Only Connecticut, Stanford and Tennessee were ahead of the Huskers in the RPI.
Big 12 foes Texas A&M (6th) and Oklahoma (9th) joined Nebraska in the top 10, while Oklahoma State was 12th. Texas was 14th and Baylor was 23rd, giving the Big 12 six teams in the RPI top 25.
All 12 of the Big 12 teams were among the top 90, including No. 29 Kansas, No. 37 Iowa State, No. 57 Texas Tech, No. 72 Missouri, No. 81 Colorado and No. 89 Kansas State.
Nebraska already owns nine wins over top-100 RPI teams, including No. 14 Texas, No. 23 Baylor, No. 26 LSU, No. 37 Iowa State, No. 46 Vermont, No. 51 Miami, No. 69 Creighton, No. 78 UALR and No. 89 Kansas State. Five of those wins have come away from the Devaney Center, including four true road games.
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, Jan. 13.
Griffin, a 6-2 senior forward from Eagle River, Alaska, leads the Huskers with 19.0 points and 10.4 rebounds while shooting 60.7 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 17-game winning streak to open the season.
Griffin leads the Big 12 in rebounding, ranks fourth in scoring and second in field goal percentage, while ranking eighth nationally in that category. She has produced nine double-doubles this season and 29 in her career, while putting up 20 or more points on eight occasions this season, including a pair of 30-point efforts. She also owns 11 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 Wednesday’s game at Texas Tech with 1,671 points and 842 rebounds. She also owns Nebraska’s career record for free throws made (453) and ranks among the top 10 players in NU history in blocked shots. She also leads the Huskers in steals (31) and charges drawn (14) 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 3.5 GPA and is 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 Texas Tech Lady Raiders
Texas Tech (13-5, 1-3 Big 12) opened the season with a strong 11-1 record with its only loss to Tennessee in San Antonio on Nov. 17, before losing four of its last six games. The Lady Raiders head into Wednesday’s game with the Huskers hungry for a win after opening Big 12 Conference action with a 1-3 record. All three of Tech’s league losses have come at the hands of top-25 South Division schools, including a 69-54 loss at No. 9 Texas A&M on Saturday.
Tech opened league play with a 15-point loss at Oklahoma, before notching a 13-point home win over Colorado. The Lady Raiders then dropped a heart-breaking 95-90 double-overtime decision to Texas in Lubbock on Jan. 16, before falling to the Aggies in College Station.
Senior Ashlee Roberson led the Lady Raiders with 22 points and seven rebounds against the Aggies. The 5-11 forward is averaging 12.5 points and 9.1 rebounds per game on the year, including team bests of 19.3 points and 7.8 rebounds in Big 12 action.
Sophomore Kierra Mallard, a 6-2 forward/center who earned a spot on the 2009 Big 12 All-Freshman Team, has led Texas Tech throughout the year with 13.9 points, while adding 7.7 rebounds and a team-best 2.6 blocks per game. Mallard has averaged 12.3 points and 7.5 boards in four league games.
Senior guard Jordan Murphree gives the Lady Raiders three solid scoring options by averaging 12.3 points, 4.8 rebounds and 3.7 assists per contest. Murphree is Tech’s top three-point shooter, hitting 20-of-66 attempts on the year, while also leading the Lady Raiders with 2.4 steals per game.
A third senior starter, 5-6 guard Tilmila Martin, has tried to solidify Tech’s starting backcourt. She has averaged 8.6 points and 2.1 rebounds per game. She has increased her production in league play to 9.8 points per contest.
Monique Smalls, a 5-6 freshman guard, has joined Mallard and Murphree in the starting five for every game this season, averaging 5.8 points, 4.0 rebounds and a team-leading 4.2 assists per game. Smalls is also leading the Lady Raiders in minutes played at 33.2 per game.
Sophomore forward Jordan Barncastle has been a regular contributor off the bench with 4.7 points and 2.2 rebounds per game while playing all 18 games with one start. Freshman guard Chynna Brown has also appeared in every game with two starts, averaging 3.6 points and 1.5 boards per game. Freshmen Christine Hyde (3.6 ppg, 1.6 rpg), Marissa Ashton (3.0 ppg, 2.3 rpg) and Mary Bokenkamp (3.0 ppg, 1.1 rpg) have also been regular contributors for Tech.
Fourth-year head coach Kristy Curry’s squad is averaging 69.6 points per game, while surrendering 60.6 per contest. Tech is shooting 42.3 percent from the field, including 32.6 percent from three-point range while hitting 4.3 threes per game. The Lady Raiders are also knocking down 68.9 percent of their free throws.
Tech owns a plus-2.3 team rebounding margin, but was minus-14 on the glass in the loss to Texas and minus-five in the loss to Texas A&M. In Big 12 play, the Lady Raiders carry a negative-5.2 rebound margin. Texas Tech does own a plus-2.0 team rebound margin, despite committing 18.6 turnovers per game.
Texas Tech owns a commanding 13-3 lead in the all-time series with the Huskers, but Nebraska worked its way to a 62-56 win over the Lady Raiders last year on Valentine’s Day in Lincoln. The victory snapped a 12-game series losing streak to Tech. The win started a late-season Husker surge that included five wins in their final seven conference games, after opening Big 12 play 1-8.
Nebraska has never won in Lubbock at 0-7 all-time in true road games against the Lady Raiders. The Huskers have played some tight games in Texas though, falling 61-59 on Jan. 21, 2006, 66-62 on Feb. 16, 2000 and 65-56 on Feb. 24, 2008. All three of NU’s wins over Tech have been by six points or less.
Practice? This Team Loves Talkin’ ‘Bout Practice
Listen to the Nebraska players and coaches talk about the keys to their success so far in 2009-10, and one word repeatedly comes up - "practice." The Huskers love to talk about practice. Since the early days of the season, Nebraska Coach Connie Yori has said that the 2009-10 Huskers are "the best practicing team she has ever coached."
Senior All-America candidate said last week that she entered the season with the mindset that "she would make sure the coaches did not have to coach effort in practice." She went on to say that she has played a minor role in assuring effort, "because my teammates are working so hard every day that I don’t even worry about it."
Senior guard Yvonne Turner told a group of reporters following Nebraska’s win over Albany on Dec. 30 that, "sure it was nice to have a whole week off for Christmas after beating LSU, but I couldn’t wait to get back to practice. I think we were all the same way. We couldn’t wait to get back on the court together."
On Monday, Jan. 18, just hours after Nebraska had achieved its first-ever AP top-10 ranking in school history, junior guard Dominique Kelley told a reporter after practice, "sure, its nice to be ranked, whatever we’re ranked I don’t even know, but what it really shows is how hard we all worked during the offseason and how hard we are working every day in practice to get better."
Nebraska Owns 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 at No. 9 Baylor on Jan. 17 marked the 15th victory over an AP ranked foe during Yori’s tenure, and NU’s first against a top-25 team in a true road game. It was also the Huskers’ first-ever true road win over a top-10 opponent.
The Huskers have already posted three wins over AP Top 25 teams (No. 5 LSU, No. 9 Baylor, No. 19 Texas) this season, including a pair of wins over top-10 foes. No Nebraska team has ever beat two top-10 opponents in the same season. Nebraska owns five all-time victories against top-10 foes.
The Huskers also own a road win over USA Today/ESPN No. 23 Iowa State on Jan. 9, in Ames.
NU opponents Vermont (No. 24, Jan. 18) and Miami (No. 25, Jan. 11) have also been ranked in the AP top 25 this season, but were unranked when they played the Huskers.
The highest-ranked team Nebraska has ever defeated was the 2004-05 Baylor team that went on to win the national title. NU outlasted No. 2 BU, 103-99 in triple overtime on Jan. 12, 2005. 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.
Huskers Take Aim at First 5-0 Big 12 Start in School History
Nebraska enters the Texas Tech game with a 4-0 Big 12 mark, which is the Huskers’ first 4-0 league start since the inception of the Big 12 in 1996-97.
Only once in the history of Big Eight/Big 12 play has a Nebraska squad opened conference play at 5-0. The 1987-88 Huskers won their first five Big Eight Conference games on their way to the school’s lone regular-season conference title (11-3).
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, and every player that Connie Yori has coached over the past 19 seasons has gone on to earn her degree.
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, has seen its schedule strength edge up to No. 24 after the first quarter of leauge play.
Through 17 games, Nebraska owns six victories over top-50 RPI teams, including Texas, Baylor, LSU, Iowa State, Vermont and Miami, while adding top-100 RPI wins against Creighton, UALR and Kansas State. All 12 conference teams are ranked among the RPI top 100. No Nebraska opponent is ranked among the bottom 70 teams of the 345 NCAA Division I women’s basketball schools in the CollegeRPI.com rankings, and 14 of NU’s 17 foes are ranked among the top 190 in the RPI.
Huskers Producing Massive Margins to Open Season
Nebraska’s average victory margin of 23.8 points per game through the first 17 contests is the best in school history, leading the 22.6 points per game margin produced by the 1996-97 Huskers through 17 games.
The 2009-10 Huskers are averaging 78.5 points per game (1,334 total points) on the offensive end, which trails only the 1987-88 Huskers who averaged 85.6 points per game (1,456 total points) to produce the best offensive start by an NU squad through 17 games in Nebraska history.
If the season ended today, Nebraska’s 78.5 points per game would rank as the fifth-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 17 games, the Huskers have hit 80 or more points on seven occasions, including three times in the past six 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 Vermont (Jan. 4) and a 91-79 win over Texas (Jan. 12).
Huskers Dig Defense
NU is surrendering just 54.6 points per game through the first 17 contests, which is the lowest opponent scoring average through the first 17 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 54.4 points through the first 17 games (924 total points), which came against almost an entirely non-Division I schedule. The only contests against a Division I foe in the first 17 games came against Creighton, Kansas, Kansas State and Missouri 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 28-14 regular-season record against the other five Big 12 North foes. Kansas State is 27-16, while Iowa State is 26-16 in that span.
The Huskers opened North Division play with a 57-49 road win at Iowa State on Jan. 9, and added a 71-56 win over Kansas State on Jan. 23 to improve to 2-0 against the North this season. Iowa State and Colorado are 2-1, while Kansas State is 2-2 against the North. Kansas is 1-2 and Missouri is 0-3.
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 impressive numbers for the Huskers through the first 17 games.
Each of NU’s most experienced players have averaged double figures in points and have combined to hit 50.7 percent (329-649) of their shots from the field, including 85-of-205 (41.5 percent) of their three-point attempts.
Griffin ranks sixth nationally (60.7 percent) as an individual and Montgomery joins Griffin in the top 35 nationally at 53.1 percent (31st).
As a team, the Huskers rank 11th nationally with their .465 field goal percentage. Nebraska is third in the Big 12 in that category, trailing Baylor (.502) and Texas A&M (.481). Kansas, Oklahoma and Iowa State also rank among the top 25 teams nationally in that category.
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 the third player in school history with 1,600 points and 800 rebounds. After posting her 29th career double-double and ninth of the season with 22 points and 12 boards in NU’s win against Kansas State on Jan. 23, the 6-2 senior forward from Eagle River, Alaska, pushed her career totals to 1,671 points and 842 rebounds. She joins 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 32 more rebounds to catch Kathy Hagerstrom (874, 1980-83) at No. 3 on the Husker career rebounding chart.
Montgomery Is 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 15 points against Kansas State on Jan. 23, Montgomery has moved to No. 15 on Nebraska’s career scoring list with 1,172 points. She added three rebounds against Kansas State to increase her career total to 544. She needs just 30 rebounds to join the top 15 players in school history in that category.
The 6-2 forward from Cannon Falls, Minn., heads into the Texas Tech game needing 11 points to catch Jan Crouch (1,183, 1976-79) in 14th on NU’s all-time scoring list. She ranks 17th on NU’s all-time rebound list and needs just one more to match Ann Halsne (1988-91) in 16th with 545.
Montgomery produced a season-high 18 points in NU’s win at No. 9 Baylor on Jan. 17, when she added six boards and tied a career best with three three-pointers. She added 16 points in NU’s win over No. 19 Texas on Jan. 12. She also had 16 points, and a trio of three-pointers in the Huskers’ run past No. 5 LSU on Dec. 20. Montgomery enters the Texas Tech game averaging 13.2 points and 5.1 rebounds per game. She is hitting 43.5 percent (20-46) of her three-point attempts and 80.5 percent (33-41) of her free throws.
Montgomery has produced double figures in 15 of NU’s 17 games, including 13 or more points in 10 of NU’s last 13 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 47-of-110 three-point attempts (42.7 percent) to lead an impressive Husker three-point barrage through the first 17 games.
Turner ranks second in the Big 12 with 2.8 made three-pointers per game overall this season, while her 42.7 percent success rate ranks seventh in the league (32nd nationally). She leads the Big 12 in league games only with 4.9 threes per contest, including 5.7 made threes over the last three games (17 total).
After burying six threes in back-to-back wins over Baylor and Kansas State, Turner has increased her career total to 148 made threes, while improving her career numbers to 34.4 percent (148-430). Turner ranks third in Nebraska history in career three-pointers and needs seven more to catch Anna DeForge (155, 1995-98) in second on the Husker career chart. Kiera Hardy (2003-06) owns the Nebraska all-time record with 267.
Turner has already surged into the top five on NU’s senior single-season three-point list with 47. She needs just three more to catch DeForge (1997-98) in fourth and just five more to reach Kate Galligan (1995-96) in third on that list. Hardy hit 71 as a senior in 2005-06, while Amy Stephens owns the senior class record with 85 in 1988-89.
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. Her shooting success came despite an injured shoulder that plagued her throughout the season and required surgery immediately following the season. Turner was unable to shoot for more than three months following the surgery.
Turner finished 2008-09 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 (3rd, 148) and career steals (8th, 193).
Turner Sizzling from Long Range in Last Three Games
Yvonne Turner has led the Huskers in Big 12 play by averaging 19.3 points per game, while adding 5.5 rebounds and 2.3 steals per contest. She is also averaging 4.8 made threes per game in league action. She has been at her best in the last three contests, averaging 21 points and 5.7 threes per game (17 total).
Turner earned the first Big 12 Player-of-the-Week award of her career on Jan. 18, after shooting the Huskers to a pair of wins over top-20 Texas teams. The 5-8 guard from Omaha averaged 21.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 3.5 steals per game in wins over No. 9 Baylor and No. 19 Texas. In the win over the Lady Bears in Waco, Texas, Turner poured in a season-high 22 points while connecting on a career-high six three-pointers. She added six rebounds and a season-high four steals to lead the Huskers to their first-ever true road win over a top-10 foe.
In the Huskers’ 91-79 run past No. 19 Texas in their last home game at the Devaney Center, Turner struck for 21 points, six rebounds, two assists and three steals, while hitting 5-of-8 three-pointers. She added 20 points and six more threes in NU’s 71-56 win over Kansas State on Jan. 23.
Kelley Cranks Up Production As a Junior
Junior guard Dominique Kelley has put up big numbers in Nebraska’s first 17 games by averaging 11.5 points and 4.4 rebounds in just 23.5 minutes per game. The 5-7 hometown favorite out of Lincoln Northeast High School has produced double figures 12 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. She added 10 points in NU’s win over Kansas State on Jan. 23.
Kelley is shooting 44.7 percent (55-123) from the field and 39.4 percent (13-33) from three-point range, while connecting on 77.7 percent (73-94) of her free throws.
Taken over 40 minutes, Kelley is averaging 19.6 points, 7.4 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.4 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 27 minutes per game through the first 17 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 Tech game ranked third in the Big 12 with 19.0 points per game, while leading the league with 10.4 rebounds per game. Those numbers become significantly more impressive considering she has played just 26.5 minutes per game.
Taken over 40 minutes, Griffin would be averaging 28.7 points, 15.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 2.8 steals and 0.7 blocks per game. In addition to her team-leading 31 steals this season, Griffin has added eight blocked shots and drawn a team-leading 14 charges in 17 games for the Huskers. She is also shooting 60.7 percent from the field, which ranks eighth nationally and second in the Big 12.
Compare that production to current Big 12 scoring leader Andrea Riley, who enters the week averaging 25.9 points, 3.6 rebounds, 7.6 assists, 2.4 steals and 0.1 blocks per game. Through 19 games, Riley is averaging 37.1 minutes per game, and her 40-minute production is 27.9 points, 3.9 rebounds, 8.2 assists and 2.6 steals. Riley is also shooting just 37.1 percent from the field.
With 323 points and 177 rebounds in 450 minutes, Griffin is averaging 0.72 points per minute and 0.39 rebounds per minute. Riley averages an impressive 0.70 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 - 28.7 points, 15.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 2.8 steals
- Harleen Sidhu - 21.5 points, 14.3 rebounds, 3.1 assists
- Dominique Kelley - 19.6 points, 7.4 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.4 steals
- Cory Montgomery - 20.1 points, 7.8 rebounds, 1.5 assists
- Yvonne Turner - 18.2 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 2.4 steals
- Catheryn Redmon - 10.9 points, 12.0 rebounds, 5.3 blocks
- Layne Reeves - 9.9 points, 5.8 rebounds, 1.6 steals
- Kala Kuhlmann – 9.8 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.1 steals
- Nicole Neals - 9.3 points, 2.3 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 1.6 steals
- Lindsey Moore – 7.3 points, 2.7 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 1.6 steals
- Jessica Periago – 6.8 points, 10.3 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 2.4 blocks
Griffin Going Off on Game-By-Game Basis
Although the 2009-10 campaign is just approaching the halfway point, Kelsey Griffin has already produced eight of the top efforts of her career in leading Nebraska to a 17-0 record and the highest ranking in school history.
Her averages of 19.0 points and 10.4 rebounds lead the Huskers and rank among the best players in the Big 12, while she is averaging just 26.5 minutes per game. She also leads NU with 31 steals and 14 charges drawn, while adding eight blocked shots. She also ranks among the top players nationally with her .607 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 on Dec. 20. 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 marked her seventh game with 25 or more points this season. Griffin added her eighth 20-plus scoring performance and her ninth double-double of the year with 22 points, 12 rebounds and a career-high matching five assists in NU’s win over Kansas State on Jan. 23.
In Nebraska’s 65-56 win at No. 9 Baylor on Jan. 17, Griffin added a double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds, while setting career bests with five assists and four charges drawn. She has produced double-doubles in each of NU’s first four Big 12 games to push her career total to 29. She also owns 11 double-figure rebound totals on the season.
In her career, Griffin has produced 20 or more points on 25 occasions, including 13 games with 25 or more points. She also owns 33 double-figure rebounding performances in her career.
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 17 games this season, Nebraska’s focus is paying dividends, as the Huskers carry a plus-8.8 team rebounding margin, which ranks third in the Big 12, trailing only Baylor and Iowa State - two teams NU has already outrebounded head-to-head in league play. The Huskers are tied for 12th nationally in rebound margin.
Nebraska has outrebounded 15 of its first 17 opponents, including each of its last six 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 six 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), and Big 12 rebound margin leader Baylor (47-42) on the Lady Bears’ home court on Jan. 17. NU produced a plus-six rebound margin in the win over Kansas State on Jan. 23.
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 10.4 boards per game, including 11 double-digit rebound efforts.
Huskers Firing Off to Fast First-Half Starts
Nebraska’s high-powered offense is averaging 39.7 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 26.5 points per first half, as the Huskers have headed to the locker room with an average lead of 13.2 points (39.7-26.5) and have allowed only four foes to score 30 first-half points (Texas, 44; Miami, 36; LSU, 34; Kansas State, 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 allowed 17 first-half points to Northern Illinois.
In their 10 home victories, the Huskers are averaging 43.6 points (436 total points) in the first half, while allowing just 26.1 points per first half (261 total points) for an average home halftime lead of 17.5 points.
It hasn’t gone much better for Nebraska opponents in the second half through the first 17 contests, as the Huskers have averaged 38.8 points after halftime, while the opposition has managed 28.1 points per second half.
Nebraska Knocking Down Triples at Record Pace
As a team, NU ranks fourth in the Big 12 with 7.5 threes per game, well ahead of school-record pace, which was set last season with 5.5 threes per game. The Huskers rank 20th nationally in three-pointers made per game, while ranking sixth nationally in three-point field goal percentage defense (25.2 percent). NU has outscored its opponents by a combined 213 points behind the arc this season, an average of 12.5 points per game.
Nebraska knocked down a school-record-tying 12 three-pointers in the road win at No. 9 Baylor on Jan. 17. NU’s 34 attempts against the Lady Bears were also a school record. The Huskers hit 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. NU connected on nine threes against Kansas State, Texas, Miami and UNLV. The Huskers buried eight threes against Vermont, Albany and South Dakota.
Nebraska is shooting 35.7 percent (128-359) as a team from long range and has produced one of the top-10 three-point shooting seasons in school history. In fact, NU enters the Texas Tech game needing just four threes to climb to seventh on the school’s season three-point field goals made list. Under Coach Connie Yori, Nebraska has produced each of the top six seasons in three-point field goals made in school history.
Freshman Moore Off to 17-0 Mark as Starter
Lindsey Moore has helped the Huskers to a 17-0 record as Nebraska’s starting point guard in her first 17 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 then distributed a career-high nine assists against Kansas State on Jan. 23, while adding career highs with five rebounds and three steals to go along with four points. She enters the Texas Tech game with 71 assists, and needs just 15 more to catch Anna DeForge at No. 5 on the NU freshman single-season assist chart.
Moore scored a career-high 11 points in NU’s win over Creighton on Dec. 9. Her 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 4.2 assists per game, which ranks seventh in the Big 12, while adding 4.6 points, 1.7 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. 7 Huskers Power Past Wildcats, 71-56
The Big Red’s "Big Four" of Kelsey Griffin, Yvonne Turner, Cory Montgomery and Dominique Kelley all scored in double figures to lead No. 7 Nebraska to a 71-56 win over Big 12 rival Kansas State in front of a school-record crowd of 13,303 at the Bob Devaney Sports Center on Jan. 23.
With the victory, Nebraska extended its Big 12 record season-opening winning streak to 17 games, while improving to 4-0 in Big 12 play for the first time since the inception of the league in 1996-97. The Huskers also locked up the best 17-game start in school history, surpassing the 16-1 start by the 1996-97 squad.
Griffin, a 6-2 All-America candidate from Eagle River, Alaska, notched her ninth double-double of the season and 29th of her career with game highs of 21 points and 12 rebounds. The two-time first-team All-Big 12 forward hit 8-of-12 shots from the field and 6-of-7 free throws, while tying her career high with five assists for the second straight game.
Turner, a 5-8 senior guard from Omaha, notched her third straight 20-point scoring effort by tying her career high with six three-pointers. Over the past three games, Turner has connected on 17 threes. She also moved up to No. 3 on Nebraska’s career three-point field goals list with 148. She is just seven hits behind All-American and two-time WNBA All-Star Anna DeForge on the NU list.
Montgomery, a 6-2 forward from Cannon Falls, Minn., added 15 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the field, including 1-of-3 threes, while Kelley added 10 points, including a pair of three-pointers.
Nebraska’s fifth starter, freshman guard Lindsey Moore, pitched in four points while adding career highs of nine assists, five rebounds and three steals to remain unbeaten as the Huskers’ starting point guard.
With Nebraska’s experienced players leading the charge, the Huskers used a 16-0 run to sprint to a 35-13 lead with 6:15 left in the first half. But the Wildcats battled back, using a 16-0 run of their own, sparked by three straight three-pointers from Brittany Chambers, in the final five minutes to trim the NU margin to just four at 38-34 with 15 seconds left in the opening period.
Turner responded by running the length of the floor and draining her fifth three of the first half to send the Huskers to the locker room with a 41-34 advantage.
Husker seniors Griffin, Montgomery and Turner helped NU surge into the second half, quickly rebuilding a 14-point margin at 52-38 on a Griffin layup with 14:14 left. The senior trio combined for all 14 Husker points in a six-minute stretch to outscore KSU 14-4.
The lead grew to 20 again after four straight points from Moore to make it 66-46 with 6:56 left, before NU settled for a 15-point win. It was NU’s 10th straight double-digit home win to open the season, and the Huskers’ 14th double-digit win in 17 games. NU has led all 17 foes by double-digits late in the second half so far this season.
Nebraska finished the game at 47.3 percent (26-55) from the field, including 9-of-22 (40.9 percent) from three-point range. The Huskers also hit 10-of-15 free throws. NU outrebounded KSU 33-27, including a plus-seven margin in the second half. The Huskers also committed just 15 turnovers, while forcing 17 by the Wildcats.
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 one shot in NU’s win at No. 9 Baylor on Jan. 17 to increase her career total to 114.
Redmon needs just 12 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 38 rejections in 286 minutes through the first 17 games. She has blocked two or more shots in 11 of NU’s first 17 games and is averaging 2.2 blocks in just 16.8 minutes per contest.
Last season, Redmon did not record her 38th block until the 23rd game, when she had two blocks at Texas Tech to push her season total to 39 on Feb. 14. Redmon’s 38 blocks this year rank her third on NU’s junior single-season list. She needs 21 more to catch Janet Smith (59, 1980-81) in second and 22 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.
Turner Joins Top 10 on NU Career Steals List
With 193 career steals, including 27 in 17 games this season, senior Yvonne Turner ranks No. 8 on Nebraska’s all-time steals list. She needs 22 steals to catch Maurtice Ivy (1985-88) in seventh on the Husker career chart with 215.
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. She had a season-high four steals at No. 9 Baylor on Jan. 17, 2010, and has produced nine steals in her last three games.
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. 24 on Jan. 24 after knocking off Kansas State. The Huskers head into the Texas Tech 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 teams enter the fourth week of league play ranked among the top 100 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 110 games in her NU career. Nebraska also features junior guard Dominique Kelley, who has started 81 straight games to open her career, while senior forward Cory Montgomery made her 49th straight start against Kansas State and her 52nd career start.
Yvonne Turner started her 78th career game against Kansas State, while freshman point guard Lindsey Moore has started the first 17 games of her NU career, and gives the Huskers a starting five with 338 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 is becoming 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 made its national TV debut at Baylor on Sunday, Jan. 17, when the Huskers rolled to a 65-56 win over the No. 9 Lady Bears and 6-foot-8 freshman phenom Brittney Griner.
Six days later, Nebraska was back on FSN running to a 71-56 win over Kansas State in front of a school-record crowd of 13,303 at the Bob Devaney Sports Center 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 345-118 (.745) in games played in the arena, including 127-77 (.623) in conference games. Since 2003-04, NU is 81-22 (.786) at the Devaney Center.
NU has posted double-figure home victory totals in seven consecutive seasons, including a perfect 10-0 mark in 2009-10 to stretch the Husker home winning streak to 14 games.
Last season, Nebraska finished with an 11-4 mark, 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.
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).