Huskers, Cowgirls Set for Top 10 Shootout
#4 Nebraska Cornhuskers (19-0, 6-0 Big 12)
vs. #10 Oklahoma State Cowgirls (18-3, 6-1 Big 12)
Bob Devaney Sports Center (13,595)
Lincoln, Neb. • Wednesday, Feb. 3 • 7:05 p.m.
Television: Fox Sports Midwest (Greg Sharpe & Brenda VanLengen)
(Time Warner Cable Ch. 37 - Lincoln; DirecTV Ch. 657, DISH Ch. 450)
Radio: Husker Sports Network
(98.1 FM-KFGE-Lincoln, 93.3 FM-KTWI Omaha, 880 AM-KRVN Lexington)
Live Internet Video & Audio: Huskers.com (Free - Video requires registration)
Promotion: National Girls & Women in Sports Day - (6 p.m. Autograph Session with NU Female Student-Athletes)
A pair of surprise Big 12 teams will lock horns in the first-ever battle of top-10 teams of NCAA Division I men’s or women’s basketball inside the state of Nebraska, when No. 4 Nebraska takes on No. 10 Oklahoma State on Wednesday night at the Bob Devaney Sports Center.
Tip-off between the Huskers (19-0, 6-0 Big 12) and Cowgirls (18-3, 6-1 Big 12) is set for 7:05 p.m. with live television coverage provided by Fox Sports Midwest (Time Warner Ch. 37 in Lincoln, DirecTV Ch. 657, DISH Network Ch. 450), with Greg Sharpe and Brenda VanLengen on the call. Free live video of the Fox Sports Midwest telecast will also be provided on Huskers.com.
Live radio coverage of the game 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.
Only one time in school history (men’s or women’s) has a Nebraska basketball team played in a game that featured two top teams, as the No. 8 Husker men faced No. 6 Kansas in Lawrence on Feb. 26, 1966. The 2009-10 Husker women enter the game with their highest national ranking in school history, after moving up two spots to No. 4 in the Associated Press Top 25. The Cowgirls entered the AP Top 10 for the first time in history on Monday.
The 2009-10 Huskers have rolled to the longest winning streak in school history at 19 games, which is the second-longest active streak in the nation, trailing only defending national champion UConn’s 60-game streak. NU also owns the 12th-longest home winning streak in the country at 14 games.
The Huskers enter the week at the top of the Big 12 standings with a 6-0 conference mark for the first time in school history, while Oklahoma State is just a half-game back in sole possession of second place at 6-1. Nebraska was the preseason pick to finish sixth in the Big 12 this year by league coaches, while Oklahoma State was picked to finish ninth.
#4 Nebraska Cornhuskers (19-0, 6-0) Probable Starters
23 - Kelsey Griffin - 6-2 - Sr. - F - 19.3 ppg, 10.1 rpg
40 - Cory Montgomery - 6-2 - Sr. - F - 12.9 ppg, 5.1 rpg
00 - Lindsey Moore - 5-9 - Fr. - G - 4.5 ppg, 1.7 rpg
22 - Yvonne Turner - 5-8 - Sr. - G - 12.2 ppg, 3.9 rpg
24 - Dominique Kelley - 5-7 - Jr. - G - 12.1 ppg, 4.2 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 - 3.6 ppg, 0.8 rpg
21 - Harleen Sidhu - 6-1 - So. - F - 2.6 ppg, 1.9 rpg
12 - Layne Reeves - 5-11 - RFr. - G - 1.8 ppg, 0.9 rpg
35 - Jessica Periago - 6-4 - Jr. - C - 1.6 ppg, 2.4 rpg
5 - Kaitlyn Burke - 5-7 - Jr. - G - 1.2 ppg, 0.5 rpg
20 - Katya Leick - 6-1 - Fr. - F - 1.9 ppg, 1.4 rpg
10 - Meghin Williams - 6-1 - Fr. - F - 0.4 ppg, 0.6 rpg
42 - Nikki Bober - 6-4 - Sr. - C - Injured
Head Coach: Connie Yori (Creighton, 1986)
Eighth Season at NU (140-97); 20th Season Overall (335-237)
#10 Oklahoma State Cowgirls (18-3, 6-1) Probable Starters
00 - Lakyn Garrison - 5-5 - Jr. - G - 6.7 ppg, 2.0 rpg
1 - Tegan Cunningham - 6-1 - Sr. - F - 17.8 ppg, 7.9 rpg
24 - Precious Robinson - 6-0 - Jr. - G/F - 8.7 ppg, 8.3 rpg
33 - Megan Byford - 6-2 - Sr. - C - 3.4 ppg, 4.4 rpg
1 - Andrea Riley - 5-5 - Sr. - G - 26.3 ppg, 3.6 rpg
Off the Bench
15 - Toni Young - 6-2 - Fr. - G/F - 4.7 ppg, 5.6 rpg
25 - Lindsey Keller - 6-2 - Fr. - C - 4.0 ppg, 4.1 rpg
11 - Ally Clardy - 5-6 - Sr. - G - 2.3 ppg, 0.6 rpg
21 - LaSharra Riley - 6-2 - Fr. - F - 1.8 ppg, 1.9 rpg
5 - Carolyn Blair-Mobley - 5-10 - So. - G - 0.6 ppg, 1.4 rpg
Head Coach: Kurt Budke (Washburn, 1984)
Fifth Season at OSU (88-60); 16th Season Overall (441-107)
Star Power: NU’s Griffin, OSU’s Riley Among Nation’s Top Players
Nebraska’s Kelsey Griffin and Oklahoma State’s Andrea Riley will take center stage at the Devaney Center on Wednesday night in a battle of not only top 10 teams, but also top 10 players.
The National Player-of-the-Year candidates rank high in both the NCAA and Big 12 statistics. Griffin ranks 19th nationally and third in the Big 12 in scoring at 19.3 points per game, while Riley leads the nation at 26.3 points per game. Griffin also ranks 24th nationally and leads the Big 12 in rebounding at 10.1 boards per game, while Riley leads the Big 12 and ranks third nationally with 7.3 assists per contest. Griffin also ranks sixth nationally and leads the Big 12 in field goal percentage (.614). She ranks 17th nationally and leads the Big 12 with 10 double-doubles.
Both teams also feature strong supporting casts, as the Big Red’s "Big Four" of Griffin, Cory Montgomery, Yvonne Turner and Dominique Kelley are each averaging 12 or more points per game. Oklahoma State’s Tegan Cunningham provides a potent sidekick to Riley by averaging 17.8 points and 7.9 rebounds per game.
Huskers Complete First Perfect January in History
Nebraska’s 80-64 win at Colorado on Jan. 30 completed the first perfect January in school history. The Huskers closed January with a 7-0 mark, surpassing the previous best January in the NU record book, which came with a 7-1 record in 1996-97. That season, NU’s only loss came at the hands of Colorado on Jan. 4, at the Devaney Center.
The 1991-92 Huskers also produced a one-loss January, running to a 5-1 record with their lone loss to Kansas in Lincoln.
Nebraska’s January results this season have come in stark contrast to last year, when the Huskers struggled to a 1-7 record in January. In Coach Connie Yori’s first season at Nebraska in 2002-03, the Huskers were a program worst 0-7 in January. In the five seasons between 2002-03 and 2008-09, Yori’s Huskers produced a 23-16 combined mark in January.
Griffin Added to Wade Trophy Watch List
Nebraska senior Kelsey Griffin was one of seven players added to the State Farm Wade Trophy Watch List by the award’s committee on Thursday, Jan. 28. Griffin, a 6-2 power forward from Eagle River, Alaska, is in the midst of one of the most productive seasons in women’s college basketball this year, averaging 19.3 points and 10.1 rebounds while leading the Huskers with 35 steals and 16 charges drawn.
"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."
The two-time first-team All-Big 12 selection is leading the Big 12 in rebounding, while ranking third in the league in scoring despite averaging just 26.6 minutes per game for the 19-0 Huskers, who have produced the best start and longest winning streak in school history. Griffin, who ranks among the top 25 players nationally in both scoring and rebounding, while ranking sixth in the country in field goal percentage (.614) has powered the Huskers’ rise to a No. 4 national ranking in the most recent Associated Press Top 25 - the highest ranking in Nebraska history.
As impressive as Griffin’s per game averages appear, her per-40-minute production is nearly unmatched across the country this season, as she averages 29.1 points, 15.2 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 2.8 steals per 40 minutes. Griffin is the Big 12 Conference’s active career rebounding leader with 857, while ranking third among active scorers in the league with 1,715 points. She is one just three players in Nebraska history to record 1,600 points and 800 rebounds in her career, joining 1993 Wade Trophy winner Karen Jennings and All-American and two-time WNBA All-Star Anna DeForge.
Griffin was among seven candidates added to the Wade Trophy’s 25-player preseason list, joining Stanford’s Nnemkadi Ogumike, Notre Dame’s Lyndsay Schrader, University of Tennessee’s Shekinna Stricklen, Ole Miss’ Bianca Thomas and Duke’s Jasmine Thomas.
Earlier this season, Griffin was named one of the top candidates for both the Naismith Trophy (1 of 50) and the Wooden Award (1 of 21). 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.
The renowned "Wade Watch" list for The State Farm Wade Trophy is comprised of student-athletes who are members of an NCAA Division I institution and are selected based on the following criteria: game and season statistics, leadership, character, effect on their team and overall playing ability. The State Farm Wade Watch list will be narrowed down to 12 finalists in mid-March. The State Farm Wade Trophy winner will be officially announced at the WBCA National Convention, held in conjunction with the NCAA Women’s Final Four, in San Antonio, Texas.
Big Four Know How to Score 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 19 games.
Each of NU’s most experienced players are averaging more than 12 points per game and have combined to hit 51.2 percent (372-726) of their shots from the field, including 92-of-222 (41.4 percent) of their three-point attempts. Griffin leads NU with 19.3 points and 10.1 rebounds per game, while Montgomery - NU’s leading scorer and rebounder a year ago - is averaging 12.9 points and 5.1 boards per contest. Turner has increased her season averages to 12.2 points and 3.9 rebounds, by averaging 16.8 points and 4.7 boards per contest in Big 12 action.
Kelley, the lone junior in the experienced foursome, has pitched in 12.1 points and 4.2 rebounds per game.
Griffin ranks sixth nationally (61.4 percent) as an individual and Montgomery joins Griffin in the top 35 nationally at 53.1 percent (31st). Turner ranks among the top long-range shooters in both the Big 12 (4th) and nationally (19th) in three-point percentage (.442) and three-pointers made per game (2.8 - 2nd Big 12, 27th nationally).
As a team, the Huskers rank fifth nationally with their .474 field goal percentage. Nebraska is second in the Big 12 in that category, trailing only Baylor (.489). Texas A&M, Kansas, Oklahoma and Iowa State also rank among the top 30 teams nationally in that category.
Huskers Continue to Rewrite History
At 19-0, 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 19-0 start is also the best start in Big 12 history, dating back to the inception of the league in 1996-97. The Huskers’ 6-0 Big 12 start is their best league start in school history, surpassing 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 16 of their 19 victories by double digits, including nine wins by 20 or more points and six 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 19 opponents by double-digits late 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.
Then There Were Two: Huskers Join UConn As Only Unbeatens
Nebraska heads into Wednesday’s game with Oklahoma State as one of just two unbeaten teams left among the 345 NCAA Division I women’s basketball teams, joining No. 1 Connecticut. UConn owns the nation’s longest winning streak, which was at 60 games as of Monday, Feb. 1.
Huskers Claim Highest Ranking at No. 4 in AP Poll
Nebraska achieved its highest ranking in school history when the Huskers climbed to No. 4 in the Associated Press Top 25 on Monday, Feb. 1. It was NU’s third straight week in the top 10 and eighth 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, and NU achieved the a No. 4 spot in the Jan. 26 coaches poll.
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 three losses. Oklahoma State earned its first-ever top-10 ranking by coming in at No. 10, while Texas A&M slipped to No. 12. Oklahoma dipped to No. 13, while Baylor fell one spot to No. 15. Texas climbed two spots to No. 17, while Iowa State remained No. 22 for the second straight week in the poll. 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, Feb. 1, and Nebraska was near the top of the chart with a No. 5 national RPI ranking. Only Connecticut, Stanford, Tennessee and Notre Dame were ahead of the Huskers.
Big 12 foes Oklahoma (7th), Texas A&M (8th) and Oklahoma State (9th) joined Nebraska in the top 10, while Texas was 12th and Baylor 21st and Kansas 25th, giving the Big 12 seven teams in the RPI top 25.
All 12 of the Big 12 teams were among the top 90, including No. 38 Iowa State, No. 60 Texas Tech, No. 75 Kansas State, No. 85 Colorado and No. 86 Missouri.
Nebraska already owns 12 wins over top-100 RPI teams, including No. 12 Texas, No. 21 Baylor, No. 32 LSU, No. 38 Iowa State, No. 51 Vermont, No. 57 Creighton, No. 60 Texas Tech, No. 64 Miami, No. 71 UALR, No. 75 Kansas State, No. 85 Colorado and No. 99 Saint Mary’s. Eight of those wins have come away from the Devaney Center, including seven true road victories.
National Numbers Show Huskers Continuing Improvement
In the most recent NCAA statistics (Feb. 1), Nebraska is showing a level of play previously unmatched in program history. The Huskers rank second nationally in scoring margin (24.4 ppg), trailing only UConn’s 39.3 ppg.
Nebraska ranks second nationally in three-point field goal percentage defense (.245), and the Huskers have been even better on the road in the Big 12, allowing Iowa State, Baylor, Texas Tech and Colorado to hit just 7-of-49 threes (14.3 percent) in NU’s first four league road games.
Offensively, the Huskers rank fifth nationally in field-goal percentage (.474), and eighth nationally in scoring offense (79.1 ppg). NU also ranks 13th nationally in rebound margin (+8.1 rpg). Those numbers have led to Nebraska’s No. 18 national ranking in scoring defense (54.7 ppg). Finally, the Huskers rank No. 22 nationally in three-point field goals made per game with 7.4.
Scouting the Oklahoma State Cowgirls
Like Nebraska, Oklahoma State comes into Wednesday night’s game at the Devaney Center as one of the hottest teams in the nation. The Cowgirls achieved their first-ever top-10 national ranking in program history on Monday, by climbing five spots to No. 10 in the Associated Press poll. OSU’s previous best ranking was No. 12.
The Cowgirls were the preseason pick to finish ninth in the Big 12 this season, after finishing 2008-09 with a 4-12 record in 10th place in the final league standings. The Cowgirls have already eclipsed their conference win total from a year ago by bringing a 6-1 record to Lincoln. OSU’s 18 wins are also one better than its final 17-16 record last season.
Oklahoma State’s success has followed the spectacular play of senior Andrea Riley. The Big 12’s active career scoring leader, the 5-5 point guard leads the nation in scoring at 26.3 points per game. She has been even better in conference action, averaging a staggering 31.6 points per game.
Riley, who has the ball in her hands arguably more than any other player in the nation, also leads the Big 12 with 7.3 assists per game, while playing a Big 12 high 37 minutes per game. Through 21 games, Riley is averaging 23.5 shots per game, including 29.6 field goal attempts per game in Big 12 play. To put that number in perspective, Riley has attempted nearly as many shots in seven Big 12 games (207) as Nebraska’s Kelsey Griffin has attempted in 19 games this season (223).
Senior forward Tegan Cunningham gives Riley a dangerous sidekick, averaging 17.8 points and 7.9 rebounds per game. One of the Big 12’s leading three-point threats, the 6-1 Cunningham has hit 48-of-110 threes (43.6 percent) on the year.
Junior forward Precious Robinson gives the Cowgirls another potent rebounding threat, averaging 8.7 points and 8.3 rebounds per game in her first season in Stillwater. Junior guard Lakyn Garrison, who joins Cunningham and Robinson as junior college transfers in the OSU lineup, has pitched in 6.7 points and 2.0 boards per game. Senior center Megan Byford, who also originally came to the Cowgirl program as transfer, has added 3.4 points and 4.4 rebounds per game, while providing a physical presence at both ends of the court.
Youngsters Toni Young, Lindsey Keller, LaSharra Riley and Carolyn Blair-Mobley have also seen starting time for OSU this season, while senior guard Ally Clardy provides a reliable backup to Riley. Clardy started in place of Riley in last season’s game with Nebraska in Stillwater.
OSU is averaging 75.7 points per game, while surrendering 63.0 points per contest with a steady diet of zone defense. The Cowgirls are shooting 42.4 percent from the field, while holding the opposition to just 36.4 percent shooting. OSU has hit 33.6 percent of its long-range attempts, while connecting on 6.8 threes per game. The Cowgirls are also holding opponents to just 27.9 percent success from beyond the arc. OSU owns a plus-3.8 rebound margin and a plus-3.2 team turnover margin, while shooting a solid 71.6 percent at the free throw line.
Nebraska leads the all-time series with Oklahoma State, 31-25, including six wins in the past eight meetings. Last season, Cory Montgomery had a career-high 30 points and Yvonne Turner added a career-best 26 to lead NU to an 82-74 win at Stillwater in the regular-season finale. In the last meeting in Lincoln, OSU guard Andrea Riley had 24 points and seven assists to lead the Cowgirls to a 92-81 win on Feb. 10, 2008. Coach Connie Yori’s 6-2 record against OSU as NU’s head coach, is her best among Big 12 opponents.
Husker Road Foes Seeing Big Red in 3-D
Nebraska ranks second nationally in three-point field goal percentage defense (.245), but even that impressive statistic has not done the Huskers’ perimeter defense on the road justice this season.
In nine games away from the Devaney Center, Nebraska has held its opponents to just 19.1 percent (22-115) from beyond the arc. That number is even more staggering when you consider that Nebraska’s road foes have included Baylor, Iowa State, Miami and Vermont, all of which have been ranked in the top 25 this season.
In Big 12 play, the numbers are even more amazing, as the Huskers have held conference road foes to just 7-for-49 shooting from three-point range - 14.3 percent.
In addition to stopping the opposition, Nebraska has produced well offensively from long range on the road. The Huskers have hit 66-of-195 threes in nine road games, outscoring their opponents 198-66 from three-point territory. In Big 12 play, NU has outscored its road foes 93-21 from behind the arc.
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 recently 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 current AP No. 22 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 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, saw its schedule strength climb as high as No. 19 early in Big 12 play, but has dipped slightly to No. 32 heading into this week’s games with top-10 RPI teams Oklahoma State and Texas A&M.
Huskers Producing Massive Margins to Open Season
Nebraska’s average victory margin of 24.4 points per game through the first 19 contests is the best in school history and ranks second nationally, trailing only UConn’s 39.3 point-per-game advantage.
The 2009-10 Huskers are averaging 79.1 points per game (1,503 total points) on the offensive end, which would rank as the third-best scoring average in school history. Last season, Nebraska averaged just 62.2 points per game, including 59.7 in Big 12 play.
80 in 8: NU Offense Hitting 80 Points with Frequency
With an offense that ranks among the best in school history, Nebraska has hit 80-plus points regularly in 2009-10. Through 19 games, the Huskers have hit 80 or more points on nine occasions, including five times in the past eight 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 nine 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 54.7 points per game through the first 19 contests, which is on pace for the lowest opponent scoring average in school history. 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 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 29-14 regular-season record against the other five Big 12 North foes. Kansas State is 28-16, while Iowa State is 26-17 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, before running to an 80-64 win at Colorado on Jan. 30 to improve to 3-0 against the North this season. Kansas State and Kansas are 3-2 against the North this year, while Iowa State is 2-2. Colorado is 2-3, while Missouri is 0-4.
Despite suffering multiple season-ending injuries to key contributors in 2008-09, Nebraska battled Big 12 North Division foes with success. During the second half of the league season, the Huskers posted a 3-2 record in Big 12 North rematches to finish the season with a 4-6 regular-season mark against North opponents.
Nebraska closed 2008-09 North Division play with a 75-64 win over Colorado on March 3. The Huskers managed season splits with Kansas State, Kansas, Missouri and Colorado, while surrendering a sweep to Iowa State. The Huskers suffered a 67-66 loss at Missouri on Jan. 17, and a 75-73 loss at Colorado on Jan. 31. In the rematches in Lincoln, NU posted double-figure wins over both the Tigers (65-52) and Buffaloes (75-64). NU also posted a nine-point home win over KU (67-58) on Jan. 21, before notching a 52-47 win over No. 20 KSU in Lincoln on Feb. 25.
Griffin Becomes Third Husker with 1,700 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 1,700 points and 800 rebounds. Griffin surpassed the 1,700 career scoring mark with her 24-point effort at Colorado on Jan. 30. She also has 857 career rebounds.
Griffin, who ranks second in NU history with 30 career double-doubles, 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 17 more rebounds to catch Kathy Hagerstrom (874, 1980-83) at No. 3 on the Husker career rebounding chart.
Turner Ready to Climb to No. 2 on NU Career Three List
Senior Yvonne Turner has hit 53-of-120 three-point attempts (44.2 percent) to lead an impressive Husker three-point barrage through the first 19 games.
Turner ranks second in the Big 12 with 2.8 made three-pointers per game overall this season, while her 44.2 percent success rate ranks fourth in the league and 19th in the nation. She leads the Big 12 in league games only with 4.2 threes per contest.
Turner buried six threes in back-to-back wins over Baylor and Kansas State, before adding three more triples at Texas Tech and Colorado. She has increased her career total to 154 made threes, while improving her career numbers to 35.0 percent (154-440). Turner ranks third in Nebraska history in career three-pointers and needs just one 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 already ranks third on NU’s senior single-season three-point list with 53, and she needs 18 threes to catch Kiera Hardy (71, 2006-07) on that list. 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 (154) and career steals (195).
Turner Sizzling from Long Range in Big 12 Play
Yvonne Turner has played huge for the Huskers in Big 12 play, averaging 16.8 points per game, while adding 4.7 rebounds and 1.8 steals per contest. She is also averaging 4.2 made threes per game in league action. She was at her best during a three-game stretch (Texas, Baylor, Kansas State) of 20-point efforts, when she averaged 21 points and 5.7 threes per game. She has produced double figures in all six Big 12 games.
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.
Montgomery Set to Become 12th Husker with 1,200 Points, 500 Boards
With 1,192 points and 554 career rebounds, senior forward Cory Montgomery needs just eight points heading into Wednesday night’s game with Oklahoma State to become just the 12th player in Nebraska history with 1,200 points and 500 rebounds in a career.
With 11 points at Colorado on Jan. 30, Montgomery has moved to No. 14 on Nebraska’s career scoring list with 1,192 points. She added a team-leading six rebounds against the Buffaloes to increase her career total to 554. She needs just 20 rebounds to join the top 15 players in school history in that category.
The 6-2 forward from Cannon Falls, Minn., heads into the Oklahoma State game needing 51 points to catch Brooke Schwartz (1,243, 1997-2000) in 13th on NU’s all-time scoring list. Montgomery needs 20 more rebounds to match Nafeesah Brown (1993-94) in 15th with 574.
To reach the top 12 in scoring and rebounding at Nebraska, Montgomery needs 1,284 points and 636 rebounds. Montgomery owns 60 double-figure scoring efforts in her career and nine double-figure rebounding efforts.
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 OSU game averaging 12.9 points and 5.1 rebounds per game. She is hitting 42.0 percent (21-50) of her three-point attempts and 79.1 percent (34-43) of her free throws.
Montgomery has produced double figures in 16 of NU’s 19 games. 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.
Kelley Cranks Up Production as a Junior
Junior guard Dominique Kelley has put up big numbers in Nebraska’s first 19 games by averaging 12.1 points and 4.2 rebounds in just 23.4 minutes per game. The 5-7 hometown favorite out of Lincoln Northeast High School has produced double figures 14 times this year, including season highs of 18 points against Colorado (Jan. 30), No. 19 Texas (Jan. 12) and Saint Mary’s (Nov. 28).
A consistent scorer and tough defender, Kelley has produced 37 double-figure scoring efforts in her NU career, including 30 over the past 50 games. She produced double digits 16 times as a sophomore, after managing double figures just seven times while starting all 33 games for the Huskers as a true freshman in 2007-08. Kelley also ranks second among the Huskers this season with 11 charges drawn.
Kelley had a big effort on the road for the Huskers with a game-high matching 17 points in NU’s win at UNLV on Nov. 15. She 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 produced 16 points in NU’s run past Texas Tech on Jan. 27, and came up big in Nebraska’s road win at Miami. She led 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 (63-141) from the field and 39.4 percent (13-33) from three-point range, while connecting on 79.1 percent (91-115) of her free throws.
Taken over 40 minutes, Kelley is averaging 20.7 points, 7.2 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.4 steals per game.
Freshman Moore Off to 19-0 Mark as Starter
Lindsey Moore has helped the Huskers to a 19-0 record as Nebraska’s starting point guard in her first 19 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.
Through 19 games, Moore has already notched eight or more assists four times, including twice in Big 12 play. In Nebraska’s first-ever road win at Texas Tech on Jan. 27, Moore scored five points, distributed eight assists and matched her career high with three steals. Her effort followed on the heels of a career-best performance in a win over Kansas State on Jan. 23, when she notched nine assists, five rebounds and three steals - all career highs - to go along with four points.
Moore also dished out eight assists in NU’s win at 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.
On the season, Moore leads all Big 12 freshman with 4.5 assists per game. She has been at her best in Big 12 play, ranking second in the league with 5.7 assists per game, trailing only Oklahoma State’s Andrea Riley (6.0 apg). Moore’s 2.3-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio also matches Iowa State’s Alison Lacey for first in Big 12 play, while her 1.91 assist-to-turnover ratio in all games ranks 35th nationally.
Moore enters the Oklahoma State game with 86 assists, matching former Husker All-American and two-time WNBA All-Star Anna DeForge at No. 5 on the NU freshman single-season assist chart. With her next assist, Moore will catch Shannon Howell (2000-01) in fourth on the NU freshman list, while needing just 19 assists to reach Amy Stephens’ freshman total of 105 (3rd, 1985-86).
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 4.5 assists per game, which ranks fifth in the Big 12, while adding 4.5 points, 1.7 rebounds and 1.2 steals 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.
Griffin Going Off on Game-By-Game Basis
National Player-of-the-Year candidate Kelsey Griffin is producing the best season of her career as a senior for the Huskers. The 6-2 power forward owns a Big 12-leading 10 double-doubles, including five in Big 12 play.
Her averages of 19.3 points and 10.1 rebounds lead the Huskers and rank among the best players in the Big 12, while she is averaging just 26.6 minutes per game. She also leads NU with 35 steals and 16 charges drawn, while adding eight blocked shots. She also ranks among the top players nationally with her 61.4 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 produced her 10th game with 20 or more points by scoring 24 in NU’s win at Colorado on Jan. 30. It was the 27th 20-point scoring effort of her career. She added 22 points, 12 rebounds and a career-high five assists in NU’s win over Kansas State on Jan. 23. She followed with 20 points, 10 rebounds, three assists, two steals and two charges drawn in just 25 minutes in Nebraska’s win over Texas Tech in Lubbock on Jan. 27.
In Nebraska’s 65-56 victory 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 produced double-doubles in each of NU’s first five Big 12 games to push her career total to 30. She also owns 12 double-figure rebound totals on the season.
In her career, Griffin has produced 20 or more points on 27 occasions, including 13 games with 25 or more points. She enters the Oklahoma State game with 89 career double-figure scoring efforts and double-figure rebounding performances in her career.
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 18 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 Oklahoma State game ranked third in the Big 12 with 19.3 points per game, while leading the league with 10.1 rebounds per game. Those numbers become significantly more impressive considering she has played just 26.6 minutes per game.
Taken over 40 minutes, Griffin would be averaging 29.1 points, 15.3 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 2.8 steals. In addition to her team-leading 35 steals this season, Griffin has added eight blocked shots and drawn a team-leading 16 charges in 19 games for the Huskers. She is also shooting 61.4 percent from the field, which leads the Big 12 and ranks sixth nationally.
Compare that production to current Big 12 scoring leader Andrea Riley, who enters the week averaging a nation-leading 26.3 points, 3.6 rebounds, 7.3 assists and 2.3 steals per game. Through 21 games, Riley is averaging 37.0 minutes per game, and her 40-minute production is 28.5 points, 3.9 rebounds, 7.9 assists and 2.5 steals. Riley is also shooting just 36.8 percent from the field.
With 367 points and 192 rebounds in 505 minutes, Griffin is averaging 0.73 points per minute and 0.38 rebounds per minute. Riley averages an impressive 0.71 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 - 29.1 points, 15.2 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 2.8 steals
- Dominique Kelley - 20.7 points, 7.2 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.4 steals
- Harleen Sidhu - 20.0 points, 14.3 rebounds, 2.9 assists
- Cory Montgomery - 19.4 points, 7.7 rebounds, 1.6 assists
- Yvonne Turner - 18.3 points, 5.9 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 2.3 steals
- Katya Leick - 13.9 points, 10.6 rebounds, 1.6 assists
- Catheryn Redmon - 11.2 points, 12.2 rebounds, 5.2 blocks
- Layne Reeves - 10.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.5 steals
- Kala Kuhlmann – 9.7 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.0 steals
- Nicole Neals - 9.8 points, 2.3 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 1.9 steals
- Lindsey Moore – 7.0 points, 2.6 rebounds, 7.0 assists, 1.8 steals
- Jessica Periago – 6.5 points, 10.1 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 2.3 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 19 games this season, Nebraska’s focus is paying dividends, as the Huskers carry a plus-8.1 team rebounding margin, which ranks third in the Big 12, trailing only Baylor (+11.1) and Iowa State (+9.0) - two teams NU has already outrebounded head-to-head in league play. The Huskers rank 13th nationally in rebound margin.
Nebraska has outrebounded 16 of its first 19 opponents, surpassing 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 seven opponents since the holiday break.
Only three opponents have outrebounded NU this season - Miami (34-30), LSU (38-36), at Colorado (36-27). 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, and a Big 12-best plus-14 margin (40-26) at Texas Tech on Jan. 27.
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 10.1 boards per game, including 12 double-digit rebound efforts.
Huskers Starting Fast, Finishing Strong
Nebraska’s high-powered offense is averaging 39.6 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 26.4 points per first half, as the Huskers have headed to the locker room with an average lead of 13.2 points (39.6-26.4) and have allowed only four foes to score 30 first-half points (Texas, 44; Miami, 36; LSU, 34; Kansas State, 34).
Colorado, Creighton and Vermont each 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 19 contests, as the Huskers have averaged 39.5 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 ranks fourth in the Big 12 and 22nd nationally with 7.4 threes per game, well ahead of school-record pace, which was set last season with 5.5 threes per game. The Huskers also rank second nationally in three-point field goal percentage defense (.245). NU has outscored its opponents by a combined 237 points (423-186) 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 36.2 percent (141-390) as a team from long range and has already produced the seventh-best three-point shooting season in school history. NU needs just 33 more threes on the season to break the school record. Under Coach Connie Yori, Nebraska has produced each of the top seven seasons in three-point field goals made in school history.
Huskers Roll to 19-0 with 16-Point Win at Colorado
No. 6 Nebraska continued its history-making season by improving to 6-0 in conference play for the first time in school history with a 80-64 win at Colorado on Saturday afternoon.
Playing in front of crowd at the Coors Events Center that included at least 1,000 red-clad Husker fans, Nebraska extended its school-record winning streak to 19 games and improved to 19-0 on the year. Colorado slipped to 12-8 on the year and 2-5 in the Big 12.
Senior All-America candidate Kelsey Griffin surpassed the 1,700-point mark in her career with 24 points and five rebounds to lead four Huskers in double figures. The 6-2 power forward from Eagle River, Alaska, had her streak of six consecutive double-doubles snapped, but Griffin added three assists and two steals in the game.
Junior guard Dominique Kelley added 18 points and a pair of assists, while taking a pair of charges to help lead the Husker defense. Senior forward Cory Montgomery added 11 points and a team-high six rebounds, while senior guard Yvonne Turner added 11 points of her own, including a trio of three-pointers to finish with nine points. Senior guards Kala Kuhlmann and Nicole Neals also played big roles off the bench, by each contributing six points. Freshman point guard Lindsey Moore added seven assists.
Nebraska hit better than 50 percent of its shots from the field (28-51) for the ninth time this season, but the Huskers were outrebounded for the first time in Big 12 play (36-27), and just the third time all season. NU also hit 6-of-15 three-pointers and 18-of-30 free throws. Nebraska did produce a plus-eight turnover margin (20-12) on the game.
Nebraska, which joins Connecticut as one of just two unbeatens in the nation, notched its 16 double-digit victory of the season, while improving to 9-0 on the road this season, including to 4-0 in Big 12 play.
Chucky Jeffery led the Buffs with 14 points, 11 rebounds and five assists, while Bianca Smith pitched in 14 points on a trio of threes off the bench. CU star Brittany Spears managed 10 points and nine rebounds. Courtney Dunn rounded out a trio of Buffs in double figures with 10 points. CU hit 44.2 percent (23-52) of its shots from the field, including 5-of-15 three-pointers, while hitting 13-of-18 free throws.
Leading just 38-33 early in the second half, Neals hit one of NU’s biggest shots of the game with a three from the right wing to push NU’s lead back to eight at 41-33. Kelley followed with a driving layup and completed a three-point play after being fouled by Jeffery to extend the Husker edge back to double-digits at 46-35.
The Huskers were able to trim the margin back to six at 50-44 with 12:02 left, before Griffin and Kelley combined for eight straight points to push NU’s margin back to double-digits at 58-46 with 9:04 left. The Buffs would not cut it to single-digits again, as NU built the lead as large as 19 points before settling for the 16-point win.
Nebraska controlled the game throughout the first half, building a 14-point lead before a pair of Bianca Smith threes cut the Husker edge to 37-29 at halftime. Kelley led the Huskers in the opening period with nine points, while Griffin added eight points, four boards and two steals. Eight Huskers scored in the first half, as NU hit 52 percent (13-25) of its shots from the field, including 3-of-7 three-pointers and 8-of-11 free throws. NU also outrebounded CU, 16-15, while producing a plus-three turnover margin (10-7).
Smith led the Buffs with eight first-half points, while Jeffery and seven and Smith and Dunn pitched in six points apiece, all in the final 3:30 of the half. CU hit 11-of-26 first-half shots, including 3-of-9 threes, with all three coming in the final 2:30. The Buffs hit 4-of-5 free throws.
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 two shot in NU’s win at Colorado on Jan. 30 to increase her career total to 117.
Redmon needs just nine 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 41 rejections in 314 minutes through the first 19 games. She has blocked two or more shots in 12 of NU’s first 19 games and is averaging 2.2 blocks in just 16.5 minutes per contest.
She needs 18 more to catch Janet Smith (59, 1980-81) in second and 19 more to match Danielle Page’s junior single-season school record of 60 set in 2006-07.
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 at New Mexico in the second round of the WNIT on March 25.
Turner Joins Top 10 on NU Career Steals List
With 195 career steals, including 29 in 19 games this season, senior Yvonne Turner ranks No. 8 on Nebraska’s all-time steals list. She needs 20 steals to catch Maurtice Ivy (215, 1985-88) in seventh on the Husker career chart.
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’s 2009-10 schedule strength again ranks among the best nationally, coming in at No. 32 in the CollegeRPI.com strength of schedule rankings on Feb. 2.
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 are ranked among the top 90 nationally in the RPI as of Feb. 2.
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 112 games in her NU career. Nebraska also features junior guard Dominique Kelley, who has started 83 straight games to open her career, while senior forward Cory Montgomery made her 51st straight start at Colorado and her 54th career start.
Yvonne Turner started her 80th career game against Colorado, while freshman point guard Lindsey Moore has started the first 19 games of her NU career, and gives the Huskers a starting five with 348 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
Nebraska has become a regular on the Fox Sports family of networks in Big 12 action in 2009-10.
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 traveled to Boulder and ran to an 80-64 win over Colorado in a Fox Sports Rocky Mountain game. Nebraska’s top-10 battle 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 No. 12 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 Missouri, Kansas State
The Fastbreakers are planning three bus trips to Nebraska women’s basketball road games during Big 12 Conference play in 2010.
Nebraska’s first bus trip to Colorado was a resounding success. The traveling Fastbreakers were joined by nearly 1,000 red-clad Husker fans at the Coors Events Center in Boulder, where they watched the Huskers roll to an 80-64 victory over the Buffs.
Make plans now to join the Fastbreakers’ remaining trips to Missouri (Saturday, Feb. 13) and Kansas State (Saturday, March 6). 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).