Huskers Take Aim at 12th Big 12 Win in Battle with Buffs
#3 Nebraska Cornhuskers (24-0, 11-0 Big 12)
vs. Colorado Buffaloes (12-12, 2-9 Big 12)
Bob Devaney Sports Center (13,595) • Lincoln, Neb.
Saturday, Feb. 20 • 1:05 p.m.
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Men's & Women's Doubleheader: Men's ticket to Missouri game (5 p.m.) gets fans in free for women's game (section C-19 & above, first-come, first-served)
Radio: Husker Sports Network (98.1 FM-KFGE-Lincoln, 93.3 FM-KTWI Omaha, 880 AM-KRVN Lexington)
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Live Internet Video: HuskersNside (premium subscribers)
No. 3 Nebraska shoots for its school-record 12th conference victory when the Huskers welcome Colorado to the Bob Devaney Sports Center in Lincoln on Saturday afternoon. Tip-off between the Huskers (24-0, 11-0 Big 12) and Buffaloes (12-12, 2-9 Big 12) is set for 1:05 p.m., with live Husker Sports Network radio coverage 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 for free on Huskers.com. A live video stream will also be available to premium subscribers of HuskersNside.
Nebraska set a school record by notching its 24th victory of the season in a 60-50 win over No. 13 Iowa State on Wednesday at the Devaney Center. The Huskers will be trying to extend their school-record winning streak to 25 games on Saturday against the Buffs, while pursuing their 18th straight home win. NU will also be in the hunt for its 14th straight Big 12 regular-season victory. If the Huskers can get past Colorado, they would match last year's Oklahoma squad for the second best Big 12 start in history, trailing only OU's perfect 16-0 squad in 2005-06.
Reigning Big 12 Player-of-the-Week Kelsey Griffin and the Huskers will try to complete a season sweep of the Buffaloes. Griffin, who is averaging 19.3 points and a Big 12-best 10.2 rebounds per game on the year, became just the second player in Nebraska history with 1,800 points and 900 career rebounds, after getting her 14th double-double of the year with 11 points and 11 rebounds against Iowa State.
Fellow senior Yvonne Turner also put her name in the record book against the Cyclones, becoming the 25th Husker in history to amass 1,000 career points. She is joined in that club by Griffin and fellow senior Cory Montgomery, who climbed to No. 13 on NU's career scoring list (1,250 points) with her 16-point performance against the Cyclones.
While NU's senior starting trio has earned headlines throughout their careers, it was freshman Lindsey Moore who stole the spotlight against Iowa State Wednesday night. Moore, a 5-9 point guard from Covington, Wash., erupted for a career-high 18 points with a career-best four three-pointers. Moore's big night included 15 points in the second half against the Cyclones.
#3 Nebraska Cornhuskers (24-0, 11-0) Probable Starters
23 - Kelsey Griffin - 6-2 - Sr. - F - 19.3 ppg, 10.2 rpg
40 - Cory Montgomery - 6-2 - Sr. - F - 12.6 ppg, 4.8 rpg
00 - Lindsey Moore - 5-9 - Fr. - G - 5.2 ppg, 2.0 rpg
22 - Yvonne Turner - 5-8 - Sr. - G - 12.5 ppg, 3.7 rpg
24 - Dominique Kelley - 5-7 - Jr. - G - 12.1 ppg, 4.0 rpg
The Next Wave
44 - Catheryn Redmon - 6-3 - Jr. - C - 4.6 ppg, 4.7 rpg
13 - Kala Kuhlmann - 5-8 - Sr. - G - 3.8 ppg, 1.6 rpg
11 - Nicole Neals - 5-6 - Sr. - G - 2.9 ppg, 0.8 rpg
21 - Harleen Sidhu - 6-1 - So. - F - 2.3 ppg, 1.7 rpg
12 - Layne Reeves - 5-11 - RFr. - G - 1.6 ppg, 0.8 rpg
35 - Jessica Periago - 6-4 - Jr. - C - 1.5 ppg, 2.1 rpg
5 - Kaitlyn Burke - 5-7 - Jr. - G - 1.2 ppg, 0.5 rpg
20 - Katya Leick - 6-1 - Fr. - F - 1.8 ppg, 1.4 rpg
10 - Meghin Williams - 6-1 - Fr. - F - 0.9 ppg, 0.7 rpg
42 - Nikki Bober - 6-4 - Sr. - C - Injured
Head Coach: Connie Yori (Creighton, 1986)
Eighth Season at NU (145-97); 20th Season Overall (340-237)
Colorado Buffaloes (12-12, 2-9 Big 12) Probable Starters
14 - Meagan Malcolm-Peck - 6-2 - Fr. - F - 5.7 ppg, 3.9 rpg
22 - Brittany Spears - 6-1 - Jr. - F - 17.2 ppg, 8.5 rpg
34 - Courtney Dunn - 6-4 - Jr. - C - 6.5 ppg, 4.8 rpg
23 - Chucky Jeffery - 5-10 - Fr. - G - 10.1 ppg, 5.5 rpg
1 - Alyssa Fressle - 5-10 - So. - G - 6.9 ppg, 2.4 rpg
Off the Bench
2 - Bianca Smith - 5-9 - Sr. - G - 12.6 ppg, 2.5 rpg
32 - Kelly Jo Mullaney - 5-8 - Jr. - G - 3.9 ppg, 2.1 rpg
24 - Brenna Malcolm-Peck - 6-2 - Fr. - F - 1.2 ppg, 0.5 rpg
21 - Chelsea Dale - 6-1 - Jr. - F - 1.2 ppg, 0.8 rpg
15 - Julie Seabrook - 6-3 - So. - F - 1.1 ppg, 2.0 rpg
55 - Melissa MacFarlane - 6-7 - Fr. - C - 0.9 ppg, 1.1 rpg
4 - Britney Blythe - 5-9 - Jr. - G - 0.0 ppg, 0.2 rpg
Head Coach: Kathy McConnell-Miller (Virginia, 1989)
Fifth Season at CU (64-83); 11th Season Overall (155-171)
Griffin Becomes Second Husker with 1,800 Points, 900 Rebounds
Kelsey Griffin has cemented her place among the best players in Nebraska women's basketball history, and recently became just the second player in school history with 1,800 points and 900 rebounds. Griffin enters Saturday's game against Colorado with 1,811 points and 909 rebounds.
Griffin, who ranks second in NU history with 34 career double-doubles, joins 1993 Wade Trophy winner Karen Jennings (2,405 points, 1,000 rebounds) as the only Huskers to accomplish the feat.
Griffin ranks third on Nebraska's career rebounding chart and needs 91 rebounds to catch Jennings at No. 2 with 1,000. Griffin ranks eighth in Husker history in scoring and is within 56 points of the top five.
Turner Joins Griffin, Montgomery in 1,000-Point Club
Yvonne Turner joined fellow seniors Kelsey Griffin and Cory Montgomery in Nebraska's 1,000-point club with eight points in Wednesday's win over No. 13 Iowa State. Turner, a 5-8 guard from Omaha, Neb., owns 1,007 career points, ranking 24th on NU's career scoring list while becoming the 25th Husker to join the 1,000-point club.
Griffin ranks eighth at Nebraska with 1,811 points, while Montgomery ranks 13th with 1,250. Turner, who ranks second in Husker history in career three-pointers (166) and eighth in career steals (209), needs 62 points to join the top 20 in career scoring.
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 24 games.
Each of NU's most experienced players are averaging more than 12 points per game and have combined to hit 50.4 percent (466-925) of their shots from the field, including 112-of-285 (39.3 percent) of their three-point attempts. Griffin leads NU with 19.3 points and 10.2 rebounds per game, while Montgomery - NU's leading scorer and rebounder a year ago - is averaging 12.6 points and 4.8 boards per contest. Turner has added 12.5 points and 3.7 rebounds per game - while pouring in 15.5 points per game in league action.
Kelley, the lone junior in the experienced foursome, has pitched in 12.1 points and 4.0 rebounds per game.
The last Nebraska team to have four players average in double figures in a season was the 1996 NCAA Tournament squad (Anna DeForge, Tina McClain, Pyra Aarden, Kate Galligan). Only one time between 1995-96 and 2008-09 (13 seasons) did Nebraska feature three players who averaged double figures - Coach Connie Yori's first NU team in 2002-03 (Alexa Johnson, Katie Morse, Margaret Richards). Morse, who averaged 12 points per game, only played the first seven games before suffering a season-ending knee injury.
Vote for Griffin as Lowe's Senior Class Finalist
Nebraska senior forward Kelsey Griffin was named one of 10 finalists for the 2010 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award for NCAA Division I women's basketball on Wednesday, Feb. 3.
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 10.2 rebounds while leading the 24-0 Huskers with 43 steals and 20 charges drawn.
The two-time first-team All-Big 12 selection ranks third in the league in scoring and first in rebounding despite averaging just 26.8 minutes per game. She has powered Nebraska to its highest national rankings, longest winning streak and best Big 12 start in school history, while ranking among the top 25 players nationally in scoring, rebounding and field goal percentage.
The two-time first-team All-Big 12 selection is also a candidate for the Wade Trophy, the Naismith Trophy and the Wooden Award, as a national player-of-the-year candidate. In addition to her success on the court in her career, the All-America candidate is also a standout in the classroom and in the community.
In the classroom, Griffin is a two-time first-team academic All-Big 12 selection who carries nearly a 3.5 grade-point average as a biological sciences major. Projected as a high WNBA draft pick in 2010, Griffin hopes to pursue a career in the medical profession following her playing days. In the community, Griffin has been a mentor at Belmont Elementary School for five years, and has served as a volunteer speaker multiple times for "School is Cool" week and the "School is Cool" celebration. She has also spoken several times during American Education Week, while helping the women's basketball team claim Nebraska's Life Skills Award of Excellence in 2006.
The Lowe's Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities. The finalists were chosen by a media committee from the list of 30 women's basketball candidates who were announced in October.
Fans can vote right now at the award's official web site: http://www.seniorCLASSaward.com, as well as through text messaging. Fans can text W6 to 74567 to vote for women's finalists. These votes will be combined with votes from coaches and media to determine the recipient of the award.
In addition to Griffin, the other women's basketball finalists are: Jayne Appel, Stanford; Amy Beggin, New Mexico; Joy Cheek, Duke; Alysha Clark, Middle Tennessee State; Tyra Grant, Penn State; Allison Hightower, LSU; Ashley Houts, Georgia; Ashley Sweat, Kansas State; and Bianca Thomas, Mississippi.
The 2009-10 season marks the ninth year of the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award, and past women's basketball recipients include: Sue Bird (Connecticut, 2002), LaToya Thomas (Mississippi State, 2003), Alana Beard (Duke, 2004), Kendra Wecker (Kansas State, 2005), Seimone Augustus (LSU, 2006), Alison Bales (Duke, 2007), Candice Wiggins (Stanford, 2008), Courtney Paris (Oklahoma, 2009).
Huskers Continue to Rewrite History
At 24-0, Nebraska owns the most wins in a season in school history while extending the longest winning streak in school history to 24 games, nearly tripling a nine-game winning streak to open the 1996-97 campaign. Nebraska's 24-0 start is also the best start in Big 12 history, dating back to the inception of the league in 1996-97. The Huskers' 11-0 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 19 of their 24 victories by double digits, including 10 wins by 20 or more points and six wins by 39 or more. NU's lone single-digit wins came with an 82-78 win at Missouri on Feb. 13, a 76-71 victory at Miami on Dec. 5, a 67-60 win at Kansas on Feb. 10, an eight-point win at Iowa State on Jan. 9, and a nine-point victory at No. 9 Baylor. The Huskers have led 23 of their 24 opponents by double digits in the second half, with only Missouri avoiding a 10-point margin.
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 Saturday's game against Colorado 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 reached 65 games after beating No. 11 Oklahoma on Monday.
Huskers Claim Highest Ranking at No. 3 in AP Poll
Nebraska achieved its highest ranking in school history when the Huskers climbed to No. 3 in the Associated Press Top 25 on Monday, Feb. 8. NU maintained that ranking on Feb. 15, the Huskers' fifth straight week in the top 10 and 10th 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 a No. 4 ranking in the Jan. 26 coaches, where the Huskers stayed for three straight weeks before moving into a tie for No. 3 with Notre Dame on Feb. 16.
Nebraska is one of seven Big 12 teams in the AP top 20 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 four losses. NU is joined by No. 11 Oklahoma, No. 12 Texas, No. 13 Iowa State, No. 15 Texas A&M, No. 17 Oklahoma State and No. 18 Baylor in the AP Top 25. Kansas was also ranked for nine weeks earlier this season.
Huskers Running High in Official NCAA RPI
The NCAA released its official RPI rankings on Monday, Feb. 15, 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.
Big 12 foes Oklahoma (7th) and Texas (8th) joined Nebraska in the top 10, while Texas A&M was 11th, Oklahoma State 13th, Baylor 22nd, Iowa State 24th and Kansas 25th, giving the Big 12 eight teams in the RPI top 25.
All 12 of the Big 12 teams were among the top 105, including No. 36 Texas Tech, No. 83 Kansas State, No. 100 Missouri and No. 102 Colorado.
Nebraska already owns 16 wins over top-100 RPI teams, including No. 8 Texas, No. 11 Texas A&M, No. 13 Oklahoma State, No. 22 Baylor, No. 24 Iowa State (2), No. 25 Kansas, No. 33 LSU, No. 36 Texas Tech, No. 45 Vermont, No. 59 Miami, No. 60 UALR, No. 73 Creighton, No. 83 Kansas State, No. 93 Saint Mary's and No. 100 Missouri. NU also owns a victory over RPI No. 102 Colorado. Nine of NU's top-100 RPI wins have come away from home, including eight true road wins.
National Numbers Show Huskers Continuing Improvement
In the most recent NCAA statistics (Feb. 15), Nebraska is showing a level of play previously unmatched in program history. The Huskers rank third nationally in scoring margin (21.5 ppg), while UConn leads the nation at 38.1 ppg.
Nebraska ranks third nationally in three-point field goal percentage defense (.265), and the Huskers have been even better on the road in the Big 12, allowing Iowa State, Baylor, Texas Tech, Colorado, Kansas and Missouri to hit just 16-of-77 threes (20.8 percent) in NU's first six league road games.
Offensively, the Huskers rank sixth nationally in scoring offense (78.0 ppg) and field-goal percentage (.467). NU also ranks 23rd nationally in rebound margin (+5.7 rpg). Those numbers have led to Nebraska's No. 34 national ranking in scoring defense (56.5 ppg). Finally, the Huskers rank No. 31 nationally in three-point field goals made per game with 7.0.
Scouting the Colorado Buffaloes
Colorado comes to Lincoln trying to turn the tide on a seven-game losing streak. The Buffaloes are coming off a 79-72 home loss to Kansas on Tuesday night - CU's fifth consecutive home loss in Big 12 play dating back to a 64-48 victory over Missouri in the Buffs' conference opener.
Colorado has also lost three straight on the road, with its lone Big 12 road win coming in a 63-57 victory at Kansas State - CU's only victory in a true road game this season.
The Buffs opened the season 11-3 following the conference-opening win over MU, but have dropped nine of their past 10 games overall to fall to 12-12 and 2-9 in the Big 12.
Junior guard Brittany Spears leads the Buffs with 17.2 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game, while adding 2.1 assists and 1.2 blocks per contest. One of the Big 12's top freshmen, guard Chucky Jeffery, has added 10.1 points, 5.5 rebounds, a team-leading 3.3 assists and 2.2 steals per game. Senior guard Bianca Smith, one of the league's top three-point shooters, has come off the bench to average 12.6 points on a Big 12-best 2.8 threes per game. Along with hitting 37.1 percent of her threes, Smith has connected on 85 percent of her free throws.
Spears, Jeffery and Smith give the Buffs one of the most explosive backcourts in the Big 12, while starter Alyssa Fressle (6.9 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 2.4 apg, 1.5 spg) has added stability by joining Spears in the starting backcourt for all 24 games. Kelly Jo Mullaney gives CU solid depth in the backcourt as well, averaging 3.9 points and 2.1 boards in 16 minutes per game.
Colorado's frontcourt has struggled with youth and inexperience this season. In her first year as a starter, 6-4 junior center Courtney Dunn has contributed 6.5 points and 4.8 rebounds per game. Meagan Malcolm-Peck has added 5.7 points and 3.9 rebounds along with a team-leading 1.3 blocks per game. Her twin sister, Brenna, has pitched in 1.2 points on 0.5 rebounds per game, while sophomore Julie Seabrook and junior Chelsea Dale have also contributed. Melissa MacFarlane, a 6-7 freshman center from Omaha, has also seen action in 15 games.
The Buffs have averaged 67.5 points per game, while surrendering 63.8 points per contest. In Big 12 play, they have been outscored by an average of 10 points per game (70-60). CU has also been strapped by a negative-4.8 team rebounding margin and a negative-2.4 turnover margin in conference play. The Buffs have shot just 37.6 percent from the field, including 28.6 percent from three-point range, against the league.
In the first meeting with the Huskers this season, Colorado suffered an 80-64 loss at the Coors Events Center on Jan. 30. Kelsey Griffin hit 10-of-15 shots from the field with a game-high 24 points, but matched her season low with just five rebounds, as CU outboarded the Huskers 36-27. Dominique Kelley added a big game with 18 points, while Cory Montgomery and Yvonne Turner both pitched in 11, and Nicole Neals and Kala Kuhlmann each contributed six points off the bench. Kelley and the rest of the NU guards also teamed up to limit Spears to just 10 points, although the CU star added nine points and five assists. Jeffery and Smith led Colorado with 14 points, while Dunn managed nine points before fouling out.
Colorado leads the all-time series with Nebraska, 39-27, but the Huskers have dominated in recent years, winning 10 of the last 12 games. The Huskers have won five straight games against the Buffs at the Devaney Center.
Nebraska played five Big 12 South foes in its first eight league games and the Huskers notched a perfect 5-0 mark. The Huskers notched their seventh straight win against the South with a 71-60 victory over No. 12 Texas A&M at the Devaney Center on Feb. 6. The win over the Aggies followed on the heels of an 88-67 run past No. 10 Oklahoma State in Lincoln on Feb. 3.
Nebraska produced its largest victory margin in history against a Big 12 opponent with an 89-47 win at Texas Tech on Jan. 27, after posting a 65-56 win at No. 9 Baylor on Jan. 17. The Lady Bears are the only South foe to play the Huskers within single digits this season. NU opened home Big 12 action with a 91-79 win over No. 19 Texas on Jan. 12.
In its five meetings with Big 12 South foes, Nebraska is averaging 80.8 points per game, while surrendering 61.8 points per contest, for an average winning margin of 19 points per game. The Huskers are also a plus-4.2 in team rebounding margin and plus-4.0 in team turnover margin against South Division foes.
Nebraska will shoot for its first 6-0 sweep of the South at Oklahoma on Feb. 24. The Huskers will be gunning for just the third-ever sweep by a North school against the South since the inception of the Big 12 in 1996-97. Iowa State was the last team to do it in 1999-2000, following a Kansas sweep in 1998-99. A North school has won five or more games against the South only eight previous times, most recently Kansas State's back-to-back 5-1 marks in 2002-03 and 2003-04. Iowa State is 4-1 against the South this season.
Husker Road Foes Seeing Big Red in 3-D
Nebraska ranks third nationally in three-point field goal percentage defense (.265), but even that impressive statistic has not done the Huskers' perimeter defense on the road justice this season.
In 11 games away from the Devaney Center, Nebraska has held its opponents to just 21.7 percent (31-143) from beyond the arc. That number is even more staggering when you consider that Nebraska's road foes have included Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, 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 16-for-77 shooting from three-point range - 20.8 percent. In 11 Big 12 games overall, NU foes have hit just 28.8 (47-163) percent of their three-point attempts even though the Huskers' last two opponents (Missouri, Iowa State) have combined to go 18-for-44 from long range. In Nebraska's last four games against Big 12 South competition, the Huskers have held their opponents (No. 9 Baylor, Texas Tech, No. 10 Oklahoma State, No. 12 Texas A&M) to a combined 7-for-49 shooting from long range.
In addition to stopping the opposition, Nebraska has produced well offensively from long range on the road. The Huskers have hit 73-of-221 threes in 11 road games, outscoring their opponents 219-93 from three-point territory. In Big 12 play, NU has outscored its road foes 129-78 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 over No. 13 Iowa State marked their 18th win over an AP Top 25 foe during Yori's tenure, including their sixth this season. NU's 21-point win over No. 10 Oklahoma State on Feb. 3 was the Huskers' fifth against a top-10 opponent. Before Yori's arrival, Nebraska had beaten just one top-10 opponent in school history.
Nebraska's three top-10 wins this season have matched NU's all-time total in 35 seasons of women's basketball.
NU's win at No. 9 Baylor on Jan. 17, marked the Huskers' first victory against a top-25 team in a true road game under Yori. It was also the Huskers' first-ever true road win over a top-10 opponent.
The Huskers have posted five wins over AP Top 15 teams (No. 5 LSU, No. 9 Baylor, No. 10 Oklahoma State, No. 12 Texas A&M, No. 13 Iowa State) this season, including three wins over top-10 foes.
The Huskers also own a road win over current AP No. 13 Iowa State on Jan. 9, in Ames, while also claiming road wins over previously ranked clubs at Vermont (AP No. 24, Jan. 18), Miami (AP No. 25, Jan. 11), Kansas (as high as No. 18, first nine weeks AP). The Jayhawks, Catamounts and Hurricanes 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' 21-point win over No. 10 OSU on Feb. 3, 2010, marked NU's largest victory margin ever over a top-10 team. Nebraska's 29-point win over No. 14 Iowa State in 2005 was 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 10 finalists 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 to No. 18 on Feb. 11, after knocking off RPI No. 23 Kansas in Lawrence. The Huskers enter the Colorado game with a No. 21 Strength of Schedule.
Huskers Producing Massive Margins
Nebraska's average victory margin of 21.5 points per game through 24 contests is the best in school history and ranks second nationally, trailing only UConn's 38.1 point-per-game advantage.
The 2009-10 Huskers are averaging 78 points per game (1,871 total points) on the offensive end, which would rank as the sixth-best scoring average in school history. Last season, Nebraska averaged just 62.2 points per game, including 59.7 in Big 12 play.
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 24 games, the Huskers have hit 80 or more points on 11 occasions.
Nebraska's offense has been strong against the nation's best. In 10 games against teams that have been ranked in the top 25 at any point this season (Miami, LSU, Vermont, Iowa State-2, Texas, Baylor, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, Kansas), the Huskers are averaging 74.6 points, including 94 points at Vermont, 91 against No. 19 Texas and 88 against No. 10 Oklahoma State. Iowa State has been the only team to hold the Huskers to fewer than 65 points, doing it twice (57 at Ames, 60 in Lincoln). NU is averaging 78.6 points against the other eight top 25 foes.
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 11 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 56.5 points per game through 24 contests, which is on pace for the lowest opponent scoring average since 1975-76, when the 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 32-14 regular-season record against the other five Big 12 North foes. Kansas State is 29-17, while Iowa State is 27-18 in that span.
The Huskers completed a season sweep of Iowa State with their 60-50 win on Feb.17 to improve to 6-0 this season against the North. NU will shoot for its second sweep against Colorado, after beating the Buffs 80-64 in Boulder on Jan. 30. The Huskers defeated Kansas State (71-56), Kansas (67-60) and Missouri (82-78). Kansas is 5-3 against the North this year, while Kansas State is 4-3, Iowa State is 3-3, Colorado is 2-4 and Missouri is 0-7.
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.
Turner Shoots to No. 2 on NU Career Three List
Senior Yvonne Turner has hit 65-of-161 three-point attempts (40.4 percent) to lead an impressive Husker three-point barrage through 24 games.
Turner is tied for second in the Big 12 with 2.7 made three-pointers per game this season, while her 40.4 percent success rate ranks eighth in the league and 28th in the nation. She leads the Big 12 in league games only with 3.4 threes per contest.
Turner buried six threes in back-to-back wins over Baylor and Kansas State, before hitting four threes in NU's run past No. 10 Oklahoma State on Feb. 6. She added three more triples at Texas Tech, Colorado, No. 12 Texas A&M and Kansas. She owns 166 career threes to rank No. 2 in school history, trailing only former teammate Kiera Hardy (267, 2003-06). Turner has also improved her career shooting percentage to 34.6 percent (166-481), which ranks seventh all-time at Nebraska.
Turner already ranks third on NU's senior single-season three-point list with 65, and she needs six 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 after the season. Turner did not 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 (166) and career steals (209).
Turner Sizzling from Long Range in Big 12 Play
Yvonne Turner has played huge for the Huskers in Big 12 play, averaging 15.5 points per game, while adding 3.7 rebounds and 2.3 steals per contest. She is also averaging 3.4 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 10 Big 12 games, including a 19-point effort at Missouri on Feb. 13, when she also matched her season high with four steals.
She had one of her best performances of the season, scoring 17 points with four three-pointers, to go along with three rebounds, two steals and an assist going head-to-head with Oklahoma State All-American Andrea Riley. In Nebraska's 21-point win, Turner held Riley to 15 points on 4-of-15 shooting from the field, including just 1-for-5 shooting from three-point range. Turner also forced Riley into three turnovers and four personal fouls.
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, 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 12th Husker with 1,200 Points, 500 Boards
With 1,250 points and 572 career rebounds, senior forward Cory Montgomery is just the 12th player in Nebraska history with 1,200 points and 500 rebounds in a career.
Montgomery, who joins current Husker teammate Kelsey Griffin on that prestigious Husker list, heads into the Colorado game needing 34 points to catch Janet Smith (1,284, 1979-82) in 12th on NU's all-time scoring list. Montgomery needs two more rebounds to match Nafeesah Brown (1993-94) in 15th with 574.
To reach the top 12 in scoring and rebounding at Nebraska, the 6-2 forward from Cannon Falls, Minn., must amass 1,284 points and 636 rebounds. Montgomery owns 63 double-figure scoring efforts in her career and nine double-figure rebounding efforts.
Montgomery recently matched her season high with 18 points in Nebraska's win over No. 12 Texas A&M. She established her season high with 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 is coming off a 16-point performance in NU's win over No. 16 Iowa State on Feb. 17. She added 16 points in NU's win over No. 19 Texas on Jan. 12, and also had 16 points, and a trio of three-pointers in the Huskers' run past No. 5 LSU on Dec. 20. Montgomery enters the Colorado game averaging 12.6 points and 4.8 rebounds per game. She is hitting 39.1 percent (25-64) of her three-point attempts and 80.7 percent (46-57) of her free throws.
Montgomery has produced double figures in 19 of NU's 24 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 for Nebraska this season, averaging 12.1 points and 4.0 rebounds in just 24.0 minutes per game. The 5-7 hometown favorite out of Lincoln Northeast High School has produced double figures 18 times this year, including a season-high 19 points in Nebraska's win at Missouri on Feb. 13. Kelley hit 5-of-6 shots from the field and 9-of-10 free throws against the Tigers. She also produced 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 41 double-figure scoring efforts in her NU career, including 34 over the past 55 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.
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 14 points, including 11 in the second half, to help Nebraska come back for a road win at Kansas on Feb. 10. She also contributed seven rebounds at KU. Kelley scored a game-high 14 points while matching her season high with seven rebounds in NU's run past Northern Illinois on Dec. 13. She 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. She added 13 more points against No. 10 Oklahoma State, hitting 5-of-7 shots from the field, including 2-of-3 three-pointers, while playing just 17 minutes in a lopsided win over the Cowgirls. 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.
She produced an 11-point, five-rebound, five-assist performance in NU's win over No. 12 Texas A&M on Feb. 6. 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 44.4 percent (80-180) from the field and 41.0 percent (16-39) from three-point range, while connecting on 78.1 percent (114-146) of her free throws.
Taken over 40 minutes, Kelley is averaging 20.1 points, 6.6 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.2 steals per game.
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 14 double-doubles, including nine in Big 12 play.
Her averages of 19.3 points and 10.2 rebounds lead the Huskers and rank among the best players in the Big 12, while she is averaging just 26.8 minutes per game. She also leads NU with a career-high 43 steals and 20 charges drawn, while adding 12 blocked shots. She also ranks among the top players nationally with her 61.3 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).
Griffin added 28 points on 11-of-15 shooting to go along with 12 rebounds, two assists, two blocks, two charges drawn and a steal in NU's win at Missouri on Feb. 13. Not only was it her 12th game with 20 or more points and eighth with 25 or more this season, she also had nine defensive rebounds against the Tigers, personally accounting for 14 defensive stops on the day.
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 in a win over Albany.
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. Griffin added 21 points and grabbing 10 rebounds in NU's win over No. 12 Texas A&M on Feb. 6. She added three steals, a block and a pair of charges drawn against the Aggies. She added 24 points in NU's win at Colorado on Jan. 30, 22 points, 12 rebounds and a career-high five assists in a victory over Kansas State on Jan. 23, and 20 points, 10 rebounds, three assists, two steals and two charges drawn in just 25 minutes in NU's win at Texas Tech on Jan. 27.
In Nebraska's 88-67 win over No. 10 Oklahoma State on Feb. 3, Griffin had 19 points, six rebounds and four assists in just 19 minutes, as NU built a 36-point lead against the Cowgirls. In Nebraska's 67-60 win at Kansas, Griffin notched a double-double with 17 points, 13 rebounds and two steals in just 26 minutes. In a 65-56 victory at No. 9 Baylor on Jan. 17, she added a double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds, while setting career bests with five assists and four charges drawn. She owns 16 double-figure rebound totals on the year.
In her career, Griffin has produced 20 or more points on 29 occasions, including 14 games with 25 or more points. She enters the Colorado game with 94 career double-figure scoring efforts and 36 double-figure rebounding performances in her career.
Freshman Moore Off to 24-0 Mark as Starter
Lindsey Moore has helped the Huskers to a 24-0 record as Nebraska's starting point guard in her first 24 collegiate games. The 5-9 freshman from Covington, Wash., produced the best performance of her career with 18 points and a career-best four three-pointers in Nebraska's win over No. 13 Iowa State on Feb. 17.
Her effort against the Cyclones surpassed her previous career high of 11 points which came along with a career-best eight rebounds in NU's run past No. 10 Oklahoma State on Feb. 3. Moore also had 11 points in a win over Creighton on Dec. 9, while producing her first career double-digit effort with 10 points in a win over Washington State on Nov. 22. She added nine points, seven assists and just one turnover in NU's run past No. 5 LSU on Dec. 20.
Moore ranks second in Big 12 games with a 2.2-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio, while ranking third with 5.0 assists per game. She has moved into third on Nebraska's freshman single-season assist chart with 107, while becoming the first Husker since 2005-06 (LaToya Howell and Kiera Hardy) to notch 100 assists in a season.
In addition to her success as Nebraska's floor general on offense, Moore has turned up her defensive intensity throughout Big 12 play. Moore owns 16 steals through 11 league games, including back-to-back three-steal efforts in wins at Kansas and Missouri. Moore's late-game defensive heroics allowed the Huskers to post come-from-behind wins in both games.
Moore 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 24 games, Moore has 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 at the time - 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.
Moore closed non-conference play with an eight-point, two-assist performance at Vermont that included a career-best two three-pointers, which she matched against Oklahoma State, 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 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.
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 more than 28 minutes per game through 24 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 Colorado game ranked third in the Big 12 with 19.3 points per game and first in the league with 10.2 rebounds per game. Those numbers become significantly more impressive considering she has played just 26.8 minutes per game.
Taken over 40 minutes, Griffin would be averaging 28.8 points, 15.2 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 2.7 steals. In addition to her team-leading 43 steals this season, Griffin has added 12 blocked shots and drawn a team-leading 20 charges. She is also shooting 61.3 percent from the field, which ranks second in the Big 12 and sixth nationally.
Compare that production to current Big 12 scoring leader Andrea Riley, who enters the weekend averaging 24.7 points, 3.6 rebounds, 6.8 assists and 2.0 steals per game. Through 25 games, Riley is averaging 35.8 minutes per game, and her 40-minute production is 27.6 points, 3.9 rebounds, 7.6 assists and 2.2 steals. Riley is also shooting just 35.7 percent from the field.
With 463 points and 244 rebounds in 643 minutes, Griffin is averaging 0.72 points per minute and 0.38 rebounds per minute. Riley averages an impressive 0.69 points per minute, but just 0.10 rebounds. In 2007-08, Griffin led the Big 12 in point production in conference games only with 0.62 points per minute, while ranking second in rebounding with 0.30 rebounds per minute - trailing only 2007 National Player of the Year Courtney Paris on the glass.
The following is a brief listing of Nebraska players and their averages taken over 40 minutes:
Kelsey Griffin - 28.8 points, 15.2 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 2.7 steals
Dominique Kelley - 20.1 points, 6.6 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.2 steals
Yvonne Turner - 18.6 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 2.7 steals
Cory Montgomery - 18.4 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 0.7 steals
Harleen Sidhu - 16.8 points, 12.0 rebounds, 2.4 assists
Katya Leick - 12.4 points, 9.7 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.4 steals
Catheryn Redmon - 11.4 points, 11.7 rebounds, 5.2 blocks
Kala Kuhlmann - 8.9 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 0.8 steals
Nicole Neals - 8.1 points, 2.3 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.7 steals
Layne Reeves - 9.1 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.7 steals
Lindsey Moore - 7.7 points, 2.9 rebounds, 6.6 assists, 1.9 steals
Jessica Periago - 6.6 points, 9.2 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 2.0 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 24 games this season, Nebraska's focus is paying dividends, as the Huskers carry a plus-5.7 team rebounding margin, which ranks fourth in the Big 12, trailing only Iowa State (+9.8), Baylor (+9.8) and Texas (+5.8) - three teams NU outrebounded head-to-head. The Huskers rank 23rd nationally in rebound margin.
Nebraska has outrebounded 18 of its 24 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 nine opponents since the holiday break.
Only six opponents have outrebounded NU this season - Miami (34-30), LSU (38-36), at Colorado (36-27), No. 10 Oklahoma State (38-32), at Missouri (34-28) and Iowa State (34-24, Feb. 17). Nebraska was the first team this season to outrebound Iowa State (Jan. 9), and the Huskers also outrebounded Texas (37-32), and 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. The Huskers also outrebounded No. 12 Texas A&M (40-37) and Kansas (37-35).
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-leading 10.2 boards per game, including 15 double-digit rebound efforts.
Huskers Starting Fast, Finishing Strong
Nebraska's high-powered offense is averaging 39.3 points per game in the first half, including a school-record tying 59 first-half points against Washington State at the Devaney Center on Nov. 22. NU added 53 first-half points in a win over Albany on Dec. 30, 51 against No. 10 Oklahoma State on Feb. 3, 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 12.9 points (39.3-26.4) and have allowed only five foes to score 30 first-half points (Texas, 44; Missouri, 38; Miami, 36; LSU, 34; Kansas State, 34).
In fact, on Wednesday Iowa State became the sixth Husker foe to be held to 20 or fewer points in the first half this season. NU surrendered just 14 to South Dakota and just 17 to Northern Illinois, while Idaho State (19), Washington State (20) and Kansas (20, Feb. 10) also struggled against NU's pressure defense. Texas Tech (21), UALR (23) and UNLV (23) were also just one possession from being added to that list.
In their 13 home victories, the Huskers are averaging 42.6 points (554 total points) in the first half, while allowing just 25.8 points per first half (336 total points) for an average home halftime lead of 16.8 points.
It hasn't gone much better for Nebraska opponents in the second half, as the Huskers have averaged 38.7 points after halftime, while the opposition has managed 30 points per second half.
Nebraska Knocking Down Triples at Record Pace
As a team, NU ranks fourth in the Big 12 and 31st nationally with 7.0 threes per game, well ahead of school-record pace, which was set last season with 5.5 threes per game. The Huskers also lead the Big 12 and rank third nationally in three-point field goal percentage defense (.265). NU has outscored its opponents by a combined 258 points (507-264) behind the arc this season, an average of 10.8 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. NU added 11-of-31 threes in a run past No. 10 Oklahoma State on Feb. 3. The Huskers also connected on 10 threes against Idaho State, and nine threes against Kansas State, Texas, Miami and UNLV. The Huskers buried eight threes against Vermont, Albany and South Dakota.
Nebraska is shooting 34.4 percent (169-491) as a team from long range and has already produced the third-highest three-point total in school history. NU needs just four 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.
Moore Leads Huskers Past No. 13 Cyclones
Freshman point guard Lindsey Moore hit a career-high four three-pointers to finish with a career-best 18 points to shoot No. 3 Nebraska to a 60-50 win over No. 13 Iowa State in front of 10,988 fans at the Bob Devaney Sports on Wednesday night.
Senior forward Cory Montgomery added 16 points, while senior forward Kelsey Griffin contributed a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds, Nebraska set the school record for single-season victories by improving to 24-0 overall and 11-0 in the Big 12 Conference. The Huskers also extended their homecourt winning streak to 17 games.
Iowa State, playing without All-Big 12 point guard Alison Lacey who sat out with a concussion suffered in practice in Ames on Tuesday, slipped to 19-5 overall and 7-4 in the Big 12.
Junior guard Kelsey Bolte led Iowa State with 15 points, while freshman guard Jessica Schroll stepped up big in Lacey's place with a career-high 14 points to go along with four assists. Freshman center Anna Prins added nine points and 10 rebounds.
Nebraska completed a season sweep of the Cyclones despite hitting just 38.3 percent (18-47) of its field goal attempts, including just 5-of-22 three-pointers. Moore hit 4-of-7 threes, surpassing her previous career-best of two triples. Montgomery added NU's other three, as the Huskers combined to hit just 22.7 percent of their shots from long range. NU dominated at the free throw line, outscoring ISU 19-4 by hitting 76 percent of its attempts (19-25).
The Huskers also posted a Big 12 season-best plus-14 turnover margin (24-10) for their third double-digit turnover margin in the past five games. Senior guard Yvonne Turner, who early in the game became the 25th Husker in history to join the school's 1,000-point club, tied a season high with four steals to lead NU's strong defensive effort. She finished with eight points.
Those numbers allowed NU to offset a 10-for-24 shooting performance from three-point range by Iowa State that included a 4-for-6 effort from Bolte. The Cyclones also outrebounded NU 34-24, the biggest margin by a Husker opponent this season. In the first meeting of the Big 12 campaign in Ames, Nebraska became the first team this season to outrebound the Cyclones.
While ISU was 10-of-24 from beyond the arc, the Cyclones were just 8-for-20 inside the arc.
Montgomery sparked a 9-0 run over the final five minutes of the first half to turn a one-point deficit into a 27-19 halftime lead. Montgomery, who led all scorers with 11 first-half points, scored nine points in the final 5:26 of the half, including NU's final seven points. Montgomery hit 4-of-6 shots from the field and all three of her free throws in the opening period.
Montgomery was the only Husker to hit more than one first-half field goal, as Iowa State held NU to its lowest first-half point total in 11 Big 12 Conference games. The Huskers hit just 9-of-23 shots from the field, including just 1-of-9 three-pointers, while connecting on 8-of-9 free throws.
Nebraska's defense was even better in the first half, as Iowa State became the sixth opponent to score 20 or fewer first-half points against the Huskers. ISU hit just 7-of-23 shots from the field, including 3-of-10 three-pointers, and both of its free throw attempts. The Cyclones dominated the glass, outrebounding NU 20-11, but the Huskers forced 11 turnovers while committing just four miscues of their own.
Nebraska extended its lead to double digits with two Montgomery free throws in the opening minute of the second half, but Iowa State produced a 12-4 surge to trim the lead to 33-31 with 13:40. Moore, who scored NU's four points during ISU's push, buried her second three of the night to extend NU's advantage to 36-31 with 13:18 to play.
After a Griffin free throw, a Bolte three trimmed NU's lead back to 37-34 before two more free throws by Griffin and another three-pointer by Moore, extended the Husker edge to 42-34 with 10:20 left. Bolte then connected again, before Griffin finished just her second field goal of the night and Moore connected on her career-best fourth three to extend the Husker edge back to 10 at 47-37 with 7:58 left.
The Huskers were able to push the lead to 12 on two occassions, before Griffin and Moore hit free throws down the stretch to seal NU's record-breaking victory.
Turner Joins Top 10 on NU Career Steals List
With 209 career steals, including 43 in 24 games this season, senior Yvonne Turner ranks No. 8 on Nebraska's all-time steals list. She needs six 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 season highs of four steals at No. 9 Baylor on Jan. 17, 2010, at Missouri on Feb. 13, and against No. 13 Iowa State on Feb. 17, producing 25 steals in her last 10 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 67 steals last season, while playing much of the year with an injured shoulder.
Take Cover When the Big Cat Roars
Center Catheryn Redmon is flying up Nebraska's career blocked shot chart as a junior, climbing into a tie for third all-time with Charlie Rogers at 126 all-time after two blocks at Missouri on Feb. 13.
Danielle Page (207) and Janet Smith (238) are the only two Huskers in front of Redmon on the career block chart.
The top returning shot-blocker in the Big 12, Redmon owns 50 rejections in 385 minutes through 24 games. She has blocked two or more shots in 16 of NU's 24 contests and is averaging 2.1 blocks in just 16 minutes per game.
Redmon needs nine more blocks to catch Janet Smith (59, 1980-81) in second and 12 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.
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 Battling 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. 21 in the CollegeRPI.com strength of schedule rankings on Feb. 18.
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 Big 12 features an NCAA Tournament-caliber atmosphere every night. The conference 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.
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 105 nationally in the RPI as of Feb. 15.
Nebraska Benefits 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 lost 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 117 games in her NU career. Nebraska also features junior guard Dominique Kelley, who has started 88 straight games to open her career, while senior forward Cory Montgomery made her 56th straight start against Iowa State and her 59th career start overall.
Yvonne Turner started her 85th career game against Iowa State, while freshman point guard Lindsey Moore has started the first 24 games of her NU career, and gives the Huskers a starting five with 373 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 was a regular on the Fox Sports family of networks in Big 12 action in 2009-10.
The Huskers played 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. The Huskers capped their FSN national regular-season appearances with a 71-60 win over No. 12 Texas A&M in front of 10,889 fans at the Devaney Center on Feb. 6.
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. was televised on Fox Sports Midwest, as NU rolled to an 88-67 win over the Cowgirls. The Huskers played their final televised regular-season game on Fox Sports Midwest at Kansas on Feb. 10, coming back for a dramatic 67-60 victory.
Both of Nebraska's contests on Fox Sports Midwest 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.
Nebraska's History of Success at Home
Since the Bob Devaney Sports Center opened in 1976-77, the Huskers are 348-118 (.747) in games played in the arena, including 130-77 (.628) in conference games. Since 2003-04, NU is 84-22 (.792) at the Devaney Center.
NU has posted double-figure home victory totals in seven consecutive seasons, including a perfect 13-0 mark in 2009-10 to stretch the Husker home winning streak to 17 games.
Last season, Nebraska finished with an 11-4 mark, and a 14-2 record in 2007-08.
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.
Fastbreakers Add Bus Trip to Oklahoma
With three bus trips already planned for the 2009-10 season, the Fastbreakers recently added a fourth bus trip to Oklahoma for Nebraska's game with the Sooners on Feb. 24.
The cost of the OU trip is $95 per person, plus the cost of the room for the night at the Best Western near the OU campus (approx. $65-$80 per room). The bus will return Thursday, Feb. 25. For more details and to reserve a spot, please e-mail Doug Fry at firstname.lastname@example.org or call Doug at 476-5183.
The Fastbreakers have enjoyed successful road trips this season to Colorado (Jan. 30) and Missouri (Feb. 13), and will conclude the season with a bus trip to Nebraska's regular-season finale at Kansas State on Saturday, March 6. Tip time at Bramlage Coliseum is set for noon. The cost of the trip to Manhattan is just $50 per person.
To sign up for the bus trip to Kansas State, 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).