Huskers Return to Road for Big 12 Battle at Kansas
#3 Nebraska Cornhuskers (21-0, 8-0 Big 12)
at Kansas Jayhawks (14-7, 4-4 Big 12)
Allen Fieldhouse (16,300)
Lawrence, Kan. • Wednesday, Feb. 10 • 7 p.m.
Television: Fox Sports Midwest (Greg Sharpe, Brenda VanLengen)
Time Warner Cable - Lincoln - Ch. 37 - Cox Cable - Omaha - Ch. 47
DirecTV Ch. 657 and DISH Network Ch. 450 in Nebraska
Radio: Husker Sports Network
(98.1 FM-KFGE-Lincoln, 93.3 FM-KTWI Omaha, 880 AM-KRVN Lexington)
Free Live Video & Audio: Huskers.com (Free)
No. 3 Nebraska returns to Big 12 road action to battle traditional North Division rival Kansas on Wednesday night in Lawrence. Tip-off between the Huskers (21-0, 8-0 Big 12) and Jayhawks (14-7, 4-4 Big 12) at Allen Fieldhouse is set for 7 p.m., with live television coverage provided by Fox Sports Midwest (Time Warner Ch. 37 in Lincoln, Cox Cable Ch. 47 in Omaha), with Greg Sharpe and Brenda VanLengen on the call. The game will also be available on DirecTV Channel 657 and DISH Network Channel 450 in Nebraska. Other markets are subject to change.
Live radio coverage is 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 for free on Huskers.com.
Nebraska is coming off a hard-fought 71-60 win over No. 12 Texas A&M in front of nearly 11,000 fans at the Devaney Center on Saturday afternoon. The Huskers jumped to a 12-2 lead and held off the Aggies the rest of the way, trailing only 2-0 in the contest, and never allowing A&M to cut the lead to to one possession after the run.
Nebraska’s 21-game winning streak and 10-game Big 12 regular-season streak are the longest in school history. The Huskers’ also own their highest ranking in school history. NU’s 8-0 league start has also featured a 5-0 record against Big 12 South Division foes, with four of the wins coming against current top-15 teams. The Huskers have become the first North team to notch five wins against the South since Kansas State in 2003-04. NU, which is 3-0 against the North, opens a four-game stretch against North foes with the Jayhawks.
At 4-4 in the Big 12, Kansas is off to its best eight-game Big 12 start since 1999-2000. In fact, the Jayhawks have not won three of their first eight Big 12 games in the past decade. KU reached the .500 mark by reeling off three straight wins against North Division rivals, including a 70-60 win over Kansas State on Sunday. The Jayhawks beat the Wildcats despite the loss of Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year Danielle McCray to a season-ending knee injury on Thursday. McCray was the league’s No. 2 scorer averaging 19.8 points per game.
Griffin Nation’s Most Productive Player
A pure statistical comparison of the top players in the nation is an imperfect science because of the different roles of players on the court. However, per-40-minute production averages provide an insight somewhat like baseball’s earned run average for pitchers.
Nebraska’s Kelsey Griffin has produced at an All-America level throughout her career, but as a senior the 6-2 power forward from Eagle River, Alaska, is putting up numbers above and beyond any other player in the nation.
Through games Feb. 5, Griffin’s per-40-minute production numbers registered at 29.5 points, 15.2 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2.7 steals per game. Griffin’s 61.7 field goal percentage also ranked among the top six players in the country in the Feb. 5 NCAA statistics.
When compared with the 51 other players in the country who have earned a spot among the 2010 National Player-of-the-Year candidates (Wade Trophy, Naismith Trophy or Wooden Award), Griffin’s scoring and rebounding numbers lead the nation. Only seven other national player-of-the-year candidates (Dawn Evans, Andrea Riley, Monica Wright, Alysha Clark, Tina Charles, Elena Della Donne, Maya Moore) are averaging more than 26 points per 40 minutes. Only four other candidates (Charles, Nnemkadi Ogwumike, Carolyn Swords, Ta’Shia Phillips) are averaging more than 13 rebounds per 40.
Charles, who is considered a leading candidate for national player-of-the-year honors this season, along with teammate Maya Moore, the defending national player of the year, was averaging 1.6 points and 0.9 rebounds less than Griffin through games Feb. 5. Griffin was also averaging one more assist per game and 1.8 more steals per game than Charles. Moore was averaging 2.3 fewer points and 4.1 fewer rebounds, while adding 2.5 more assists per 40 minutes than Griffin. The steals numbers for Griffin and Moore were virtually identical, while Griffin’s field goal percentage (61.7) was well ahead of Moore’s (54.6).
In addition to her measurable productivity in points and rebounds, Griffin’s impact on Nebraska’s lineup is also hard to argue. Last season, without Griffin, Nebraska managed a 15-16 overall record while earning a sixth straight postseason tournament appearance in the WNIT. The Huskers finished with a 6-10 Big 12 mark.
This season, with Griffin back in action after sitting out 2008-09 with a left foot injury that required two surgeries, Nebraska is 21-0 and 8-0 in the Big 12. With eight regular-season games remaining, the Huskers are already plus-six overall in the win column and plus-two in the nation’s strongest RPI conference.
Two seasons ago with Griffin in the lineup playing with a broken rib all season, Nebraska produced one of the best years in school history by winning 21 games and advancing to the second round of the 2008 NCAA Tournament.
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 19.4 points and 9.9 rebounds while leading the 21-0 Huskers with 39 steals and 18 charges drawn.
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 26.4 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 30 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).
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 21 games.
Each of NU’s most experienced players are averaging more than 12 points per game and have combined to hit 51.4 percent (414-805) of their shots from the field, including 104-of-252 (41.3 percent) of their three-point attempts. Griffin leads NU with 19.4 points and 9.9 rebounds per game, while Montgomery - NU’s leading scorer and rebounder a year ago - is averaging 13.0 points and 5.0 boards per contest. Turner has increased her season averages to 12.3 points and 3.9 rebounds, by averaging 16.1 points and 4.3 boards per contest in Big 12 action.
Kelley, the lone junior in the experienced foursome, has pitched in 12.1 points and 4.0 rebounds per game.
Griffin ranks sixth nationally (61.6 percent) as an individual and Montgomery joins Griffin in the top 25 nationally at 53.8 percent (24th). Turner ranks among the top long-range shooters in both the Big 12 (5th) and nationally (18th) in three-point percentage (.429) and three-pointers made per game (2.9 - 1st Big 12, 28th nationally).
As a team, the Huskers rank fifth nationally with their 47.3 field goal percentage. Nebraska is second in the Big 12 in that category, trailing only Baylor (.492). 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 21-0, 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 21-0 start is also the best start in Big 12 history, dating back to the inception of the league in 1996-97. The Huskers’ 8-0 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 18 of their 21 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 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 21 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 Kansas 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 62 games as of Sunday, Feb. 7.
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. It was NU’s fourth straight week in the top 10 and ninth 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.
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 four losses. Six Big 12 teams are ranked in the AP top 15 this week, including No. 11 Baylor, No. 12 Oklahoma, No. 13 Texas A&M, No. 14 Texas and No. 15 Oklahoma State, while Iowa State climbed two spots to No. 20. 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. 8, 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), Texas A&M (8th) and Oklahoma State (9th) joined Nebraska in the top 10, while Texas was 11th, Baylor 20th and Kansas 24th, giving the Big 12 seven teams in the RPI top 25.
All 12 of the Big 12 teams were among the top 100, including No. 32 Iowa State, No. 63 Texas Tech, No. 84 Kansas State, No. 90 Missouri and No. 96 Colorado.
Nebraska already owns 12 wins over top-100 RPI teams, including No. 8 Texas A&M, No. 9 Oklahoma State, No. 20 Baylor, No. 32 Iowa State, No. 38 LSU, No. 47 Vermont, No. 51 Miami, No. 56 Creighton, No. 63 Texas Tech, No. 64 UALR, No. 84 Kansas State and No. 96 Colorado. Seven of those wins have come away from the Devaney Center, including six true road victories.
National Numbers Show Huskers Continuing Improvement
In the most recent NCAA statistics (Feb. 8), Nebraska is showing a level of play previously unmatched in program history. The Huskers rank second nationally in scoring margin (23.6 ppg), trailing only UConn’s 39.3 ppg.
Nebraska ranks second nationally in three-point field goal percentage defense (.246), 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 (.473), and eighth nationally in scoring offense (79.1 ppg). NU also ranks 18th nationally in rebound margin (+7.2 rpg). Those numbers have led to Nebraska’s No. 21 national ranking in scoring defense (55.6 ppg). Finally, the Huskers rank No. 20 nationally in three-point field goals made per game with 7.5.
Scouting the Kansas Jayhawks
One of the preseason favorites to win the Big 12 title, Kansas tied for second with Texas in preseason voting by the league coaches. The Jayhawks joined the Longhorns in picking up three first-place votes and 106 points, trailing only preseason pick Baylor.
Nebraska, the preseason pick to finish sixth in the league, owns wins over the other three conference favorites (Baylor, Texas, Texas A&M).
Kansas enters the game with a 14-7 overall record and a 4-4 Big 12 mark after a 70-60 win over Kansas State in Lawrence on Sunday. The Jayhawks avenged a 59-35 loss to the Wildcats in the Big 12 opener in Manhattan to pull to .500 in the league in a tie with fellow preseason favorites Baylor and Texas A&M.
The Jayhawks are highly ranked in the RPI, coming in at No. 24 in the official NCAA RPI on Feb. 8, with a strength of schedule that ranked 13th nationally.
KU defeated the Wildcats despite suffering the loss of Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year Danielle McCray to a season-ending injury on Thursday in practice. McCray, who ranked second in the Big 12 in scoring with 19.8 points per game, added 7.2 rebounds per game for the Jayhawks. McCray is one of the top senior guards in the nation and was projected as a high first-round pick in the WNBA Draft.
In the second game of the league season, KU also lost starting redshirt freshman point guard Angel Goodrich to a season-ending knee injury. Despite the heavy losses to injury, KU posted its best record in the first eight games of Big 12 play since going 6-2 in 1999-2000. In fact, Kansas had not won three of its first eight Big 12 games in the past decade.
Sophomore forward Aishah Sutherland leads KU with 10.5 points and 7.5 rebounds per game, while senior guard/forward Sade Morris has added 10.0 points and 3.0 rebounds while joining Sutherland as the only two Jayhawks to start all 21 games this season.
Carolyn Davis, a 6-3 freshman forward out of Houston, Texas, has recently replaced junior center Krysten Boogaard in the starting five. Davis is averaging 6.4 points and 3.7 rebounds per game on the year, including a double-double with 14 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks against Kansas State.
Freshman Monica Engelman, a 5-11 guard out of San Antonio, Texas, made her first career start against the Wildcats and led KU with 16 points and five assists while playing all 40 minutes. Engelman, who is averaging 5.0 points per game on the year, has hit 44.4 percent (16-36) of her three-point attempts on the year.
Senior poing guard LaChelda Jacobs rounds out KU’s probable starting five, averaging 1.6 points and 1.5 rebounds per game. Jacobs had 10 points, two assists, two rebounds and a block against KSU.
Boogaard contributed six points in just 12 minutes off the bench against Kansas State, but ranks fourth on the team with 9.2 points per game, while ranking third on the club with 5.0 rebounds per game. Boogaard has started 15 games for KU this season and started games for the Jayhawks as both a freshman and sophomore.
Nicollette Smith, a 6-2 junior forward, also has plenty of starting experience in her career for the Jayhawks but has not started this season. She is averaging 3.2 points and 2.6 rebounds, but had seven points and five boards against K-State. Senior guard Kelly Kohn, who started every game of her freshman campaign for KU, was the final of eight players to see action against the Wildcats. Kohn, who is averaging 0.5 points and 0.7 rebounds in 13 appearances, played three minutes against KSU.
As a team, Kansas is averaging 70.5 points per game, while allowing 62.9 points per contest. KU is shooting a solid 46.2 percent from the field, including 56.3 percent against KSU. The Jayhawks are also strong from the perimeter, hitting 36.4 percent of their three-point tries, although McCray has hit 48 of KU’s 96 threes this season. KU owns a strong plus-5.8 rebounding margin, but carries a minus-0.3 team turnover margin.
Kansas leads the all-time series with Nebraska, 48-28, including four wins in the last five meetings. The two teams have split the season series the past two years, while the Jayhawks have won a pair of close games in the Big 12 Tournament. Dating back to Feb. 11, 1998, the Huskers are 18-8 against KU.
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.
Husker Road Foes Seeing Big Red in 3-D
Nebraska ranks second nationally in three-point field goal percentage defense (.246), 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 eight Big 12 games overall, NU foes have hit just 25.2 (28-111) percent of their three-point attempts. 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 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 over No. 12 Texas A&M marked the 17th victory over an AP Top 25 foe during Yori’s tenure,, including the fifth 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 already posted five wins over AP Top 25 teams (No. 5 LSU, No. 9 Baylor, No. 10 Oklahoma State, No. 12 Texas A&M, No. 19 Texas) this season, including three wins over top-10 foes.
The Huskers also own a road win over current AP No. 20 Iowa State on Jan. 9, in Ames, while also claiming road wins over previously ranked clubs at Vermont (AP No. 24, Jan. 18) and Miami (AP No. 25, Jan. 11). The 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 as high as No. 19 early in Big 12 play, and is No. 22 on Feb. 8.
Huskers Producing Massive Margins to Open Season
Nebraska’s average victory margin of 23.6 points per game through the first 21 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 (1,662 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.
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 21 games, the Huskers have hit 80 or more points on 10 occasions, including six times in the past 10 games. Over the past four games, including two games on the road at Texas Tech and Colorado and two wins over top-12 teams (No. 10 Oklahoma State, No. 12 Texas A&M) the Huskers are averaging 82 points per game.
Nebraska’s offense has been strong against the nation’s best teams. In NU’s eight games against teams that have been ranked in the top 25 at any point this season (Miami, LSU, Vermont, Iowa State, Texas, Baylor, Oklahoma State, Texas A&M), the Huskers are averaging 77.4 points per game, including 94 points at Vermont, 91 against No. 19 Texas and 88 against No. 10 Oklahoma State.
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 10 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 55.6 points per game through the first 21 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 28-17, while Iowa State is 27-17 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 is 4-2 against the North this year, while Iowa State is 3-2. Kansas State is 3-3, while Colorado is 2-3 and Missouri is 0-5.
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 enters Wednesday’s clash at Kansas with 1,755 points and 873 rebounds.
Griffin, who ranks second in NU history with 31 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 just one more rebound to catch Kathy Hagerstrom (874, 1980-83) at No. 3 on the Husker career rebounding chart. Jennings is the next player ahead of Griffin on the list.
Turner Shoots to No. 2 on NU Career Three List
Senior Yvonne Turner has hit 60-of-140 three-point attempts (42.9 percent) to lead an impressive Husker three-point barrage through 21 games.
Turner leads the Big 12 with 2.9 made three-pointers per game overall this season, while her 42.9 percent success rate ranks fifth in the league and 28th in the nation. She leads the Big 12 in league games only with 4.0 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 hit four threes in NU’s run past No. 10 Oklahoma State, passing former Husker All-American and two-time WNBA All-Star Anna DeForge on Nebraska’s career three-point list in the process. She added three more three-pointers against No. 12 Texas A&M to increase her career mark to 161 threes, Turner ranks No. 2 in school history, trailing only former teammate Kiera Hardy (267, 2003-06). Turner has also improved her career shooting percentage to 35.0 percent (161-460), which ranks seventh all-time at Nebraska.
Turner already ranks third on NU’s senior single-season three-point list with 60, and she needs 11 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 (161) and career steals (199).
Turner Sizzling from Long Range in Big 12 Play
Yvonne Turner has played huge for the Huskers in Big 12 play, averaging 16.1 points per game, while adding 4.3 rebounds and 1.9 steals per contest. She is also averaging 4.0 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 eight Big 12 games.
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 1,220 points and 562 career rebounds, senior forward Cory Montgomery is just the 12th player in Nebraska history with 1,200 points and 500 rebounds in a career. She is coming off a season-high-matching 18-point effort in Nebraska’s win over No. 12 Texas A&M.
Montgomery, who joins current Husker teammate Kelsey Griffin on that prestigious Husker list, heads into the Kansas game needing 23 points to catch Brooke Schwartz (1,243, 1997-2000) in 13th on NU’s all-time scoring list. Montgomery needs 12 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 62 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 KU game averaging 13.0 points and 5.0 rebounds per game. She is hitting 41.1 percent (23-55) of her three-point attempts and 78.3 percent (36-46) of her free throws.
Montgomery has produced double figures in 18 of NU’s 21 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 23.3 minutes per game. The 5-7 hometown favorite out of Lincoln Northeast High School has produced double figures 16 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 39 double-figure scoring efforts in her NU career, including 32 over the past 52 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 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. 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 is coming off 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 46.2 percent (72-156) from the field and 41.7 percent (15-36) from three-point range, while connecting on 77.9 percent (95-122) of her free throws.
Taken over 40 minutes, Kelley is averaging 20.7 points, 6.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.3 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 11 double-doubles, including six in Big 12 play.
Her averages of 19.4 points and 9.9 rebounds lead the Huskers and rank among the best players in the Big 12, while she is averaging just 26.4 minutes per game. She also leads NU with 39 steals and 18 charges drawn, while adding nine blocked shots. She also ranks among the top players nationally with her 61.6 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 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. It marked her seventh game with 25 or more points this season.
Griffin produced her 11th game with 20 or more points by scoring 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. It was the 28th 20-point scoring effort of her career. 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 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 28 occasions, including 13 games with 25 or more points. She enters the Kansas game with 91 career double-figure scoring efforts and 33 double-figure rebounding performances in her career.
Freshman Moore Off to 21-0 Mark as Starter
Lindsey Moore has helped the Huskers to a 21-0 record as Nebraska’s starting point guard in her first 21 collegiate games. The 5-9 freshman from Covington, Wash., produced the best performance of her career, when she tied a career high with 11 points while grabbing a career-best eight rebounds in NU’s run past No. 10 Oklahoma State on Feb. 3. Moore, the Big 12 leader in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.4-to-1) in league games only, also had five assists - all in the first half - while committing just one turnover over against the Cowgirls. Her effort also helped her move into a tie with OSU’s Andrea Riley for the Big 12 lead in conference action only with 5.6 assists per game. On the season, Moore leads all Big 12 freshmen with 4.6 assists per game.
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 21 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 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 enters the Kansas game with 97 assists, climbing to No. 4 on the NU freshman single-season assist chart. She needs just eight assists to reach Amy Stephens’ freshman total of 105 (3rd, 1985-86). With three more assists, Moore will become the first Husker since LaToya Howell (159, 2005-06) and Kiera Hardy (101, 2005-06) to reach the century mark.
Moore set her career scoring high with 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, 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 leads the Huskers with 4.6 assists per game, which ranks fifth in the Big 12, while adding 4.6 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.1 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.
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 21 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 Kansas game ranked third in the Big 12 with 19.4 points per game, while leading the league with 9.9 rebounds per game. Those numbers become significantly more impressive considering she has played just 26.4 minutes per game.
Taken over 40 minutes, Griffin would be averaging 29.4 points, 15.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 2.8 steals. In addition to her team-leading 39 steals this season, Griffin has added nine blocked shots and drawn a team-leading 18 charges. She is also shooting 61.6 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 26.0 points, 3.6 rebounds, 7.0 assists and 2.3 steals per game. Through 23 games, Riley is averaging 36.5 minutes per game, and her 40-minute production is 28.4 points, 4.0 rebounds, 7.7 assists and 2.3 steals. Riley is also shooting just 36.3 percent from the field.
With 407 points and 208 rebounds in 554 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 - 29.4 points, 15.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 2.8 steals
- Dominique Kelley - 20.7 points, 6.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.3 steals
- Cory Montgomery - 19.4 points, 7.5 rebounds, 1.6 assists
- Yvonne Turner - 18.8 points, 5.9 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 2.4 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 - 11.1 points, 12.3 rebounds, 5.3 blocks
- Kala Kuhlmann – 9.8 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 0.9 steals
- Nicole Neals - 9.1 points, 2.5 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 1.8 steals
- Layne Reeves - 9.2 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.7 steals
- Lindsey Moore – 7.0 points, 3.3 rebounds, 7.0 assists, 1.7 steals
- Jessica Periago – 6.6 points, 9.7 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 2.1 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 21 games this season, Nebraska’s focus is paying dividends, as the Huskers carry a plus-7.2 team rebounding margin, which ranks third in the Big 12, trailing only Baylor (+10.6) and Iowa State (+9.3) - two teams NU has already outrebounded head-to-head in league play. The Huskers rank 13th nationally in rebound margin.
Nebraska has outrebounded 17 of its 21 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 eight opponents since the holiday break.
Only four opponents have outrebounded NU this season - Miami (34-30), LSU (38-36), at Colorado (36-27), No. 10 Oklahoma State (38-32). 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. The Huskers also outrebounded No. 12 Texas A&M (40-37).
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 9.9 boards per game, including 12 double-digit rebound efforts.
Huskers Starting Fast, Finishing Strong
Nebraska’s high-powered offense is averaging 40.2 points per game in the first half, including a school-record tying 59 first-half points against Washington State at the Devaney Center on Nov. 22. NU added 53 first-half points in a win over Albany on Dec. 30, 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 26.5 points per first half, as the Huskers have headed to the locker room with an average lead of 13.7 points (40.2-26.5) and have allowed only four foes to score 30 first-half points (Texas, 44; Miami, 36; LSU, 34; Kansas State, 34).
Texas A&M, Colorado, Vermont and Creighton each managed 29, while Iowa State and No. 10 Oklahoma State put up 27. 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 12 home victories, the Huskers are averaging 43.9 points (527 total points) in the first half, while allowing just 26.4 points per first half (317 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, as the Huskers have averaged 39.0 points after halftime, while the opposition has managed 29.0 points per second half.
Nebraska Knocking Down Triples at Record Pace
As a team, NU ranks third in the Big 12 and 20th nationally with 7.5 threes per game, well ahead of school-record pace, which was set last season with 5.5 threes per game. The Huskers also lead the Big 12 and rank second nationally in three-point field goal percentage defense (.246). NU has outscored its opponents by a combined 264 points (471-207) behind the arc this season, an average of 12.6 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 35.4 percent (157-443) as a team from long range and has already produced the fourth-highest three-point total in school history. NU needs just 17 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 Power Past No. 12 Texas A&M, 71-60
Kelsey Griffin produced her 11th double-double of the season with 21 points and 10 rebounds to power No. 4 Nebraska to a 71-60 victory over No. 12 Texas A&M in front of 10,889 fans and an FSN national television audience at the Bob Devaney Sports Center on Saturday afternoon. Nebraska extended its school-record winning streak to 21 games, while improving to 21-0 overall and 8-0 in the Big 12. Texas A&M slipped to 16-5 overall and 4-4 in the league.
Griffin hit 7-of-12 shots from the field and 7-of-8 free throws, while adding three steals, two charges drawn, a blocked shot and an assist, to help the Huskers avenge a 43-point loss at Texas A&M last season.
Griffin scored eight of NU’s last 10 points in the final six minutes, as the Huskers weathered an Aggie rally that trimmed Nebraska’s lead to 65-60 with 3:06 left. Griffin then answered A&M’s surge with a layup off a spectacular assist from Dominique Kelley with one second on the shot clock to give the Huskers a seven-point edge. Kelley then added a defensive rebound and a layup with 1:55 left to push the Husker margin back to nine points at 69-60 with 1:55 left. Griffin then capped the victory off an assist from Lindsey Moore with 31 seconds left, and blocked A&M’s final shot of the game to secure NU’s 18th double-digit win of the year.
Cory Montgomery, a 6-2 forward from Cannon Falls, Minn., also had a big day inside and out for the Huskers, matching her season high with 18 points, while adding five rebounds. Montgomery hit 7-of-13 shots from the field, including 2-of-5 three-point attempts. She added an assist and a steal.
Kelley, a 5-7 guard from Lincoln, had a big second half with six points, four rebounds and three assists, to finish with 11 points, five boards and five assists on the afternoon. Fellow Nebraskan Yvonne Turner, a 5-8 guard from Omaha, added 11 points, including a trio of three-pointers, while adding three rebounds, two steals and an assist. Moore rounded out the NU starting five with six rebounds and six assists.
Junior Catheryn Redmon added major production for the Huskers off the bench. The 6-3 center from Grand Prairie, Texas, went 4-for-4 from the field to finish with eight points, five rebounds, two blocked shots and a steal.
The Huskers jumped out to a quick start in front of the third straight crowd of more than 10,000 fans at the Devaney Center, by answering Texas A&M’s first basket of the game by Sydney Carter with a 12-0 run to take a 10-point lead just over two minutes into the contest.
Nebraska was able to maintain the double-digit lead at halftime, carrying a 40-29 edge into the locker room. The Aggies were able to cut the NU advantage to four points on one occasion at 22-18, before Griffin answered with six straight points to push the Husker margin back to double figures. The Huskers led by as many as 12 points two times in the first half, thanks to 11 points from Montgomery and eight points apiece from Griffin and Turner. The Huskers also got six big first-half points and three rebounds from Redmon.
Turner Joins Top 10 on NU Career Steals List
With 199 career steals, including 33 in 21 games this season, senior Yvonne Turner ranks No. 8 on Nebraska’s all-time steals list. She needs 16 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 15 steals in her last seven 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.
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 shots in NU’s win over No. 12 Texas A&M on Feb. 6 to increase her career total to 122.
Redmon needs just four 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 46 rejections in 345 minutes through the first 21 games. She has blocked two or more shots in 14 of NU’s first 21 games and is averaging 2.2 blocks in just 16.4 minutes per contest.
She needs 13 more to catch Janet Smith (59, 1980-81) in second and 14 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. 22 in the CollegeRPI.com strength of schedule rankings on Feb. 8.
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 play features 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.
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. 4.
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 114 games in her NU career. Nebraska also features junior guard Dominique Kelley, who has started 85 straight games to open her career, while senior forward Cory Montgomery made her 53rd straight start against Texas A&M and her 56th career start overall.
Yvonne Turner started her 82nd career game against Texas A&M, while freshman point guard Lindsey Moore has started the first 21 games of her NU career, and gives the Huskers a starting five with 358 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 have already 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 play their final televised regular-season game on Fox Sports Midwest at Kansas on Wednesday, Feb. 10, at 7 p.m.
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 347-118 (.746) in games played in the arena, including 129-77 (.626) in conference games. Since 2003-04, NU is 83-22 (.790) at the Devaney Center.
NU has posted double-figure home victory totals in seven consecutive seasons, including a perfect 12-0 mark in 2009-10 to stretch the Husker home winning streak to 16 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.
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).