Huskers Sprint Past Lopers, 122-55

Lincoln - Sophomore Kelsey Griffin produced the biggest statistical night of her career with 35 points and 13 rebounds on 14-of-16 shooting from the field to lead Nebraska to a 122-55 win over Nebraska-Kearney on Wednesday night.

Playing in front of 1,578 fans in the Huskers' exhibition opener, Griffin hit her first 11 shots from the field in the first 30 minutes of the game. The Devaney Center record for best field goal percentage is shared by UNK Head Coach Carol Russell, who went 10-for-10 on Jan. 26, 1991.

Russell hit 10-of-10 field goal attempts against Oklahoma on Jan. 26, 1991, after Kansas State's Barbara Gilmore established the mark against the Huskers on Jan. 18, 1983.

Griffin, who scored 22 points on 9-of-9 shooting in just 13 first-half minutes, missed her first shot from the field with just under nine minutes left in the game. Although she missed that shot, she scored seven points and grabbed five rebounds in the next four minutes to finish off a dominant offensive effort.

The 6-2 forward from Eagle River, Alaska, also hit 7-of-9 free throw attempts, while adding three assists, two steals and one blocked shot in just 22 minutes of action. Griffin scored 22 points in just 13 minutes in the first half to help the Huskers to a 63-22 halftime lead.

"Kelsey is a great athlete and she showed it tonight," Nebraska Coach Connie Yori said. "She ran the floor hard and she played a really strong game offensively, defensively and on the boards. She was really outstanding tonight."

Griffin was joined in double figures by five other Huskers, including senior forward Jelena Spiric, who had 17 points, four rebounds, four assists and three steals in her first appearance since suffering a knee injury on Oct. 18, 2005.

True freshman forward Cory Montgomery added 16 points and four rebounds in her Husker debut, while senior forward Chelsea Aubry pitched in 15 points, including 3-for-3 shooting from three-point range.

Another true freshman, Yvonne Turner from Omaha, added 10 points in 18 minutes of action.

As a team, Nebraska shot 65.7 percent (46-70) from the field, including a 9-of-17 effort (52.9 percent) from three-point range. The Huskers also connected on 77.8 percent (21-of-27) of their free throws.

Nebraska's offensive success started with its defensive pressure, which forced 32 UNK turnovers while allowing the Lopers just three assists. NU dished out 26 assists while committing just 17 miscues on the night, and the Huskers also outrebounded UNK, 40-31.

The Huskers raced out of the gate to an 11-0 lead, holding the Lopers without a shot attempt until Liz Fischer's missed three-point attempt with 16:50 left in the first half. The lead grew to 15-0 before Fischer knocked down a jumper, before Kiera Hardy answered with a three-pointer to give NU an 18-2 lead at the first media timeout. By that point, Griffin was already in double figures with 10 points.

Nebraska's lead reached 20 points (30-10) for the first time on a pair of Nikki Bober free throws with 11:38 left in the half, and expanded to 30 points (51-20) on two Montgomery free throws with 4:53 remaining in the opening period.

"I thought it was great that we got solid contributions from our freshmen tonight," Yori said. "I thought they came in and competed and helped us in some areas. I thought Cory ran the floor hard and got some things going inside. We know she can score for us inside."

The Huskers, who won only two games - exhibition or regular season - by more than 30 points all last season, carried a 41-point edge into the locker room at halftime.

Lincoln native Melissa Hinckley led the Lopers with 14 points and five rebounds, while Fischer finished the night with 13 points despite hitting just 4-of-20 shots from the field. UNK hit just 29.1 percent of its shots, including just 2-of-11 three-pointers. The Lopers did connect on 21-of-29 free throws.

Nebraska closes exhibition action at the Devaney center against Nebraska-Omaha on Saturday, Nov. 4, at 4:05 p.m. The Huskers open the regular season on Friday, Nov. 10 at Arizona State.


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