Huskers Ready for NCAA First Round

The Nebraska women's basketball team met the media for the first time on Saturday at the RBC Center in Raleigh, N.C., in preparation for the Huskers's NCAA Tournament first-round matchup with eighth-seeded Temple on Sunday.

 Nebraska Coach Connie Yori, senior guard Kiera Hardy, senior forward Chelsea Aubry and sophomore forward Kelsey Griffin spoke with members of the national, regional and local media before hitting the court at the RBC Center for the first time with a early evening practice.

NCAA Tournament News
The tip time for tomorrow's first game of the evening session between No. 1 Duke and No. 16 Holy Cross has been set for 6:22 p.m., which will likely push Nebraska's start time back to approximately 8:45 p.m. central.

If Nebraska knocks off Temple, Duke defeats Holy Cross, North Carolina State defeats Robert Morris and No. 1 North Carolina defeats Prairie View A&M, the Huskers' second-round game with Duke would be moved to 4 p.m. central to accommodate ESPN, instead of the originally scheduled late tip time of approximately 8:30 p.m.

Big 12 Conference teams went 3-0 in NCAA Tournament play on Saturday. No. 3 Oklahoma defeated Southeast Missouri State in Austin, Texas. No. 4 Texas A&M worked its way past Texas-Arlington in Los Angeles and No. 6 Iowa State ran past No. 11 Washington in Minneapolis.

Head Coach Connie Yori

Opening Statement

Everybody is blaming this weather on us, the northerners, but I think it's nicer in Lincoln right now. We're really excited about being here. In our short stay, so far, we've been very welcomed and accommodated quite well. We're pleased to be in Raleigh. We think this is going to be a great game tomorrow. We've got two teams that are very competitive in terms of the quality and I think that's typical of an eight/nine game. I think it's a game that could go either way and Temple is a team that has played a good schedule and has played very well. They've won a lot of ball games and they're very well coached. They've got a good defense and they're a great rebounding team. We haven't played much lately here and I think that's a little bit of a concern on our part. By the time we play tomorrow night, we'll have had one game in the past 19 days, that's a long time to go with just one game. We've practiced really hard and I think we're ready to roll.  


Being here is great, but, I feel like if we did go one and done, that it wouldn't be what we're looking for. We've come up to this tournament to play hard and try to advance. I think we can do it, we just have to work hard and remember how we got here.


On Temple Head Coach Dawn Staley

I'm not sure how she was able to handle those roles. It's pretty amazing, what she did during the period where she is a head coach at a very high level and playing at the highest of levels. It's pretty phenomenal. I can't imagine doing what she did. Obviously her talent as a basketball player is something that we all identify as one of the best in the history of women's basketball. Having the opportunity to represent our country three times in the Olympics is unheard of and I think that's carried over. It's obvious when you watch her teams. I really haven't paid a lot of attention to Temple until we were matched up with them, but when you watch her team you see that they play a lot like she played. She demands effort and I think her team plays with a lot of poise, they're a well coached team.


On seniors Kiera Hardy and Chelsea Aubry

Kiera and Chelsea have been the cornerstones, along with the other two seniors, Jelena Spiric and Ashley Ford, but particularly these two, who have been my set of four year players that I've had since I've been at Nebraska and it's been a lot of hard work. I'll just say that for our players and for our coaching staff. It's a great opportunity for our young people here who have committed so much to our program to have an opportunity to play on the largest level, in the NCAA Tournament, and the opportunity to play beyond tomorrow, hopefully. All the credit in the world goes to Kiera and Chelsea for their commitment to our program at a stage where we weren't very good and where it wasn't very fun. They've been the cornerstones.


We're coming here with the intention of winning. I‘ve heard a lot of people say to just enjoy the ride and have fun. It will be a lot more fun if we can win, I'll tell you that. It's pretty simple. We know that our players have set our goals higher than this. When we talked about setting early season goals, it wasn't just about making the NCAA Tournament, it was playing beyond the first game it would be another goal reached. I think this is a great step, just being here, but we've got something to prove.  


Kiera Hardy, Senior / Guard

On what it means to be in the NCAA Tournament

I know for myself, Chelsea and the other seniors that it's an honor to be here in this tournament. It's our first year being here and we'll play as hard as we can play. As far as Temple, they're a good team. They've got a good inside-outside game and we're going to have to bring our best game if we want to win tomorrow.


On the effects of their last loss, Iowa State

I think it got to us a little bit, but we have to keep going on and keep getting better. I think that's what we did. Coach has pushed us in practice to be better and to expect to be the best. I think that will pay off tomorrow night.


On Temple Head Coach Dawn Staley

I saw her play a couple of times and also in WNBA and she's a hard working player. She is very scrappy and very good defensively. I think that shows in the way she coaches. They're a hard working team and they get after it like she did. 


On what it will take to beat Temple

The number one key, I think is rebounding. We're going to have to be very quick to the basketball and box out. Also, we're going to have to play close attention to their inside and outside games. Because they play a good inside game, it opens up the outside. Us guards have to do a great job on Hairston who's one of the best players in the country. 


Kelsey Griffin, Sophomore / Forward

On past six games coming into the tournament

I think what we have done in practice is gone back to the basics and gone back to what has made us successful early on and to not really dwell on the losses but to look forward to what we've worked hard to accomplish and to focus on our goals in hopes of not coming into the tournament and being one and done.


On playing a non-Big 12 team

You do know each other so well in the Big 12 so it is exciting to see a new opponent and to be here at the NCAA.


Chelsea Aubry, Senior/Forward

On what it means to be in the NCAA Tournament

We worked hard for this. This was our goal when we came in as freshmen and it's great to achieve a goal like this. Our hard work paid off. We've seen Temple and their inside-outside game is a big threat and their rebounding, so we're going to have to box out and go after the ball.


I think we have nothing to lose. These are our last games so all we have left is to play hard. I think if we do that then we will be successful, hopefully.

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