Lincoln - Freshman guard Dominique Kelley led five Huskers in double figures with a career-high 16 points and sophomore guard Yvonne Turner led a stifling defense, as the Nebraska women's basketball turned a six-point halftime lead into an 90-63 run past Florida at the Bob Devaney Sports Center on Saturday night.
With the victory, Nebraska improved to 3-0
while scoring 80 or more points for the third consecutive game. The traditional
Southeastern Conference power Florida suffered its first loss of the season
to slip to 2-1 on the year. Nebraska, which has
scored 80 or more points in four straight games at the Devaney Center dating back to the regular-season
finale last year, produced three consecutive games with 80 or more points to
open the season for the first time since 1987-88.
Along with a career-night from
Kelley, a product of Lincoln Northeast High
School, senior forward Danielle Page produced the
third double-double of her career with 11 points and 10 rebounds to go along
with two blocks.
Kala Kuhlmann, a sophomore guard
from Charter Oak, Iowa, also played a major role in Nebraska's second-half surge
by scoring seven straight points to turn an eight-point NU lead into a 13-point
NU edge. Kuhlmann finished with a career-high 11 points to go along with a
career-high five assists.
First-team All-Big 12 forward Kelsey Griffin added 13 points and six rebounds, while sophomore forward Cory Montgomery added 10 points off the bench in a solid effort.
Despite Nebraska's offensive
eruption, which included 52 points on 65.5 percent shooting in the second half,
it was the Huskers' defense that turned the tide of the game overwhelmingly in
the Huskers' favor in the second half. Appropriately, the person responsible for
turning the game from a dogfight into a blower was Turner - Yvonne Turner.
sophomore guard from Omaha took Florida out of its offensive rhythm throughout the night,
but in the first two minutes of the second half, she
was single-handedly responsible for preventing Florida from crossing
halfcourt. Turner recorded a career-high eight steals, with all eight of
them coming in the game's first 22 minutes, when she spent just 12 minutes on
Turner, which helped NU to a 38-32
lead with three steals in the first half, nabbed her first steal just 22 seconds
into the second half, taking it away from Florida star Sha Brooks. Twelve seconds later,
Turner took it away from another experienced UF guard, Depree Bowden, before
for a layup. After a Florida timeout, Turner stole the ball from
reigning SEC Player-of-the-Week Brittaney Thomas and finished it with a layup to
push NU's lead to 42-34 with 19:07 left in the game.
wasn't done yet, plucking the ball away from Brooks on the following
possesion just 17 seconds later. After Kelley converted a pair of free
throws to push NU's lead to 10 with 18:39 left, Turner recorded her fifth steal
in the first 1:31 of the second half. Turner found Kelley again
in transition, and Kelley was fouled by Brooks. Kelley converted one
of two free throws to push NU's lead to 45-34.
the first two minutes of the second half, Turner recorded five steals, had
two points, an assist and a defensive rebound, while limiting Florida to just two shots
during that stretch, while the Gators committed three quick
"It's not very often where you have
five players in double figures and probably the MVP of the game was a player
that had only four points," Nebraska Coach Connie Yori said. "But that probably
happened tonight with Vonnie Turner. She totally took them out of what they
wanted to do offensively, and in the second half she was just
Turner's eight steals were just two
shy of NU's school record and tied for the eighth-most in school history by an
individual. Turner played a major role in forcing an experienced Florida team into
committing 33 turnovers, the same total the Gators committed in their first two
games combined to open the 2007-08 season. The Gators' first two games were also
played against 2007 NCAA Tournament qualifiers Xavier and Robert Morris.
Despite Turner's remarkable opening
two minutes of the second half, Florida battled to keep the lead in single
digits with 14 minutes left in the game after a jumper by Aneika Henry cut NU's
lead to 49-41.
Enter Kuhlmann, who buried a
three-pointer to push NU's lead to 52-41, before adding a jumper to cap a string
of seven straight points to put the Huskers up 54-41 with 12:59 to
Although Bowden hit a layup to
cut NU's lead back to 11 points, the Gators went nearly the next nine minutes
without a field goal, hitting just 6-of-10 free throws during the
After the smoke had cleared and
Bowden finally ended UF's field goal drought with her layup with 3:33 left in
the game, Nebraska had built its biggest lead of
the night at 33 points after a pair of free throws by Nikki Bober.
With Turner setting the tone in the
second half, the Huskers held the Gators to just 17 points in the first 17
minutes of the second half to take a commanding 82-49 lead. Monique
Whittaker's first made basket of her career with 3:14 left game gave NU's it
final 33-point lead of the night with 3:14 left.
Brooks led the Gators with 16
points, while Bowden and Sharielle Smith added 12 points each on the night.
Marshae Dotson, who entered the game averaging 19.5 points and 12.5 rebounds per
game, managed just four points on 1-of-10 shooting from the field to go
along with 12 boards before fouling out. Thomas, who entered the contest
averaging 15.5 points per game, managed just four points on 1-of-9 shooting from
Overall, Florida was held to just
30.6 percent (22-72) shooting from the field, including a 6-for-20 effort from
three-point range. The Gators also hit 13-of-20 free throws. Nebraska finished at 52.2
percent (35-67) from the field, despite hitting just 3-of-12 (25 percent)
three-pointers. NU also hit 17-of-27 free throws. The Gators outrebounded NU
49-44, including 26 offensive boards by UF, but Nebraska more than made up for
the difference with a plus-nine (33-24) mark in the turnover department. With
five minutes left in the game, NU was actually plus-14 in that category at
Nebraska will take
its first road trip of the season when the Huskers head to Hawaii for the Oahu
Classic following the Thanksgiving holiday. NU opens the tournament on Friday
when the Huskers battle 2007 NCAA Sweet 16 qualifier Marist at 7:30 p.m.
(central). The Huskers will then face 2007 Postseason WNIT qualifier Utah on Saturday at 7:30 p.m., before wrapping up their
three games in Honolulu against Akron on Sunday at 5 p.m.
All three of NU's games in Hawaii can be heard
live on the Husker Sports Network, including 98.1 FM-KFGE in Lincoln, and for free
around the world on Huskers.com.