Lincoln - Cory Montgomery scored a career-high 21 points off the bench and Danielle Page added 21 points and a team-high eight rebounds as the Nebraska women's basketball team rolled to an 87-69 victory over USC at the Bob Devaney Sports Center on Saturday night.
With the victory over one of women's
basketball's most tradition-rich programs, a young Nebraska team improved to
7-2 on the season, including 6-0 at home. USC slipped to 4-3 on the
"That is a big win for us," Nebraska
Coach Connie Yori said. "We believe USC is a quality basketball team that is
going to have a pretty successful season. They play in a great conference in the
Pac-10 and they are traditionally a postseason team, so that win might help us
later this year."
Montgomery, a 6-2 sophomore forward
from Cannon Falls, Minn., poured in 14 of her 21 points in the second half,
including seven points in the final 3:14 seconds, as NU turned a seven-point
lead into an 18-point victory down the stretch.
Huskers, who feature only one senior on their 13-player roster and just one
returning starter from last year's club, scored on every possession in the final
3:14, including five straight points from Montgomery to open the stretch. Even when she
missed from the free throw line during the closing minutes, good things happened
for the Huskers.
Montgomery scored on a
tremendous finish inside after a pair of Simone Jelks free throws cut the NU
lead to 74-67 with 3:31 left in the game. After a defensive stop, Nebraska pushed its lead back to double figures on
putback of a missed jumper by Page.
"Cory has been playing great
basketball for us this season, and she probably played her best game tonight,"
Yori said. "She made some big plays for us at both ends and the offensive
rebound and finish she had late in the game was a huge play."
After a pair of free throws by
Allison Jaskowiak Kennedy trimmed the lead back to nine points, Montgomery was fouled in
the middle of the lane and hit the first free throw. She missed the second but
freshman Kaitlyn Burke ran down a loose ball rebound and California native Tay Hester drilled a jumper seconds later to pump NU's lead to
Sophomore Yvonne Turner then stole
USC's inbounds pass and Burke nailed a jumper 20 seconds later to complete a
rare five-point possession for NU to give the Huskers an 83-69 lead with 1:30
Montgomery then pulled
down a defensive board and was fouled by Nadia Parker, her fifth of the game,
with 1:07 left. Montgomery calmly stepped to the line and
drained a pair of free throws to give NU its biggest lead of the night at 16
Hester, who scored 10 of her 12
points in the second half, then stole a pass from Hailey Dunham.
Burke found Hester 25 seconds later for an uncontested layup to close the
scoring and give NU an 18-point victory.
Huskers, who trailed for less than two minutes early in the game after USC
opened a 6-2 lead, carried a 38-36 lead at the half after running to a 12-point
edge midway through the opening stanza.
Nebraska was on fire
early in the game, knocking down 14-of-20 shots from the field to open the game,
with most of the shots coming on mid-range jumpers by Page, Montgomery and Kelsey Griffin.
first two points of the night in the opening minute to become the 23rd player in
Husker history to reach the 1,000-point plateau in her career. She finished with
13 points, three rebounds, two assists and a steal in a season-high 30 minutes
Page scored 13 of her 21 points in
the first half on 6-of-10 shooting from the field with one of her misses coming
from three-point range. For the night, she hit 10-of-18 shots from the field,
while adding a season-high five blocks. She also distributed three assists to go
along with eight boards.
Montgomery's line was
spectacular, finishing with 21 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the field and a
6-for-8 performance at the free throw line. She added six boards and an assist
with no turnovers in just 17 minutes of action off the bench.
While Page, Montgomery and Griffin combined for 55 points on the offensive
end, they also limited USC's potent inside attack to a season-low shooting
percentage. Nadia Parker, who entered the game hitting nearly 75 percent of her
attempts from the field, connected on just 5-of-11 shots on the night
to finish with 14 points. Morghan Medlock faired even worse, going 3-for-12 from
the field to finish with seven points.
fullcourt pressure wore down USC's legs in the second half, as the Women of Troy
hit just 7-of-31 shots from the field (22.6 percent). USC was able to stay in
the game by hitting 8-of-20 three-pointers (40 percent), including four threes
in each half.
Yvonne Turner led Nebraska's backcourt
players with eight points, four rebounds and three steals, while Burke added
seven points, five assists and four rebounds on a perfect shooting night from
the field. Fellow freshman Dominique Kelley added five points, four assists and
a steal in an outstanding team effort.
the game, Nebraska shot a sizzling 57.1 percent (36-63)
from the field, including 33.3 percent (3-9) from three-point range. NU also
knocked down 12-of-20 free throws, including 8-of-10 in the game's final
outrebounded USC, 43-41, despite USC's 23 offensive rebounds. Although USC had a
huge total on the offensive boards, the Women of Troy were unable to convert on
their second chances, finishing with just 11 second-chance points. In fact, USC
had 11 offensive boards in the first half and not only did score a point off the
rebounds, it immediately committed seven turnovers without even putting up a
Huskers also won the turnover battle, forcing 21 miscues by the Trojans, while
committing 19 turnovers of their own. USC finished at just 31.4 percent (22-70)
from the field, but did hit 77.3 percent (17-22) of its free
Nebraska's 87 points
marked its second-highest scoring total of the season and the fourth time in six
home games that the Huskers have surpassed the 80-point plateau. NU has won 48
straight games when scoring 80 or more points.
Nebraska will try to
extend its four-game winning streak by playing its first true road games of the
season next week. The Huskers travel to California for a pair of games, including
a battle at Cal State Bakersfield on Thursday at 9 p.m. (Central time). NU
concludes its California road trip by taking on
State on Saturday at 7 p.m.
(Central). Both games will be carried live on the Husker Sports Network,
including 98.1 KFGE in Lincoln, with free Internet audio broadcasts on