Husker Defense Dominates No. 15 Texas

Kelsey Griffin posted her second double-double of the season with 13 points and 10 rebounds, while Yvonne Turner added nine points and six steals, as Nebraska held Texas to just one field goal in a span of more than 12 minutes in the second half to roll to a 56-45 win over the No. 15 Longhorns at the Devaney Center on Wednesday night.

Playing in front of nearly 3,700 fans in their Big 12 opener, the Huskers improved to 12-3 on the season with their second straight win over Texas - the first time in school history NU has beaten UT in back-to-back games. The Longhorns slipped to 12-3 on the year, while having their 10-game winning snapped. It also spoiled the Big 12 debut for UT first-year coach Gail Goestenkors.

Nebraska, which stretched its home winning streak to 10 games by improving to 9-0 at the Devaney Center this season, overcame its worst homecourt offensive performance of the season by producing its third straight outstanding defensive effort.

The Huskers, who shot a season-low 30.8 percent from the field and did not hit a three-pointer for the first time all season, surrendered just 45 points to the Longhorns. NU allowed just 19 in the first half - one of the five-lowest point totals ever by a Longhorn team in a first half. NU held UT to just 25.8 percent shooting from the field on the night, after the Longhorns entered the game averaging better than 80 points per contest while shooting better than 46 percent from the field.

Turner was one of many defensive catalysts for the Huskers, recording six steals to help NU force 20 turnovers. She also scored all nine of her points in the second half to spark Nebraska's comeback from a 19-17 halftime deficit. Turner added five rebounds in an outstanding all-around effort, despite playing just 23 minutes. 

She left the game with 2:53 remaining with a knee injury after falling to the floor near halfcourt on a collision. Her status was not known following the game, but she did walk to the postgame interviews under her own power.

By that time, the havoc Turner created had already sealed the win for the Huskers.

"We were tough tonight and we played some really good defense for 40 minutes," Nebraska Coach Connie Yori said. "It started with our guards really getting after it and playing tough on the perimeter. Vonnie did a great job of forcing turnovers with great ball-pressure and as the game went on our other players fed off that. We won the game with defense and rebounding and that is what we have been telling our players wins games in the Big 12."

Along with forcing 20 turnovers, the Huskers owned a commanding 55-40 edge on the glass against UT, including 20 offensive boards.

"Everybody contributed tonight on both ends and that is why I love playing on this team so much," Griffin said. "Danielle Page did a great job flying to the boards and Nikki Bober came off the bench and gave us some great minutes and Cory Montgomery played big inside. We just kept coming at them and eventually we took control of the game."

In one of the most impressive defensive performances by both teams in school history, the two teams combined for just 36 points in the first half, tying the mark for the lowest scoring first half in school history - a span covering more than 1,000 games.

Nebraska trailed 19-17 at the half, with its 17 points ranking as the fourth-fewest ever scored by an NU team in the first half. At the same time, UT's 19 also ranked as the fourth-fewest ever scored by the Longhorns in a first half.

The Huskers surged to a three-point lead at 17-14 on a Nicole Neals jumper with 2:29 left in the first half, but UT scored the final five points to close the half on a 5-0 run.

The Longhorns continued the surge with the first three points of the second half on a three-point play from Brittainey Raven to give UT its biggest lead of the night at 22-17. Raven finished with a game-high 18 points to go along with eight rebounds, but committed five turnovers and hit just 5-of-19 shots from the field as the only Longhorn in double figures.

Turner then sparked the Huskers with a jumper at 18:30 to end the UT run. After a Montgomery basket, Turner got a steal and a layup to ignite a 13-0 NU run to turn a 30-29 deficit into a 42-30 Nebraska lead over the next four minutes.

Turner was part of a sophomore class that enjoyed a big night for the Huskers. Along with Turner's nine points, sophomore forward Cory Montgomery scored 10 points and grabbed six rebounds in 20 minutes off the bench. Sophomore guard Kala Kuhlmann added one of the best games of her career with seven points and six rebounds in 24 minutes, spelling Tay Hester for most of the night as Hester battled early foul trouble.

Turner, Montgomery and Kuhlmann combined to score 14 of NU's first 16 points of the second half, as Nebraska took control of the game.

Texas was never able to answer Nebraska's second-half surge, as NU's lead grew to 16 points at 50-34 with 3:57 left. In fact, the Huskers allowed just one field goal in a span of 12:33, after Raven's layup with 13:32 to play gave UT the 30-29 lead. Nebraska did not allow another field goal until Erneisha Bailey's three-pointer with 59 seconds left. Bailey added an unchallenged layup in the closing seconds to wrap up the scoring.

Nebraska concludes its four-game homestand by battling Big 12 Conference foe Kansas on Saturday at the Devaney Center. Tip-off is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. with a live national television broadcast on FSN.

The Nebraska men will also battle the No. 3 Jayhawks at the Devaney Center with tip-off at 8 p.m. All Husker men's basketball ticket holders who present a ticket to the men's game will be admitted free to the women's game earlier in the day.

Box Score


Big Red Report Top Stories