First-team All-Big 12 forward Kelsey Griffin led
Huskers were a perfect 19-for-19 from the line in the second half, as they added
to their lead after intermission, despite going 12 minutes in the second half
with just one field goal. In fact,
Sophomore guard Kala Kuhlmann added her second straight strong performance to open Big 12 play, scoring eight points and adding three rebounds off the bench after scoring seven points with a career-best six boards in a win over No. 15 Texas on Wednesday.
Junior transfer Tay Hester added seven points, including a perfect 5-for-5 shooting effort at the free throw line, while sophomore point guard Yvonne Turner continued her solid play with seven points and five steals. Turner has nabbed 19 total steals in NU's last three contests.
Sophomores Nikki Bober and Nicole Neals also provided impressive contributions with six points apiece, including a perfect shooting night from the field and the line for Bober, and a pair of three-pointers for Neals.
"If you look at the stat sheet you'll see that we had 10 players with four or more points," Nebraska Coach Connie Yori said. "That is exactly the kind of team effort that we want in our system. Kelsey was the only player in double figures, but we had nine players who had double-figure minutes, and we believe as the season wears on that is going to be big for us."
"I thought our defensive effort was tremendous for the first 30 minutes of the game," Yori said. "I thought we really came out and got after it, and other than some rebounds that we gave up early after defensive rotation, I thought we were really causing them some problems. I thought near the end of the game we relaxed a little bit and gave up some easier baskets, but for the first 30 minutes we didn't give them anything easy."
With NU trailing, 19-16, McCray
fouled Hester driving to the basket with 6:50 left. Hester hit both free
throws to pull NU within one. After a defensive stop,
Morris stopped the run momentarily with her jumper, but Page and Turner then connected on four consecutive free throws to give the Huskers points on six straight possessions to take a 29-21 lead with 4:15 left in the half.
Although the Huskers had their
streak of consecutive possessions with points stopped on their next possession,
they continued to extend their lead with back-to-back baskets from
NU maintained a 12-point edge at 38-26 at halftime, and quickly pushed the margin to 18 by opening the second half on an 8-2 surge, capped by Turner's layup following a steal to make it 46-28 with 17:18 left in the game.
Nebraska's next field goal didn't come until Bober scored with 9:31 left, but the Huskers still maintained an 18-point edge at 56-38, as Cory Montgomery, Griffin, Bober and Page combined to hit eight straight free throws during NU's field goal drought.
Huskers didn't get another field goal until 2:52 remaining, but managed to push
their lead to 20 points after four straight free throws from
Kuhlmann hit a pair of jumpers in the final three minutes and Catheryn Redmon scored the first two points of Big 12 action in her career to give the Huskers their final margin at 71-51.
McCray led the Jayhawks with 14 points and five rebounds, while Sade Morris added 11 points. Nicollette Smith contributed nine points and five rebounds in 25 minutes off the bench before fouling out.
Huskers hit the road for the first time in Big 12 action on Wednesday night when
they travel to