Playing in front of the seventh straight crowd of more than 10,000 fans, the Big 12 regular-season champion Huskers continued their bid to become the first-ever Big 12 Conference team to finish a regular season undefeated by improving to 28-0 overall and 15-0 in the league. The Huskers also ended their home season by matching the best home record in school history at 16-0, while stretching their home winning streak to 20 games.
National Player-of-the-Year candidate Kelsey Griffin, playing in her final home game and making her 121st career start, led NU with 18 points and nine rebounds in just 22 minutes, while junior guard Dominique Kelley added 16 points in 22 minutes, including 14 in the first half.
Freshman point guard Lindsey Moore added 14 points, three assists and three steals, while senior forward Cory Montgomery added 12 points and four boards. Senior guard Yvonne Turner added a strong night of her own with nine points, seven rebounds, four assists and four steals.
Nebraska dominated from start to finish, building leads in excess of 30 points in the second half. The Huskers hit just 39.7 percent (25-63) of their field goal attempts, including just 3-of-12 three-pointers for the game, but NU put the Jayhawks away early by burying a blistering 54.8 percent (17-31) of their first-half shots in building a 49-32 halftime lead.
For the game, Nebraska outscored Kansas at the line 24-4, while outrebounding KU, 43-31, including a 17-5 edge on the offensive glass. The Huskers were also plus-11 in the turnover department (22-11).
Kansas outshot the Huskers for the game (44.2 percent), but hit just 2-of-11 three-pointers and just three total field goals in the first eight minutes of the second. No Jayhawk managed double figures on the night, as Annette Davis and Monica Engelman both totaled nine points. Freshman Carolyn Davis was shut out by NU, while attempting just two shots.
Nebraska dominance allowed Coach Connie Yori to walk each of her seniors - Kelsey Griffin, Yvonne Turner, Cory Montgomery, Kala Kuhlmann and Nicole Neals - off to standing ovations one-by-one over the final eight minutes. NU's sixth senior, center Nikki Bober, is out for the season with a knee injury.
The six seniors were also announced one-by-one prior to the game, receiving flowers and hugs from Coach Yori at center court while being escorted from the locker room by their parents.
The Huskers made a pact before the game to go through pregame ceremonies without tears, and they kept it. Instead of shedding tears, they came out focused and bolted to a 9-0 lead in the first 2:26 and never relinquished control.
"We couldn't have scripted it much better on Senior Night," Yori said. "Our seniors have meant so much to us and it is great for them to go out this way. They deserve it for all the work they have put in. They are a special group."
The Huskers built their lead to 20 points on two occasions in the first half, before heading to the locker room with a 49-32 halftime edge.
Kelley led the Huskers with 14 points and three rebounds in 13 minutes, while Griffin and Moore added eight points, Turner pitched in seven pointers, while Montgomery added six points as NU's starters combined for 43 first-half points. Junior Catheryn Redmon boosted the Huskers off the bench with five points and two rebounds, while fellow junior Jessica Periago added one point and one steal.
Nebraska hit 54.8 percent (17-31) of its shots from the field, including 3-of-8 three-pointers, while also draining 12-of-16 free throws. The Huskers also won the first half rebound battle, 16-14, while dominating 11-3 in the turnover department in the opening 20 minutes.
KU also shot well in the first half, hitting 14-of-26 field goal attempts, including 1-of-4 threes, but KU managed just 3-of-5 free throw shooting. Sade Morris led KU with eight first-half points, while Engelman pitched in six.
The Huskers close the regular season on Saturday when they travel to Manhattan to clash with Kansas State. Tip-off between the Huskers and Wildcats is set for noon with live radio coverage by the Husker Sports Network, including 98.1 KFGE in Lincoln, 93.3 KTWI in Omaha and 880 KRVN in Lexington. Free live audio will also be available worldwide on Huskers.com.