Playing in front of more than 2,000 Husker fans who journeyed North to watch Nebraska in its ninth NCAA Tournament, Naismith Trophy finalist Kelsey Griffin led the Huskers with 22 points to become the third player in school history to reach the 2,000-point mark in her career. Griffin's free throw with 7:41 left in the game completed a three-point play and gave the Huskers a 30-point lead at 70-40.
Griffin finished with 22 points and nine rebounds, while adding three assists and two steals. She rested for the final six minutes of the contest. She hit 7-of-15 shots from the field and all eight of her free throw attempts while playing just 25 minutes. She joined 1993 Wade Trophy winner Karen Jennings and 1988 Big Eight Player-of-the-Year Maurtice Ivy as the only Huskers in history with 2,000 points.
Before Griffin dominated inside, her teammates buried the Panthers (17-16) from long range. The Huskers connected on 10-of-20 three-pointers in the contest, as eight different players hit a three. Every Husker that took a three, hit a three in the contest.
"Obviously it is nice to hit some shots," Nebraska Coach Connie Yori said. "All of our players did a nice job of knocking down shots, and I thought our ball movement was really good. We did a nice job of following our scouting report and playing inside-out basketball. We our excited about the win, and we did not really expect that kind of a margin. We know that Northern Iowa is a very good basketball team."
Freshman point guard Lindsey Moore hit the first of the Huskers' 10 threes and finished 2-of-4 from long range to close the night with 10 points. She also dished out five assists without committing a turnover, and notched two steals and two rebounds.
Junior guard Dominique Kelley gave the Huskers three players in double figures with 11 points, including nine in the first half on a three-pointer and a pair of traditional three-point plays.
Minnesota native Cory Montgomery added nine points, four rebounds and a career-high five assists, while also knocking down a three.
In all, 11 Huskers found the scoring column and 10 Huskers pulled down at least one rebound. Nebraska dominated the boards, especially in the second half, finishing with a 45-34 margin on the glass. Junior center Catheryn Redmon led NU's efforts with a season-high 13 rebounds to go along with four points and three blocked shots. Griffin added nine rebounds, just missing her 19th double-double of the year. Both Redmon and Griffin pulled down seven second-half boards, as NU was plus-13 on the glass in the second stanza.
Along with being plus-11 on the boards, Nebraska was plus-six in the turnover column (17-11). Nebraska hit 42.6 percent (26-61) of its shots from the field and 84 percent (21-25) of its free throw attempts. On the defensive end, the Huskers held UNI to just 29.3 percent (17-58) shooting, including just 2-of-23 shooting from long range. UNI was 8-of-11 at the line.
Lizzie Boeck was the only Panther to produce double figures on the night, finishing with 10 points and eight rebounds. K.K. Armstrong managed nine points and four boards off the bench.
In an entertaining first half, Nebraska jumped out to a 40-27 halftime lead as six Huskers combined to hit seven three-pointers in the opening 20 minutes. Kelley led the Huskers with nine first-half points, including a three-pointer and a pair of three-point plays. She added three rebounds, an assist and a steal in the opening half.
Griffin added eight points, two rebounds, two assists and two steals in the first half, while Yvonne Turner pumped in six points on a pair of threes. Moore and Montgomery each added five points.
The Huskers hit 7-of-14 three-pointers, while knocking down 12-of-32 field goal attempts overall. The Huskers also hit 9-of-11 free throws, while forcing 12 first-half turnovers by the Panthers. NU committed just four turnovers of their own, but were outrebounded 19-17 in the first half.
Northern Iowa hit 10-of-24 field goals in the first half, but just 2-of-11 three-pointers. The Panthers also hit 5-of-7 free throws, as Boeck led UNI with eight first-half points.
The Huskers will take aim at their first-ever NCAA Sweet 16 bid when they take on either eighth-seeded UCLA or ninth-seeded NC State in Tuesday's second round at 8:30 p.m.
Nebraska will hold a press conference at Williams Arena at 12:20 p.m. on Monday afternoon, before holding a 90-minute closed practice from 1 to 2:30 p.m.