The Husker women's basketball team won two road games to bring their conference record to 2-2 and their overall record to 12-3. They moved up in the polls from #19 to #17 in the process.
This team has had a baffling amount of trouble shooting the 3 as they are completing only 28.2% of their attempts from downtown. They are shooting a respectable 75% from the free throw line, with point guard Rachel Theriot on a blistering 92.6% pace (good for 6th in the nation). Crowds have been excellent for the Huskers as they continue to draw over 5300 for home games.
This next week, the Husker play Penn State (Jan 15) and Purdue (Jan 18) at home. Defending B1G co-champion Penn State has had a rough start, opening conference play 0-5. Purdue has been Nebraska's "Achilles Heel" since joining the B1G as the Huskers are 1-5 with the lone win coming back in 2012 in a triple overtime thriller, 93-89 in West Lafayette. Three of their six games have gone into overtime.
Michigan State - January 8
In East Lansing, Emily Cady scored seven of Nebraska's final 11 points in the game in an 11-1 surge over the final 3:02 to turn a 66-60 deficit into a 71-67 victory for No. 19 Nebraska over Michigan State at the Breslin Center. Both teams were a bit short-handed as Nebraska had 7 players log minutes while the Spartans had eight. In their previous two trips to East Lansing, the Huskers have lost decisively on both occasions, 70-57 in 2014 and 73-53 in 2012.
Cady, who led the Huskers with 16 points, seven rebounds and five assists, hit 6-of-7 shots from the floor and 4-of-5 free throws to power the Big Red down the stretch. Cady's three-point play with 30 seconds left gave Nebraska the lead for good at 69-67.
Fellow senior forward Hailie Sample added 13 points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals, added a huge defensive rebound with 5.4 seconds left. She was immediately fouled by Becca Mills, then stepped to the line and sank both free throws to seal the 71-67 victory.
Rachel Theriot added 13 points, five rebounds and a game-high seven assists on 6-of-12 shooting, while Brandi Jeffery put four Huskers in double figures with 10 points, six rebounds, three assists and three steals. Jeffery scored eight points in the second half, including a key shot down the stretch.
Nebraska hit 55.2 percent (16-29) of her shots in the second half, but went 0-for-5 from three-point range in the second half. For the game, the Big Red hit 45.9 percent (28-61), while going just 3-of-18 from long range.
Natalie Romeo two first-half threes for the Huskers while finishing with eight big points off the bench. Michigan native Allie Havers added four points and five big rebounds.
Nebraska won the rebounding battle, 38-34, and the turnover battle, 15-12. Nebraska matched Michigan State at 20 on the boards and won the turnover battle, 5-4. Michigan State, a defending B1G co-champion, slipped to 8-7 overall and 0-4 in the Big Ten.
Illinois - January 11
For [probably] the first time all season, the Huskers put more women on the court (8) than their opponent (7). All-American Rachel Theriot scored 20 of her game-high 27 points in the second half to rally No. 19 Nebraska from a seven-point second-half deficit to a 58-53 victory on Sunday at the State Farm Center.
Nebraska trailed 49-43 with 6:42 left, but Theriot responded by scoring eight straight points for the Huskers over the next two minutes to tie the score at 51 with 4:30 left. After nearly 1:30 of scoreless basketball for both teams, Theriot scored again to give Nebraska the lead for good at 53-51 with3:03 left.
The Big Red then got a free throw from Hailie Sample and a layup from Emily Cady to push the NU lead to 56-51 with 1:34 left. Brandi Jeffery added a free throw with 14 seconds left to push the margin to 57-51.
Theriot sealed the win with one more free throw, as Nebraska outscored Illinois 15-4 in the game's final 6:21 with 11 points from Theriot.
Although Theriot was the only Husker to finish in double figures, they got contributions across the board, including six points and 12 rebounds from Cady and seven points and nine rebounds from Sample, who went 3-for-3 from the floor.
Jeffery added five points, nine big rebounds and two crucial steals, while Tear'a Laudermill pitched in nine points, five rebounds, a team-high three assists and two steals of her own.
Nebraska shot just 36.2 percent (21-58) for the game, including 2-of-11 from three-point range. The Huskers also connected on just 14-of-22 free throws. However, NU dominated the glass, 46-34, for the game, including plus-11 in the second half. The two teams each committed just 12 turnovers in the contest. The Fighting Illini slipped to 11-5 and 2-2 in the conference.
The Big Ten remains the No. 1 conference in terms of RPI according to the Collegiate Basketball News Women's Basketball RPI Ratings. Maryland leads the way at No. 6, followed by Iowa (20), Nebraska (22), Ohio State (24), Minnesota (26), Northwestern (35) and Purdue (40) are among the top 50 teams.
The Terrapins are atop the Big Ten women's basketball standings as the only unbeaten team in the conference. Maryland has won its last seven games and remains undefeated on its home court. Iowa (9-0) and Northwestern (7-0) have also maintained an undefeated record at home.
Ohio State's Kelsey Mitchell averages 24.9 points per game as the nation's leading scorer. Teammate Ameryst Alston is the Big Ten's second-leading scorer with 21.5 ppg.