Nebraska coach Connie Yori finally had her entire roster available and it paid off as the No. 16 Husker women's basketball team logged two conference wins this week. Nebraska improved to 14-3 overall and 4-2 in the Big Ten. First up was defending B1G co-champ Penn State. The Nittany Lions are in rebuilding mode, but it still feels good for the ladies to get a win against one of the conference's perennial powers. After dispatching PSU, the Huskers faced their nemesis, Purdue. The Boilermakers held a five game win streak against Nebraska, with two of those five wins coming in overtime. It had to feel pretty good for Yori's crew to break that streak.
Thursday(January 22) the Huskers travel to the Wisconsin Badgers (7-10, 3-4 B1G) and will also go on the road to Iowa (14-3, 5-1 B1G) on January 26.
Penn State - January 15
Anya Kalenta returned from injury to score five points on 2-of-3 shooting, while Jasmine Cincore added two points and a steal. Chandler Smith also competed for just the second time this season, playing a career-high nine minutes.
Freshman Natalie Romeo made the most of her first career start by burying six three-pointers to finish with a career-high 18 points to shoot Nebraska to a 73-45 women's basketball win over Penn State. Penn State slipped to 3-14 overall and 0-6 in the Big Ten.
Senior forward Emily Cady played a solid all-around game with six points, eight rebounds, six assists and two blocks, while junior point guard Rachel Theriot contributed nine points and two assists. Theriot played a Big Ten-low 32 minutes, marking the first minutes she has not been on the court in conference action.
Senior forward Hailie Sample did not score and only had one rebound, but dished out five assists and grabbed one steal in just 16 minutes off the bench. It marked the first time in Sample's career that she did not start a game, snapping a streak of 115 straight starts.
She and Theriot were not scheduled to start in the game because of a violation of team policies, however an administrative mistake before the game forced Theriot into the starting lineup instead of Jeffery.
Purdue - January 19
No. 16 Nebraska got contributions from top to bottom at both ends of the court, as the Huskers stretched their Big Ten Conference winning streak to four games with a 69-59 victory Purdue slipped to 9-9 this season and 2-5 in the Big Ten, suffering its fourth consecutive loss.
All-American point guard Rachel Theriot led the Huskers with 16 points and seven assists. She scored nine points in the final 3:02 of the game to close out the victory. The 6-0 junior from Middleburg Heights, Ohio, sealed the win with six straight free throws in the final 1:11.
Theriot led four Huskers in double figures, including 15 points from senior Hailie Sample, who connected on 6-of-10 shots from the floor. Sample also went 3-of-4 from the free throw line while grabbing three rebounds and adding an assist and a block.
Brandi Jeffery added one of the best all-around games of her career with 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting, while also going 3-for-4 at the line. The 5-7 senior guard from Vacherie, La., added six rebounds, two assists and two steals. It was the second-highest scoring total of Jeffery's career, trailing only her 19 points in the season-opening win over Pepperdine on Nov. 15. It was her seventh double-figure scoring performance of the season and her third in the last four games.
Senior Tear'a Laudermill added 10 points - all in the first half - to help set the tone for Nebraska. She added four rebounds, an assist and a steal to help the Huskers run to a 33-24 halftime lead.
Freshman Chandler Smith connected on the first field goal of her career with 5:01 remaining in the half to give Nebraska its first double-digit lead of the game at 30-20. It was just Smith's third career appearance after missing 14 games on the season with injury.
Seven Big Ten teams rank among the top 50 RPI in the NCAA. Maryland leads the way at No. 5, followed by Iowa (13), Minnesota (19), Nebraska (28), Ohio State (38), Michigan (42) and Northwestern (45).
The Terrapins are atop the Big Ten women's basketball standings as the only unbeaten team in the conference, and are currently riding a nine-game win streak.
Ten active Big Ten players have recorded 500 career rebounds, with Michigan's Cyesha Goree just two rebounds shy of 500 entering this week's games. Nebraska's Emily Cady leads the conference in the category with 950 career boards.