It was a mixed bag this week for the Huskers as they went 1-1 in conference road games. The week started off well with a decisive win over Wisconsin, but ended on a sour note with an overtime loss to Iowa. It was the first time the Hawkeye women had beaten the Huskers since Nebraska joined the Big Ten. Nebraska now has a 15-4 overall record and is 5-3 in the Big Ten.
I'll start with two quick thoughts before diving into the gory details:
As many college basketball fans have noted this year, officials have asserted themselves into games more forcefully, for better or worse. For the Husker women this was an example of "for worse" as the Hawkeyes were down by 1 with 1.3 seconds left and had the ball. Rachel Theriot came out of nowhere to block a shot and was whistled for the foul. The Hawkeye player hit one of her two free throws to tie the game and Iowa easily put away the exhausted Huskers in OT. Photos (admittedly from Husker fans and media) seemed to show a clean block by Theriot.
Second note- the Huskers should not have been in that situation. They led almost the entire game by as much as 10 points, but looked worn down by the end. Even though Coach Yori had everyone but Brandi Jeffery available, only 6-ish players logged significant minutes (Allie Havers was 7th with 9 minutes). This is the second game this season where the women wilted and gave up a game they should have won. The earlier one, Minnesota, was chalked up to only having 7 players available. We have also seen this in the past toward the end of a season, especially in tourney play. With the level of recruits that Nebraska brings in, it seems odd that a larger rotation is not being used.
The Huskers have return to Lincoln Thursday (January 29) to take on Illinois, followed closely by a game with Michigan on February 1. Tip-off between the Big Red and the Fighting Illini is set for 7 p.m.
January 22 - Nebraska 89 Wisconsin 72
Tear'a Laudermill and Emily Cady combined for 43 points, including 34 in a huge first half to power No. 16 Nebraska.Laudermill, a senior guard from Moreno Valley, Calif., scored 18 of her game-high 24 points in the first half, including four three-pointers. Cady, a senior forward from Seward, Neb., added her seventh double-double of the year with 19 points, 12 rebounds, four assists and three steals. Cady hit 8-of-9 shots from the floor, including 3-of-4 three-pointers. She scored 16 points in the first half, including a buzzer-beating layup to give Nebraska a 53-31 halftime lead.
Wisconsin slipped to 7-11 overall and 3-5 in the conference.
Rachel Theriot added 11 points and five assists, while Hailie Sample gave the Huskers four starters in double figures with 10 points and eight rebounds. Freshman guard Natalie Romeo just missed double figures with nine points while making her second start in the last three games. Romeo started in place of senior guard Brandi Jeffery, who sat out with a minor injury. She is day-to-day.
Nebraska finished its best offensive performance of Big Ten play by shooting 50 percent (33-66) from the field, including 9-of-18 from three-point range. The Huskers also hit 14-of-17 free throws. Nebraska also won the turnover battle, 12-7, including just two turnovers in the first half.
January 26 - Iowa 78 Nebraska 72 in OT
Emily Cady produced 19 points and a career-high 18 rebounds, but No. 15 Nebraska suffered a 78-72 overtime loss at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Monday night to #20 Iowa..
Tear'a Laudermill added 19 points, including 17 after halftime, but the Huskers had their five-game overall winning streak snapped. It also snapped Nebraska's eight-game winning streak in the series with Iowa. The Hawkeyes improved to 16-3 overall and 7-1 in the Big Ten.
Theriot finished with 15 points and five assists, while Brandi Jeffery added eight points, seven rebounds and three steals for NU. Hailie Sample managed six points and eight rebounds including a crucial layup with 1:23 left to cut a three-point Iowa lead to 60-59.
Nebraska led for the game's first 36 minutes before back-to-back jumpers from Melissa Dixon and Logic gave the Hawkeyes a 58-57 edge with 3:50left. A Disterhoft shot with 2:29 left pushed the margin to 60-57, before the Huskers rallied.
Nebraska and Iowa went to overtime tied at 61 with huge plays by both teams late in regulation. Theriot hit a jumper with 4.5 seconds left to give Nebraska a 61-60 lead. But freshman guard Whitney Jennings came free on the length-of-the-court inbounds and appeared to have an uncontested run to the rim from the left side. Theriot came over and blocked the shot but was called for the foul with 1.3 seconds left. Jennings missed the first free throw but made the second to send the game to overtime.
Seven Big Ten teams rank among the top 50 in the NCAA RPI. Maryland leads the way at No. 4, followed by Iowa (11), Nebraska (30), Minnesota (31), Ohio State (36), Michigan (42) and Rutgers (50).
Nebraska's Rachel Theriot enters Thursday's game against Illinois with 998 career points, and looks to join 12 active Big Ten women's basketball players in the 1,000-career point club.
Iowa and Michigan have recorded the most accurate three-point field goal percentages in the Big Ten this season. The Hawkeyes rank No. 7 in the nation, converting 38.3 percent, while the Wolverines have made 38.2 percent of their attempts from beyond the arc.