Nebraska split a pair of games to move to 18-7 overall and 8-6 in the Big Ten.
Rachel Theriot is still officially listed as "day-to-day" but that is turning into "week-to-week" as the Husker field general missed her 4th straight game. After the Wisconsin game, coach Connie Yori admitted that there was "a very good chance" that Theriot would need surgery on her injured ankle. It seems less and less likely that she will return at any point this season.
Losing your starting point guard, especially an All-American, is never insignificant, but this Husker squad is uniquely equipped to handle the challenge. The four seniors (Cady, Laudermill, Sample, Jeffery) are a talented group. Laudermill is projected to be selected as high as 10th in the WNBA draft. Their presence allows freshman point guard, Natalie Romeo, to grow into her new role without feeling like she is being thrown to the wolves.
To add insult to injury, Hailie Sample sprained an ankle during Thursday's game against Iowa and was using crutches on Friday. She gutted out a remarkable performance, playing 34 minutes on Sunday against Wisconsin--recording her first career double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. I suspect she will feel the effects of this injury for the rest of the season, but is certainly stepping up and showing the senior leadership the team needs.
The Huskers return to Big Ten road action for a pair of games next week, beginning with a Wednesday game at Northwestern. Tip-off between the Big Red and Wildcats is set for 7 p.m. (CT). Northwestern enters the game with a 19-6 overall record that includes a 9-5 Big Ten mark, one game ahead of the Huskers in the Big Ten standings.
They then take on Indiana on Saturday (Feb 21). The Hoosiers are currently sitting 9th in the conference with a 14-11 overall record and 4-10 B1G record.
Nebraska takes aim at its 19th win of the season and its 94th victory in the four years with seniors Emily Cady, Brandi Jeffery, Tear'a Laudermill and Hailie Sample on the court. The most career wins by a senior class in Nebraska history is 94 - established by the 2012-13 class of Lindsey Moore and Meghin Williams.
Nebraska 70 Wisconsin 63 - February 15
Tear'a Laudermill erupted for 20 points and a career-high seven assists, while freshman Natalie Romeo added a career-high 19 points and four assists to power No. 22 Nebraska in front of a season-high crowd of 8,622 at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
Wisconsin slipped to 8-16 overall and 4-10 in the conference.
In addition to the injuries to starters Rachel Theriot and Sample, the Huskers were challenged down the stretch when seniors Emily Cady (3:48) and Brandi Jeffery (0:28) fouled out of the game. Cady still finished with nine points, seven rebounds and four steals, while Jeffery pitched in four points and four assists.
Nebraska jumped to a 13-point first-half lead before Wisconsin rallied to take a four-point lead. The Huskers regained some momentum by carrying a 33-32 lead at the half.
The Badgers regained a 39-37 lead with 17 minutes left, before the Huskers surged, using a 13-0 run that began with a Laudermill three and ended with a Romeo layup off an assist from Laudermill to put the Big Red up 50-39 with 12:52 to play.
Wisconsin cut NU's lead back to four at 52-48 with 9:54 left, before Laudermill started another Husker surge with a jumper. Jasmine Cincore then provided one of the biggest shots of the game with her jumper with 8:37 left for her only two of the game. Cincore followed with an assist on Samples' three-point play 1:10 later that put NU back up 59-48. A pair of Romeo free throws and a Laudermill layup capped an 11-0 NU run that gave the Big Red their biggest lead of the game at 63-48 with 6:10 left.
All seven Huskers who played in the first half found the scoring column, including four from Jeffery and two each from Havers, Chandler Smith and Sample, who added five rebounds and two assists.
Iowa 69 Nebraska 61 - February 12
Nebraska led 56-54 with less than 4:30 to play, but No. 14 Iowa made the plays down the stretch to escape with a 69-61 women's basketball win over the Huskers at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
Iowa improved to 20-4 overall and 11-2 in the Big Ten in completing the sweep of the Huskers.
Despite playing without All-American and first-team All-Big Ten point guard Rachel Theriot for the third consecutive game because of an ankle injury, the Huskers led for 31 of the game's first 32 minutes, building as much as a 10-point lead in the first half.
Nebraska took a 37-28 lead to the half after shooting 55.2 percent (16-29) against the Hawkeyes in the opening period. Tear'a Laudermill led the Big Red with 13 first-half points on 5-of-8 of shooting, including 2-of-4 threes. The senior guard finished with a game-high 18 points while adding five rebounds and three steals.
Fellow senior guard Brandi Jeffery added seven first-half points on her way to 16 for the game. It marked the second-best scoring night of her career. She added five rebounds, two assists and three steals for the Big Red.
Senior forward Emily Cady set the tone for the Huskers on the glass in the first half with seven boards, while playing an even more dominant role in the second half. She finished with a career-high 19 rebounds, while adding nine points, three assists and a block. With her third rebound of the night, Cady moved past former Husker All-American Kelsey Griffin into the No. 3 spot on NU's career rebound list. Cady finished the night with 1,036 boards.
Senior forward Hailie Sample pitched in eight points, nine rebounds and four assists, despite suffering an ankle sprain with 10 minutes left in the game. Sample left the game for more than two minutes before returning for the rest of the contest.
Nebraska had a chance to take the lead with a minute left but Doolittle blocked a Laudermill layup attempt and Logic cleared the rebound to start transition. Logic found Dixon in the corner nine seconds later for Dixon's third three of the night to give the Hawkeyes a 65-61 lead with 40 seconds left.
Seven Big Ten teams rank among the top 50 of the NCAA RPI. Maryland leads the way at No. 5, followed by Iowa (7), Nebraska (33), Rutgers (35), Ohio State (36), Northwestern (37) and Minnesota (40).
Nebraska's Emily Cady has pulled down 1,043 career rebounds to rank No. 10 on the Big Ten's career rebounding list. Fourteen active Big Ten players have recorded at least 500 rebounds.