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This Week in Women's Basketball: Husker Women Pull Off Two Second-Half Comebacks

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The Husker women's hoopsters win two this week and celebrate significant milestones for two Nebraska starters.

Andrew Fielding-USA TODAY Sports

Well, my complaints about late-game meltdowns are put on hold as the Huskers turned on the second half jets in both games this week. I have also been wondering why Coach Yori uses only 7 players in significant time per game. Both opponents this week only rotated six, so I also put those worries aside and enjoyed the fact that our generous rotation could be a reason why the sometimes-exhausted Huskers pulled away late.

Nebraska improved to 17-4 overall and 7-3 in the Big Ten and celebrated some major milestones. Against the Illini, Rachel Theriot joined the 1000 point club (the 30th woman in Husker history to do so). Against Michigan, Emily Cady joined the 1000 rebound club, becoming the fifth Husker and 17th player in Big Ten history to accomplish that feat. Cady needs 43 more to break the Big Ten career rebound record.  Tear'a Laudermill sits 977 points, just 23 points shy of 1,000, and looks to join 13 active Big Ten players in the 1,000-point club.

Some trivia: Against Michigan, the Husker women were good for their 17th straight February win dating back to the 2011-12 season.

February 1 - Nebraska 75 Michigan 60

The Husker women turned a 14 point halftime deficit into a 15 point win at home against the Wolverines.

Senior guard Tear'a Laudermill finished as Nebraska's leading scorer for the fourth straight game, closing with 19 points, including 13 in the second half. Eleven of Laudermill's points came in a 2:33 span late in the second half, including three straight threes to finish off the Wolverines. Michigan slipped to 13-8 overall and 5-5 in the conference.

Senior forward Hailie Sample added 14 points on a perfect 7-for-7 shooting day, marking the sixth time this season that Sample has been perfect from the floor in a game. She added seven rebounds, four assists and a steal in a stellar effort.

Junior guard Rachel Theriot added 14 points of her own, including 12 in the second half, while adding six assists and two steals.

Senior forward Emily Cady added a tremendous all-around performance, finishing with nine points, eight rebounds, five assists and two steals, while limiting Michigan star Cyesha Goree to just six points and nine rebounds. Cady's eight rebounds pushed her to 1,000 in her career, as she  to reach 1,000 boards.

Nebraska hit 59.4 percent (19-32) of its shots in the second half to finish at 47.7 percent (31-65) for the game, despite going just 4-of-15 (.267) from three-point range. The Huskers were a perfect 9-for-9 at the free throw line, outrebounded Michigan 35-31, and won the turnover battle, 13-8. Nebraska's eight turnovers marked its second-best total of the season.

The Big Red brought the energy in the second half, surging to a 39-35 lead less than five minutes into the second half, outscoring the Wolverines 14-4 out of the locker room.

But Michigan answered, rebuilding a six-point margin at 51-45 with 10:13 left on back-to-back threes by Shannon Smith and Siera Thompson. Smith scored 18 of her game-high 22 points in the second half, but she was the only gun firing for the Wolverines after halftime.

January 29 - Nebraska 59 Illinois 57

Nebraska trailed for almost 39 minutes of this game but moved ahead when it mattered. Freshman Natalie Romeo's three-pointer with 1:11 left gave No. 15 Nebraska its only lead of the game in a 59-57 come-from-behind women's basketball win.

Illinois dropped its sixth straight decision to fall to 11-10 overall and 2-7 in the conference. Two of those six losses during the stretch have come to the Huskers.

Romeo, who finished with six points, three assists and a steal off the bench, hit Nebraska's first and last field goals of the game - both three-pointers. The 5-7 guard from Martinez, Calif., hit two of NU's five three-pointers in the contest.

"We have a lot of confidence in Natalie," Nebraska Coach Connie Yori said. "She puts in the work before and after practice and gets in the gym on off days shoot. She earned that shot and she deserved for it to go in."

Senior guard Tear'a Laudermill, another Californian, led the Huskers with a team-high 16 points, including a pair of threes. Junior point guard Rachel Theriot added 11 points, six rebounds and a game-high eight assists, while sophomore center Allie Havers pitched in 10 huge points off the bench.

Nebraska native Chatrice White led all scorers with 23 points to go along with seven rebounds for the Illini. The Shelby star had 15 in the second half, including four three-pointers to keep the Illini in the lead throughout the second half before fouling out with 1:40 left.

Nebraska outrebounded Illinois 41-27, including a plus-10 margin in the second half. Illinois won the turnover battle, 17-11, but the Huskers committed just six of those turnovers in the second half.

Nebraska shot 44.2 percent (23-52) for the game, including 38.5 percent (5-13) from three-point range. NU went just 8-of-14 at the free throw line. Illinois finished 40.4 percent (23-57) from the floor, including 41.2 percent (7-17) from beyond the arc. The Illini went 4-of-6 at the line.

Big Ten

A win on Thursday against Nebraska would make Rutgers' C. Vivian Stringer the all-time winningest coach in Big Ten women's basketball history, surpassing Rene Portland of Penn State, who recorded 176 wins from 1980-2007. Stringer enters the week with 176 career conference wins, including 169 at the helm of Iowa from 1983-95 and seven with the Scarlet Knights.

Seven Big Ten teams rank among the top 50 in the NCAA RPI. Maryland leads the way at No. 4, followed by Iowa (5), Nebraska (29), Minnesota (33), Ohio State (37), Michigan (41) and Rutgers (49).