The #7 seeded Nebraska Cornhuskers took on the #10 seeded Fighting Illini of Illinois in their first-round games of the Big Ten tournament.
During the first two regular season games between these teams, Illinois was without their best player, Ivory Crawford, and Nebraska still had their best player, Rachel Theriot. Both games were close (single digit) Husker wins. Tonight's lineups seemed to be a favorable turn for the Illini as Crawford was back and Theriot was out.
No matter; the Huskers started hot and never let up. They led by as much as 28 points late in the second half before taking their foot off the gas and coasting to an 86-71 win. The Huskers attacked well, getting Illinois into foul trouble early with three Illini each committing three fouls before the half (all three eventually fouled out). No Husker recorded more than 2 fouls on the night. The Huskers improved to 21-9 on the season and are working to see if they can improve their seeding in the NCAA tournament.
Natalie Romeo announced herself loudly in her first Big Ten Tournament scoring a career high 26 points. She tied a school record with seven 3-pointers. Four other Huskers joined her in double figures as Cady, Sample, Laudermill, and Havers posted 11, 13, 14, and 13 respectively. As a team, the Huskers produced 24 assists on 37 made baskets with Brandi Jeffrey claiming 8 of those assists.
The Huskers wore throwback uniforms, honoring the 1988 Big 8 regular season champion women's basketball team. These uniforms are a favorite of the current Husker team and the excitement over their spiffy duds showed from the tip.
The Huskers advance to the quarterfinal game and will face #2 seed Iowa Friday night with tipoff at 6:00 pm (central). Iowa beat the Huskers in both regular season meetings