Posted By: Sports
Rachel Theriot scored 19 of her career-high 28 points in the second half to lead No. 15 Nebraska to its first road win of the season at Utah on Friday night 75-69.
Theriot, a 6-0 sophomore point guard from Middleburg Heights, Ohio, added seven rebounds and four assists while playing the full 40 minutes to offset a 27-point, 12-rebound effort from Utah All-America forward Michelle Plouffe.
Theriot dominated the second half with 19 points and five rebounds while going a perfect 8-for-8 from the free throw. Theriot's 19 second-half points matched her previous career game high, which came last season in a win over Iowa (Feb. 24). Theriot's free throws were career bests, too. In fact, last season she hit just 10 free throws all year while starting 28 games.
"Rachel played great basketball and had the hot hand," Nebraska Coach Connie Yori said. "She did a lot of good things for us and really kind of carried us in the second half. Our free throw shooting was great, and we did a good job of controlling the boards. We can learn a lot from our late-game situations. It was a great road win."
Late-game free throw shooting was the difference for the Big Red, who improved to 3-0 on the season. Nebraska went 10-for-10 at the line in final 1:30 to hold off a late rally by the Utes after NU had built a nine-point lead. As a team, Nebraska went 18-for-21 (.857) from the line, while hitting 39.1 percent (25-64) of its shots from the field. NU went 7-for-18 from three-point range.
Utah, which was the 2013 WNIT runner-up, slipped to 1-1 on the young season.
Nebraska All-American Jordan Hooper notched her second double-double of the season with 13 points and 12 rebounds. Emily Cady just missed a double-double of her own with 13 points, nine rebounds and three assists, but missed most of the final 12 minutes of the game with foul trouble.
True freshman Allie Havers stepped up in a big way for the Huskers. The 6-5 center from Paw Paw, Mich., got six points and six rebounds in the second half in place of Cady. Havers finished with seven points and seven boards, including a pair of clutch free throws in the final minutes.
Hailie Sample also hit two clutch free throws with 13.3 seconds after Utah had cut the NU margin to 71-69. Sample had all six of her points in the second half after sitting out all but six minutes of the first half with foul trouble.
Junior Tear'a Laudermill also provided the Huskers with a big lift off the bench at both ends. The guard from Riverside, Calif., finished with eight points while also forcing Nebraska's first 10-second call of the season midway through the second half. Laudermill hit back-to-back threes in the first-half after Sample exited with two quick fouls. Both of Laudermill's threes came with NU trailing by seven points in the first seven minutes.
Nebraska outrebounded Utah, 45-34 on the night, but lost the turnover battle 11-9 in a game with a post-season feel to it.
Utah point guard Danielle Rodriguez managed a career-high 16 points to keep the Utes within striking distance, while fellow guard Cheyenne Wilson hit a career-high-tying three threes in the first half. Utah finished the game at 41.7 percent (25-60) from the field, including 10-of-20 from long range. The Utes were 9-of-14 at the foul line.
The Huskers trailed 41-36 as Utah's Plouffe pumped in 17 points, while the Utes got big contributions from Wilson (9 points, 3 3FG) and Rodriguez (9 points, 2 3FG). Utah hit 8-of-11 three-pointers in the first half and 50 percent (14-28) overall from the field in the first half. Utah also went 5-of-6 at the free throw line.
Nebraska answered with 6-of-11 three-point shooting, including three threes from Hooper and a pair for Laudermill. Cady led the Huskers with 11 points and six boards in the first half, while Hooper added nine points and eight boards. Theriot stepped up with nine points, two rebounds and three assists.
The Huskers hit just 13-of-33 shots overall and 4-of-5 free throws and outrebounded Utah, 21-13. However, the Huskers lost the turnover battle 7-3.
Nebraska returns home to open a four-game home stand on Thursday night, when the Huskers play host to Arkansas-Pine Bluff. Tip-off between the Big Red and Lady Lions is set for 7 p.m. with tickets available now at Huskers.com.