Husker WBB Wins Opener

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Posted By: Sports

Story Courtesy: Nebraska Athletics

Lincoln – Natalie Romeo and Jessica Shepard both produced record performances for a season opener, as the Nebraska women’s basketball team rolled to a 96-46 win over Arkansas Pine Bluff on Saturday at Pinnacle Bank Arena.

Romeo, a 5-7 sophomore from Martinez, Calif., produced a Nebraska season-opening record 30 points, while adding four assists in just 26 minutes to lead the Big Red. Romeo hit 6-of-9 three-pointers, while connecting on 11-of-18 shots overall in a huge performance off the bench. Anticipated to be a regular starter for the Huskers, Romeo did not start on Saturday after missing multiple practices earlier in the week because of illness.

Shepard, a 6-4 forward from Fremont, Neb., added to Nebraska’s record-setting day by producing the most points, most rebounds and the first double-double by a freshman in a season opener in school history. Shepard finished with 24 points, 13 rebounds, three assists and three steals, becoming the first Husker freshman in history to score 20 points in a debut. The biggest rebound total by a freshman in an opener was just eight.

Shepard’s production came in just 23 minutes, while going just 8-for-16 from the field and 8-for-13 at the free throw line.

Senior Rachel Theriot, a 6-0 All-America point guard, gave the Huskers three players in double figures with 10 points, five rebounds and four assists in 26 minutes. Theriot attempted just one shot in the second half and did not play in the final 7:40 of the game.

The Huskers led from start to finish but led just 19-12 at the end of the first quarter against the Lady Lions. The Big Red were slowed by three first-quarter turnovers and allowed four offensive rebounds in the opening period, despite going 9-for-13 from the field in the quarter.

Nebraska extended the lead to 46-26 at the half, after committing just one turnover in the second period, while allowing just two offensive boards. NU closed the half 17-of-29 from the field, including 2-of-5 from long range, while hitting just 10-of-17 free throws. UAPB went just 10-for-37 from the floor in the first half but turned the ball over just four times.

The Huskers overwhelmed UAPB in the third quarter, outscoring the Lady Lions 28-7 in the period to push the edge to 74-33. Romeo was largely responsible for NU’s huge quarter, pumping in 15 points including a trio of threes, while Shepard added eight points and all three of her steals. UAPB attempted just seven shots in the period and had no offensive rebounds, while committing 12 turnovers.

Nebraska finished at 51.5 percent (34-66) from the field, including 6-of-13 from three-point range. The Huskers hit just 22-of-33 free throws, but committed just six turnovers in the game. NU had just three total turnovers in the final three periods. The Big Red outrebounded, UAPB, 50-35.

The Huskers held Arkansas Pine Bluff to just 29.5 percent (18-61) shooting, including 3-of-11 threes. The Lady Lions went 7-for-15 at the line, while committing 17 turnovers – all in the final three periods.

Nebraska, which notched its ninth consecutive season-opening win, returns to home action on Monday night, when the Huskers play host to North Florida. The Ospreys opened their season with a 62-55 victory at UMKC on Friday in the first career game for head coach Darrick Gibbs. Tip-off between the Big Red and North Florida at Pinnacle Bank Arena is set for 7 p.m.