Huskers Advance to Second Round of NCAA Tournament

Courtesy: Nebraska Athletics

Los Angeles – Jordan Hooper, Rachel Theriot and Emily Cady all produced double-doubles to power fourth-seeded Nebraska to a 74-55 win over No. 13 seed Fresno State in the first round of the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament at Pauley Pavilion on Saturday.

The 13th-ranked Huskers, who improved to 26-6 on the season, led for nearly the entire contest but was unable to put the Mountain West Conference champion Bulldogs away until the final eight minutes. Fresno State finished its season with a 22-11 record.

Nebraska advances to the NCAA second round for the fourth time in the past seven seasons and will shoot for the third trip to the NCAA Sweet 16 in the past five years when they take on the winner of Saturday's second game between No. 5 seed NC State and No. 12 seed BYU. The game is scheduled for an 8 p.m. tip on Monday at Pauley Pavilion, with national TV coverage by ESPN2.

Hooper led the Huskers with her 14th double-double of the season, scoring a game-high 23 points while matching Cady for game-high rebounding honors with 11. Hooper, a 6-2 senior All-American from Alliance, Neb., tied the Nebraska career record with her 40th double-double. She matched 2010 All-American Kelsey Griffin's school record, set from 2006 to 2010. Hooper hit 9-of-15 shots from the floor, including all three of her three-point attempts in the second half. She pushed her Nebraska career three-point record total to 292.

Cady added her 13th double-double of the season and 21st of her career with 15 points and 11 rebounds. The 6-2 junior forward from Seward, Neb., struggled to finish around the rim, going just 6-for-15, but played tremendous interior defense for the Big Red.

Theriot pitched in 10 points and 12 assists for the fourth double-double of her season and career. the 6-0 sophomore point guard also struggled with her stroke, going just 4-for-13 against the Bulldogs, but she notched her fifth game this season with 11 or more assists, setting a Nebraska career mark in that department.

Tear'a Laudermill, a junior guard from nearby Riverside, Calif., put four Huskers in double figures with 13 points by hitting three second-half threes. Laudermill also struggled early in the game, going just 1-for-9 in the first half, before going 3-for-10 in the second half. All three of her second-half makes were three-pointers.

As a team, Nebraska went just 7-for-19 from long range for the game, but did knock down 6-13 three-pointers in the second half. For the game, Nebraska went 25-of-68 (.368) against the Bulldogs from the field, but did connect on 17-of-19 free throws (.895).

While the Huskers struggled on offense, they were terrific both defensively and on the boards. Nebraska held Fresno State to just 55 points on 35.6 percent (21-59) shooting, including just 4-of-18 three-pointers. The Bulldogs were also just 9-of-14 at the line.

Nebraska outrebounded Fresno State, 46-35, ripping down 15 offensive boards. The Huskers also won the turnover battle, 14-11.

Fresno State point guard Taylor Thompson was the only Bulldog to reach double figures, managing 14 points, nine rebounds and three assists.

Fresno State led 10-8 with just under 11 minutes left in the first half, before the Huskers took control of the game. Nebraska used a 11-2 surge over a five-minute span to build a 19-12 lead with 6:20 left in the half on a Hooper layup off an assist from Brandi Jeffery.

The Bulldogs did not pull closer than four points the rest of the game. After trimming the lead to 19-15 with just under five minutes, the Huskers close the half on a 10-4 surge to take a 29-19 lead to the halftime locker room.

Nebraska pushed the lead to 12 at the start of the second half, before Fresno State rallied to cut the margin to 37-34 on Bree Farley's layup with 12:52 left.

Hooper and Laudermill then heated up from long range, burying back-to-back threes in the next minute to push the Husker lead back to 10 at 44-34 with 11:50 left.

The NU lead was 53-45 with 5:15 left before a pair of Theriot free throws gave her a double-double and ignited a 7-0 run that turned into a 12-2 spurt to push the Big Red's lead to 65-47 with 2:51 left.

After a Cady layup with 1:43 left made it 67-49, the Huskers got their five starters off the floor and the young Huskers made contributions off the bench. Freshmen Hannah Tvrdy, Esther Ramacieri, Allie Havers and sophomore Sadie Murren all found the scoring column to help close out the Big Red's 74-55 win.