NEB WBB: Huskers Open Big Ten Tournament Thursday with Illinois
Posted By: Sports
No. 7 Nebraska Cornhuskers (20-9, 10-8 Big Ten)
vs. No. 10 Illinois Fighting Illini (15-15, 6-12 Big Ten)
Thursday, March 5, 6 p.m. (Central)
Sears Centre Arena (Hoffman Estates, Ill.)
TV: BTN (Eric Collins, Christy Winters Scott)
Live Radio: Husker Sports Network (Matt Coatney, Jeff Griesch)
107.3 FM, Lincoln; 93.3 FM, Omaha; 880 AM, Lexington
Free Live Audio: Huskers.com
Huskers Open Big Ten Tournament Thursday Against Illinois
The Nebraska women’s basketball team opens play in the 2015 Big Ten Tournament by taking on Illinois on Thursday in Hoffman Estates, Ill. Tip-off between the No. 7 seed Huskers (20-9, 10-8 Big Ten) and the 10th-seeded Fighting Illini (15-15, 6-12 Big Ten) at Sears Centre Arena is set for 6 p.m. (CT), as Nebraska shoots for its third win of the season against Illinois.
Eric Collins and Christy Winters Scott will be on the television call for the Big Ten Network, while Lisa Byington will provide sideline reports. Live radio coverage from the Husker Sports Network is available with Matt Coatney and Jeff Griesch on stations across the network, including B107.3 FM in Lincoln, 93.3 FM in Omaha and 880 AM KRVN in Lexington. Free live audio is available on Huskers.com.
Nebraska closed the Big Ten regular season by winning three of its last five games, including its most complete effort of the year with a 74-50 run past Minnesota on Feb. 24. The Huskers suffered a 78-60 loss to Big Ten Tournament No. 3 seed Ohio State on Senior Day in Lincoln on Sunday. Nebraska’s four seniors combined for 48 points and 33 rebounds, but Big Ten Player and Freshman of the Year Kelsey Mitchell answered with 28 points and 10 boards for the Buckeyes. Fellow freshmen Shayla Cooper (13 points, 18 rebounds) and Asia Doss (14 points) helped OSU end a five-game losing streak to the Huskers.
Emily Cady and Brandi Jeffery closed their home careers at Nebraska with double-doubles, including 21 points and 13 rebounds for Cady. It was Cady’s 11th double-double of the season and 33rd of her career. She earned second-team All-Big Ten honors for the second straight season by averaging 12.5 points and 10.4 rebounds per game on the year.
Jeffery notched the first double-double of her career with 10 points and 13 rebounds to go along with four assists. The 5-7 guard from Vacherie, La., has more rebounds this season (186) than in her three previous seasons combined (184) for the Big Red. She is averaging 7.7 points and 6.6 rebounds.
Senior Tear’a Laudermill added honorable-mention All-Big Ten accolades for the Huskers, while Hailie Sample was named Nebraska’s Big Ten Sportsmanship Award winner.
Nebraska Cornhuskers (20-9, 10-8 Big Ten)
3 – Hailie Sample – 6-1 – Sr. – F – 7.4 ppg, 6.9 rpg
23 – Emily Cady – 6-2 – Sr. – F – 12.5 ppg, 10.4 rpg
1 – Tear’a Laudermill – 5-9 – Sr. – G – 13.7 ppg, 3.6 rpg
5 – Natalie Romeo – 5-7 – Fr. – G – 7.6 ppg, 2.4 rpg
13 – Brandi Jeffery – 5-7 – Sr. – G – 7.7 ppg, 6.6 rpg
Off the Bench
33 – Rachel Theriot (OUT) – 6-0 – Jr. – G – 16.5 ppg, 4.2 rpg
22 – Allie Havers – 6-5 – So. – C – 4.7 ppg, 3.1 rpg
31 – Anya Kalenta – 6-3 – Jr. – F – 3.3 ppg, 1.5 rpg
30 – Chandler Smith – 6-0 – Fr. – G – 1.9 ppg, 2.0 rpg
34 – Jasmine Cincore – 5-8 – Fr. – G – 1.5 ppg, 0.2 rpg
12 – Emily Wood – 5-5 – Fr. – G – 0.3 ppg, 0.6 rpg
11 – Esther Ramacieri – 5-8 – So. – G – 0.1 ppg, 0.5 rpg
50 – Darrien Washington – 6-2 – Fr. – F – Redshirting
Head Coach: Connie Yori (Creighton, 1986)
13th Season at NU (261-151); 25th Season Overall (456-291)
Illinois Fighting Illini (15-15, 6-12 Big Ten)
34 – Jacqui Grant – 6-3 – So. – F – 9.6 ppg, 7.0 rpg
32 – Chatrice White – 6-3 – Fr. – C – 14.8 ppg, 7.1 rpg
15 – Kyley Simmons – 5-7 – Sr. – G – 9.8 ppg, 2.3 rpg
20 – Brittany Carter – 6-0 – Sr. – G – 8.1 ppg, 5.4 rpg
22 – Ivory Crawford – 5-10 – Sr. – G – 15.5 ppg, 5.2 rpg
Off the Bench
10 – Amarah Coleman – 5-11 – Fr. – G – 7.1 ppg, 2.1 rpg
3 – Taylor Tuck – 6-0 – Sr. – G/F – 2.5 ppg, 1.4 rpg
21 – Brooke Kissinger – 5-7 – Fr. – G – 1.4 ppg, 0.6 rpg
12 – Ashley McConnell – 5-9 – So. – G – 1.3 ppg, 0.8 rpg
25 – Kennedy Cattenhead – 5-10 – RFr. – G – 0.9 ppg, 1.0 rpg
5 – Nia Oden – 5-10 – Sr. – F – 0.8 ppg, 1.0 rpg
00 – Sarah Hartwell – 5-10 – Jr. – G – 0.8 ppg, 0.5 rpg
2 – Taylor Gleason – 5-8 – So. – G – 0.7 ppg, 1.1 rpg
Head Coach: Matt Bollant (Winona State, 1994)
3rd Season at Illinois (43-50); 13th Season Overall (325-105)
Streaks, Stats & Milestones
• Nebraska secured its fourth straight 20-win season and the school-record 95th victory in the careers of seniors Emily Cady, Brandi Jeffery, Tear’a Laudermill and Hailie Sample with a 74-50 win over Minnesota Feb. 24. No Nebraska class had ever won 20 or more games in all four years of their careers.
• The Huskers have produced seven 20-win seasons in the last nine years. Prior to Coach Connie Yori’s arrival in Lincoln in 2002-03, Nebraska had nine 20-win seasons in the first 28 years of the program.
• With 10 conference wins this season, Nebraska is the only team in the Big Ten to record 10 or more league wins in each of the last four years.
• The Huskers, who joined the Big Ten in 2011-12 for the start of the careers of its 2015 seniors, are a Big Ten-best 44-22 in Big Ten regular-season play the last four years (tied with Iowa). The Big Red have added a conference-best seven Big Ten Tournament wins for 51 total victories over Big Ten foes. No other school has more than 48 wins against Big Ten foes during that same span.
• Nebraska is the only school to post four straight winning Big Ten regular seasons (2012-15).
• Senior forward Emily Cady ranks 12th in Big Ten history with 1,089 career rebounds. Cady is averaging 10.4 rebounds per game, including 19 rebounds against Iowa on Feb. 12, and 18 boards against the Hawkeyes on Jan. 26. Cady’s 19 boards tied for the ninth-best total in school history and were the most by a Husker since the turn of the century.
• Cady ranks sixth among active NCAA Division I rebounders and third in NU history with 1,089.
• Cady owns 11 double-doubles this season, including 21 points and 13 rebounds against Ohio State on Sunday. She had 22 points and 12 rebounds at Indiana Feb. 18. She produced a 19-point, 18-rebound effort at Iowa Jan. 26, and 13 points and 14 boards at Rutgers on Feb. 5. Cady, who owns 33 career double-doubles, has 1,415 points, 1,089 rebounds, 302 assists, 138 steals and 111 blocks. Her block total ranks No. 5 in Nebraska history.
• Tear’a Laudermill averaged 14.5 points in Big Ten play. Over the last 12 games, Laudermill is averaging 16.4 points per contest. She had double figures in 13 straight games before settling for eight points against Ohio State on March 1.
• Laudermill owns a career-high 42 steals this year, including 32 steals over the last 16 games.
• Laudermill (1,094) is one of three current Huskers with 1,000 points joining Emily Cady (1,415) and Rachel Theriot (1,023). Laudermill ranks 23rd on the NU scoring list and needs two points to reach No. 22 Ann Halsne (1,096, 1988-91).
• Junior All-America guard Rachel Theriot became the 30th 1,000-point scorer in Nebraska women’s basketball history when she scored her first field goal of the night against Illinois Jan. 29. She has 1,023 career points and is tied for fifth in Husker history with 444 career assists. Theriot underwent season-ending ankle surgery on Thursday, Feb. 19. She originally injured the ankle in practice on Tuesday, Feb. 3.
• Senior Hailie Sample owns 700 points, 693 rebounds and 221 assists as only the fifth Husker in history to reach combined career milestones of 600 points, 600 rebounds and 200 assists. The other members of that distinguished group are 1988 Big Eight Player of the Year Maurtice Ivy (2,131 points, 778 rebounds, 297 assists), two-time WNBA All-Star Anna DeForge (1,859, 804, 392), Kathy Hagerstrom (1,778, 874, 269), and senior teammate Emily Cady (1,415, 1,089, 302).
• Brandi Jeffery has transformed herself into one of the Big Ten’s best rebounders as a senior. The 5-7 guard has grabbed 186 rebounds, surpassing her combined career total (184) entering this season. Jeffery ranks third among the Huskers with 6.6 boards per game. She produced her first career double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds in the regular-season finale against Ohio State on March 1.
• Freshman Natalie Romeo has started seven consecutive games in place of the injured Rachel Theriot. In nine games as a starter this season, Romeo is averaging 12.1 points per game. She has produced double figures in four of her starts, including 21-point efforts in wins over Wisconsin (Feb. 15) and Minnesota (Feb. 24). She hit six threes against Penn State (Jan. 15) and Minnesota (Feb. 24).
• Nebraska set a school-record by committing just four personal fouls in the win over Bakersfield Dec. 13. One week later in a win over High Point, the Huskers committed just eight fouls, which tied for the ninth best total in school history. They matched the eight fouls at Illinois Jan. 11. It marked the 11th time in the last 96 contests that NU has committed eight or fewer fouls in a game.
• Nebraska ranks No. 4 nationally with 12.6 personal fouls per game.
• Nebraska leads the Big Ten with just 12.9 turnovers per game in conference play.
• Nebraska is 28-5 all-time at Pinnacle Bank Arena, including 3-3 against top-25 foes. The Huskers averaged 6,483 fans per Big Ten home game, including 8,622 fans for a win over Wisconsin on Feb. 15.
Scouting the Illinois Fighting Illini
Illinois earned the No. 10 seed at the Big Ten Tournament by winning three of its last five games, including a 72-60 victory over Michigan in Champaign on Feb. 28. The Illini also notched a one-point win at No. 14 seed Purdue on Feb. 21 and a 66-55 win over third-seeded Ohio State on Feb. 14.
Although Illinois managed just a 6-12 Big Ten mark, the Illini claimed conference wins over tournament No. 2 seed Iowa, No. 3 seed Ohio State and No. 6 seed Minnesota – all by double digits.
However, the Fighting Illini dropped both of their regular-season meetings to Nebraska. The Huskers outscored Illinois 15-4 down the stretch to escape from Champaign with a 58-53 win on Jan. 11. All-Big Ten guard Rachel Theriot led the Huskers with 27 points, while the Illini’s top senior guard, Ivory Crawford, did not play in the game because of injury.
In the rematch in Lincoln on Jan. 29, Theriot managed 11 points and eight assists, while freshman guard Natalie Romeo hit a three-pointer in the corner with just over a minute left to give Nebraska its only lead on the game’s last field goal in a 59-57 Husker victory. Crawford did not play in the game, and Theriot made just one more appearance in a win over Michigan on Feb. 1.
Crawford, an honorable-mention All-Big Ten pick despite missing six conference games this season, is averaging 15.5 points and 5.2 rebounds per game.
Freshman center Chatrice White from Shelby, Neb., has added 14.8 points and team-bests of 7.1 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game for the Illini. Fellow Nebraska native Brooke Kissinger from Minden has managed 1.4 points and 0.6 rebounds as a freshman. Kissinger has played 30 total minutes in Big Ten play.
Senior guards Kyley Simmons (9.8 ppg, 2.3 rpg) and Brittany Carter (8.1 ppg, 5.4 rpg) have continued to provide solid contributions in the Illini backcourt, while 6-3 sophomore forward Jacqui Grant has added 9.6 points and 7.0 rebounds per contest.
As a team, Illinois averaged 63.4 points per game and shot 38.6 percent, including 32.2 percent from three-point range in Big Ten play. The Illini hit just 64.9 percent of their free throws. Illinois allowed 66.1 points in Big Ten games, while opponents shot 43.5 percent from the floor and 33.6 percent from beyond the arc. Big Ten foes carried a plus-6.3 rebounding margin, while the Illini produced a plus-4.5 turnover margin by utilizing their “Buzz” defense. Illinois has forced an average of 20.2 turnovers per game in Big Ten play, but the Huskers turned the ball over a total of just 29 times in the first two meetings this season.
Nebraska vs. Illinois Series History
Nebraska leads the all-time series with Illinois 8-3, including a sweep of this season’s series and four straight wins against the Illini overall. In the last meeting between the two teams in Lincoln on Jan. 29, Natalie Romeo buried a three from the corner in front of the Nebraska bench with just over a minute left to give the Huskers their only lead of the game in a 59-57 win. Romeo hit Nebraska’s first and last field goals of the night to knock off the Illini, who led for nearly 38 minutes.
Tear’a Laudermill led the Huskers with 16 points, while Allie Havers pumped in 10 points in 11 minutes off the bench. Rachel Theriot scored 11 points and dished out eight assists.
In a 58-53 Husker win at Champaign on Jan. 11, Theriot led the Big Red with 27 points, as Nebraska outscored the Illini 15-4 down the stretch. The Huskers swept Illinois last season, including a 72-65 victory on Jordan Hooper’s Senior Night at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Feb. 27.
NU is 5-1 against the Illini as Big Ten foes, including a 67-47 win at Illinois Jan. 29, 2012. Nebraska is 4-1 all-time against Illinois in Champaign.
Thursday’s game will mark just the second meeting between the two schools on a neutral court, with Illinois winning the first one, 100-87, at the Stanford Invitational on Dec. 30, 1986.
Cady Bar the Boards: Husker Among Elite Big Ten Rebounders
Nebraska senior Emily Cady joined an elite list of Big Ten rebounders when she pulled down her 1,000th career board in NU’s win over Michigan on Feb. 1. The 6-2 forward from Seward, Neb., became just the fifth Husker and the 17th player in Big Ten history to reach the 1,000-rebound plateau.
Cady, who has double-digit rebound totals in 10 of the last 15 games, has pushed her career total to 1,089 rebounds to surge past 2010 first-team All-American Kelsey Griffin (1,019, 2006-10) into the No. 3 position on the NU career rebound list.
Cady also has moved into No. 12 on the Big Ten all-time list and needs just one more rebound to catch Whitney Thomas from Indiana (1,090, 2006-09) in No. 11 and five boards to reach Ohio State’s Jessica Davenport (1,094, 2004-07) at No. 10.
Former Husker Jordan Hooper (1,110, 2011-14) was the most recent addition to the Big Ten’s 1,000-rebound club. Hooper, who spent three seasons on the floor with Cady, was a 2014 first-team All-American and Big Ten Player of the Year. Janet Smith (1979-82) holds the Nebraska record with 1,280 rebounds.
On the national level, Cady ranks sixth among NCAA Division I active rebounders. Cady is one of just four active players nationally from Power Five conferences to produce 1,000 career rebounds.
Husker Hot Shots – Nebraska’s Starting Five
#23, Emily Cady, 6-2, Sr., F, Seward, Neb. (12.5 ppg, 10.4 rpg, 2.9 apg)
• One of the nation’s most versatile forwards, Emily Cady earned second-team All-Big Ten honors in 2014 and 2015. She enters the Big Ten Tournament averaging 12.5 points, 10.4 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game.
• Cady ranks among the top five players in Nebraska history in rebounds (3rd, 1,089), blocks (5th, 111), free throw percentage (5th, .801), double-doubles (4th, 33), minutes played (2nd, 4,129) and games started (3rd, 129),
• Cady ranks third in Husker history and 12th in Big Ten Conference history with 1,089 career rebounds. She powered past first-team All-American Kelsey Griffin (1,019, 2006-10) on the NU chart by pulling down a career-high 19 rebounds against No. 14 Iowa Feb. 12. She owns 16 double-figure rebound games as a senior, including 10 in the past 15 contests.
• Only Janet Smith (1,280, 1979-82) and first-team All-American Jordan Hooper (1,110, 2011-14) own more career rebounds in Husker history than Cady.
• Cady’s 19 rebounds against Iowa Feb. 12 tied for the ninth-best total in Nebraska history and marked the most boards by a Husker since the turn of the century. Cady grabbed 18 rebounds in the first meeting with the Hawkeyes this season.
Cady has climbed into 12th on the Big Ten career rebound chart and needs one board to move to 11th and five rebounds to join the Big Ten’s all-time top 10.
• Cady ranks sixth among all active NCAA Division I career rebounders. Cady’s 1,089 rebounds rank third among all active players in Power Five conferences.
• Cady owns 11 double-doubles this year, including six in Big Ten regular-season play. She had 21 points and 13 rebounds to close the regular season against Ohio State March 1. She produced 22 points and 12 rebounds at Indiana Feb. 21. Cady had 13 points and 14 rebounds at Rutgers Feb. 5. She notched back-to-back double-doubles with 19 points and a career-high 18 rebounds at Iowa Jan. 26, and 19 points and 12 boards at Wisconsin Jan. 22. She opened Big Ten play with 21 points and 14 rebounds at Minnesota Dec. 29.
• With 33 career double-doubles, Cady ranks fourth in school history behind only first-team All-Americans Jordan Hooper (40, 2011-14), Kelsey Griffin (40, 2006-10) and Karen Jennings (36, 1990-93).
• Cady enters the Big Ten Tournament game with 4,129 career minutes played, trailing only All-American Lindsey Moore (4,360, 2010-13) on the Nebraska career list.
• Cady earned her first career Big Ten Player-of-the-Week award Dec. 16, after averaging 15.5 points, 13.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.5 blocks in wins over Creighton (Dec. 11) and Bakersfield (Dec. 13).
• She is the Big Ten Conference’s active rebound leader with 1,089 in her career, 205 more than No. 2 Samantha Logic from Iowa (884). NU’s Hailie Sample ranks third with 693.
• Cady produced a career-high 25 points to go along with nine rebounds, two steals and a block in just 23 minutes in a win over Utah Nov. 23.
• Cady nearly produced a triple-double with 12 points, 11 rebounds and a career-high eight assists in a win over Pepperdine Nov. 15.
• Cady owns 1,415 points, 1,089 rebounds, 302 assists, 138 steals and 111 blocks. She is the only player in Nebraska history with 1,400 points, 1,000 rebounds, 300 assists, 100 steals and 100 career blocks.
• Cady ranks fifth in NU history with 111 career blocks. She needs 15 blocks to climb to fourth place.
• With 302 assists, Cady is tied for 12th in Nebraska history with Cathy Owen (302, 1982-85) on the school assist list. Cady is just three assists shy of former starting point guard Lis Brenden in 11th (305, 1993-96). Cady needs 24 assists to join the Husker career top 10.
• Only one player (Janel McCarville, Minnesota, 1,835 points, 1,206 rebounds, 310 assists) in Big Ten history has ever produced 1,500 points, 1,000 rebounds and 300 assists in a career. Cady could reach those combined milestones this year, needing 85 points. Two other players from current Big Ten institutions, Alyssa Thomas and Marissa Coleman, achieved those combined plateaus at Maryland before the Terrapins joined the Big Ten in 2014-15.
• Cady’s 1,415 career points rank No. 14 in Husker history. She needs 16 points to catch Diane DelVigna (1,433, 1979-80) in 13th.
• In 2013-14, Cady tied Jordan Hooper for second in the Big Ten with 14 double-doubles, while ranking third in the league with 9.2 rebounds per game. Cady ranked 24th in scoring (12.7 ppg), fifth in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.5-to-1), seventh in free throw percentage (.858), eighth in field goal percentage (.495) and 12th in assists (3.1 apg). In Big Ten games-only, Cady ranked third with a 2.0 assist-to-turnover ratio trailing only Husker point guard Rachel Theriot (2.7) and Iowa point guard Samantha Logic (2.2). Cady ranked eighth in conference play in assists (4.1 apg). She had eight double-doubles in 16 conference games.
• The best passing forward in the Big Ten, Cady’s 102 assists led all conference forwards in 2013-14. Her 1.5-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio also led all players in the conference at the position. In Big Ten play, her 2.0 assist-to-turnover ratio was better than every starting guard except first-team All-Big Ten point guards Rachel Theriot (Nebraska) and Samantha Logic (Iowa).
#1, Tear’a Laudermill, 5-9, Sr., G, Moreno Valley, Calif. (13.7 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 2.1 apg, 1.4 spg)
• Tear’a Laudermill emerged as a rising star for the Huskers to earn second-team All-Big Ten honors as a junior. She finished the season with averages of 11.8 points, 2.7 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.2 steals per game, while her 62 three-pointers ranked as the 10th-best season total in NU history.
• Laudermill added honorable-mention All-Big Ten accolades as a senior, while averaging 13.7 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.1 assists. She leads NU with 56 three-pointers. She is also NU’s top on-the-ball defender.
• Laudermill is averaging 16.4 points per game over the last 12 contests.
• Laudermill ranks 23rd in Nebraska history with 1,094 career points, and is one of three current Huskers with 1,000 points, including Emily Cady (1,415) and Rachel Theriot (1,023).
• Laudermill’s 42 steals on the season are a career high and she owns 32 steals over the last 16 games.
• Laudermill has significantly increased her rebounding production this season, and her role on the glass continues to grow. She is averaging a career-best 3.7 rebounds per game. She entered the season averaging just 2.0 rebounds per game in her career.
• She tied a Nebraska single-game record for the second time in her career by connecting on seven threes (7-15), including six in the second half, at Alabama on Dec. 7. Laudermill finished with 25 points. She also hit seven threes, including six in the first half, in Nebraska’s win over No. 8 Penn State on Feb. 24, 2014. She finished with a career-high 27 points against PSU.
• Laudermill is Nebraska’s No. 1 active career three-point shooter with 155 makes to tie for fifth on the Husker career list with All-American Anna DeForge (155, 1995-98).
• Laudermill (123) is one of four Huskers who have played 120 or more career games, joining Emily Cady-129, Hailie Sample-129 and Brandi Jeffery-123.
• Laudermill notched her 11th career 20-point game and sixth of the season with 20 points at Northwestern Feb. 18, after pouring in 20 points against Wisconsin Feb. 15. She also had 24 points against the Badgers on Jan. 22. She had a season-high 25 points at Alabama Dec. 7, before scoring 22 against High Point Dec. 20. She added 20 points in NU’s 82-61 win at Washington State on Nov. 19.
• In a pair of preliminary mock drafts for the 2015 WNBA Draft, Laudermill has been ranked among the top 25 players in the nation. She slotted as the No. 10 overall pick by DraftSite.com, while College Sports Madness slotted her as the No. 24 overall pick.
• She has produced double digits in 34 of her last 46 games, after managing double figures in just 11 of her first 77. She owns 45 career double-figure scoring games.
• Laudermill averaged 15.2 points per game over the last 17 contests of 2013-14, including the first five 20-point games of her career. She closed the season with 22 points against BYU, including 12 points in the final 2:30. She added 20 points in NU’s Big Ten semifinal win over No. 19 Michigan State and a career-high 27 points in the Big Red’s home win over No. 8 Penn State on Feb. 24.
• Laudermill tied a school record with seven threes in Nebraska’s 94-74 win over No. 8 Penn State Feb. 24, 2014. She hit her first six threes in the first half and closed the night 7-of-10 to lead Nebraska to one of the best three-point shooting nights (16-22, .727) in school history.
• Laudermill averaged 13.5 points in 2014 Big Ten play, while shooting a sizzling 44.3 percent from three-point range, which ranked fourth in Big Ten games-only. Her 2.4 three-pointers per game also tied for fifth in league action. She led the Big Red with 21 steals in conference action.
#13, Brandi Jeffery, 5-7, Sr., G, Vacherie, La. (7.7 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 2.1 apg, 1.5 spg)
• Brandi Jeffery is playing the best basketball of her career, averaging 7.7 points, 6.6 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.5 steals in 28 games with 27 starts this season.
• Jeffery is coming off her first career double-double with 10 points, 13 rebounds and four assists on Senior Day against Ohio State on March 1. Over the last three games, Jeffery is averaging 9.0 points, 10.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists.
• Jeffery was slowed by a bone bruise from Jan. 22 through Feb. 1, which was suffered in the closing minutes of NU’s win over Purdue Jan. 19. She played one of the best games of her career against the Boilermakers, scoring 13 points to go along with six rebounds, two assists and two steals.
• Jeffery did not start against Penn State Jan. 15 because of an administrative error. She missed the Wisconsin game Jan. 22 with the bruised knee.
• She produced one of the best performances of her career with 16 points, five rebounds, two assists and three steals against Iowa on Feb. 12. It marked the second-best scoring total of her career.
• Jeffery has scored in double figures nine times, including five double-digit efforts in her last 13 games. Her 13 points against Purdue Jan. 19 marked the third-highest scoring total of her career.
• Jeffery owns 18 career double-digit scoring efforts.
• Jeffery owns career single-season highs in points (216), rebounds (186), assists (59) and steals (41) this season.
• Jeffery’s most impressive gains have come on the glass, where she ranks third among the Huskers with 6.6 rebounds per game. With 186 rebounds this season, she has surpassed her previous career total (184) entering the year. Her 186 rebounds this season have come in 568 fewer minutes than the 184 rebounds she grabbed in 1,425 minutes over her first three years at Nebraska.
• She owns 41 steals this season, more than doubling her total of 19 from 2013-14. She has at least one steal in all but five games for the Huskers this season.
• Jeffery (123) is one of four Husker seniors who have played 120 or more career games, joining Emily Cady-129, Hailie Sample-129 and Tear’a Laudermill-123.
• Jeffery erupted for a career-high 19 points in the season-opening victory over Pepperdine on Nov. 15. Her previous career scoring high came with 12 points against both Florida State and Mississippi Valley State in November of 2011.
• She owns three 11-point efforts (Alcorn State, Nov. 16; Washington State, Nov. 19; UCLA, Nov. 28), and three 10-point performances (Michigan State, Jan. 8, Penn State, Jan. 15, Ohio State, March 1) this season.
• She entered 2014-15 with career averages of 3.6 points, 1.9 rebounds and 1.0 assist per game.
• One of four seniors on the roster, including Emily Cady, Hailie Sample and Tear’a Laudermill, Jeffery has helped the Huskers to a 95-34 record and three NCAA tournaments.
#3, Hailie Sample, 6-0, Sr., F, Flower Mound, Texas (7.4 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 1.9 apg)
• Hailie Sample earned Nebraska’s Big Ten Sportsmanship Award in 2015, after claiming a spot on the 2014 Big Ten All-Defensive Team. She was Nebraska’s Defensive MVP in 2013-14.
• Sample ranks second in the Big Ten with her 61.1 field goal percentage, trailing only Ohio State’s Alexa Hart (.613). Through her first three seasons, Sample shot just 41.6 percent from the field.
• She is the Big Ten’s No. 3 active career rebounder with 693, trailing only teammate Emily Cady (1,089) and Iowa’s Samantha Logic (884). Sample had a season-high 14 rebounds against Illinois Jan. 29 and added her second double-digit rebound game of the season with 11 boards at Rutgers Feb. 5, before notching 10 boards against Wisconsin Feb. 15.
• Sample ranks 10th on the Nebraska career rebound list with 693.
• Sample started the first 115 games of her career before not starting against Penn State on Jan. 15. She owns 128 career starts to rank fifth in Husker history.
• Sample produced a season-high 16 points to go with nine rebounds and a career-high matching three steals at Washington State Nov. 19. She added 16 points on 6-of-6 shooting to help lead the Huskers to a 60-54 win over No. 9 Duke Dec. 3. She had a 15-point performance against Purdue Jan. 19. She added 14 points on 7-of-7 shooting in a win over Michigan Feb. 1. Sample added another outstanding game with 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting in the win at Michigan State Jan. 8. She hit a pair of free throws with 5.4 seconds left to seal the 71-67 win. She had 13 points and nine rebounds against Bakersfield Dec. 13. She produced another double-digit effort with 12 points in Saturday’s win at Indiana.
• Sample has been perfect from the floor six times this year, including Michigan (7-7), Duke (6-6), Alcorn State (4-4), at Illinois (3-3), Pepperdine (3-3) and Northern Colorado (1-1).
• She produced her third career double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds in the 2014 NCAA second-round game against BYU on March 24. It was her second career double-double in the NCAA Tournament and her second double-double in a three-game span, joining 11 points and a career-high 15 rebounds in Nebraska’s Big Ten Tournament Championship Game win over No. 23 Iowa on March 9, 2014.
• Sample averaged 7.5 points and a team-leading 10.0 rebounds in the 2014 Big Ten Tournament. Her 30 total rebounds and 16 offensive boards led the tournament.
• Sample’s 15 rebounds in the 2014 Big Ten Championship Game were a Nebraska Big Ten Tournament record and tied Nafeesah Brown (vs. Kansas, 1993, Big Eight) for the second-highest rebounding total ever by a Husker in a conference tournament game. Only Shelly Block (16 vs. Oklahoma State, 1987, Big Eight) pulled down more boards in a league tournament game than Sample.
• Sample ranked 15th overall in the Big Ten in rebounding (6.4 rpg), while ranking seventh in the Big Ten on the offensive glass (2.5 rpg) in 2013-14.
• Sample owns 23 career double-digit scoring games, including nine in 2013-14 and eight in 2014-15. She also owns nine career double-figure rebound games, including three in 2013-14 and three in 2014-15.
#5, Natalie Romeo, 5-7, Fr., G, Martinez, Calif. (7.6 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 1.3 apg)
• NU’s top guard off the bench through the first four games, freshman Natalie Romeo missed eight straight games (UCLA, Nov. 28 through Minnesota, Dec. 29). She returned to action for Nebraska’s Big Ten home opener with Maryland Jan. 3. She has played in 17 straight games, including seven consecutive starts in place of the injured Rachel Theriot heading into the Big Ten Tournament.
• In nine games as a starter, Romeo is averaging 12.9 points per game. She has hit 24-of-69 threes (.348) in her nine starts.
• In 17 Big Ten games, she is averaging 8.3 points while hitting 32 three-pointers.
• Romeo tied career highs with 21 points and six three-pointers in a win over Minnesota Feb. 24. She hit four threes in the second half.
• Romeo set her career high with 21 points in Nebraska’s win over Wisconsin Feb. 15. She hit 7-of-11 shots from the floor, including 3-of-6 threes. She also matched her career high with four assists.
• She sealed Nebraska’s road win at Indiana Feb. 18 with four free throws in one-and-one situations in the final 30 seconds. Romeo finished with seven points against the Hoosiers, after scoring 13 points on three threes in a loss at Northwestern Feb. 18.
• Romeo hit the game-winning shot on a three from the right corner with 1:11 left to give Nebraska its only lead of the night in a 59-57 victory over Illinois Jan. 29. She hit NU’s first and last field goals of the game to finish with six points and three assists.
• She erupted for 18 points and six three-pointers in 26 minutes in a win over Penn State Jan. 15. Romeo added three rebounds and three assists while making her first career start. She made her second career start in a win at Wisconsin Jan. 22, when she scored nine points.
• Romeo made her third career start at No. 5 Maryland Feb. 8, when she scored eight points and grabbed a career-high five rebounds. She added six points and three steals against No. 14 Iowa Feb. 12.
• Romeo added nine points and one rebound in 21 minutes in a win over Michigan Feb. 1.
• Romeo hit a three-pointer in her Big Ten debut against Maryland. She made bigger contributions at Michigan State Jan. 8, with eight points and four rebounds.
• Romeo saw extensive playing time on opening weekend (Nov. 15-16), averaging 6.5 points, 2.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.0 steal in 20.0 minutes per game in wins over Pepperdine and Alcorn State.
• Romeo earned first-team All-California Elite honors from Cal-Hi Sports in 2014.
• She was a two-time first-team All-California Division II pick at Carondelet High School.
• Romeo was rated as the No. 55 Player in the Nation by ESPN (No. 12 Point Guard) and the No. 27 Player in the Nation (No. 6 Point Guard) by Full Court Press.
• She averaged 19.8 points, 7.8 assists and 5.6 steals as a senior at Carondelet High School. Romeo finished her four-year high school career with 2,151 points, 552 rebounds, 735 assists and 613 steals and finished No. 2 on Carondelet’s all-time scoring list behind Stanford All-American Jayne Appel.
Theriot Lost for Season after Ankle Surgery Feb. 19
Nebraska point guard Rachel Theriot underwent season-ending ankle surgery on Feb. 19. She injured the ankle in practice on Tuesday, Feb. 3. Through 21 games in 2014-15, the 2014 Big Ten Tournament MVP averaged 16.5 points, 4.2 rebounds and 5.2 assists per game.
Theriot is expected to return for her senior season in 2015-16 with 1,023 career points and 444 career assists. Before her injury, Theriot was No. 3 among all active juniors in NCAA Division I in career assists. She led the Big Ten and ranked among NCAA leaders with her 92.6 free throw percentage as a junior.
Last season, Theriot earned honorable-mention All-America honors while claiming first-team All-Big Ten accolades. The 2015 preseason All-Big Ten pick was also a candidate for the Wade, Naismith, Wooden and Lieberman awards as a junior.
Husker Seniors Secure Fourth Straight 20-Win Season
Nebraska’s four-player senior class of Emily Cady, Hailie Sample, Tear’a Laudermill and Brandi Jeffery form the heart of the Husker lineup in 2014-15, after helping the Big Red to the most successful three-year stretch in school history.
Cady has started all 129 games in her career while Sample has made 128 starts, helping the Huskers to three consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances and an average of 23.8 wins per season.
The Husker seniors are 95-34 (.736 winning percentage) during their four seasons in Lincoln, the best winning percentage of any class in school history.
The 2015 seniors are trying to become the first class in school history to compete in four consecutive NCAA tournaments after becoming the first group of Huskers to produce four straight 20-win seasons. They also have a chance to become the first collection of Husker seniors to reach 100 career wins.
Big Red Rankings
Nebraska fell out of The Associated Press Poll for the first time this season on Feb. 23, but has continued to receive votes the past two weeks in the poll. The Huskers remained in the USA Today Coaches Top 25 at No. 23 on Feb. 24, before a 74-50 run past Minnesota Feb. 24. The Huskers opened 2014-15 at No. 16 in both polls.
The Huskers enter the Big Ten Tournament at No. 36 in the official NCAA RPI on March 2. NU was as high as No. 5 on Jan. 1. NU’s Strength of Schedule ranks No. 33 nationally by RealTimeRPI.com.
Seven Big Ten teams are ranked in the NCAA RPI’s top 50, including Maryland (6th), Iowa (7th), Northwestern (34th), Ohio State (35th), Nebraska (36th), Minnesota (39th) and Rutgers (42nd), while Michigan is just outside the top 50 at No. 57. Michigan State (86th) and Illinois (98th) give the conference 10 teams in the RPI top 100. Purdue (120th), Wisconsin (142nd), Indiana (158th) and Penn State (219th) round out the conference, as 13 of the 14 Big Ten teams ranked among the top half of the 349 teams in the nation.
The Huskers own nine top-100 RPI wins, including five road wins at Washington State (62nd), Creighton (85th), Michigan State (86th), UCLA (94th) and Illinois (98th) along with four top-100 home wins over Duke (12th), Minnesota (39th), Michigan (57th) and Illinois (98th).
Bakersfield (115th), Purdue (120th), Wisconsin (142nd), Northern Colorado (151st), Indiana (158th) and High Point (171st) rank in the top half of the 349 NCAA Division I teams in the official RPI.
NU closed the 2013-14 campaign at No. 13 in the AP rankings, which did not include NCAA Tournament results. Nebraska, which went 26-7 last season and 12-4 in the Big Ten before winning its first Big Ten Tournament title, ended the season at No. 17 in the final USA Today Coaches Top 25. Both Nebraska’s final AP and Coaches Top 25 rankings were the second-best year-end rankings in school history. The Huskers have finished the season in the AP Top 25 four times in the past five years.
The Huskers finished No. 19 in the official NCAA RPI, which was its third-best RPI finish in history – all in the last five seasons.
Before Nebraska Coach Connie Yori came to Nebraska for the 2002-03 season, the Huskers had never finished a season ranked in the top 25 in either of the major polls or the RPI.
Huskers Rank Among National Attendance Leaders
In 18 home games, the Huskers attracted 110,892 fans including 10 of the top-16 largest home non-conference crowds in school history in 2013-14.
Nebraska’s total home attendance of 110,892 ranked No. 8 nationally, while NU’s average home attendance of 6,161 ranked 11th in 2013-14.
Overall, Nebraska ranks 11th nationally in 2014-15 with 5,857 fans per home game, including one game at Bob Devaney Sports Center (3,321 vs. Utah, Nov. 23).
In 33 all-time home games at Pinnacle Bank Arena, the Huskers own an impressive 28-5 record (.848 winning percentage) while averaging 6,100 fans per game (201,278 total fans/33 games).
Nebraska attracted a non-conference school-record crowd of 9,750 to open its stay in the building with a win over UCLA on Nov. 8, 2013. The Huskers have averaged more than 5,000 fans per non-conference game each of the first two seasons at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Before moving to the new arena, NU had never averaged more than 4,049 fans per game in non-conference home play.
Huskers Seek Seventh NCAA Bid in Last Nine Years
Nebraska made its 12th overall appearance in the NCAA Tournament and its sixth in the last eight seasons in 2014. The 2014 Huskers also became the first Nebraska team in history to advance to the NCAA second round in back-to-back seasons, after a 2014 first-round win over Fresno State.
Over the past six years, the Huskers have produced six NCAA Tournament wins under Coach Connie Yori, after the program notched just two NCAA wins in the first 25 years of the NCAA Tournament.
Nebraska’s No. 4 seed was its second-highest in school history, trailing only the No. 1 seed the Huskers earned on their way to their first NCAA Sweet 16 in 2010. NU earned its second NCAA Sweet 16 spot as a No. 6 seed in 2013, following wins over No. 11 seed Chattanooga and third-seeded Texas A&M in College Station in 2013.
The Huskers notched their first NCAA Tournament win under Coach Yori with a 61-58 victory over Xavier at College Park, Md., in 2008.
14-Team Big Ten Tournament Offers New Format in 2015
The 2015 Big Ten Tournament at the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, Ill., March 4-8, will offer two more teams and one more round of competition than the last three seasons.
A new opening-day on Wednesday, March 4 with features games between the 11 through 14 seeds to cut the tournament field down to 12 teams for the final three days of action.
The new format means the top four seeds will get two days worth of byes in the Big Ten Tournament, but those four teams will still need to string together three straight wins to earn a championship.
First-round games at the tournament will be streamed live on BTN Plus, while second-, third-round and semifinal games will be on BTN. The championship game will air on ESPN on Sunday, March 8 at 6 p.m.
Huskers Set Record for TV Exposure in 2014-15
Nebraska will extend its school record by playing its 17th nationally televised game of the season when the Huskers take on Illinois in the second round of the 2015 Big Ten Tournament on the Big Ten Network on Thursday, March 5, at 6 p.m. It will be Nebraska’s 12th television on BTN this season and its 17th television appearance overall, including one game on CBS, one on ESPN2, one on FoxSports1 and two on the Pac-12 Networks.
Nebraska set a school record by playing 16 nationally televised regular-season games in 2014-15. The Huskers filled the BTN airwaves with 11 regular-season appearances on the network.
Nebraska had never had more than 11 regular-season games televised in a year, and the record for nationally televised games in a season was 15 (including conference and NCAA tournaments).
In addition to their 11 BTN games, the Huskers faced Maryland on CBS at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Saturday, Jan. 3, in the conference’s premier slot for women’s basketball all season long. It was Nebraska’s second appearance on CBS in the last three years. The Huskers also battled the Terrapins on ESPN2 on Sunday, Feb. 8, in College Park.
Nebraska made its first two national TV appearances of the year on the Pac-12 Network, when the Huskers won at Washington State (Nov. 19) and UCLA (Nov. 28).
The Huskers played their third nationally televised road non-conference game at Creighton on Thursday, Dec. 11. It was Nebraska’s first-ever appearance on Fox Sports 1.
The Huskers opened their BTN national TV schedule with an impressive 60-54 win over No. 9 Duke in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge on Dec. 3 at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
NU tipped its first 18-game Big Ten Conference season on BTN at Minnesota on Monday, Dec. 29. The Big Red were back on BTN for a thrilling 71-67 victory at Michigan State on Thursday, Jan. 8.
The Huskers returned home for a pair of wins on BTN against Penn State (Jan. 15) and Purdue (Jan. 19). Nebraska was back on BTN for a Monday night clash at Iowa on Jan. 26. The Huskers returned to BTN for their first-ever road trip to Rutgers on Thursday, Feb. 5, before returning home for a BTN rematch with Iowa on Thursday, Feb. 12. NU was back on BTN for a road game at Indiana, Feb. 21, before returning home to play Minnesota on the network on Tuesday, Feb. 24. The Huskers added their final BTN regular-season game against Ohio State on Sunday, March 1.