September 17, 2014

Hooper has a big night and Theriot sets tourney record in win over Gophers

Big Ten Player of the Year Jordan Hooper scored 33 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, and Rachel Theriot set a Big Ten Tournament record with 18 assists as the No. 16 Nebraska women’s basketball team put away Minnesota late for an 80-67 win Friday night in Indianapolis.

Hooper, a 6-2 senior forward from Alliance, Neb., notched her 10th career 30-point performance to go along with her 38th career double-double. It was her 12th double-double of the season. She hit 14-of-22 shots from the floor, including 3-of-6 threes and both of her free throws. Hooper did more than score and rebound, she added two assists, two blocks and two steals for the Huskers.

Theriot’s 18 assists marked the second-highest assist total in any game in Nebraska history, trailing only 19 assists by Kathy Hawkins against Nebraska-Kearney on Feb. 17, 1976. It was the first time since 1976 that any Husker had produced 15 or more assists in a game. She was asked if she was in what they refer to shooters as “the zone.”

“Yeah, you could say that. I mean, just finding my teammates and knowing that they can hit open shots and stuff and make plays.”

Theriot also became the first player in Nebraska history to dish out 200 assists in a season, pushing her season total to 201 to break the previous school record of 195 set by Meggan Yedsena in 1991-92 and matched by Lindsey Moore in 2012-13.

Minnesota took its first lead of the game early, 42-41 with 17:43. After NU tied the game at 44, the Gophers went on a short burst and opened up a 50-46 with 13:42 to go. NU tied the game at 52, when Hooper then scored five straight points before Emily Cady hit another jumper to cap a 7-0 run that gave the Big Red a 59-52 lead. Minnesota closed to one, before the Huskers stomped them out with a late 11-0 run.

Nebraska finished the night 50 percent (32-64) from the floor, including 58.6 percent (17-29) in the second half. The Huskers went 8-for-20 (.400) from three-point range and 8-for-9 at the line. NU outrebounded Minnesota, 36-32, and won the turnover battle 11-10.

With the victory, Nebraska improved to 23-6 on the season while advancing to the Big Ten Tournament semifinals for the third consecutive season. The third-seeded Big Red will face the No. 2 seed and Big Ten Conference co-regular-season champion Michigan State on Saturday at approximately 5 p.m. (CT).