Lindsey Moore scored a game-high 15 points to lead the No. 18 Nebraska women’s basketball team to a 68-50 win over North Carolina A&T on Friday night at the Bob Devaney Sports Center.
The Huskers won their season opener for the eighth straight season and the 37th time in 39 all-time games.
Moore, a 5-9 senior point guard from Covington, Wash., hit 4-of-9 shots from the field, including 2-of-5 threes while adding 5-of-7 free throws. She also dished out three assists and grabbed three rebounds while adding two steals.
Sophomore forward Hailie Sample added one of the best games of her career with 10 points, six rebounds and three assists. Fellow sophomore Brandi Jeffery added double figures of her own with 10 points, two rebounds and an assist in the first start of her career.
Nebraska got contributions across the board, as 10 Huskers scored in the game, including seven points, a game-high nine rebounds and a career-high four assists from junior Jordan Hooper. The 6-2 forward from Alliance, Neb., went just 3-of-13 from the field for the game, including 0-of-6 in the first half. She was just 1-of-8 from three-point range, but supplied big contributions at the defensive end with eight defensive rebounds and one steal.
Sophomore forward Emily Cady added seven points, four rebounds, two assists, a game-high two blocks and a steal. She went 3-for-5 from the floor with both of her misses coming from long range.
Senior forward Meghin Williams supplied big production off the bench with six points and four boards in just 10 minutes, while freshman Sadie Murren pitched in five points in the first game of her career. Fellow freshman Rachel Theriot added a three-pointer at the buzzer to close the first half to send the Huskers to the locker room with a 35-25 lead.
JaQuayla Berry led North Carolina A&T with nine points and eight rebounds, while Ariel Bursey scored all nine of her points in the first half for the Aggies. A&T had nine players find the scoring column, but no one managed double figures for a team that featured five returning starters, including three who averaged double figures a year ago.
Nebraska jumped to an 11-4 lead in the first five minutes, before A&T rallied to tie the game at 14 off a jumper from Bursey with 11:23 left in the first half. Bursey capped a 9-0 A&T run with another jumper to give the Aggies an 18-14 edge with 8:45 left in the opening period.
Moore ended the run by knocking down her second three just six seconds later, and gave the Huskers the lead back with a pair of free throws to make it 22-20 with 5:42 left. Tracy King answered with a three to give the Aggies their final lead of the game at 24-23 with 4:02 left in the half.
Nebraska held North Carolina A&T without a field goal the rest of the half, as NU went on a 13-2 surge in the final 4:02, capped by Theriot’s three off a pass from Moore to make it 35-25 at the break.
The Huskers pushed the lead to 14 off a three-point play from Sample and five straight points from Hooper off assists from Sample to make it 43-29. But the Aggies, who returned 11 players with starts from a team that won 15 games a year ago, continued to fight. A&T used a 7-0 run to cut NU’s edge to 45-38 with 15:20 left.
Nebraska responded again with a 13-5 surge over the next seven minutes to increase its lead to 58-43 with 8:30 left on Murren’s backdoor layup off an assist from Williams. Nebraska’s lead grew to 19 points at 66-47 on an Adrianna Maurer free throw with 1:37 left, as the Huskers held the Aggies to just one field goal during an 11-minute stretch in the second half.
Nebraska hit just 39.7 percent (23-58) of its shots for the game, including just 19.2 percent (5-26) from three-point range. The Huskers won big at the free throw line though, hitting 17-of-24 shots while holding A&T to just 7-of-13 shooting. NU outrebounded A&T, 43-36, while winning the turnover battle, 20-16.
The Huskers held the Aggies to just 35.2 percent (19-54) shooting from the field, but A&T hit 35.7 percent (5-of-14) threes on the night.
Nebraska returns to home action on Sunday when the Huskers play host to Temple. Tip-off between the 1-0 Huskers and 1-0 Owls at the Devaney Center is set for 2:05 p.m.