Jordan Hooper scored a game-high 29 points to lead the Nebraska women's basketball team to its sixth straight win in a 76-75 thriller at Iowa on Thursday night in Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Hooper hit 11-of-23 shots from the field, including a pair of early three-pointers to give Nebraska its fourth consecutive Big Ten road win. NU improved to 18-6 overall and 8-3 in the Big Ten, while Iowa dropped its fourth straight game to fall to 16-9 and 5-6 in the conference in front of nearly 4,000 fans and a Big Ten Network national television audience.
Hooper, a 6-2 junior forward from Alliance, Neb., was one of five Huskers to hit two threes on the night, and she added eight rebounds. Senior point guard Lindsey Moore scored all 14 of her points in the second half while playing the full 40 minutes in a tremendous all-around effort. Moore added seven rebounds and a game-high seven assists while committing just one turnover.
Brandi Jeffery pitched in a season-high tying 10 points off the bench. Jeffery scored eight of her points in the first half to keep the Huskers in control. Fellow sophomore Emily Cady added nine points, eight rebounds and four assists.
Freshman Rachel Theriot added six points on a pair of big threes, the second giving NU its biggest lead of the game 64-52 with 8:32 left.
Sophomore Hailie Sample pitched in four points, four rebounds and a career-high six assists. Sample added a pair of free throws with 28 seconds left to help NU secure the win. Moore sealed the victory with two more shots at the line with 12.8 seconds left.
The free throws were enough to save the Huskers from a furious Iowa rally in the final three minutes, capped by Theairra Taylor's three-pointer at the buzzer to trim the final margin to one.
Moore had given the Huskers a 10-point lead at 68-58 with three minutes remaining on a short jumper, before Nebraska made mistakes and the Hawkeyes made it interesting.
In the end, Nebraska left Iowa City with a victory and never trailed in the game.
"It's always great to win on the road, and for 37 minutes we played some really, really good basketball," Nebraska Coach Connie Yori said. "We would have liked to play a little smarter at the end, but we did enough to win the game. All night long we made some big shots in some big situations, and I'm really proud of the toughness of our team."
Nebraska hit 43.3 percent (26-60) of its shots on the night, including 10-of-23 (.435) of its three-pointers. The Huskers were also a sizzling 16-of-18 at the free throw line. NU outrebounded Iowa 37-36, but lost the turnover battle 12-8.
Morgan Johnson led Iowa with 19 points, 10 rebounds and four blocked shots while hitting 9-of-11 shots from the field. Melissa Dixon added 19 points on 5-of-10 three-point shooting for the Hawkeyes, while Jaime Printy pitched in 16 points. Taylor finished with 11 points to give Iowa four players in double figures.
Iowa hit 43.8 percent (28-64) from the field, including 33.3 percent (8-24) from three-point range. The Hawkeyes also hit 11-of-15 free throws.
The Huskers took a 41-32 lead into the locker room at halftime after jumping to an 11-2 lead in the first 2:15. Iowa answered to tie the game at 11 with a 9-0 run of its own, but Hooper scored with 14:50 left in the half and NU did not relinquish the lead the rest of the half.
Hooper led Nebraska with 17 first-half points and four rebounds, but picked up her second foul with 2:12 left in the half and the Huskers clinging to a 35-32 lead. With Hooper on the bench, Theriot and Cady hit three-pointers to close the half with a 41-32 lead. Cady, who also opened the first-half scoring with a three, hit 7-of-14 three-pointers in the first half, including two from Hooper and two from Jeffery.
Jeffery, a sophomore guard, scored eight first-half points after putting up only four points combined in Nebraska's previous eight conference games. NU hit 47.1 percent (16-34) of its first-half shots and 2-of-3 free throws, while matching Iowa with 16 rebounds. The Huskers also won the first-half turnover battle, 7-6.
Iowa hit 13-of-27 (.481) first-half attempts, including 3-of-8 three-pointers and 3-of-4 free throws. Johnson hit all five of her first-half shots to lead Iowa with 10 points, while Printy added eight points and a pair of three-pointers.
Nebraska returns to the Devaney Center to take on Ohio State Thursday night in Lincoln. Tip-off between the Huskers and Buckeyes is set for 8 p.m. in Nebraska's annual Play4Kay game to promote cancer awareness and research. Fans are encouraged to wear pink to the game and tickets are on sale now at Huskers.com. The game will be televised live nationally by BTN.