Hooper Leads Huskers to 84-51 Win

By: WOWT - Email
By: WOWT - Email

All-American Jordan Hooper erupted for 25 points and 10 rebounds to join an elite trio of Nebraska legends with 2,000 points and 1,000 boards, as the Huskers rolled to an 84-51 win over Michigan Wednesday.

On a night when Nebraska honored 2010 All-American Kelsey Griffin with her jersey retirement, Hooper joined Griffin and Karen Jennings as the only Huskers in history with 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds. Hooper notched her ninth double-double of the season, grabbing her 10th rebound with just over four minutes left in the game to reach 1,000 for her career.

She exited the game soon after, finishing the night with 2,053 points, passing Griffin on NU's all-time scoring list with her second three-pointer in the first half. Hooper moved into No. 3 on the Husker career scoring list and is tied with the 1993 Wade Trophy winner Jennings at No. 3 on the career rebounding chart. Hooper also became just the fifth Big Ten player in history to achieve the 2,000-point, 1,000-rebound combined milestones.

As momentous as the historic night by Griffin and Hooper was, it was secondary to the performance of the Big Red. Nebraska improved to 14-5 overall and 4-3 in the Big Ten by putting together its best overall effort of the season. Michigan slipped to 14-7 overall and 5-3 in the conference with their first true road loss of the season.

"That was really fun," Nebraska Coach Connie Yori said. "We played really well at both ends. I thought we attacked really well and passed the ball extremely well. I'm not sure how much better we can play, but we're going to try."

Hooper hit 9-of-13 shots from the field, including 4-of-6 three-pointers. Tear'a Laudermill matched her career high with 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the field, including three straight threes to open the second half to put Michigan away, after Nebraska led 44-26 at the half.

Sophomore point guard Rachel Theriot produced her first career double-double with 10 points and a career-high 11 assists. Junior forward Emily Cady had her streak of five straight double-doubles snapped with 12 points and seven rebounds, but added six assists while going 5-of-10 from the field.

Junior Hailie Sample completed a strong defensive performance with eight points on 4-of-4 shooting, while pulling down six boards and dishing out two assists. As a team, Nebraska shot a sizzling 53.3 percent from the field, including 11-of-29 from three-point range. NU was also 9-of-10 from the free throw line. NU's starters went 30-of-47 from the floor.

Nebraska's offensive success started with its attack mentality and precision passing. The Big Red dished out a season-high 27 assists while committing just seven turnovers - NU's second-best turnover mark of the year. The Huskers had 27 assists on 32 made baskets.

Nebraska's 84 points were the second-most allowed by Michigan, trailing only the 86 scored by No. 2 Notre Dame on Dec. 14. The Wolverines had been allowing just 57.7 points per game in Big Ten play.

On the flip side, Nebraska held Michigan to just 36.4 percent (20-55) from the field, including 5-of-12 from three-point range. The Wolverines were 6-of-9 at the line. Nebraska dominated the boards, 38-28, against a Michigan team that entered the game with better than a plus-nine rebound margin per game on the season. The Wolverines also managed just seven assists, while committing 11 turnovers.

Nicole Elmblad led Michigan with 16 points, while Siera Thompson and Shannon Smith each managed 10 points.

Michigan led 6-5 early, but a Theriot three gave Nebraska the lead for good with 16:21 to play in the first half. The Wolverines trailed 10-8 with 13:45 left after a jumper by Elmblad, but Theriot hit another three to spark a 9-0 Husker run that included a jumper by Hooper to give NU its first double-digit lead at 19-8.

Hooper finished with 15 in the first half, while Theriot had all 10 of her points before the break to stake NU to a 44-26 halftime edge.

Laudermill opened the second half by giving NU its first 20-point edge with her first three of the game just 31 seconds after halftime. The lead hovered between 20 and 26 the rest of the game, until a Laudermill layup pushed it to 77-49 with 4:12 left. A pair of Brandi Jeffery free throws pushed it to 30 for the first time at 79-49 with 3:27 remaining and grew as large as 35 on the first Big Ten points of Hannah Tvrdy's career on a layup with 28 seconds left made it 84-49.

Nebraska returns to Big Ten road action on Saturday at Iowa. Tip-off with a hot Hawkeyes squad is set for 2 p.m. with live radio coverage on the Husker Sports Network and free live audio on Huskers.com. Iowa improved to 17-5 overall and 5-3 in the Big Ten with a win at Minnesota on Wednesday. The Hawkeyes have won three straight

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