LOS ANGELES—It wasn’t a flawless performance by Nebraska, but a win is a win and the Cornhuskers played worthy enough to advance to the second round of the NCAA women’s tournament.
Big Ten Player of the Year Jordan Hooper filled up the stat sheet scoring 23 points and grabbing 11 rebounds in Nebraska’s 74-55 win over Fresno State on Saturday afternoon.
“We just really want to stay alive so that we can keep her around,” Huskers forward Hailie Sample said.
Emily Cady dropped 15 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. California’s native Tear’a Laudermill had the luxury of playing in front of her family members at Pauley Pavilion. The Huskies’ guard struggled in the
first half shooting 1-of-9, but managed to knock down a couple of significant shots in the second half, including two huge 3-pointers. Laudermill finished the game with 13 points and three rebounds.
“It means a lot. I’m really blessed to be back home in front of family especially,” Laudermill said at Friday’s media session. “So it means a lot to me.”
Although the Huskers survived in the first round of the tourney Nebraska’s coach Connie Yori wasn’t to elated how the team allowed Fresno State to go on a 15-9 run, and erase a 14-point deficit to within four.
“We were rusty. We missed a lot of easy shots that we normally make,” Yori said. “We hope we got the kinks out a little bit and can play better on Monday.
The Bulldogs did not go down easily. It wasn’t until the last five-minutes of the game that Nebraska took control and pretty much sealed the deal going up by 12-points.
“The game was very physical. That’s definitely a Big Ten-style of play,” Bulldogs coach Raegan Pebley said. “That played to their favor a little bit more than ours.”
Taylor Thompson was the leading scorer for the Bulldogs, but it wasn’t enough to keep her team alive.
“Our team got some stops on defense and we made good shots on offense,” Thompson said. “We went on a run and then they went on a run. You have your good shooting days and your not so good shooting days. We got good looks; they just weren’t falling for us. It’s how it goes sometimes.”
The Cornhuskers will face BYU on Monday night. Hopefully they did their scouting reporting on the Cougars because they were clearly the underdogs going up against the fifth-seeded North Carolina State.
Tamara is a graduate of Cal State Los Angeles where she received a Bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism. Tamara is passionate about covering sports. She has covered the NBA and Major League Baseball routinely for the past several years. A Southern California native, Tamara developed her skills as a sports journalist while working for various Los Angeles-based news publications.