Huskers take the wind out of the Hurricanes.
Lincoln. — Former Nebraska High School Players of the Year Dominique Kelley and Jordan Hooper combined for 47 points and 15 rebounds to lead the Husker women's basketball team past Naismith National Player-of-the-Year candidates Shenise Johnson and Riquna Williams in a 99-85 win over Miami at the Bob Devaney Sports Center on Wednesday night.
Nebraska improved to 2-0 on the young season with its second straight win over a 2010 postseason team, while scoring 95 or more points for the second straight game. Miami, which returned five starters from a team that went 22-14 and advanced to the 2010 Postseason WNIT championship game, slipped to 1-1.
The Huskers also extended their regular-season winning streak to 33 games while stretching its Devaney Center win streak to 22, including 19 straight home wins by double digits.
Kelley, the 2007 Nebraska Player of the Year out of Lincoln Northeast, erupted for a career-high 25 points and added a career-best nine rebounds. Kelley, an honorable-mention All-Big 12 pick in 2010 who made her 100th consecutive start in a Nebraska uniform, scored 19 points in the second half, to help the young Huskers turn a six-point halftime margin into a 23-point lead midway through the second half.
Hooper, the 2008 and 2010 Nebraska High School Player of the Year, added 22 points and six rebounds in her second career game. The 6-2 forward from Alliance, Neb., drained 4-of-7 threes and connected on all six of her free throws.
Kelley and Hooper combined to go 13-for-23 from the field and 17-of-19 from the line, to power a Nebraska offense that hit 63.6 percent (35-55) of its shots from the field. That mark represented the fifth-highest shooting percentage in school history. NU buried 8-of-14 threes and connected on 21-of-26 free throws against the Hurricanes.
As good as Kelley and Hooper were from the field, sophomore point guard Lindsey Moore and senior center Catheryn Redmon were even better. Moore and Redmon combined to hit 15-of-19 shots from the field, including Redmon's 7-of-8 shooting. Redmon, who produced her fourth career double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds, was a perfect 6-for-6 in the first half, to post 12 points and nine boards in the opening 20 minutes. Moore also opened 6-of-6 from the field for the game to finish with 14 first-half points. Moore added the second-best assist total of her career with nine in the game.
Junior guard Kaitlyn Burke also continued her sizzling shooting, hitting all three of her shots in the second half, including a pair of three-pointers to finish with eight points. For the season, Burke is 7-of-7 from the field, including 6-for-6 from long range.
Nebraska Coach Connie Yori thought the game might be high scoring, she was just hoping her Huskers came out on top.
"I said before the game I thought the first team to 100 might win," Yori said. "Luckily, 99 was enough. That is really just the nature of playing that Miami team. They are so talented on offense, you know you are going to have to score to win. We feel like we have the potential to be a pretty good offensive team. Hopefully, our defense will get there, too."
Miami Coach Katie Meier recognized Nebraska's exceptional effort at the offensive end.
"I tip my hat to Nebraska," Meier said. "That was an offensive clinic."
Nebraska jumped out to a fast start, racing to an 8-0 lead in the first four minutes, despite hitting just 3-of-9 shots from the field. The Canes missed their first seven shots and were outrebounded 10-4 by the Huskers in the first four minutes.
After the slow start, Miami heated up quickly over the next four minutes, hitting 6-of-9 shots from the field to take its first lead of the game. Freshman Krystal Saunders gave the Canes their first lead with a three from the corner with 14 minutes left in the first half.
But Nebraska found an answer of its own, sparked by hot shooting from Hooper and Moore. Hooper nailed a three-pointer to regain the lead for NU at 15-14, before Moore tied it at 17 with 12 minutes left in the half.
Hooper and Moore then combined for nine straight points to push the lead to 26-17 with 9:30 left in the half. A Redmon basket extended NU's lead to double digits for the first time to cap a 13-0 run.
Williams ended the streak for the Canes, but a Hooper three-pointer pushed NU's margin to 12 at 31-19 with 8:20 left in the half.
The NU lead grew as large as 13 with 4:42 left in the first half, and the Huskers maintained a 12-point edge at 46-34 with just 1:32 left in the opening period. But Miami took momentum to the locker room with a furious rally that cut the margin to just 46-42 with 10 seconds left in the half. NU slowed the surge as Moore found Redmon for a layup at the buzzer to make it 48-42 at the half.
In the second half, Kelley set the tone for the Huskers. On NU's opening possession, Kelley found Burke for a three to pump the lead back to nine before scoring six straight points for the Huskers, allowing NU to regain a 58-46 edge. Hooper then scored eight straight points, including back-to-back threes, before Kelley added two more points to make it 68-54 with 14:12 left.
Later in the half, Kelley and Hooper teamed up again for a 6-0 run that turned a 77-60 NU lead into the biggest lead of the night at 83-60 with 8:44 to play.
The Huskers conclude a three-game season-opening home stand on Saturday, when they play host to Saint Mary's. Tip-off between Nebraska and the Gaels is set for 2:05 p.m. with free live audio on Huskers.com provided by the Husker Sports Network.
Source: University of Nebraska Athletic Dept.