The Huskers get back on the winning track against South Florida.
Lincoln — Four Huskers scored in double figures as the Nebraska women's basketball team led from start to finish in a 78-59 win over South Florida at the Bob Devaney Sports Center on Thursday night.
The victory extended Nebraska's home winning streak to 27 straight games, while snapping the Huskers overall three-game losing streak. NU improved to 9-4 on the season, including 7-0 at the Devaney Center. South Florida slipped to 9-6 on the year with its second-straight loss to a Big 12 opponent after losing 83-65 to Texas in their last game.
Sophomore Katya Leick produced the best game of her young career by pouring in 17 points to go along with eight rebounds and career bests of three assists and two steals. Leick, a 6-1 forward from Grey Cloud Township, Minn., made her second straight start in place of Husker senior guard Dominique Kelley.
Kelley, who had her streak of 109 straight starts snapped dating back to the first game of her freshman season in 2006 in NU's last game against Louisville on Dec. 20, continues to battle knee pain and did not play against the Bulls. Kelley is averaging 15.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game for the Huskers.
In addition to Leick stepping up in Kelley's absence, point guard Lindsey Moore added one of the best games of her career with 16 points and nine assists while committing just two turnovers. The 5-9 sophomore from Covington, Wash., hit 5-of-9 shots from the field, including a pair of three-pointers, while playing the full 40 minutes for the third time this season.
"I think our players showed some really good toughness tonight," Nebraska Coach Connie Yori said. "We have been battling some adversity with our injuries, but I think they not only showed their physical toughness but some good mental toughness tonight. Katya really made some plays for us and Lindsey Moore was in complete control of the game. We executed well and our players really did a great job of applying our game plan."
Senior center Catheryn Redmon added a big night with 14 points, including 10 in the first half, six rebounds, three blocks, an assist and a steal. The 6-2 native of Grand Prairie, Texas, connected on 6-of-9 shots from the field and 2-of-3 free throws.
Junior Kaitlin Burke also came up big in Kelley's absence, producing her second-highest point total of the season with 11 points, while adding a pair of assists. The 5-7 guard from North Vancouver, British Columbia, hit 5-of-10 shots from the field including a three-pointer.
Despite playing without Kelley for the second straight game, and with early foul trouble to leading scorer and rebounder Jordan Hooper, the Huskers led by as many 22 points in the first half. Hooper, the 6-2 freshman forward from Alliance, Neb., who entered the game averaging 15.9 points and 7.1 rebounds, produced nine points and four rebounds - all in the second half.
Nebraska carried a 39-20 halftime lead thanks to big halves from Redmon, Moore and Leick. Redmon scored 10 points and added three rebounds and two blocks, while Moore and Leick each contributed nine points. Moore added six assists without committing a turnover in the half, while Leick contributed four rebounds, an assist and a steal while making her second straight start in place of Kelley.
Kellie McCann-Smith pitched in all five of her points off the bench in the first half, while Burke contributed four points and two assists in the half. Jessica Periago also played big in Hooper's absence with two points, a block and five first-half rebounds.
The Huskers hit 50 percent (13-26) of their first-half shots, including 3-of-7 three-pointers. NU also connected on 10-of-12 free throws. Nebraska outrebounded USF, 22-15, in the first and matched the Bulls by committing just six turnovers.
South Florida hit just 8-of-30 shots from the field, as leading scorer Andrea Smith was shackled with two fouls in the first five minutes of the game and scored just two first-half points. USF's second-leading scorer, Andrell Smith also managed just two first-half points.
For the game, Nebraska hit 52.9 percent (27-51) of its shots from the floor, including 6-of-13 three-point attempts. NU was also a solid 18-of-24 at the free throw line, outscoring the Bulls, 18-7, at the stripe. NU outrebounded the Bulls, 38-36, but lost the turnover battle, 11-8.
South Florida finished the night just 33.3 percent (22-66) from the field, including 8-of-23 from three-point range. The Bulls were just 7-of-15 at the foul line. Andrea Smith led USF with 12 points and five rebounds, while Leondra Doomes-Stephens played the best all-around game for the Bulls with 11 points, eight rebounds, two assists, a block and a steal in 32 minutes.
Porche Grant added double figures with 11 points and seven rebounds, while Kaneisha Saunders contributed nine points.
The Huskers close non-conference action by playing host to Florida A&M on Sunday at the Devaney Center. With the win over South Florida, Nebraska improved to 9-1 all-time against Florida teams, including 2-0 this season with a win over Miami. Tip-off with the Rattlers is set for 6:05 p.m. with live radio coverage provided by the Husker Sports Network, including free live audio on Huskers.com. Free live video will also be available on Huskers.com.
Source: University of Nebraska Athletic Dept.