No. 7 Nebraska 71, Kansas St. 56
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP)
It's a safe bet many of the school-record 13,303 who showed up for seventh-ranked Nebraska's 71-56 victory over Kansas State were watching the Cornhusker women's basketball team for the first time.
``We hope they saw something that's worth coming back and seeing time and time again,'' Nebraska coach Connie Yori said. ``We feel we're a fun team to watch.''
The Cornhuskers were averaging 3,800 fans before Saturday.
Nebraska (17-0, 4-0), in the Top 10 for the first time, is off to the best start of any Big 12 team since the conference's inception in 1996-97. The Huskers and top-ranked Connecticut are the only unbeatens left in Division I.
``It's great to be undefeated, but every game is a dogfight,'' All-American candidate Kelsey Griffin said. ``Do we want to be undefeated? Absolutely. If we lose, we lose and we'll learn from it. There are still a lot of games left. February is a hard month for every team. That's when fatigue comes in and it becomes about getting through the grind.''
Griffin scored 22 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for her fourth consecutive double-double and Yvonne Turner scored 20 points and made six 3-pointers for the second straight game.
The big crowd - many drawn by a $1-ticket promotion - couldn't get enough of Griffin, who drew loud cheers when she went to the bench with just over a minute left. After the game, as she walked to the locker room, she was all smiles as she waved to fans who gave her another ovation.
With the Wildcats trying to come back early in the second half, Griffin did most of the dirty work that fueled a 14-4 run that broke things open.
The 6-foot-2 senior led a couple fast breaks. She made a steal and later hit the floor to win a loose ball, which she pitched to Lindsey Moore, who found Cory Montgomery for a 3-pointer from the wing.
Griffin mucked it up for a hardworking putback, then rebounded Taelor Karr's missed 3-pointer and drove the length of the floor for a layup to put Nebraska up 52-38.
``Kelsey really has a great sense of what we need at a given moment,'' Yori said. ``She does so many things for us. It's really hard to take her off the floor right now. I know we're playing her too much.''
Griffin, who played 34 minutes, also passed for a career high-tying five assists.
Brittany Chambers scored 18 points and Ashley Sweat 13 to lead the Wildcats (10-9, 2-3), who lost their third straight.
The Huskers squandered most of an early 22-point lead, but Turner's 3-pointer started the decisive run. The Huskers' lead was back to 20 points with 7 minutes left.
Nebraska's defensive rebounding kept the Wildcats from getting second chances and limited their opportunities to kick the ball out to perimeter shooters. Griffin had six rebounds in the first eight minutes of the second half.
``She's a workhorse,'' said Sweat, assigned to guard Griffin most of the game. ``She works her butt off every possession. She runs the floor, she brings the ball up, she does a little of everything. She does so many good things for her team, and we all respect her as a player.''
Turner made six 3s for the second straight game and is 17 for 33 in the last three. She was a career 35-percent 3-point shooter coming into her senior season. She had offseason surgery on her right (shooting) shoulder and wasn't able to begin shooting until August. Now she's shooting 43 percent from long distance for the season.
``Right now my shooting feels real good. My body in general is very healthy,'' Turner said. ``It's just practice, practice, practice.''
The Wildcats, coming off a 28-percent shooting night in a 63-57 loss to Colorado on Wednesday, continued to struggle.
``For basically a young group, we competed well on the road in a great environment,'' K-State coach Deb Patterson said. ``We missed a lot of open shots. In situations on the road where you're getting open looks and they're not going down, it puts a lot of pressure on your basketball team.''