Turner's improved touch on 3s keys No. 7 Nebraska
Best known for her defense during her first three years at Nebraska, Yvonne Turner is starting to develop quite the reputation as an offensive player.
Turner's improved 3-point shooting has given the seventh-ranked Cornhuskers (16-0, 3-0 Big 12) another threat to complement one of the nation's premier post players in Kelsey Griffin.
``Right now we have a really good inside-outside game going,'' coach Connie Yori said. ``Our inside game is really the strength of our team, and it opens up shots for our perimeter kids. Percentage-wise, Vonnie's shooting with a lot of confidence. When it's coming out of her hand like that, you're thinking it's going to go down.''
Turner goes into Saturday's game against Kansas State coming off a 22-point performance against then-No. 9 Baylor in which she made a career-high six 3-pointers. She added six rebounds and a season-high four steals as the Huskers posted their first ever win over a top 10 opponent in a true road game.
The Baylor outing followed Turner's 21-point night against then-No. 19 Texas in which she made five 3-pointers.
``Early on she was known for her defensive abilities,'' Griffin said, ``but she's always been quite a capable shooter.''
Turner made the Big 12 all-defensive team as a sophomore and junior, averaging 2.3 steals, and she's tied for first in the league this season with 2.3 a game.
She was, and still is, assigned to hound the opposing player who brings the ball up against Nebraska's full-court defense.
``Scoring is not the first thing that comes to my mind when I'm on the court,'' Turner said. ``I love playing defense and getting stops. It's what creates our offense. If I'm open, I'll shoot the ball. When I'm on offense, I'm looking more to create than get my own shot.''
Turner has thrived on the perimeter for several reasons.
First, with freshman Lindsey Moore earning Yori's trust as point guard, Turner has been able to play shooting guard.
Second, Griffin's return from an injury that sidelined her for entire 2008-09 season has opened up opportunities for Turner when defenses collapse inside.
Turner, a career 35-percent shooter from long range before this season, is hitting at a 41.4-percent clip. At 39.3 percent in conference games, she's No. 1 in the Big 12 among players with more than 20 attempts. She's averaging a conference-leading 4.3 3s in league play.
Her scoring average has increased from 11.7 points to 19 a game in the Huskers' Big 12 games against Iowa State, Texas and Baylor.
Yori said that with a healthy Griffin and Cory Montgomery working in the post, Turner and the other guards needed to improve their perimeter shooting over the summer.
Turner has struggled with offseason injuries every year at Nebraska, but she was able to spend lots of time in the gym and work with teammates on game-situation shots.
The extra effort has paid off for a team that is averaging 79 points and has beaten opponents by an average of 24.4.
``This year we have two really great post players who get doubled 24-7, and Coach told us we need to be ready to shoot when we pass the ball in and they pass it out,'' Turner said. ``It's really nice for us to knock down some outside shots, for us and for our post players.
``When I'm feeling it, I'm feeling it.''