Nebraska women’s basketball coach Connie Yori was surprised.
She also sounded disappointed.
Yori had expected her Cornhuskers to receive a No. 4 or 5 seed
for the NCAA women’s basketball tournament. Instead, they got a No.
6 seed in the Norfolk Regional and will open Saturday against
Chattanooga in College Station, Texas.
“You never know what’s going to happen in the bracket,” she said
after selections were announced Monday night.
Nebraska is among six Big Ten teams in the tournament.
Regular-season champion Penn State was a No. 3 seed and conference
tournament winner Purdue a No. 4. But Michigan State, a team
Nebraska beat and finished ahead of in the standings, got a No. 5
seed in the Bridgeport Regional.
“It was probably a little bit interesting in that we finished
second in the Big Ten and we get a 6 seed,” Yori said. “You get two
teams that finished below us – obviously Purdue is deserving of the
seed they got – but I thought Penn State would probably be a 2 seed
and (it) didn’t get quite the respect considering it’s the
second-best league in the country RPI-wise. We probably didn’t get
the respect across the board as maybe we deserved.”
The Cornhuskers (23-8) are in the tournament for the third time
in four years and 11th time overall since their first appearance in
The Lady Mocs (29-3) are the Southern Conference tournament
champions and winners of 19 straight games. In their only game
against a ranked opponent, they beat then-No. 20 Tennessee in
Nebraska goes into the tournament 11-2 since Jan. 20. The
Huskers lost to Purdue in the semifinals of the Big Ten
Senior point guard Lindsey Moore said she won’t spend any time
lamenting the Huskers’ seed.
“You can’t control that,” she said, “so you just have to be able
to deal with what you’re given.”
Moore said she and her teammates hope to atone for last year’s
poor showing in the tournament. The Huskers played four games in
four days to reach the Big Ten tournament title game, where they
lost to Purdue. Starters Jordan Hooper and Hailie Sample came out
of it with injuries that carried over to the offseason, and the
Huskers were worn down.
They were upset 57-49 by 12th-seeded Kansas in the first round
of the NCAA tournament. Nebraska shot 33 percent against the
Jayhawks and was 1 for 19 on 3-pointers. Moore and Hooper combined
to go 9 for 39 overall and 0 for 14 on 3s.
“We just want to take that and remember how we felt last year
when it happened and kind of use that as our motivation,” Moore
said. “We don’t want this to happen again, at least too soon.”
Chattanooga, making its first tournament appearance since 2010,
is led by all-conference selection and tournament MVP Ashlen
Dewart. She made her return to the court this season after a
transfer from fellow Southern Conference school Appalachian State
forced her to the sidelines in 2011-12.
Dewart is averaging 15.5 points and 7.2 rebounds.
“This group has been unbelievable. It’s been such a fun group to
coach,” coach Wes Moore said. “… I’m excited. I think we have a
team that can compete in the NCAA tournament and I’m excited about