No. 3 Nebraska 89, Colorado 73
Nebraska coach Connie Yori looked at the statistics sheet and
shook her head.
“Who would think your opponent makes 15 3s and you win by 16?”
she said. “That’s pretty rare.”
That is rare, and so, too, is the kind of season third-ranked
and unbeaten Nebraska is enjoying.
It continued with an 89-73 victory over Colorado on Saturday,
with the Cornhuskers countering the Buffaloes’ 3-point blitz with a
balanced offensive effort led by star forward Kelsey Griffin.
Griffin scored 18 of her 25 points in the second half to lead
four Nebraska players in double figures. Griffin, who posted her
15th double-double, added 12 rebounds, six assists, two steals and
two blocks. Cory Montgomery had 17 points, Yvonne Turner 14 and
Dominique Kelley 12 for the Huskers (25-0, 12-0 Big 12).
The Huskers set a school record for conference wins and can
clinch a share of their first league title since 1988 if No. 11
Oklahoma loses Sunday at Kansas State, or if they beat the Sooners
on the road Wednesday.
“Mentally, we’re good,” Griffin said. “February, regardless
of your record, is a super-wearing month, a grind. Coach Yori and
her staff have done a good job keeping everything fresh and fun,
knowing we have a ton to work on. Never talking about record or
addressing it has been huge. Really, we’re not playing not to lose.
We’re just playing to play our best basketball.”
Colorado (12-13, 2-10), which came to Lincoln off losses in
seven straight games and in nine of their last 10, looked as if it
was set to play its best game of the season.
Brittany Spears, who scored a game-high 26 points, made her
first six 3-point attempts and Colorado finished with a Devaney
Sports Center-record 15.
Spears sank four 3-pointers in the first five minutes to get
Colorado out to a 15-9 lead, but the Buffs’ season scoring leader
sat out the last 10:57 of the half after charging into Lindsey
Moore for her third foul.
“That’s something that doesn’t show up in the stat line at
all,” Yori said, “but it was one of the biggest plays in the
After Colorado tied it 25-all on Bianca Smith’s 3-pointer,
Nicole Neals, Turner and Moore hit consecutive 3s during a 15-2 run
that put the Huskers up 40-27.
Colorado got within five points in the second half before
Nebraska broke things open. Spears pulled the Buffs to 70-65, but
Griffin scored inside and Turner hit a 3. After Kelly Jo Mullaney
knocked down a 3, the Huskers went on a 10-2 run to make it 85-70.
The Huskers won their 20th game by double digits.
“I don’t think the score is reflective of the passion and
energy and the way my team battled tonight,” Buffs coach Kathy
McConnell-Miller said. “It’s hard to go through a season like this
in the Big 12. It’s tough to look up at the scoreboard after a game
and feel like you’ve given your blood, sweat and tears for the
University of Colorado and not come out with a victory.”
Nebraska shot 60 percent in the second half and 50 percent for
the game. The Buffs, who got four 3s and 18 points from Smith and
three 3s and 11 points from Courtney Dunn, shot 55.6 percent on 3s
but 45 percent overall.
Montgomery said the Huskers never felt their lead was safe.
“They shot the ball like crazy,” she said. “We knew when we
had a little bit of a lead that 3s are what could get them back in
the game fairly quickly. They’ve been shooting lights-out
3-pointers. We had to get a hand up and contest every shot going
down the stretch.”
The Huskers started the week third nationally at defending
3-pointers, with opponents shooting 22.4 percent. But national
3-point leader Iowa State, which went 10 for 24 on Wednesday, and
Colorado combined to go 25 of 51 against the Huskers (49
“We’ve got to get back in the gym and work on our defense,”
Griffin said. “I never would have believed it. That goes to show
you how good a team Colorado is. Colorado might not be a team with
the best record in our league, but yet they come out and do what
they did tonight. I was out there trying to stop those 3-pointers,
trust me, but they’re just that good a 3-point shooters.”