Steven M. Sipple: Just win, Lindsey, NU's bottom-line PG

2013-02-27T23:35:00Z 2013-03-21T17:22:07Z Steven M. Sipple: Just win, Lindsey, NU's bottom-line PG JournalStar.com

Jeff Van Gundy, the former NBA coach-turned-broadcaster, and Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers recently discussed a novel concept.

It went something like this: When a player in the NBA All-Star Game is shooting free throws, the only statistic that should be shown on television is his career winning percentage -- the ultimate bottom line.

Senior Lindsey Moore, with a 90-35 record (.720) as the starting point guard for Nebraska, no doubt would embrace such an occurrence in the college women's game. Ask those around her -- all she cares about is winning. She simply finds ways to get "Ws," be it with her patented driving scoop shot (either hand) or a daring drive-and-dish. Whatever it takes.

"I love winning, and I'm one of the worst people to be around if we lose," Moore said Wednesday. "I honestly think I hate losing more than I like winning."

Jeff Griesch, Nebraska media relations director of operations, has worked closely with the women's program for nearly 15 years. He is beyond an expert. What's more, he has an excellent mind for basketball, at any level. He marvels at Moore's will to win.

"Winning's really the only thing she thinks about," he said.

Sounds likes a bit of hyperbole. But her numbers back it up. Consider: Moore has won more games at Devaney Sports Center than any women's player in school history, and it's not even close. She has won 53 games in the building, starting every one of them (she has started all 125 games she's played at NU).

It's not as if Nebraska has been bereft of strong-willed stars over the years. You know the names. Karen Jennings. Kelsey Griffin. Maurtice Ivy. Amy Stephens. Anna DeForge. Nicole Kubik. To name a few.

Thing is, Nebraska struggled mightily in Jennings’ freshman season. The Huskers were 14-14 in Stephens’ senior season. NU experienced a coaching change during Ivy's career. DeForge played for four good teams, but only one that was exceptional. You get the idea.

Conversely, Nebraska has averaged 22.5 wins per season during Moore's career, including the 32-win blockbuster in 2009-10, when she was a freshman on a senior-laden squad. This season, she leads a 20th-ranked Husker team that is 21-6 (11-3 Big Ten) -- and winner of nine straight -- entering Thursday night's game at Wisconsin (11-16, 3-11).

Moore essentially has been Nebraska's go-to player since her sophomore season, Husker coach Connie Yori said. This season alone, Moore closed out no fewer than five wins practically on her own.

"There are plenty of players who would just as soon pass it to the next kid so they don't have to make the play (in clutch situations)," Yori said. "That's definitely not Lindsey."

Beside "Ws," there is another statistic on Moore's mind. She badly wants the Nebraska career assist record, saying assists "are a huge staple of what I'm about."

She is 40 behind Meggan Yedsena's 696 from 1991-94. Moore, though, won't give up on the chase. Winners don't give up. They also tend to be intelligent and instinctive.

"Lindsey's knowledge and vision of the game is far superior to most kids you coach," said Yori, in her 11th season at Nebraska. "We've had kids who see things. But what sets Lindsey apart is not only does she have that knowledge and vision, she also has the skill set to put it into use.

"She see things before they happen. A lot of kids either have that, or they don't."

So, no surprise that Yori often seeks Moore's wisdom.

"In timeouts, we'll be talking about something, and I'll say to her, 'What do you think?'" Yori said. "I do that more frequently with her than I have with anybody in recent years."

It would be difficult to argue that Moore is the best player in school history. Jennings, after all, was the national player of the year in 1993. But know this: Moore is the best point guard in program history.

She also may be the most durable Husker ever, regardless of position.

The 5-foot-9 Moore's 125 straight starts are an ongoing school record. Come Sunday, in the regular-season finale (at home against Penn State), she likely will tie Griffin for the most starts in a Nebraska uniform, with 127.

Moore already has played more minutes than any player in school history. Thursday, she will top 4,100, or 1,000-plus minutes per season, a giant number.

She's averaged 33 minutes per game for her career (33.6 this season). As a sophomore, she averaged 39.3 minutes in Big 12 play -- which led the league. And, yes, she's played through pain. She suffered a bone bruise in a knee late last season and had a hard time running.

Winners keep playing. They find a way, especially if they crave victories.

If Nebraska prevails at Wisconsin, Moore would tie Griffin for most career triumphs by a Husker starter, with 91.

Watch Moore's face when you mention that stat. Her determination is evident.

"It's a huge honor, but I don't think I'd be where I'm at if it wasn't for Kelsey my freshman year," Moore said. "Without that season and that team, I might not be in this position. I obviously can't do it by myself. I attribute a lot of it to all my teammates."

Genuine words spoken by a proven winner.

Reach Steven M. Sipple at 402-473-7440 or ssipple@journalstar.com.

Copyright 2015 JournalStar.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

About the writer

Steven M. Sipple | Lincoln Journal Star

Steven, a lifelong Nebraskan, newspaper enthusiast and UNL grad, joined the Journal Star in 1990 and has covered NU football since 1995.


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