The Nebraska women played defense so effectively, the deep canyons in the offense were barely noticeable.
No. 18-ranked Huskers paved over Temple 64-39 Sunday before 3,981 fans at the Devaney Sports Center.
Sure, Nebraska struggled getting the ball in the hoop. NU hit just 28 percent from the field in the second half and connected on merely 23 of 71 shots for the game. The Huskers (2-0) also missed eight free throws, hit one of 15 three-point shots in the second half and committed 10 turnovers.
But 10 steals, including four by sophomore reserve Tear’a Laudermill, three from leading scorer and rebounder Jordan Hooper (who scored 12 points and grabbed 14 rebounds), plus a 53-40 edge in rebounding and 12-3 assist advantage proved more than enough to make up the gaps.
“The major difference was our defense,” said Yori. “They get three assists and we force 22 turnovers, that’s good pressure and continuous pressure.”
No argument from Temple coach Tonya Cardoza.
“When you have 22 turnovers that they turn into 25 points, you don’t stand a chance,” she said “They got second-chance scoring (10-2) and had 23 offensive rebounds. I’ll be able to say in practice tomorrow, ‘Remember Nebraska.’ We got outworked in so many areas.”
The extra hustle gave coach Connie Yori, in her 11th season at Nebraska, her 192nd career victory to pass Angela Beck for most in program history.
In a little more than three minutes late in the first half, Nebraska pulled away on a 17-3 run with back-to-back threes by Sadie Murren and one by Jordan Hooper. Senior guard Lindsey Moore scored on three consecutive driving layups to give NU a 31-8 lead with 3:55 left in the half. Temple missed seven shots and committed four turnovers during the Husker spurt.
“We picked up the pressure and made them go faster than they wanted to go,” said Murren, a freshman from Wahoo. “They were getting worn out.”
Nebraska counted on a three-pointer by Hooper, an offensive rebound and a three-point play by sophomore Hailie Sample and four more points from Moore in the first nine minutes of the second half to lead 51-30 with 11:07 left.
A 10-possession drought slowed the Huskers midway through the second half. But down the stretch, NU sophomore Emily Cady, who had 10 rebounds, scored on a layup, Brandi Jeffery added four points and sophomore Katie Simon scored on assists from freshman Rachel Theriot.
“We played well in stretches,” said Hooper, who notched her 18th double-double. “Twenty-three offensive rebounds kept us in there and it seemed like it came down to we wanted it more. We practice to play through the made shot to get rebounds and we get used to going after the ball no matter where it is.”
"We really did some good things on the boards today, especially 23 offensive rebounds against the kind of size and length that Temple has," Yori said. "We need to improve on a lot of things, but our effort was definitely there today.”
Nebraska plays host to Northern Arizona on Friday and travels to South Dakota State on Sunday.
NEBRASKA 64, TEMPLE 39
Three-pointers--0-8 (Kabengano 0-2, Williams 0-1, Brown 0-2, Jackson 0-1, Roxas 0-2). Field-goal percentage--32.7. Free-throw percentage--43.8. Total fouls--19. Fouled out--Brown. Assists--3 (Thames 1, Williams 1, Covile 1). Turnovers--22. Steals--6 (Covile 2). Blocked shots--6 (Thames 3).
Three-pointers--7-29 (Cady 0-1, Hooper 3-11, Moore 0-1, Jeffery 1-4, Laudermill 1-4, Murren 2-4, Theriot 0-3, Maurer 0-1). Field-goal percentage--32.4. Free-throw percentage--57.9. Total fouls--15. Assists--12 (Theriot 5). Turnovers--10. Steals--10 (Laudermill 4). Blocked shots--2 (Sample 1, Williams 1). A--3,981.