The Nebraska women’s basketball team showed fans Sunday afternoon what this season was going to be all about: defense.
The 64-39 rout of Temple sent No. 18 Nebraska to a 2-0 record and kick-started a strong start for the season.
“I thought the major difference in the game was our defensive pressure,” NU coach Connie Yori said after the game. “Our pressure was good, and it was continuous, and I thought that bothered them.”
The stats told the same story. Nebraska held Temple to shoot just 32.7 percent and did not allow a 3-point field goal, along with only allowing three assists and forcing 22 turnovers. Temple was simply overwhelmed.
“Definitely we got rattled by the pressure,” Temple coach Tonya Cardoza said. “It was difficult for us to initiate any kind of offense and whenever you turn the ball over 22 times, and they score 25 points off of that, you don’t stand a chance.”
The Huskers got off to a slow start in the first half, but then exploded on a 17-3 spurt, using open 3-point attempts from holes in Temple’s zone defense and driving to the bucket. NU shot 6-14 from three in the first and jumped out to a 31-9 lead before a short run from Temple cut the lead to 36-17.
Despite shooting just 4 for 19 for the game, Jordan Hooper notched her first double-double of the season with 12 points and 14 rebounds, marking her 18th of her short career. As a team, the Huskers struggled shooting the ball as well, shooting just more than 32 percent, but according to Hooper, they dominated the game because of their play on the glass.
“We rebounded really well today,” said Hooper, who contributed five of the team’s 23 offensive rebounds. “Everybody hustled to the boards, everybody.”
The second half was capitalized by solid play of some newcomers, including three points and five assists from freshman Rachel Theriot and eight big points from freshman Sadie Murren, including two three-pointers in three possessions.
But it all comes back to defense and the pressure.
“We were really trying to pressure them and force them to create turnovers,” Murren said.
Yori said she was pleased with the defensive effort.
“I really felt like we took them out of what they wanted to do from an execution stand point,” Yori said.
The Huskers don’t have a game until Friday, but then have four games in eight days against Northern Arizona, South Dakota State, Sam Houston State and USC. The Northern Arizona game will be at home at the Deveney Center, and tipoff will be at 7:05 p.m.