You probably won’t see her talking a stranger’s ear off or handing out detailed advice in public.
But communication – talking and listening – is crucial in order for the Husker women’s basketball defense to run smoothly, coach Connie Yori said.
While Theriot is about as likely to give a speech on campus as a timid mime, on the court she feels much more comfortable vocally, she said.
“It’s just something I know I’m comfortable with when I’m on the court because I’ve put so much time into it,” she said. “It just comes natural on the court, but in general there’s always room for improvement for communication in my world, because I’m not the greatest talker, so it’s always a challenge sometimes.”
In a roller coaster of a season for the Huskers, there is clearly still work to be done, especially in communication for Nebraska, but the freshman has made her presence known on the court already.
Theriot is a natural player. She handles the ball with ease, finds openings on the court and fires no-look passes. Theriot worked her way into the starting lineup this season and is now an essential part of the Nebraska women’s basketball team. It’s a lot of give and take.
Theriot can make plays and open the floor for teammates to score and they bounce back to create opportunities for her, she said. Not only does Theriot’s handling ability have the capability to open a play, but she also adds a different look for Nebraska on fast breaks.
“It’s great having another point guard out there with Rachel,” senior guard Lindsey Moore said earlier in the season. “She’s a great play maker, great decision maker so it’s easy for us to get the ball to whomever on the outlet and just run and try to make things happen in transition.”
As Theriot provides a different option for the Husker offense, Moore has given leadership and advice to her freshman counterpart, which has helped further develop her play, Theriot said.
“I definitely learn things from her,” Theriot said. “She is obviously a great point guard, great player in general, so you always want to learn things.”
Taking what she knew from her basketball experience in Middleburg Heights, Ohio, and incorporating what Moore has taught her, Theriot said she is able to mesh better as a player and a teammate.
“Rachel is a very, very good passer, and she can make her teammates better,” Yori said after a win at Indiana, where Theriot recorded a career high 14 points and six assists.
Her better games generally have statistics similar to that of her Indiana outing. Obviously hitting double digits offensively is a huge boost to the Husker production, but it’s her assists and ball handling that help Nebraska the most, according to Yori.
Other than her career game against Indiana, Theriot came up big for Nebraska in an 84-63 win over Minnesota on Sunday. Her 13 points and eight assists marked a solid outing, but recording only one turnover sealed the game as one of her best and helped earn her second Big Ten Freshman of the Week honor.
She’s just doing her job, she says.
“It’s a team and everyone has to contribute and do their part,” she said. “You’re a part of the team and you have to put effort in to help out.”