After winning two dominant exhibition games by a total of 74 points, the Nebraska women’s basketball team is ready to take the court for real this weekend. The Huskers open their season with home games against North Carolina A&T on Friday and Temple on Sunday.
The Huskers, who are ranked No. 18 in The Associated Press preseason poll, are favorites to contend for the Big Ten title this year, and are out to prove they are a force to be reckoned with. Though the exhibition games were blowout wins, coach Connie Yori said she learned a lot about her team during the past two weeks.
“I learned that we have some kids that have some pretty good toughness,” said Yori, who is coming into her 11th season as head coach. “I think that is something that we can take from this.”
Nebraska is coming off a bittersweet season, finishing 10-6 in the Big Ten and 24-9 overall. The Huskers lost to Purdue in double overtime in the championship game Big Ten Tournament, and then lost to Kansas in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
But behind the senior leadership of preseason All-Big Ten players Jordan Hooper and Lindsey Moore, the Huskers have high expectations for the season. But they aren’t getting too ahead of themselves. Moore believes the team still has things to continue working on.
“(It’s) just the little things,” said Moore, who averaged 15.7 points and 5.1 assists per game last season. “Rebounding, executing on offense. Just the game in general. I think we can get better game by game. I think improving in all aspects is something we’re looking forward to do.”
Yori likes Moore’s attitude and is confident in her guard and what her team can accomplish this season.
“With Lindsey out there it boosts your morale and your confidence when she goes out there and makes plays – hustle plays every single game,” Yori said. “Every single time down the floor she’s making something happen so it gets in your head that if she can do it, everyone can all pitch in. It helps a lot.”
Hooper, an honorable mention AP All-American last year, is looking to build off one of the best sophomore years in school history, when she averaged 18.9 points per game and led the Big Ten in rebounds and double-doubles.
Tipoff for the final season in the Bob Devaney Sports Center is at 7:05 p.m. on Friday. Sunday’s game starts at 2:05 p.m.