The regular season and the Huskers’ nine-game win streak are over, along with senior forward Jordan Hooper’s days at the Pinnacle Bank Arena.
Despite the Huskers ending the season on a 16-point loss to the Purdue Boilermakers on Sunday, junior forward Tear’a Laudermill said it’s time to look ahead.
“We’re just getting ourselves back together and figuring out what’s next,” Laudermill said. “We’re trying to get our mind off that loss and get on to the next game.”
Laudermill has been an essential piece of the Huskers third-straight 20-win season, according to Nebraska coach Connie Yori. Alongside Hooper, junior forward Emily Cady and sophomore guard Rachel Theriot, Laudermill has become the fourth scorer.
“I think T making the shots tonight really set up our offense for other things to happen,” Yori said about Laudermill after the Penn State game. “You don’t expect Jordan to make shots every night, and Rachel, but you expect them to make them more often.”
Last season, Laudermill averaged 5.9 points per game, and this season she has almost doubled her average with 11.3.
Laudermill said her improvement in shooting isn’t only attributed to her extra practice but to her team.
“My teammates have found me on open shots all season,” Laudermill said. “I’ve just been working on my shooting. The coaches have been helping me out and doing extra work with me.”
Her most memorable game of the season was against No. 11 Penn State, when Nebraska took a 94-74 win and Laudermill made 7 3-pointers.
“The Penn State game was my favorite,” Laudermill said. “That was fun. My teammates just kept feeding me the ball; they knew I was on fire. Coach just gave me the nod to keep shooting. That was the first game my brother went to, so that hyped me up a lot. I just knew I needed to go out and have fun and play how I play.”
Leading up to the Penn State game, Laudermill erupted for 18 points against Michigan. After that game, she scored a career-high 26 points against Iowa. Then, against Wisconsin, Laudermill added 21 points to the scoreboard to help Nebraska to a 71-70 overtime win.
“It is so much fun to see a player mature as both a player and a person,” said Yori in a news conference after the Iowa game. “T is definitely doing that right in front of our eyes. She is playing great basketball and having a lot of fun doing it.”
Laudermill will be one of four seniors, along with Cady, forward Hailie Sample and guard Brandi Jeffery, running the team next year without Hooper at the helm. She said it’s just something the team will have to adjust to.
“It’s not any fun having Hooper leave,” Laudermill said. “She’s a big part of the program. She’s an awesome player and an awesome person all around. The four juniors on the team now are just going to have to step up. Everybody leaves, but we just have to learn from it and get better.”
As Laudermill enters the postseason and looks to her senior year, she said she wouldn’t change anything about her decision to come to Nebraska over Arizona State, Kansas and Vanderbilt.
“I am so blessed that I made this decision,” she said. “I wouldn’t want to trade anything for this.”