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NU women’s basketball looks to bench to step up

  • Josh Kelly
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After suffering the first loss of the season, questions will always come up about what the team should do to fix the problems that led to the loss. And for the No. 15 Nebraska women’s basketball team, the frustration began immediately after a loss Saturday against Washington State.

Following the 76-72 loss to the Cougars, Husker coach Connie Yori knew that there were plenty of things to critique after being upset at the Pinnacle Bank Arena.

“We have a lot of work to do,” Yori said. “We’re just not able to take a lot of things away from opponents right now. We’ve got to get better defensively. We’re trying to find ourselves a little bit in terms of what we should do.”

The Huskers surrendered the most points they have so far this season, and although Yori knew that Saturday was going to be a difficult matchup, the problems on this year’s team were hindering earlier this season.

“We’re searching for backup players,” Yori said. “I’ve mentioned that in a couple of our blowout games recently. That’s been a concern. There’s a big drop off when we put our subs in. So we’ve got to get more production. We’ve got to figure that out.”

Out of the 72 points Nebraska scored on Saturday, only 4 of them were contributed from the bench. Knowing this would be an issue, the team tried finding a solution for this before the season started.

“We’ve been opening up the bench, playing 10 kids in a lot of our preseason games,” Yori said. “We knew it was going to be a tighter game, and we went with the kids that have been producing for us because we haven’t gotten production off our bench. Our bench has not produced consistently for us up to this point. So we’re going to have some of those guards to do something for us.”

Earning a position as a starter for the team was junior guard Tear’a Laudermill, who has stepped into her role. Laudermill scored 10 points against Washington State on Saturday. Yori praises Laudermill for stepping up, but said she still believes that others need to follow.

“Tear’a Laudermill has been doing a good job for us,” Yori said. “She’s moved into the starting lineup, and she’s been pretty productive in moving into that spot. We’ve got to get some production from other players though, backup post players as well as backup guards.”

Carrying the load for the Huskers right now is senior forward Jordan Hooper, averaging 20.4 points per game. After Saturday’s loss the four-year starter knows that the loss will help them moving forward with the season.

“We’ll just keep building on this,” Hooper said. “This will definitely help us. We’ll go watch film on this one and we’ll get a lot out of this, I think, because that was a really good team with really good players. So I think it’ll really help us for the next team.”

Nebraska has five non-conference games left before Big Ten play and its next opponent is No. 18 North Carolina. The Tar Heels are 6-2 so far this season heading into the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. The last time the Huskers faced an ACC opponent was last year’s Sweet 16 game against Duke, when the Blue Devils won 53-43 against Nebraska.

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