With her brother, Theron Laudermill, in the stands watching her play at Nebraska for the first time ever, junior guard Tear’a Laudermill lit up the court with her 3-point shooting.
“A couple hours before the game, my family just came to the game and then surprised me. I started crying tears of joy,” Laudermill said.
The junior guard drained 7 of 10 3-pointers — a school record — in Nebraska’s Monday win against No. 8 Penn State, 94-74.
Laudermill said the team had Penn State week in order to prepare for the top-25 matchup. But having her brother there furthered her excitement.
“It was the first time ever that he got to see me in a college game. It just added to it,” she said.
After seeing the first 3 go in, Laudermill knew something was going right for her, so she consecutively dropped five more to lead the Huskers to 16 3-pointers in the game, its highest total so far in the season and the second-highest total in school history.
“Anything is possible,” Laudermill said. “I’m thankful for my teammates and the coaches. I’m really blessed. If it wasn’t for my teammates who found me, it wouldn’t have happened.”
Laudermill allowed the team to do exactly what Nebraska coach Connie Yori wanted them to do — make perimeter shots.
“Our players didn’t need coaching tonight,” Yori said. “They just needed to go out and play. If you hit shots like that, it just makes the game easy. T hitting those shots really changed our spacing. It allowed us to then drive the ball. It allowed us then to be a cutting team. T, I thought, was really big.”
Going into the game, Laudermill said the team had to maintain a level of focus if it wanted to improve upon last year’s 22-point and 15-point losses to Penn State.
“It started way before the game,” she said. “We were all hyped. We were just ready and we came out fired up.”
Laudermill made strides on the defensive end as well with junior forward Hailie Sample at her side. This duo helped shut out Penn State’s top shooter and a nominee for Player of the Year: senior guard Maggie Lucas.
“I’m going to put Hailie on the ballot for defensive player of the year, or on the all-defensive team,” Yori said. “You have to be able to challenge shots and you have to make your opponent shoot tough shots. And that’s what Hailie does. T did a good job on her as well. We did a pretty good job on her collectively.”
Lucas was unable to drop any points within the first half as a result of Nebraska’s defense. She didn’t start making any points for the Nittany Lions until 18:20 remained in the second half. Lucas ended the game with 17 points.
“We just wanted to stop her from getting hot and from getting the ball,” Laudermill said.
With Lucas shutout for most of the game, senior guards Ariel Edwards and Dara Taylor had to step up to carry the team. Edwards and Taylor combined for 34 of the Nittany Lions’ 74 points.
“They did a good job of trying to make Maggie take tough shots, so she didn’t get a lot of clean looks tonight,” Penn State coach Coquese Washington said. “Ariel was pretty aggressive and did a good job of getting to the basket and making some things happen that way.”
With Nebraska’s third consecutive 20-win season underway and a likely top seed in postseason play, the team will finish the regular season with conference games against Illinois and Purdue before heading into the Big Ten Conference Tournament.