Cory Montgomery led four Huskers in double figures with 17 points and nine rebounds as the Nebraska women's basketball team rolled to its second straight Big 12 Conference home win with a 65-52 victory over visiting Missouri at the Bob Devaney Sports Center on Saturday night.
With the victory, Nebraska improved to 12-13 on the season and 3-9 in Big 12 play, while Missouri slipped to 12-13 and 3-9 in the league.
Dominique Kelley added 16 points and six boards, while Yvonne Turner contributed 13 points and four rebounds. Senior guard Tay Hester gave the Huskers a huge lift off the bench with one of the best games of her career with 12 points, eight rebounds and five assists.
"I thought we played really well tonight," Nebraska Coach Connie Yori said. "Our rebounding was a big key tonight and we hit shots for most of the game, which always helps. I thought our energy was great, and our returning guards, Vonnie Turner, Dominique Kelley and Tay Hester, might have played their best games of the season as a group."
The Huskers shot a Big 12 season-best 45.7 percent (21-46) from the field, while outrebounding a Big 12 opponent for the first time this year, producing a 36-33 edge on the glass. NU also produced its largest margin of the season at the free throw line by outscoring the Tigers, 17-3, at the stripe, while matching season bests with just nine fouls and nine turnovers.
Nebraska trailed much of the first half before surging down the stretch to take a 28-25 halftime lead. After the break, the Tigers got a three-point play from Toy Richbow on their first possession to tie the score at 28 before regaining the lead on a three-pointer from Jessra Johnson, who led all scorers with 23 points and a game-high 11 rebounds.
Missouri owned a 35-32 lead after a Shakara Jones jumper with 16:33 left, before Hester helped spark a 9-0 NU run over the next 3:04 to give the Huskers a 41-35 lead with 13:29 to play. Kaitlyn Burke started the run with her only basket of the game on a tough layup over Jones, before Hester grabbed a steal and raced for a layup to give NU a 36-35 lead.
Montgomery then got a defensive rebound and hit a jumper off an assist from Burke to push the NU lead to 38-35 with 14:50 left. After a pair of defensive rebounds by Hester, Kelley drained a three-pointer off an assist from Hester to cap the Husker run.
Although Jones stopped the run with a putback, Nebraska continued to score with another Montgomery jumper off an assist from Hester. After another defensive rebound by Hester, she hit 1-of-2 free throws to push the NU margin to 44-37. Hester hit two more free throws before Turner nailed a three-pointer to give the Huskers their first double-digit lead of the game at 49-39 with 10:33 left.
The Tigers could get no closer than seven points the rest of the way, as Hester and Kelley hit free throws down the stretch to seal the Huskers' ninth home victory of the season.
Jones finished with 11 points to help the Tigers, while senior Alyssa Hollins added 10 points, but connected on just 4-of-18 shots from the field, primarily with Hester applying pressure on her throughout the night. The rest of the Tigers managed just eight points combined. MU hit just 35.5 percent (22-62) of its shots from the field, including just 5-of-20 three-pointers.
The Huskers got off to a slow start, trailing 10-2 to start the game and by as many as nine points at 20-11 with 11:38 left in the half. But Nebraska rallied in a big way, closing the half with a 7-0 run to cap a 13-3 surge and take a 28-25 lead into the locker room.
After opening the game just 1-for-8 from the field, the Huskers hit 9-of-17 shots to close the half to finish at 40 percent (10-25) in the opening 20 minutes. Missouri hit 8-of-13 shots to open the game, but then hit just 2-of-17 shots to close the first period at 33.3 percent (10-30). Both teams went 4-for-10 from three-point range in the first half, while NU outscored the Tigers 4-1 at the free throw line. Nebraska outrebounded Missouri, 20-18, in the first half but committed seven turnovers compared to just four miscues by MU.
The Huskers wrap up their two-game Big 12 North Division home stand on Wednesday when they take on No. 16 Kansas State. Tip-off is set for 7:05 p.m.
Courtesy: Nebraska Media Relations