Juniors Cory Montgomery and Yvonne Turner were both honored by the Big 12 Conference on Monday for their efforts throughout the season for the Nebraska women's basketball team.
Montgomery, a 6-2 forward from Cannon Falls, Minn., earned honorable-mention All-Big 12 accolades from the conference coaches after averaging 14.9 points and 7.8 rebounds per game during the regular season. Montgomery, who is in her first season as a starter for the Huskers, was even better in Big 12 action, averaging 16.2 points and 7.8 boards per game.
Over her final five games of conference play, Montgomery averaged 20 points and 9.4 rebounds per game, including a career-high 30 points to go along with 11 rebounds for her seventh double-double of the year in NU's victory in the regular-season finale at Oklahoma State on Saturday.
Turner earned a spot on the Big 12 All-Defensive Team, as chosen by the league coaches, for the second straight season. The 5-8 guard from Omaha, Neb., ranked fourth in the Big 12 with 2.1 steals per game. Turner also improved her offensive production during her second season in NU's starting five, averaging 12.0 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game. She erupted for a career-high 26 points to go along with five rebounds and a pair of steals to help the Huskers knock off Oklahoma State on Saturday.
Montgomery and Turner were two of the primary forces that helped Nebraska win five of its final seven Big 12 regular-season games to finish in a tie for seventh place in the league standings. The Huskers, who were the preseason pick to finish eighth by the league coaches, overachieved down the stretch after playing the entire season without two-time first-team All-Big 12 forward Kelsey Griffin.
Not only was Griffin factored into the preseason projection by the conference coaches, so was reserve center Nikki Bober, who was lost for the final 17 games of the year with a knee injury just days before the open of Big 12 regular-season action. Freshman guard Layne Reeves also sat out the entire season as a redshirt while recovering from a knee injury suffered as a high school senior.
Despite being hit heavy by injury early in the year, the Huskers responded by posting a 5-3 record in the second half of league play. Nebraska was one of only five Big 12 teams to produce a winning record during the second half of the league season, joining Big 12 Tournament top-four seeds Oklahoma, Baylor, Iowa State and Texas A&M.
Nebraska's late-season surge also allowed the Huskers to become eligible for postseason play for the sixth consecutive season.
Montgomery, Turner and the rest of the Huskers open competition at the Big 12 Tournament on Thursday, March 12, when they take on eighth-seeded Kansas at 1:30 p.m.
If the Huskers can get past the Jayhawks, they will face top-seeded Oklahoma in the tournament's quarterfinal round on Friday, March 13, at 11 a.m. Oklahoma senior Courtney Paris was named the Big 12 Player of the Year for the third consecutive season, while OU's Whitney Hand earned the league's freshman-of-the-year award. OU Coach Sherri Coale also captured the conference's coach-of-the-year honor. Ashley Paris and Danielle Robinson joined Courtney Paris in earning first-team All-Big 12 honors for the Sooners.
Texas A&M's Danielle Gant was chosen as the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, while Aggie Tanisha Smith was picked as the league's Newcomer of the Year.