The Nebraska women's basketball team added the final piece to its non-conference scheduling puzzle on Tuesday with the announcement of Pittsburg State as the Huskers' first exhibition opponent for the 2012-13 season.
The Huskers, who return four starters from a team that went 24-9 overall and advanced to the 2012 NCAA Tournament, will take on the Gorillas at the Bob Devaney Sports Center on Monday, Oct. 29 at 7:05 p.m.
The game will mark the earliest tip-off date for the Huskers in history - one day earlier than Nebraska's 86-55 win over Pittsburg State on Oct. 30, 2011. The Huskers will be facing the Gorillas to open exhibition play for the fourth straight year.
NU's exhibition opener with Pittsburg State will be the first of 19 home dates for the Huskers in their final season at the Devaney Center before moving into the new Pinnacle Bank Arena in 2013-14. The Huskers had previously announced a home exhibition date against Nebraska-Kearney on Sunday, Nov. 4, at 2:05 p.m. Nebraska will tip off the regular season against North Carolina A&T at the Devaney Center on Friday, Nov. 9 at 2:05 p.m.
Nebraska's game with North Carolina A&T will be the first of nine regular-season non-conference home dates, including battles with ACC powers Maryland (Nov. 28) and Florida State (Dec. 8), and 2012 Atlantic-10 Conference runner-up Temple (Nov. 11). The Huskers will also face Summit League runner-up Oral Roberts at the Devaney Center on Dec. 20.
NU's home Big Ten schedule has not yet been announced, but the Huskers will play home games against defending Big Ten champions Penn State and Purdue, along with 2012 NCAA Tournament qualifiers Iowa, Ohio State and Michigan State. The Huskers will also face Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota in Big Ten Conference home action.
The game between the Huskers and Gorillas will give Nebraska fans their first look at Coach Connie Yori's 2012-13 Huskers. Returning honorable-mention All-American Jordan Hooper returns to lead the Huskers after capturing first-team All-Big Ten honors as a sophomore in 2011-12. Hooper, an Alliance, Neb., native averaged 18.9 points and a Big Ten-best 9.3 rebounds per game. Hooper earned mention on both the Wade and Naismith National Player-of-the-Year watch lists in 2011-12.
Senior point guard Lindsey Moore also returns after averaging 15.7 points and 5.1 assists last season. Moore, a native of Covington, Wash., was one of eight finalists for the Nancy Lieberman Award presented to the nation's top point guard. She was also a Naismith National Player-of-the-Year candidate last year.
Sophomores Emily Cady and Hailie Sample add to Nebraska's collection of four returning starters. Cady, a 6-2 forward from Seward, Neb., earned Big Ten All-Freshman honors after averaging 9.9 points and 6.5 rebounds per game for a team that rolled to the conference title game in the school's first-ever Big Ten Tournament appearance. Sample, a 6-1 forward from Flower Mound, Texas, added 3.8 points and 3.8 boards per game while providing lock-down defensive abilities.
The Huskers also return six significant contributors off the bench, led by senior forward Meghin Williams, junior center Adri Maurer and sophomores Rebecca Woodberry, Brandi Jeffery, Tear'a Laudermill and Katie Simon. Nebraska will also welcome three freshmen with Rachel Theriot, Sadie Murren and Courtney Aitken adding more options for NU in 2012-13.
Although last year's result between Nebraska and Pittsburg State was lopsided, the NCAA Division II Gorillas went on to their most successful season in school history. Pittsburg State opened the season with a school-record 14-game winning streak and finished with a 27-6 overall record under Lane Lord. Not only did PSU win the first NCAA Tournament game in program history, the Gorillas notched three NCAA wins to advance to its first-ever Elite Eight. Pittsburg state ended its season with a narrow 61-58 loss to Shaw in the quarterfinals in San Antonio, Texas.
Lord, who enters his seventh season at Pittsburg State, earned WBCA Region 6 and MIAA Coach-of-the-Year honors after leading PSU to the NCAA South Central Regional title.
Lord's 2012-13 Gorillas will have to replace five seniors from last
year's club but will feature returning All-American Lizzy Jeronimus.
The 5-11 guard led the Gorillas with 15.8 points per game, while also leading the team in assists (2.9 apg) and ranking second on the team in rebounding (6.8 rpg) and steals (1.0 spg).
A 2012 MIAA Freshman of the Year and a first-team All-MIAA pick,
Jeronimus ranked among the top 10 players in the MIAA in nearly every statistical category on her way to honorable-mention WBCA All-America honors. She was named the Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA South Central Regional after averaging 27 points and 6.7 rebounds in three NCAA Tournament games, including a career-high 35 points in the regional final against Emporia State.
Nebraska's first meeting with Pittsburg State on the exhibition court came on Nov. 3, 2009, when the best Husker team in history worked its way to a 68-54 win. PSU was one of only three teams in 18 games to play the eventual NCAA Sweet Sixteen Huskers within 14 points at the Devaney Center in 2009-10. The following year, Nebraska worked its way to a 78-60 win on Oct. 31, 2010 against the Gorillas in another entertaining exhibition opener.