COLLEGE STATION, Texas -- Jordan Hooper scored 21 points and Lindsey Moore had 20 points and 10 assists to help Nebraska to a 74-63 win over Texas A&M on Monday night in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
The sixth-seeded Cornhuskers used two big runs in the first half to build the lead and never trailed in the second half to earn their first trip to the round of 16 since 2010. Nebraska will face the winner of Tuesday's game between second-seeded Duke and No. 7 Oklahoma State.
Nebraska (25-8) led by 16 before a 13-4 run pulled the Aggies within 64-57 with less than 3 minutes remaining. But Hailie Sample made a pair of layups before the Cornhuskers added six free throws to hold on.
Third-seeded Texas A&M (25-10), which won the national title in 2011, was led by Adrienne Pratcher's 17 points.
POSTGAME QUOTES – TEXAS A&M
Texas A&M Head Coach Gary Blair
“First I would like to thank the crowd and the administration here for hosting this for two years in a row. I think you can see that we are more than just a football town; we are a basketball town. I’m proud of my administration. I’m sorry we were a little short tonight on how we played the game. I know we can do better, but I’m not sure Nebraska can play any better than they did. They were magnificent. When you look at the stats, they shot 45 percent, 8-out-of-19 from the three, 14-out-of-15 from the line and out rebounded us by 12. They really only had about four turnovers until the very end. It’s hard to beat a team that was playing that well. Our crowd kept trying to get us back in it. Sometimes we would make the steal after a turnover and we have to be able to make almost every shot to stay in the game. A couple of times we were shooting the ball. and we should have waited for our bigs to get down there. I’m proud of my seniors for what they left on the court. I think you saw two of the better point guards in the country in (Adrienne) Pratcher and (Lindsey) Moore, and I think you saw our next point guard in Jordan Jones and what she is going to mean to this team. Nebraska played awfully well. They executed their inside defense. We only had two free throws for the whole ball game. A lot of that was our passing. A lot of that was their good defense.”
On Lindsey Moore:
“We couldn’t press her. On every inbound play within about seven or six seconds to go, the ball was in her hands. We were not supposed to come off and help, because she was going to dump it and our post players kept coming off to help. She has a great way of turning her shoulder to get you in a side-by-side situation. Make her have to score the spectacular instead of making her make the dump pass, and we continued to still come off no matter who we put in. A couple of them she threw away even though they had someone wide open. Moore is the whole key to the team. Their whole coaching staff had a plan for the game. It was a shame that we couldn’t get the ball inside more than we did, but at the same time we shot 45 percent and shot two free throws, we got out rebounded, we got out-hustled, and they had a better game plan than what I presented to my team. We are going to take it; we are going to learn from it. This team has come an awfully long way. I wish we could play again tomorrow. We are going to lick our wounds, and let our kids be students for a while before we address what we need to do. I don’t need any more Kelsey Bone questions. Let’s let the game be the story, particularly Nebraska.”
On shooting early:
“There were opportunities [to work the ball into Kelsey]. We have freshmen wings, and sometimes they are very good and sometimes they are not. Even if we make a shot, we have got to make the defense work. You have to see if there can be a foul called every now and then. Both of our post players, Bone and Gilbert, have got to learn to go to the offensive boards; we missed a few shots. Bellock was also out there. She had eight rebounds but she probably could have had 12 or 13. We just didn’t play well and a lot of it was there defense and my inability to coordinate my offense, because it sure didn’t look like much.”
On Lindsey Moore and Sampler:
“A couple of times I think she got it and Pratcher was down there trying to guard her. We had match-up problems the whole way. (Jordan) Hooper was trying to be guarded by (Kristi) Bellock, and that didn’t work too well. We have got to switch on all the high ball screens. When you have a point guard that controls the game and goes deep into the shot clock; we were shooting early in the shot clock and they were shooting way into it and they were making good decisions. They got some key offensive boards in the first half, and we were standing and watching. They were a little quicker on the ball. They wanted it just a little bit more than we did tonight.”
“Bellock didn’t have her feet in, they were trying to deny the ball back to her, then when she finally got it she forced a couple. What we were trying to do was get her open at the mid post. They did a great job. Every time we think someone is going to play us zone they play us man. I thought Wichita State was going to play us man and they played us zone. But we were ready we had the right plays. We had the perfect play, called flag, but it was a wide-open missed layup. We weren’t short on that one we aimed it. Sometimes the worst thing you can do is be wide open. Look at Jordan Jones shooting those threes. I don’t think she has made three in a row in practice this year. That’s how good that kid is going to be for us. It’s Nebraska, that’s what the whole thing needs to be written on. We just got our butt kicked. If you beat that team 84-39 two years ago, Moore had 13-10 and Hooper had 16. That’s 29 points out of 39 and we shut down the rest of them. Tonight we didn’t shut down the rest of them and Hooper and Moore played even better. We are very young sometimes at making the right decisions and that hurt us sometimes on offense and it hurt us sometimes on defense. That’s how you end up shooting as well as they did they make some plays and they had some great looks.”
On Nebraska responding to every run:
“Particularly on the first half when we would make a run and get back, all of a sudden the kid hit a high post shot. The three right before half we had two more fouls to give. We didn’t even know how to foul in that situation because we said foul on the floor. The kid steps up and make a bit shot. That was a huge momentum play. We work on situations every day and sometimes it goes in one ear and out the other. We just have to have a little bit better basketball IQ, and that’s coaching, that’s teaching. I wish Nebraska well as they go to Norfolk. This was a very well-run tournament, and our crowd was very good. I wish we could have pulled it out but we didn’t. Same time next year, same place and we will be good again.”
Kelsey Bone, Junior Center
On how it was tough for her to get touches:
“They did something a little different. When I got the ball, they turned their backs and full-fronted me. It was a different look, something that we just hadn’t seen up until this point. It was a good strategy on their part to implement change and never do the same thing twice, never do what another team has done in order to keep us on our toes. We made good reads and hit some big shots, but at the end of the day it wasn’t enough.”
On Nebraska’s offense:
“Every time we made a big shot and got the crowd into it, they hit a big shot. That’s what they’re supposed to do. They’re an experienced team. They made the shots and the stops that they needed to make. Every time we made a run, they did what they needed to do to put an end to it.”
On Jordan Hooper:
“We knew that it was going to be a difficult matchup. She’s a great player. She’s able to score inside and make the three which is a different look than we’re used to guarding. She came in and played her game. I think it might have even affected Kristi (Bellock) a little bit offensively, because she had to exert so much energy on defense to contain her. She knocked down the shots that she needed to make.”
On team emotions before and during the game:
“We came out feeling loose, and I think we started the game off very well. They just got hot. Every time we got a run they were able to stop it with a big shot. Coming into today we didn’t feel any added pressure and we stuck to the game plan early. It just got away from us.”
On her plans for her future in basketball:
“I’m going to sit down with Coach Blair and my family sometime this week. This isn’t going to be a decision that I rush. I think a decision will be announced sometime next week.”
Adrienne Pratcher, Senior Guard
On Lindsey Moore:
“She did a great job controlling her team and running her offense. She was able to make shots, get her teammates involved and find the open players. I think overall she’s a great point guard, and she was able to execute very well tonight.”
On the team’s season:
“We didn’t start off the season on a good note as we went 0-3 to top-10 teams. It motivated us. We got on a roll after that, and we continued our roll into the SEC. We got better as a team and found our chemistry, which we proved in the SEC tournament. We know everything comes down to the postseason, and it proves how far you’ve come as a team. We played hard, but not hard enough.”
Jordan Jones, Freshman Guard
On her late-game surge:
“Throughout the season the team has relied on me for my defense and to be a spark player, not necessarily my offense. I just didn’t want to lose. Coming into the game Coach (Blair) said we owed our seniors a win tonight because we lost at home to LSU on senior night, so I just tried to step up and play for our seniors.”
LOCKER ROOM QUOTES – TEXAS A&M
Kristi Bellock, Senior, Forward
On the A&M freshmen:
“The six freshmen are amazing. I can’t wait to see how they’re going to grow up here, playing at Texas A&M. I’m excited to see how much they improve each year because J.J. [Jordan Jones], [Courtney] Walker, [Courtney] Williams, they’re amazing. They gave us a spark today.”
On her career at A&M:
“It’s been truly an honor and I thank Coach Blair for giving me an opportunity to play here. I’m just excited for this program. The direction this team is going is going to be amazing. I’m going to miss it. I just wanted to win, but we didn’t.”
Karla Gilbert, Junior, Center
On how A&M played:
“Basically, we just didn’t make good decisions. Everything that we wanted to go well did not go well. We tried. We had a lot of effort in it, but obviously we fell short.”
On the Aggie freshman effort:
“Jordan [Jones] especially was the one who came off the bench and brought back hope to put us back in it. For the last few minutes there we had it. The freshmen had a great amount of effort and they overall played really well. The fact that everybody pretty much knows the game and has been playing for a while, and that everybody can be accountable despite what year they are is important.”
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