LINCOLN, Neb.- Danielle Page put up a game-high 25 points to lead Nebraska to its 11th-straight home victory with a 73-60 win over No. 20 Texas A&M Wednesday night at the Devaney Center.
With the victory, the Cornhuskers (15-4, 4-1) ended a three-game losing skid in the all-time series versus the Aggies (13-6, 1-4). A&M was led in scoring with a pair of 16-point efforts by juniors Takia Starks (Houston, Texas) and Danielle Gant (Oklahoma City, Okla.). Gant had seven of A&M’s first points of the contest as the Aggies took a 14-6 lead with 12:11 to go on the clock. Page helped Nebraska regain the lead by scoring 15 of her 25 points in the first half to give the Huskers a 42-29 halftime edge.
In the second half of play, the Aggies inched closer and got within five points on a jumper by Gant at the 9:45 minute mark. A&M, however, couldn’t shake off Nebraska’s defensive pressure as the Huskers led by as many as 19 points down the stretch. Kelsey Griffin turned in a double-double performance with 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Huskers who converted 25-of-33 attempts from the free throw line.
For the game, the Aggies shot 45.6 percent from the floor (26-of-57) in comparison to Nebraska’s 41.1 percent. The Husker defense forced A&M to commit a season-high 30 turnovers in which they converted into 25 points.
Senior Morenike Atunrase (Shreveport, La.) contributed eight points and six rebounds in only her second start of the season after recovering from surgery in October to correct a non-healing stress fracture in her right tibia.
A&M continues its road journey through the Big 12 with a Saturday, Jan. 25 tilt at Kansas (12-6, 1-4) at 7 p.m. in Lawrence, Kan.
Postgame Notes…For the second time this season next to the North Carolina A&T game on Dec. 30, A&M used the starting lineup of A’Quonesia Franklin, Takia Starks, Morenike Atunrase, Danielle Gant and La Toya Micheaux (1-1)…It marked Atunrase’s second start of the season and first in Big 12 Conference regular season play since starting against rival Texas in last year’s Big 12 Conference title game on Feb. 28, 2007 in College Station…Senior LaToya Gulley (Fayetteville, Ark.) left the game with 2:34 to go in the first half hobbled with a severe knee injury…Gant fouled out with 7:02 remaining in regulation, but finished the night with 16 points, six rebounds and five steals in 23 minutes of action against the Huskers…A&M is now 1-7 all-time when playing in Lincoln…With the victory, A&M snapped a three-game losing skid in the series…For the first time in four consecutive Big 12 games, the Aggies won the battle of the boards, 38-32…A&M turned over the ball a season-high 30 times against Nebraska…It marked the first time the Aggies had 30-or-more turnovers since 34 miscues versus Oklahoma on Jan. 26, 2002…NU’s 73 points marked an opponent season-high…The 13-point margin of victory by Nebraska tied the biggest margin by an A&M opponent next to a 67-54 loss (-13) to Kansas State in the Big 12 opener on Jan. 9…Starks went 5-of-6 from the floor in the first half of play on 2-for-2 shooting from beyond the arc…She extended her double-digit scoring streak to 24 consecutive games.
TEXAS A&M HEAD COACH GARY BLAIR
On the game …
“You all want to know, what’s going on with this team? We are getting everyone’s “A” game. We had a lot of point guard problems tonight and we had a lot of problems with point guard defense. It was outstanding what they were doing. Nebraska is known for their great offense and not their defense. Tonight, it was the best I’ve seen Nebraska play on defense in my five years in the league. Between Baylor’s post players and Nebraska’s post players, they are the best in the conference. In the second half, we were doing some good things and we started exploiting them. You have to earn your stuff when you are on the road and we didn’t earn anything. Their post players continued to challenge us. The game was won because of their defense. I can’t remember when was the last time we turned over the ball 30-or-more times. It wouldn’t have mattered what we did, it was just Nebraska’s night.”
On the team’s problems this season in Big 12 play …
“Basically, when you have your core group together for three years, people tend to know what we do. When you have 30 turnovers, you aren’t going to win a ballgame. We are not complacent, we are just getting everyone’s best game. We haven’t gone from good to great (in our recent success as a program). We did it the last two years with great energy, great defense and solid offense. We have problems, but the biggest problem is who the Big 12 is this year. It’s solid from top-to-bottom. This isn’t going to be our last loss. If Nebraska can play with that type of energy they came out with tonight, they can beat anyone in this league. Hats off to Connie (Yori) and hats off to her team.”