COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) - Jordan Hooper made four 3-pointers in the second half and finished with 21 points, helping Nebraska rally from nine points down to beat Chattanooga 73-59 in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Saturday night.
The sixth-seeded Cornhuskers (24-8) will play third-seeded Texas A&M (25-9) on Monday night. The Aggies advanced with a 71-45 victory over No. 14 seed Wichita State.
Hooper also grabbed 12 rebounds and Lindsey Moore added 13 points for Nebraska, which won for the 12th time in 14 games.
Taylor Hall scored 13 and Alex Black added 12 to lead the 11th-seeded Lady Mocs (29-4), who had won 19 in a row.
2013 NCAAÒ DIVISION I WOMEN’S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
First-Round · Nebraska 73, Chattanooga 59
Reed Arena · College Station, Texas
Saturday, March 23, 2013
Team Record & Series Notes:
• With the victory, Nebraska improved to 24-8 and will face Texas A&M during Monday’s NCAA Tournament second round … The Huskers are now 6-10 all-time in 11 NCAA Tournament appearances.
• Chattanooga saw its season end with a 29-4 record … The Lady Mocs, making their 11th NCAA appearance, are now 1-11 all-time in tournament games.
Nebraska Team Notes:
• In a tightly contested first half, the Huskers ended the period on a 6-2 run to go into the intermission tied with the Lady Mocs, 32-32.
• After trailing by nine with 15:49 remaining the second half, the Huskers went on a 14-2 run to capture a 52-49 lead with 9:57 to play … Overall, Nebraska ended in the second half on a 35-12 run over the game’s final 15:25 and claimed the final 11 points of the contest.
• For the game, Nebraska shot 48 percent (24-of-50) from the floor with a 7-of-13 mark (53.8 percent) from 3-point range.
Nebraska Individual Notes:
• Nebraska featured a balanced scoring attack with four players (Jordan Hooper-21, Lindsey Moore-13, Rachel Theriot-12 and Emily Cady-10) in double figures.
• Junior forward Jordan Hooper tallied a game-high 21 points on 7-of-14 shooting from the floor, including a 4-of-6 mark from beyond the 3-point arc … It marked the 11th time this season the Alliance, Neb., native has surpassed the 20-point plateau … She also pulled down a game-best 12 rebounds for her 26th career double-double (ninth this season).
• Lindsey Moore dished out a game-high seven assists … It marked the 12th time this season she has collected seven or more assists in a game.
• Head coach Connie Yori, who has led the Huskers to the NCAA Tournament three of the last four seasons, is now 5-6 in NCAA Tournament play (4-4 at Nebraska).
Chattanooga Team Notes:
• Saw their 19-game winning streak come to an end … Had not lost since Jan. 7 at Elon.
• Scored a low of 59 points for the second time during their 19-game winning streak.
• Extended streak of making on at least one 3-point shot to 432 consecutive games dating back to Dec. 31, 1999.
• Made at least 10 3-pt. shots for the sixth time this season … Shot at least 28 3-pt. field goals for the fourth time this season.
• Began second half with a 15-6 run to lead by nine points at the first media timeout.
• Recorded at least 10 steals for the 15th time this season … Additionally, recorded at least 18 assists for the ninth time this season.
• Scored only two points during a stretch of 5:51 seconds during the second half between the 15:49 mark and 9:40 mark … Made four of their last 20 field-goal attempts (.200) and finished the game shooting 0-10 over the last 5:22.
• Attempted a season-low single free throw.
Chattanooga Individual Notes:
• Junior Taylor Hall tied a season high with three 3-point field goals.
• Sophomore Ka’Vonne Towns tied a career high with four steals.
• Senior Kayla Christopher finished her career with 1,334 points.
• Kayla Christopher shot a season-high 15 field goal attempts.
POSTGAME QUOTES – NEBRASKA
Connie Yori, Nebraska Head Coach:
“I thought the game was played at a pace early on that I expected. I thought for a while that the game was going to be played in the 80s or 90s. I thought our players did a really good job of facing adversity. We were down by nine and we could have easily folded up the tent and headed back to Lincoln, but our players did a really good job. We switched defenses at about the 11-minute mark, and they did a really good job of responding and playing the personnel. We started getting some things going on offense. Jordan had a huge second half, but we got good play from our other kids, too. We shot the ball well throughout the game. With Chattanooga, it is a little bit like choosing your poison. We tried to do a good job on their inside game. We had two Chattanooga kids go 8-for-10 from the three-point line. In particular, Alexis Black was shooting only about 25 percent from the three-point line for the season and went 4-for-5 tonight. That’s a little unexpected, but they are competitors. We had played a lot of zone up until that point, then we went to man. I thought our kids did a really good job of responding.”
On Jordan Hooper’s performance:
“I’ve seen it a few times. This is not the first time we have seen Jordan make consecutive shots and make a number of consecutive shots. That’s Jordan Hooper. When she has that going, you want to run some stuff for her and give her the opportunity to show it. She had a good matchup, too. They had (Ashlen) Dewart on her for a while there, so that was definitely to our advantage. I think what got Jordan going was that she got some inside touches.”
On going to man-to-man defense:
“Man is our base defense. We work on man all the time. We didn’t necessarily go into the game preparing to play a lot of man, but it just worked out that way. Like I said, pick your poison. Early on, they made a lot of three-pointers. They deserved that so we had to make some adjustments. Our kids know how to play man defense and maybe they weren’t perfect but we weren’t perfect in our zone either.”
On Emily Cady’s performance:
“I thought she was typical Emily Cady. She does everything. She fills the stat line. She is a player that can do a lot of things well. She’s a competitor. Not only does she rebound, but her defense is good. She was disruptive at times, and she beat a kid off the dribble several times, whether she got to the basket or created something for somebody else.”
On Chattanooga’s 3-point shots:
“Like I said, we did a pretty good job on their leading 3-point shooter. Going into the game, we said that we were probably going to have to give something up because of their inside game and the fact that that’s hard for us to match with. They have some kids that made more shots than they normally do, so you have to give them credit. That’s when we went to change the defense.”
On facing Texas A&M:
“We have a lot to learn between now and then. Besides our scout, I haven’t looked at any A&M other than just watching the first half of their game. Blair’s teams are known for their defense and their pressure. They obviously have Kelsey Bone, who is a great interior scorer. She also has some good guards to go around her. Typical Gary Blair team. There have been years where they have maybe been stronger at guard and not as good at the post. Right now, they’ve got good inside and outside game. Kelsey Bone is definitely a kid that is going to get our attention, and we have to figure out what we are going to do. This is like Big 12 reunion. Gary Blair is one of the great coaches and the great characters in our game. It will be interesting to go head-to-head against him again.”
On playing aggressively:
“The fact that we played a lot of zone may be why they did not get to the line. That’s why they shot as many threes at they did. We weren’t pressuring them hard until later in the game. We are a team that does not foul that much. Historically, we have not fouled that much this year. When we went to our man, we didn’t have many fouls up on the board so we could be kind of be aggressive. I thought that was good. I don’t know what we had at that point. I think we only had one or two fouls, so we could be a bit more aggressive.”
On team improvement:
“I think our kids are more patient this year. I felt like our players were trying to do the things offensively that we have worked on and talked about. We had 32 points in the paint. For us, that is really good. We didn’t settle for threes, although we did turn it over too much, particularly in the first half. We got things going to the basket off the dribble and we got things in the paint off the post. You think, ‘They are bigger than us.’ The way they played us, we had some opportunities there. We probably had a bit of a speed advantage inside.”
On playing bigger players:
“There’s a variety of kids in the Big 10. You have Morgan Johnson at Iowa. She is very different from Kelsey Bone, but she is second team all-conference. Jasmine Hines from Michigan State is a kid who comes off the bench and is a major force when she has her game going. Pretty much everybody is bigger than us. Purdue’s got interior scorers, and they hurt us in the Big 10 tournament. That’s why we played a lot of zone tonight. After the Big 10 tournament, we said, ‘We can’t get beat that way.’ We had to figure something else out. When you play against good teams, it’s not just about taking away their inside game. It’s also that, generally, if they are at this level, they have kids who can make plays from the perimeter as well as the post. We will definitely be challenged.”
Lindsey Moore, Senior, Guard
On Nebraska’s defense:
“Our defense was really effective for us. Our biggest thing was our defense was creating our offense. We were getting stops and getting steals. Anytime we can get a rebound and then get out and push the ball, we’re going to be successful. That’s Nebraska basketball. Just to be able to have our defense create our offense in the second half was a huge boost for us.”
On the game plan:
“One of the things we wanted to focus on was our inside game with our post players. If they weren’t going to front our post players then we have quick post players who can get by them. We were trying to read how they were playing us. We have all the confidence in our posts. We wanted to take advantage with that and not go away from it even though they were hitting 3s from the outside.”
On Texas A&M head coach Gary Blair:
“One of the things with him is he has really good guard play and good post play. They are really balanced inside and out. He has them running their system very well. He gets his team motivated and ready to play for every game. It’s going to be a tough matchup. We knew that coming in and playing on their home court. It’s going to be a tough one for us. I have all the confidence in my team that we can battle with them. It’s going to come down to who takes care of the ball and who gets rebounds.”
Jordan Hooper, Junior, Forward
On the differences in the first and second halves:
“I don’t know if anything was different. I think I just gained more confidence. My teammates and coaches definitely gave me a boost of confidence at halftime. I came out in the second half and they talked to me and got me going.”
On when her confidence level rose:
“I don’t know if it was a particular play. If I can get my inside game going then it makes it easier for me to get going on the outside. It’s easier to get baskets closer to the hoop and that helps your confidence for the outside baskets.”
On the play-calling:
“Coach just kept calling plays for me to run and so that gave me a lot of confidence knowing that she had confidence in me. If she’s going to put me in that position then I’m going to shoot it.”
LOCKER ROOM QUOTES – NEBRASKA
Emily Cady, Sophomore, Forward
On Nebraska’s post play:
“We really tried to single Hooper on one of their guards, because I’m pretty sure there were guards mostly guarding her. So we were trying to throw it inside to Hooper and distract the other players so she could get an open layup. That was mainly our game plan from the beginning.”
On what separated themselves in the second half:
“Meghin (Williams) brought a lot of energy and she helped us get refocused, pick up our energy, and then Hooper starting making her outside shots and that really picked us up.”
Rachel Theriot, Freshman, Guard
On Nebraska’s balanced scoring:
“I think it was just running the plays that we were supposed to and finding the open person. If someone was covered, knowing the other options.
On Jordan Hooper’s trio of 3-pointer’s:
“I honestly didn’t even notice we were up by that much. The game was just going, but it definitely carried a lot of momentum for us and kept us going until the end.”