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Official Husker Locker Blog

2010 Nov 11

WOMEN'S HOOPS: Five Keys to 2010-2011

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By HuskerLocker

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If the name on your jersey doesn't say Connecticut or Tennessee, duplicating a 30-win season in women's college basketball ranks right up there with fighting a wolverine with your bare hands.

Nebraska is charged with precisely that task. Sorta.

Head coach Connie Yori doesn't expect nor plan for her Huskers to blaze another trail to the Big 12 Championship. That's for Baylor and its super-sized center, Britteny Griner, to pull off.

But NU does intend to return to the NCAA Tournament with a young, relatively-unproven cast and one of the nation's tougher schedules. How do the Huskers pull that off? Five keys:

Stay healthy: After years of getting bit much too hard by the injury bug, Nebraska kept the right players on the floor last season. It needs to happen again, especially for NU's guards, who will be asked by Yori to carry much of the scoring and defensive load. Yori generally pushes her team to execute withering full-court pressure against an opponent, but she may have to devise other defensive schemes that don't wear out the team's depth.

Consistency from Kelley: Guard Dominique Kelley is a strong vocal leader who plays the game with toughness and passion; when teams began to stymie Kelsey Griffin toward the end of last year, it was Kelley who picked up the scoring slack with her effective penetrate-and-slash style. Kelley will never be an excellent 3-point shooter. But she can get to the foul line as well as any Husker in recent memory. She'll need to average 15 points per game – with 7-8 trips to the foul line per night – to free up NU's perimeter shoorts.

Long-Range Lindsey: Yori insists that point guard Lindsey Moore is among the team's best 3-point shooters. Toward the end of last season, she shook out of a massive slump and started to prove it. Moore is a savvy ball-handler and smart passer. But she has to make defenses respect her shooting, or they'll sag off of her dribble and make it harder for her to create. There's no Cory Montgomery or Vonnie Turner to knock down those treys this year; Moore has hit at least 35 percent, and preferably 40.

Hooper Hype: Alliance freshman Jordan Hooper appears to have the talents to be one of Nebraska's best players ever – and perhaps the finest freshman ever to put on the uniform. At 6-2, she still has a diverse, all-court game that's hard to shut down. Hooper has to survive the grind of a longer season than she ever experienced in high school against much better players. Her shooting will be important.

Frontcourt Contribution: Because Hooper is more a face-up player, Nebraska lacks a dynamic scoring presence in the paint. So forwards like Cathryn Redmon, Katya Leick, Jess Periago and Harleen Sidhu will be counted upon to rebound and make hustle plays on defense. They won't be stars or even, necessarily, the glue. But, as a quartet – with some help from freshmen – their sum can be greater than the parts.

Tags: womens hoops, jordan hooper, dominique kelley, lindsey moore

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