LINCOLN — Nebraska women's basketball coach Connie Yori wanted her team to respond positively to benching five players — including starters Hailie Sample and Emily Cady — for the Huskers' final exhibition game.
Since all five are available for Friday's season opener against North Carolina A&T, mission accomplished.
“We're moving forward,” said Yori, who used just six players in a win over the University of Nebraska at Kearney because players had not met unspecified program standards. “Our kids practiced really well this week.”
Senior guard Lindsey Moore, who said the Huskers were “shocked” by Yori's decision, thought the team got a key lesson.
“Cherish these moments,” she said. “Don't take anything for granted. Don't take anything lightly.”
It's a mind-set Yori wants No. 18 NU to keep for the Aggies, which finished 15-16 last year in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. A&T returns all five starters, but has a new coach.
“They're scary,” Yori said. “Very, very scary.”
Why? Athleticism. The Aggies have guards who can score in a variety of ways, Yori said, led by 5-foot-11 senior JaQuayla Berry, who averaged 14.3 points and 7.4 rebounds last year. A&T only had two players in its full rotation last year, however, taller than 6 feet. Nebraska starts three players taller than that, including Cady and forward Jordan Hooper.
Yori said she knows that Moore, Hooper, Cady and Sample will start but remains undecided on a fifth starter. One option is sophomore Brandi Jeffery — who also sat out Sunday's win. Yori said freshman guard Rachel Theriot, who's been hampered by a foot injury, could play in the game.
Outside of a win, Moore said, Nebraska wants to continue to polish its game.
“It's still early, but we can execute our offense the best way we know how and get to the right spots on defense,” she said.
Ľ NOTES: All 12 Big Ten teams open play this weekend. Ohio State had the toughest and most intriguing matchup. The No. 19 Buckeyes played No. 7 Notre Dame on Thursday on the USS Yorktown in the Charleston, S.C., Harbor.
Contact the writer:
402-202-9766, firstname.lastname@example.org; twitter.com/swmckewonOWH