LINCOLN — These are the new faces of the Nebraska women's basketball team's backcourt.
Smiling. Confident. And not afraid to take the big shot.
With four-year starter Lindsey Moore gone to graduation, Rachel Theriot and Tear'a Laudermill played like savvy veterans in the No. 18 Huskers' 66-65 victory over Northwestern in front of 4,853 Thursday night at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
Theriot finished with a team-high 19 points, eight assists and six rebounds. Laudermill added 14 points and five assists.
The duo also had a hand in all but two of Nebraska's second-half points, with the only exception coming on a pair of free throws by Jordan Hooper, who finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
After the game, Theriot and Laudermill beamed with pride as they talked about the tough shots they made down the stretch; they scored the final five points in Nebraska's Big Ten opener.
“They played a heck of a game,” Hooper said. “(Tear'a's) big 3 and Rachel's rebound at the end were the two biggest plays of the game.”
But perhaps most importantly, the Huskers' starting guards combined for one turnover. Yori said the No. 1 goal of the game was to take care of the ball. She said she has seen the progression in Laudermill's game from her first two years in the program.
“She was a high-turnover, low-assist player when she got here,” Yori said. “She's not perfect, but she made some really good plays. If we can get that game out of her consistently, that will help us.”
With Nebraska (11-2, 1-0 Big Ten) down four with 2:30 remaining, Laudermill connected on a 3-pointer from the left wing. The 5-foot-9 junior said that shot was one she would not have necessarily pulled the trigger on in the past.
“Freshman and sophomore year, I shoot it and I am like 'Please go in,' ” Laudermill said. “But now, I am just so much more confident.”
On the next possession, Theriot made a 10-foot jumper to beat the shot clock and give Nebraska the lead for good.
Theriot's other buzzer-beating shot came during the Huskers' 17-4 run that erased a 50-44 deficit. Theriot hoisted what she called “a floater from beyond the 3-point line” that hit nothing but net as the buzzer sounded.
“It is kind of fun to watch (Theriot) take shots in course of our offense, but on top of that take big shots,” Yori said. “People want to compare her to Lindsay, but she's really different, but she's still a really good player.”
Northwestern (10-4, 0-1) wasn't done as it rallied with an 11-0 run, but failed to score in the game's final two minutes.
The Wildcats had two chances to win the game in the final 10 seconds, but Theriot rebounded Maggie Lyon's missed 3-pointer and the Wildcats failed to get a shot off after a missed free throw.
“We wanted to get (Lyon) a look,” Northwestern coach Joe McKeown said. “I like my chances with her taking that shot. I would love to be in that position again.”
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Video: Nebraska-Northwestern game highlights:
Video: Postgame with NU coach Connie Yori: