LINCOLN — The No. 16 Nebraska women’s basketball team ran into a buzzsaw of an offense Thursday night at Michigan State. The Spartans won 70-57.
Sunday, the Huskers head on the road again — to play the “buzz defense” at Illinois. The Illini (7-8, 0-2 Big Ten) are the only team in the league with a losing record. But they’re also the only team in the league consistently running a fast, trapping defense, which gave the Huskers fits last year.
Illinois beat NU 62-52 and forced 26 turnovers. Then-point guard Lindsey Moore had nine of them. Nebraska won 10 games in a row after that loss.
“They’re really fast. They’re really active with their hands and feet,” forward Jordan Hooper said. “You wouldn’t think they’d get there — and then they’re there. They’re really crafty in the way they play that defense, and they’re really good at it. I think that’s why they give us so many fits.”
Fortunately, Nebraska’s faced the buzz quite a bit in the nonconference schedule. NU dissected it well, Hooper said, in wins over Utah State (95-75) and Oral Roberts (89-53).
Coach Connie Yori agreed.
“We’ve seen that a lot more this year, which hopefully gives us some advantage going into the game,” Yori said. “We’ve prepared for it, knowing other teams were going to run it quite a bit.”
Illinois lost at home 82-76 Thursday night to Penn State. The Nittany Lions led by 19 with four minutes left before the Illini finished the game on an 18-5 run, forcing eight turnovers in that span. PSU totaled 27 turnovers, but also shot 35 free throws.