LINCOLN — At the end of a long line that snaked out the main bowl of Pinnacle Bank Arena and into the tunnel, Jordan Hooper was celebrating the fruits of a successful Senior Night with hundreds of close friends: the young fans who came to watch her play what might be her final home game and get an autograph afterward. Girls and boys brought basketballs, placards, posters and cutouts with Hooper's face on it.
Hooper and the No. 16 Nebraska women's basketball team gave fans a reason to smile — and breathe easy. The Huskers survived a strong, consistent push from one of the Big Ten's worst teams — last-place Illinois — to win 72-65 Thursday night. Hooper did her part and more, scoring 29 points and grabbing nine rebounds.