STATE COLLEGE, Pa. — Because of a coach’s decision, Nebraska’s best player, Rachel Theriot, hardly played in Nebraska’s 83-78 win at Penn State Wednesday night. Theriot didn’t start and didn’t score.
But the Huskers overcame her relative absence thanks to a school-record performance by another guard, sophomore Natalie Romeo, who scored a career-high 32 points and nailed a Nebraska women’s record eight 3-pointers. She tied the NU men’s record, too, set by Cary Cochran.
Romeo hit three triples in a first quarter in which Nebraska sprinted to a 29-11 lead. Romeo said during the postgame radio interview that she knew she had a hot hand “after I made the first one.”
“It was an open look, I took it and I just kept feeling it,” Romeo said.
The quick start, Yori said, was a pleasant surprise. Nebraska came into Wednesday night’s game 0-4 on the road.
“My gosh, we played well,” Yori said. “Played with a lot of emotion. We were very passionate, shared the ball. It was very much a Husker type of game and the Husker basketball we want to play.”
Said freshman center Jessica Shepard: “We needed to jump on them right away and not fall behind like we have.”
The Huskers got another strong game from Shepard, who scored 29 points and grabbed 10 rebounds against a tall front line. Shepard only missed two shots on the night against the Lady Lions’ zone.
“When you have players from the outside hitting like Nat, it’s easier when you have a one-on-one matchup and can kind of post up one player,” Shepard said. “They can’t come and double (team).”
Nebraska had a 45-34 halftime lead and maintained the advantage through the third quarter before Penn State’s young roster chipped away, closing to 70-68 with 3:56 to go. Shepard then made a layup to start a key 7-0 run that Romeo finished with her final 3-pointer of the night.
“It bodes well for the youth of our team — a freshman and sophomore coming on the road and scoring the way they did,” Yori said.
NU hit all 12 of its free throws in the fourth quarter, including eight from senior guard Kyndal Clark.
Nebraska improved to 11-5 and 2-3 in the Big Ten. Penn State fell to 6-10 and 1-4.
The Huskers host Rutgers on Saturday.