Nebraska Clinches Big 12 title, Remains Unbeaten.
Feb. 24, 2010
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) - Kelsey Griffin had 30 points and 13 rebounds, Cory Montgomery added a season-high 24 points and No. 3 Nebraska clinched its first Big 12 title by pulling away from No. 11 Oklahoma on Wednesday night for an 80-64 victory.
After allowing Oklahoma to overcome a 10-point deficit in the second half, the Cornhuskers (26-0, 13-0 Big 12) matched the Sooners blow for blow before Turner and Montgomery created some distance with a quick eight-point burst.
Turner followed Montgomery's basket inside with a steal that led to a three-point play, and Montgomery added a 3-pointer from the top of the key to put Nebraska up 70-63 with 2:23 to play.
The Sooners (19-8, 9-4) got 16 points and a career-high 14 rebounds from Abi Olajuwon but didn't score a field goal after Amanda Thompson's layup with 3:33 remaining. Thompson and Danielle Robinson each finished with 15 points.
Nebraska finished the game on an 18-1 run and ended up with the same margin of victory top-ranked Connecticut--the nation's only other undefeated team-- had in Norman nine days earlier. It was the Huskers' first win in Norman since 1998.
Olajuwon got going with three baskets inside and Nyeshia Stevenson broke Oklahoma's 0-for-9 start from 3-point range as the Sooners eliminated most of a 10-point deficit to get within 52-51 with 8:10 remaining.
Jasmine Hartman put Oklahoma up for the first time in the second half with a 3-pointer from the right corner that made it 56-54 with 6:38 left. From there, the teams traded baskets and free throws back and forth until Turner stole Thompson's pass and turned it into a runout layup.
Robinson missed a rare 3-point try at the opposite end, and Oklahoma unraveled from there. The Sooners are the only team to go unbeaten through Big 12 play with their 19-0 run that included the 2006 Big 12 tournament. They've also won six of the last 10 regular season titles in the conference.
But they weren't able to protect that bit of history against the Huskers. Montgomery went 4-for-8 from 3-point range on an otherwise poor night from behind the arc for Nebraska (7 for 25).
Griffin lifted reserve Nicole Neals in a hug after the final horn sounded, and the entire team gathered and jumped up and down after the postgame handshakes. Nebraska hadn't won a conference title since claiming the Big Eight crown in 1988.
The Cornhuskers were able to pull ahead early and lead most of the way against the second-place Sooners, with Griffin fighting through double teams most of the way.
Lindsey Moore popped in a tiebreaking 3-pointer from the left wing after Robinson had slipped to the floor, and that started an 11-2 push by the Cornhuskers. Griffin made back-to-back baskets inside to make it 27-18 with 5:29 left in the first half.
Sooners coach Sherri Coale put Olajuwon back in with two fouls, and Oklahoma was able to get back within 33-29 at halftime. Nebraska rebuilt its lead to nine before Oklahoma scored six in a row to get within 45-42 on Robinson's jumper with 12:52 to play.
But the Cornhuskers responded after a timeout with seven straight points, with Moore's wide-open 3-pointer providing Nebraska its first 10-point lead.