Women’s Basketball to Host Big 10 Team Nebraska on Saturday
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – The NAU women's basketball team (5-4) hosts its highest-profile opponent of the season on Saturday when it welcomes in Nebraska (8-1) from the Big 10 for a 1:35 p.m. matinee in Rolle Activity Center. NAU will be hosting a team from the Big 10 conference for the first time in program history and will host a school from a major conference for the first time since facing Oregon State in Flagstaff in 2009. Head Coach Laurie Kelly will be coaching her 250th game at NAU in the contest.
Fans can gain free admission to the game with the donation of an unwrapped toy as part of the NAU athletics holiday toy drive.
The game will air live nationally in high definition on Fox Sports Arizona Plus and Fox College Sports Pacific as well as Suddenlink Cable channel 4 in Flagstaff with Mitch Strohman and Sharon Falor calling the action. The game will also be broadcast on KJACK 1680 AM and online on kjack.org with Jesse Vineyard and Wiley Lewis providing the call. Links for free online video and radio broadcasts and live stats are available above, and detailed broadcast information and channel listings can be found in the weekly release.
"It's a great opportunity for us to have a Big 10 team come play in our gym," said Kelly. "People who are basketball fans need to come out and see us face a high quality program. It's very rare to get this type program to come play you as a mid-major, so we have to look at it as an opportunity to have a great experience and play with nothing to lose. We've proven that this is a tough place to play and hopefully that can continue on Saturday."
NAU won again at home on Sunday over Cal State Fullerton to remain undefeated in Rolle Activity Center. The 5-0 home start for the Lumberjacks is the best season-opening home record since the 2005-06 team started 12-0 at home en route to a Big Sky Championship title. The Lumberjacks are outscoring their opposition by an average of 14.8 points per game at home and average a 43.4-31.2 advantage in rebounding. NAU has shot 43% from the field and 34% from three-point range in its home gym and is +1.6 in turnover margin in Flagstaff.
After playing limited minutes through her first-two seasons at NAU as a walk-on, junior center Aubrey Davis has become a starter and has been among the most reliable scorers and rebounders on the Lumberjack squad. She recorded her first-career double-double with career highs of 12 points and 18 rebounds while adding four blocks and two steals to lead NAU to a 64-54 win over Cal State Fullerton. The 18 rebounds tied for the ninth-highest game total in program history and were the most rebounds in game for NAU since 2007.
Davis is currently third in the Big Sky with a .544 field goal percentage, tied for fourth with 1.4 blocks per game, and is seventh with 6.7 rebounds per game. She leads the team with 13 blocks and has committed only 11 turnovers in nine games. She totaled 16 points, 11 rebounds, and four blocks two weeks ago in being named to the All-Hilton Garden Inn Thanksgiving Classic team.
Kelly will be coaching her 250th game at NAU when the Lumberjacks face the Cornhuskers on Saturday. She has coached the most games in program history and is the program's all-time leader in wins and postseason wins. She is in her ninth season at NAU since taking over as the head coach in 2003 after a successful five year run as the head coach of Binghamton. With over 13 years of head coaching experience, Kelly will celebrate another milestone when NAU plays at Montana on Jan. 12 in what will be her 400th overall game as a collegiate head coach.
The Nebraska Cornhuskers are receiving votes in both the AP and ESPN/USA Today national top-25 polls. They are the second team receiving votes in the AP poll, which is the equivalent of being ranked No. 27 in the country. Nebraska has defeated two previously ranked teams this season in USC and Florida State, and dropped its only game at Georgia Tech. The team has made nine all-time NCAA Tournament appearances and advanced to the sweet 16 in 2010, but went just 13-18 overall last season.
Nebraska has outscored its opposition by an average of 20.0 points per game this season, the 16th best scoring margin in the NCAA, and has three wins by more than 35 points. The team is allowing just 34.1% shooting from its opponents and began the week ranked 18th in the country with 7.3 three-point makes per game. Sophomore Jordan Hooper averages 18.0 points and 8.3 rebounds per game while junior guard Lindsey Moore averages 13.7 points and began the week ranked 13th in the nation with 5.8 assists per game.
The Cornhuskers have one native of Arizona on their roster in redshirt freshman Rebecca Woodberry, who attended Tolleson Union HS in Phoenix and is averaging 5.9 points and 5.0 rebounds this season. NAU and Nebraska have met once before, a 70-56 home win for the Cornhuskers in 2005-06, the season that NAU won the Big Sky Championship. Nebraska defeated Creighton, 66-55, on Thursday night in Lincoln.