1:00 PM ET, February 6, 2010
LINCOLN, Neb. -- Texas A&M (No. 10 ESPN/USA Today, No. 12 AP) did all it could to try and physically intimidate Nebraska. The fourth-ranked Cornhuskers wouldn't budge, walking away with another victory.Nebraska remained one of the nation's two unbeaten teams after prevailing 71-60 in a rough-and-tumble game that left them bruised, battered and smiling.Kelsey Griffin had 21 points and 10 rebounds against the burly Danielle Adams and an aggressive defense that left Nebraska's star forward picking herself up off the floor all afternoon."I wouldn't expect anything less," Griffin said. "Do I necessarily like it that way? No. But that's the Big 12, so you have to rise to the occasion."Griffin and her teammates did just that, responding when the Aggies threatened to come back late.Dominique Kelley made a couple key plays on both ends in the last three minutes to help break things open and send Nebraska (21-0, 8-0 Big 12) to its 18th win by 10 or more points. The Huskers and Connecticut are the only two unbeatens left.Cory Montgomery added a season-high 18 points, and the Huskers made 16 of 21 free throws. Texas A&M made it the line for only two free throws, making one."Our toughness down the stretch was terrific," Nebraska coach Connie Yori said. "'Nique made some great plays, in particular that one with 2½ minutes left where she dropped it off to Kelsey. That was the biggest play of the game."It happened after Adams hit a jumper and Tanisha Smith stole the ball from Lindsey Moore and went in for a layup to pull the Aggies (16-5, 4-4) within 65-60 with 3:06 left.A&M was about to get the ball back with a chance to make it a one-possession game when Kelley slipped a bounce pass through traffic to an all-alone Griffin, who made the easy layup with one second showing on the shot clock."I don't even know how I did it," Kelley said. "I saw four or five bodies running at me, so I dished if off."After Sydney Carter missed a shot on the other end, Kelley rebounded and took it all the way for a layup to put Nebraska up 69-60."As well as you all played," A&M coach Gary Blair said, referring to the Huskers, "you could have buried a team by 25 and a lot of teams would have rolled over. But we're not a rollover team. We're trying to get better."The Huskers drew their third straight home crowd of more than 10,000 and got out to a quick 12-2 lead after Yvonne Turner and Montgomery combined to make three straight 3s in the first 90 seconds."When you've been to the Sweet 16 the last two years and played the Dukes and Tennessees and Oklahomas, there is no fear," Blair said. "I hope we came a little bit of age because we didn't let adversity get to us."Held scoreless the first 11 minutes, Griffin rolled off six straight points in 43 seconds to give Nebraska a 10-point lead after White's jumper had pulled the Aggies within 22-18.The Huskers led 40-29 at half and 61-47 eight minutes left when Turner, who missed six 3-pointers in a row, connected from long distance.Several hard fouls left Nebraska players on the floor, including one by Smith that sent Montgomery into the padding on the goal standard and left her dazed momentarily."It's going to be physical in the Big 12, and A&M plays tough defense," Yori said. "A&M is one of the most athletic teams in our league and they have size. There's going to be physicality."Griffin seemed to get the worst of it."She gets hit and gets played physically every game," Yori said. "It's a wonder she doesn't have bruises all over her body. She definitely has them over half of her body. She's tough. If you look at her you don't necessarily think that, but she's physically very strong."Turner and Kelley scored 11 points apiece for the Huskers. White had 15 points and eight rebounds for the Aggies, who haven't won a true road game since its conference opener at Texas on Jan. 9.The Huskers avenged last year's 86-43 loss in College Station, Texas. But that Nebraska team didn't have Griffin, who was out last season with a foot injury."This was huge," Griffin said. "We try not to live too much in the past. However, we were aware of what happened last year. But we're clearly a different basketball team. Coach picked A&M to win the league. They're a great basketball team and they showed it tonight. They gave us our money's worth."
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Team Stat Comparison
|FG Made-Attempted||27-67 (.403)||25-58 (.431)|
|3P Made-Attempted||5-14 (.357)||5-22 (.227)|
|FT Made-Attempted||1-2 (.500)||16-21 (.762)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||22 (0/0)||12 (0/0)|