LINCOLN — Senior guard Lindsey Moore and sophomore forward Emily Cady gave Nebraska the lift it needed in key situations Wednesday night for a 70-52 win over Wisconsin in the Big Ten season opener at the Devaney Center.
Moore, Cady and junior forward Jordan Hooper provided a barrage of 3-pointers that kept the Badgers from ever taking a lead. Moore made five and Cady and Hooper had three each as the Huskers were 12 of 27 from long range.
“Coach (Connie) Yori has been putting more emphasis on shooting,” Moore said. “They were giving us 3-point shots so we were taking them.”
Moore said the hot shooting “gives us confidence going into the next game.” The Huskers (11-3) play 14th-ranked Purdue at 1 p.m. Saturday in game that will be televised on CBS.
Moore finished with 26 points, four assists, four steals and seven free throws to lead the Huskers in each of those categories. Time and again she provided the spark that kept Wisconsin from the lead.
Wisconsin coach Bobbie Kelsey said her defenders failed to fight their way through screens to stay on Moore.
“If you go under (the screen) she is going to make you pay ... and she made us pay,” Kelsey said.
Moore hit three 3-pointers in the first seven minutes of the game to propel Nebraska to a 14-3 lead. After Wisconsin closed to 24-22 with 3:50 left in the half, Moore fed guard Hailie Sample twice for layups that broke the Badgers’ momentum.
With only seconds remaining in the half, Moore drove the baseline, faked a reverse layup and spun back to make a reverse layup on the opposite side, giving NU a 37-26 halftime lead. She hit a 3-pointer to open the second half, and Nebraska had stretched its lead from two points to 14.
Cady’s 14 rebounds and 13 points gave her a double-double for the first time this season and the fourth time in her career. Her three 3-pointers nearly matched her total of four in the first 13 games.
As for rebounds, Cady said: “They were just coming to me, basically,” she said.
One of Cady’s 3-pointers ended a 10-point Badger run that had closed the Husker margin to four with 13:27 remaining in the game. With more than three minutes remaining in the game, Cady gave the Huskers their biggest lead of 19 points with a steal, a 3-pointer and a key rebound.
Yori said games against good teams often are marked by short surges by each team.
“It was a game of runs,” Yori said. Wisconsin fell behind by 14 twice only to come back to within two and four.
Kelsey said turnovers were the biggest problem for the Badgers, who had 20 to only 13 for the Huskers. Nebraska scored 27 points off of turnovers to 18 for Wisconsin.
Saturday’s game against Purdue matches two ranked teams. The Huskers are 19th in the USA Today coaches poll and 25th in the Associated Press poll. The Boilermakers are 14th in both polls.
In one season in the Big Ten, the Huskers and the Boilermakers set a high standard for intense competition. In the regular season, Nebraska won in three overtimes 93-89 with Hooper and Moore scoring 27 and 26 points, respectively. Then in the Big Ten title game, Purdue won 74-70 in two overtimes with Moore scoring 27 and Hooper 25.
“There’s a history there,” Yori said.