LINCOLN — Eighteenth-ranked Nebraska put together its best offensive half of the season Sunday while steamrolling Oral Roberts 89-53 in its final game before the start of Big Ten play.
The Husker women (10-2) led 62-25 at halftime, setting a first-half scoring record and topping their previous single-half point total this season by 10. NU's first half exceeded the 59-point first half against InterAmerican in 1993-94 and Washington State in 2009-10, and ranks as the fifth-highest point total for any half in school history. The record of 68 came in the second half against Howard in 1992.
All-American Jordan Hooper scored 30 points on 11 of 15 shooting (4 of 8 on 3-pointers), while four other Huskers scored in double figures. Emily Cady had 15 points, and Tear'a Laudermill, Rachel Theriot and Sadie Murren added 11 each.
“I think we did a good job of finding the open man,” Laudermill said. “Hooper, she was on fire.”
The performance in front of 5,811 at Pinnacle Bank Arena was not entirely expected, though Oral Roberts came into the game 1-8. The Golden Eagles made it to the NCAA tournament last year and 10 days ago took an 8-2 Marquette team to overtime before losing 79-71.
But Sunday the difference was like hot and cold. With eight minutes gone in the game and Nebraska ahead 29-2, Oral Roberts had made 1 of 12 shots from the field and NU was 12 of 17.
The Huskers didn't miss a shot until five minutes were gone, and Oral Roberts didn't make one until nearly seven minutes were gone and the score was 24-0.
Oral Roberts Coach Misti Cussen said she was “very disappointed” in the Golden Eagles' five starters, who had a combined five points at halftime.
“This was a lack of being ready to play,” Cussen said.
After halftime, ORU leading scorer Christian Key hit 9 of 11 shots, including three 3-pointers, to finish with 25 and keep the 37-point halftime lead from making a steady climb.
Even so, the Huskers led by 49 with 9:40 left in the game when Hooper drilled her fourth 3-pointer and completed a 30-point, 11-rebound performance while playing half the game.
It was Hooper's sixth double-double of the year and 32nd of her career. It was her eighth career 30-point game, and she moved past Kiera Hardy into fifth place in career points at Nebraska.
Nebraska coach Connie Yori called it a great first half.
“I don't know that we can play a lot better on offense,” Yori said. “Our ball movement was great.”
The Huskers have improved, notably with better shooting, Yori said, as they prepare to open the Big Ten season against Northwestern at 8 p.m. Thursday at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
“Field goal shooting is the biggest stat of the game,” Yori said. “We are able to get the ball in the basket ... with different players.”
The Huskers shot 52.5 percent for the game and 50 percent from behind the arc. Nebraska has hit 45.1 percent of its 3-pointers in the last four games, compared to 28.2 percent in its first eight.
Laudermill hit 4 of 8 field goals and had a career high five assists.
Murren came off the bench to hit 4 of 8 field goals, including 3 of 6 from 3-point range.
“She's gotten better,” Yori said. “You have to guard her. I really like what Sadie is doing.”
The Golden Eagles coach called Nebraska a great team.
“Nebraska just shoots the ball so well,” said Cussen, adding that the Huskers have weapons all over the floor.