Published Wednesday, January 15, 2014 at 9:48 pm / Updated at 12:10 am
Huskers must deal with Gophers’ post presence
Minnesota at Nebraska
When: 8 p.m. Thursday
Where: Pinnacle Bank Arena
TV: Big Ten Network
Radio: 93.3 FM KFFF

MINNESOTA (12-5, 1-2)
C Amanda Zahui B., 6-5, Fr., 14.9
F MicaŽlla Richť, 6-2, Sr., 7.6
F Rachel Banham, 5-9, Jr., 21.8
G Shayne Mullaney, 5-10, So., 7.4
G Sari Noga, 5-10, Sr., 7.8

NEBRASKA (12-3, 2-1)
F Hailie Sample, 6-1, Jr., 5.9
F Emily Cady, 6-2, Jr., 13.8
F Jordan Hooper, 6-2, Sr., 20.3
G Rachel Theriot, 6-0, So., 11.9
G Tear’a Laudermill, 5-9, Jr., 8.7

LINCOLN — There’s a new young star in Big Ten women’s basketball who brings back memories for Nebraska coach Connie Yori. Not precisely fond ones, either.

Amanda Zahui B. is the 6-foot-5 Minnesota redshirt freshman and Swedish import who’s averaging 14.9 points and 11.3 rebounds per game. When the Gophers visit Pinnacle Bank Arena Thursday night, Yori figures she’ll see a player who resembles the dominant Courtney Paris, who vexed the Huskers during her All-America career at Oklahoma.

“Amanda’s a huge presence for them,” Yori said. And coupled with another Gopher forward, 6-2 MicaŽlla Richť, NU will have to battle one of the biggest frontcourts it’ll face this season.

Not that the Huskers have let bigger teams in the league daunt them in the past. Since they joined in the Big Ten in 2011, they’ve won all six games over Iowa, four of five from Ohio State and three of four from Minnesota without a true center. Forwards Jordan Hooper and Emily Cady — as comfortable behind the 3-point line as they are under the basket — have often won those position battles. Why?

“With our quickness and our speed — especially with our hounds and smaller post players — we can beat their bigger players,” Hooper said. “We’re quicker.”

In a phone interview Tuesday, Yori declined to talk about just how No. 18 NU (12-3 overall, 2-1 in the Big Ten) would use its smaller-but-quicker lineup against the Gophers (12-5, 1-2).

“There are some things they can take advantage of and some things we can take advantage of,” Yori said.

One area where Minnesota’s weak: turnover margin. The Gophers average 2.53 more turnovers than their opponents. Zahui B. averages four turnovers per game by herself. When Creighton beat Minnesota 63-52 this season, the Bluejays forced 22 Minnesota turnovers and committed only seven themselves.

But Nebraska can’t sleep on the Gophers’ backcourt. Junior Rachel Banham, an all-Big Ten player last year, leads the league in scoring at 21.8 points per game. She’s also one of the Big Ten’s top 3-point shooters. Minnesota, as a whole, leads the Big Ten in 3-point shooting at 43.4 percent.

Hooper said Minnesota poses a tough inside/outside challenge for the Huskers. In a 70-57 loss to Michigan State, NU didn’t manage the Spartans’ balance with much success.

Contact the writer: Sam McKewon    |   402-219-3790    |  

Sam McKewon covers Nebraska football for The World-Herald. Got a tip, question or rant? Good. Email him. Follow him on Twitter. Call him.



< >
2013 college football preview
View our 2013 college football preview, a 26-page, three-part section filled with coverage of the Huskers, Big Ten conference and more.
Big Red Bowl Retrospective
See complete historical results, game recaps and photo coverage from the Nebraska Cornhuskers college football bowl game appearances, from the 1941 Rose Bowl up to today.
Big Ten football recruits
The World-Herald's Big Ten recruiting database contains every football recruit that signed with a Big Ten school from 2002 to 2011, complete with color-coded interactive map representations, player information, high-concentrations recruiting clusters and more.
Devaney Center timeline
Check out a World-Herald timeline to see the evolution of memorable moments at the Devaney Center, complete with photos, videos, memorable quotes and more.
Follow OWHbigred on Twitter
Looking for the latest Husker sports news from The Omaha World-Herald and Follow us on Twitter!
Husker scholarship distribution chart
Want to see how many scholarships NU has invested at each position? Wondering how the Huskers have appropriated their offers by class? Check out our handy chart to look further into how Bo Pelini has built his team.
Husker Signing Day 2013
The World-Herald's top-notch coverage of the Nebraska football's class of 2013, complete with videos, photos, articles, live recruit interviews, interactive components and more.
Husker turnovers: A slippery slope
Bo Pelini has coached 68 games at Nebraska. When NUís turnover margin is positive or even, the Huskers are 35-2. When they lose the turnover battle, theyíre 13-18. Why hasnít Nebraska joined the nationís elite? More than anything, itís turnovers.
Interactive: Bo Pelini's contract
View an interactive PDF of Pelini's revised contract signed by the NU football coach, complete with brief summaries of the legalese and insight into the document's finer points.
Interactive: Darin Erstad's contract (2012)
View an interactive PDF of NU baseball coach Darin Erstad's contract released in August 2012, complete with brief summaries of the legalese and insight into the document's finer points.
Interactive: Tim Miles' contract
View an interactive PDF of Tim Miles' contract signed by the Nebraska men's basketball coach on May 4, 2012, complete with brief legal explanations, comparisons to other Big Ten coaches and more.'s Big Ten coverage
Delivering the best news coverage and analysis of the Big Ten Conference, from and other top news outlets from around country.
Husker Recruiting: Changes shrink NU's sphere of influence
For decades, the Great Plains represented fertile recruiting ground for Tom Osborne's football program. Restoring that lost tradition won't be easy.
Deadline Deal thumbnail
The Jaipur in Rockbrook Village
Half Off Fine Indian Cuisine & Drinks! $15 for Dinner, or $7 for Lunch
Buy Now
< >