Nebraska will have waited two weeks between games when it opens the NCAA women’s basketball tournament against Syracuse on Friday at Columbia, South Carolina.
Nebraska (21-10) earned a No. 9 seed and will play the eighth-seeded Orange (21-9) for the first time in program history.
The Huskers were knocked out in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament with a loss against Iowa on March 6, then had to wait until Monday, when the NCAA Tournament bracket was announced, to know its next opponent.
Coach Connie Yori prefers that the conference tournament be one week later, but she used the time off to get the players some rest while also having a few practices.
She’s not worried about having only a few days before the tournament begins.
“Oh, no, we’ve hard far too much rest,” Yori said. “It will be two weeks in between games. That’s where you have a tendency to lose a little rhythm. I don’t care for the long break that we have.
“We’ve tried to balance good practices, and enough conditioning, but not overwhelming. We had a full scrimmage (Sunday) against our scout guys that was more like a game situation, and went for 40 minutes with those guys. Friday is not coming soon enough, I think, in a lot of our minds.”
Right after Monday’s selection show, the coaching staff went to work studying Syracuse, working late into the night to be prepared for practice.
Nebraska held four practices during the break, while also having individual workouts for the younger players in the program who haven’t played as much.
“We haven’t gone excessively long, but we’ve went long enough that we feel like we’ve got a lot of things covered, and hopefully shored up a few things,” Yori said.
What did the Huskers work on when they did practice?
“Shooting. We did a lot of shooting. A lot,” Husker senior guard Tear’a Laudermill said.
“We did five-spot shooting, where you shoot on five spots — corner, wing, top. We had to run if we didn’t get at least 13 or more. So, yeah, nobody wants to run, so we started making shots.”
Nebraska is shooting 40 percent from the field this season, down from 44 percent last season. The Huskers’ average of 67.1 points per game is down about eight points from last season.
“We didn’t really have a team to scout, so we just worked on little stuff, like moving the ball around,” Laudermill said. “We worked on our zone defense and offense. I think that helped us.”
With four seniors who have logged a lot of minutes this year, the rest was also good.
“It’s been really nice, because some of us are old bodies,” Hailie Sample said.