Published March 19, 2013
LINCOLN, Neb. – Nebraska women's basketball coach Connie Yori was surprised.
She also sounded disappointed.
Yori had expected her Cornhuskers to receive a No. 4 or 5 seed for the NCAA women's basketball tournament. Instead, they got a No. 6 seed in the Norfolk Regional and will open Saturday against Chattanooga in College Station, Texas.
"You never know what's going to happen in the bracket," she said after selections were announced Monday night.
Nebraska is among six Big Ten teams in the tournament. Regular-season champion Penn State was a No. 3 seed and conference tournament winner Purdue a No. 4. But Michigan State, a team Nebraska beat and finished ahead of in the standings, got a No. 5 seed in the Bridgeport Regional.
"It was probably a little bit interesting in that we finished second in the Big Ten and we get a 6 seed," Yori said. "You get two teams that finished below us — obviously Purdue is deserving of the seed they got — but I thought Penn State would probably be a 2 seed and (it) didn't get quite the respect considering it's the second-best league in the country RPI-wise. We probably didn't get the respect across the board as maybe we deserved."
The Cornhuskers (23-8) are in the tournament for the third time in four years and 11th time overall since their first appearance in 1988.
The Lady Mocs (29-3) are the Southern Conference tournament champions and winners of 19 straight games. In their only game against a ranked opponent, they beat then-No. 20 Tennessee in November.
The Chattanooga-Nebraska winner plays Southeastern Conference tournament champion Texas A&M (24-9) or Missouri Valley Conference tournament champ Wichita State (24-9) in the second round next Monday.
Nebraska goes into the tournament 11-2 since Jan. 20. The Huskers lost to Purdue in the semifinals of the Big Ten tournament.
Senior point guard Lindsey Moore said she won't spend any time lamenting the Huskers' seed.
"You can't control that," she said, "so you just have to be able to deal with what you're given."
Moore said she and her teammates hope to atone for last year's poor showing in the tournament. The Huskers played four games in four days to reach the Big Ten tournament title game, where they lost to Purdue. Starters Jordan Hooper and Hailie Sample came out of it with injuries that carried over to the offseason, and the Huskers were worn down.
They were upset 57-49 by 12th-seeded Kansas in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Nebraska shot 33 percent against the Jayhawks and was 1 for 19 on 3-pointers. Moore and Hooper combined to go 9 for 39 overall and 0 for 14 on 3s.
"We just want to take that and remember how we felt last year when it happened and kind of use that as our motivation," Moore said. "We don't want this to happen again, at least too soon."