While it faced a lot of unfamiliar competition in its first season in the Big Ten, Nebraska made noise during the conference tournament.
It's NCAA tournament opener, however, will come against an old conference rival.The sixth-seeded Cornhuskers will face off against 11th-seeded Kansas on Sunday at the Jack Stephens Center in Little Rock.After stumbling to finish the regular season, Nebraska (24-8) reached the Big Ten tournament title game before losing 74-70 in double overtime to Purdue.Jordan Hooper and the Cornhuskers hope to take the momentum into the NCAA tournament. Nebraska missed the tournament in her 2010-11 freshman season after losing in the regional semifinals as the No. 1 seed in 2009-10."We were playing some of our best basketball two weeks ago (during the Big Ten tournament)," coach Connie Yori said. "Hopefully we don't have too much of a loss with the time we have had off."Hooper leads the Huskers with 19.2 points and 9.3 rebounds per game while junior Lindsey Moore is contributing 15.8 points and 5.2 assists.Moore averaged 18.8 points in four Big Ten tournament games, scoring 27 in the loss to Purdue.Kansas certainly won't be happy to see the Nebraska point guard again. She averaged 28.0 points in two meetings with the Jayhawks last season when the Huskers were still a member of the Big 12.Nebraska and Kansas split two meetings in 2010-11, but the Huskers have won 21 of the last 30 overall.Moore is looking forward to again matching up with Jayhawks point guard Angel Goodrich, who is second on Kansas with 13.1 points and leads the team with 7.5 assists."It is going to make me better, honestly, playing against another really good point guard," Moore said. "It is just going to make me that much better and make me perform at my highest point."Goodrich averaged 7.0 points on 7-of-21 shooting against Nebraska, but had 11 assists in the win in their final meeting as conference rivals."I think it's a really good matchup," Goodrich said. "(Moore is) really good. She's quick; she's got a shot and she can spread the defense. I feel like this is going to be a tough matchup."Goodrich helped lead the Jayhawks (19-12) to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2000 after a tough season.Kansas had a losing conference record (8-10) and lost 10 of its final 14 games. The season unraveled when junior forward Carolyn Davis, who was averaging 16.9 points, went down with a season-ending knee injury after 23 games.Despite the setbacks, Kansas went 6-5 on the road, with two of the losses coming by four points -- something that was probably a factor in the team earning an at-large bid even with the late-season struggles."We really want to show we deserve to be here," Goodrich said. "We've worked really hard and we've continued to work hard. Being able to get this chance and opportunity, we just want to show what we have."Kansas' last victory in the NCAA tournament came in the first round in 1999.The winner will take on third-seed Delaware or 14th-seed Arkansas-Little Rock on Tuesday.