Nebraska Women's Basketball History

For the history of Nebraska women's basketball, explore the links below.

Nebraska women's basketball moves into its 13th season of Big Ten Conference competition in 2023-24 with the 10th head coach in school history - Amy Williams - entering her eighth season at the helm of the Huskers. Williams, who returned to Nebraska as head coach on April 11, 2016, was a two-time Summit League Coach of the Year at South Dakota (2015, 2016).

Williams, who was a four-year letterwinner as a guard at Nebraska from 1995 to 1998, led the Huskers to one of the top turnarounds in the nation in her second season at her alma mater in 2017-18. The 2018 Big Ten Coach of the Year, Williams was one of 10 semifinalists for Naismith National Coach-of-the-Year honors after leading Nebraska to its 14th NCAA Tournament appearance and 17th 20-win season in school history.

The 2018 Huskers finished with a 21-11 record, which represented a 14-game improvement in the win column over the 2016-17 campaign. Nebraska went 11-5 to tie for third in the final Big Ten regular-season standings while also advancing to the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament for the fourth time in seven years. The Huskers also raced to their largest margin of victory in school history over an AP top-five opponent with a 72-55 win over No. 5 Indiana at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Feb. 14, 2022.

Nebraska advanced to the NCAA Tournament again in 2022, as the Big Red ran to a 24-9 overall record that included an 11-7 Big Ten mark. The Huskers advanced to the Big Ten semifinals for the fifth time by beating a top-10 Michigan team for the second time during the season.

The Huskers put one of the most complete teams in school history on the floor in 2022, ranking 10th nationally in scoring (77.8 ppg), 13th in assists (17.4 apg), 18th in scoring margin (+13.5 ppg), while leading the Big Ten and setting a school record by ranking 21st nationally in three-pointers made per game (8.5). The Big Red also led the Big Ten and ranked 23rd in the nation in rebounding (41.8 rpg) while leading the Big Ten in field goal percentage defense (.385).

The 2022 and 2023 Huskers placed four players on the postseason All-Big Ten teams, including first-team All-Big Ten selection Jaz Shelley in 2023, who earned second-team all-conference honors and a spot on the league's All-Defensive Team in her first season at Nebraska in 2022. Alexis Markowski added second-team All-Big Ten accolades both seasons, while capturing Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors in 2022. Veterans Isabelle Bourne and Sam Haiby both earned honorable-mention All-Big Ten recognition both seasons.

Nebraska, which advanced to the WNIT Super 16 in 2023, has earned nine postseason tournament trips since joining the Big Ten for the 2011-12 season, including six NCAA Tournament bids. Nebraska was the conference's automatic bid into the 2014 NCAA Tournament, after capturing the school's first Big Ten Tournament championship.

In Nebraska's first 12 seasons in the nation's oldest and most-respected conference, the Huskers have entered the final day of regular-season Big Ten competition with a chance to win the conference title three times while also playing for a pair of Big Ten Tournament championships. Nebraska has posted six 20-win seasons as a Big Ten member.

The excitement around women's basketball in Nebraska is at an all-time high. Since 2010, the Huskers have made seven NCAA Tournament appearances, including two trips to the NCAA Sweet 16. Nebraska also moved into a sparkling new home court at Pinnacle Bank Arena in 2013-14. The $179 million facility seats more than 15,000 and is located in the heart of Lincoln's historic Haymarket district, just steps away from the Nebraska campus. The Big Red have ranked among the top 25 teams nationally in average home attendance in each of their eight seasons at Pinnacle Bank Arena.

In its first season at Pinnacle Bank Arena, the Huskers tied the school record with 16 home victories, while ranking eighth nationally in total attendance with more than 110,000 fans attending NU's games at the new arena. Nebraska averaged more than 6,000 fans per game for the second straight season at Pinnacle Bank Arena in 2014-15.

The Huskers ranked among the top-12 teams nationally in average home attendance for the third consecutive season in 2015-16, while again topping more than 100,000 in total attendance. The Big Red also won 15 home games in 2015-16.

In its first season at the new arena, Nebraska earned the right to host a four-team NCAA Regional in Lincoln, March 29-April 1, 2014. It marked the first NCAA Tournament games for men's or women's basketball in Lincoln since 1993. The site was a resounding success, as more than 17,000 fans attended the two sessions of games in Lincoln, that included UConn, Texas A&M, DePaul and BYU.

In 2014-15, Nebraska's four-player senior class of Emily Cady, Brandi Jeffery, Tear'a Laudermill and Hailie Sample became the most successful group in school history. All four-year contributors who came to Nebraska as the highest-ranked recruiting class in history at the time, they became the first Huskers to advance to four straight NCAA tournaments and post four consecutive 20-wins seasons.

In 2013-14, Nebraska notched the second-best record in school history at 26-7, while finishing third in the Big Ten regular-season standings (12-4) before rolling to three impressive wins to claim the school's first-ever conference tournament title in Indianapolis. The Big Red went on to advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament as a No. 4 seed with a win over Fresno State, before upset by BYU in a narrow 80-76 loss in Los Angeles. The Huskers finished No. 13 in the final AP Poll, No. 17 in the final USA Today/Coaches Top 25 and No. 19 in the final NCAA RPI. It was Nebraska's fourth top 25 ranking in the last five years.

Big Ten Player of the Year Jordan Hooper went on to earn first-team All-America honors from the WBCA and the Senior CLASS Award, while adding second-team honors from the Associated Press. Hooper was also the 13th overall pick in the WNBA Draft by the Tulsa Shock. Hooper was joined by point guard Rachel Theriot on the All-America and All-Big Ten teams. Theriot garnered honorable-mention All-America accolades from the AP, while claiming first-team All-Big Ten honors. She was also the MVP of the Big Ten Tournament.

In 2012-13, the Huskers rolled to a 25-9 record while finishing as the Big Ten regular-season runner-up (12-4) in 2012-13. After advancing to the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament, the Huskers earned a No. 6 seed in the NCAA Tournament in College Station, Texas. Nebraska rolled to a first-round win over Chattanooga, before knocking off No. 9 Texas A&M on its home court at Reed Arena. With the victory, Nebraska advanced to its second NCAA Sweet 16.

Nebraska also finished with a top-25 national ranking, while senior point guard Lindsey Moore claimed the Huskers' second first-round WNBA Draft pick in a four-year span. Moore, who went with the No. 12 overall pick to the Minnesota Lynx, joined 2010 All-American Kelsey Griffin as WNBA first-round picks this decade. 

During the season, Connie Yori became the winningest head coach in Nebraska history and captured the first of two Big Ten Coach-of-the-Year honors. Her awards in 2013 and 2014 followed Big 12 and National Coach-of-the-Year accolades in 2010.

Nebraska's impressive 2012-13 season followed on the heels of a 24-9 record that included a 10-6 Big Ten mark in their first conference campaign. The young Huskers, who featured a pair of freshmen in the starting lineup for every game, fought their way to the Big Ten Tournament title game by winning three games in their first appearance in Indianapolis. 

The Nebraska program has enjoyed a growing tradition since its first full season as a varsity sport in 1975-76. The Huskers have made 16 postseason tournament appearances in the past 20 years, including nine NCAA tournaments. Overall, Nebraska has made 15 NCAA Tournament appearances, including NCAA Sweet 16 appearance in 2010 and 2013.

In 2010, Nebraska produced a record-breaking season by winning the Big 12 regular-season title while posting a 32-2 overall record that included a 16-0 conference mark. The Huskers tied the Big 12 record by winning 30 consecutive games to open the season, while becoming the first Big 12 men's or women's basketball team in history to complete an unbeaten regular season (29-0). First-team All-American Kelsey Griffin captured NU's first Senior CLASS Award across all sports, while being named the 2010 Big 12 Player of the Year. Griffin, a three-time all-conference selection on and off the court, was also named Nebraska's Female Student-Athlete of the Year.

Karen Jennings, a three-time All-American both on and off the court for the Huskers, owns a special place in college basketball history. The 1993 Wade Trophy winner as the nation's top player, Jennings was also a two-time College Sports Communicators Academic All-American-of-the-Year in women's basketball. In 2008, Jennings claimed a place among the nation's elite across all collegiate sports by earning a spot in the College Sports Communicators Academic All-America Hall of Fame.

Described by legendary broadcaster Dick Enberg as the home of the best-of-the-best-of-the-best, the College Sports Communicators Academic All-America Hall of Fame features fewer than 200 former student-athletes all time, across all sports who have achieved the highest levels of excellence in competition, in the classroom and in their lives and careers following graduation.

Jennings, Griffin and Hooper are joined by Nebraska's first Big Eight Player of the Year Maurtice Ivy (1988) as a quartet of 2,000-point scorers in Husker history. Overall, Nebraska owns a rich tradition of success on the court, in the classroom and in the community.

Jennings, Ivy and Griffin are the only three Huskers who have been honored with retired jerseys by the school, but the success of individual players beyond Nebraska in recent years bodes well for more to join them in the future. Griffin, who spent five seasons with the Connecticut Sun in WNBA, claimed her spot among Nebraska's legends with her jersey retirement in 2014. An Alaska native, Griffin has been a professional overseas for 13 seasons, including one the premier players in Australia's WNBL for more than a decade. Griffin is a three-time Grand Finals MVP and has won multiple WNBL titles.

Former Husker Anna DeForge played 17 professional seasons. The two-time WNBA All-Star was an honorable-mention All-American during her career at Nebraska.

Former Husker Chelsea Aubry became the first Nebraska player to compete in the Olympics in 2012. Aubry, a 6-2 forward from Kitchener, Ontario, was a captain for the Canadians in London and spent eight seasons playing professionally overseas in Australia, including several seasons playing alongside Griffin with the Bendigo Spirit.

Former Husker forward Danielle Page, who spent 10 seasons in professional basketball, became the second Olympian in the history of Husker women's basketball and the first to earn a medal. Page claimed bronze as a starter for Serbia at the Rio Olympics in 2016, helping the Serbians to their first women's basketball Olympic medal in history.

Former Husker guard Yvonne Turner completed her 13th professional in 2022-23. Turner, who played three seasons with the Phoenix Mercury (2017-19) in the WNBA before suffering an injury, returned to the league in 2022 with the Minnesota Lynx, Atlanta Dream and the Mercury in 2022. She earned another season in the WNBA as a member of the Seattle Storm in 2024. She has been one of the top professional point guards in the world over the past 10 seasons.