LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Trust Jordan Hooper when she says she didn't imagine becoming one of the greatest players in Nebraska women's basketball history when she showed up in Lincoln for her freshman year.
"My goal was to not quit the first week," Hooper said with a laugh Wednesday.
That timid ranch girl from western Nebraska has matured into one of the nation's elite players. The two-time All-Big Ten pick goes into Thursday night's home game against Minnesota needing 10 points to become the fourth Nebraska player to score 2,000 in a career.
"When we started recruiting Jordan, we knew she was special," coach Connie Yori said. "You just don't see kids shoot it like she does at her size. And then combined with her athleticism, she's been everything we hoped she could be and thought she could be."
The 6-foot-2 senior forward was a starter for USA Basketball in the World University Games over the summer, and she's followed that with her best season for the 18th-ranked Cornhuskers (12-3, 2-1 Big Ten). She's averaging 20.3 points and 10.5 rebounds and is on the verge of becoming the fifth player in Big Ten history to amass 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds.
She started her career as a 3-point shooting specialist who rarely stepped inside the arc. At Yori's behest, Hooper worked to become a dependable inside scoring threat, though she still has launched almost twice as many 3s as any of her teammates this season.
Defenses have done all they can to control her. A number of overmatched nonconference opponents triple-teamed her, and she's regularly double-teamed in Big Ten play.
The extra attention has forced her to improve as a passer out of the post. She already has 21 assists in 15 games, one under her career-best total of 22 in 34 games last season.