Chemistry Lesson

Even though the Nebraska women’s basketball team saw their unbeaten streak demolished Saturday in the semifinals of the Big 12 post-season tournament, the Lady Huskers success this season is directly attributable to chemistry. No, not the kind students might think of, in the classroom with Bunsen burners flaming and odd combinations of liquids boiling in glass beakers.

The chemistry I’m talking about, as discussed in Final Four Leadership, is the type of intangible connections made between people in a department, on a team or in a group of friends that allows that group of people to transcend the expectations and goals outsiders might place on that group.

Head coach Connie Yori has been on campus since 2002-2003, and last year’s 15-16 record was the only losing season in her tenure in Lincoln. Part of that outcome was the fact that 2010 Big 12 Player of the Year Kelsey Griffin missed the entire season with an injury. But this year’s 30-1 team, that should earn a #1 seed in the upcoming NCAA tournament, is more about the whole group than it is about one player. Everyone on the team has a role, and Yori uses her bench liberally. Everyone on the team understands that she has an important job to do to help the team, and nobody cares who gets the credit, especially Griffin who not only leads the team in scoring but also in offensive fouls taken on defense.

The best way to sum this up is by showing a couple of comments opposing coaches have made of the Huskers.

“I lover her team,” said Oklahoma State coach Kurt Budke. Notice he didn’t say I love Kelsey Griffin.

Oklahoma coach Sherri Coale, herself a Final Four coach, said it with a little more thought. “You watch them (on film) be good together, and it ceases to be about those individual players, who are so very good in their own right. It becomes about how good they are together. And I think that’s been their magic.”

I’m attaching here an Mp3 of an interview I did this week on Dresser After Dark, which is syndicated on Lifetime radio. Enjoy. David Salter

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