Rachel Theriot, Emily Cady and Hailie Sample produced huge plays on both ends of the court down the stretch to lead No. 12 Nebraska to a 60-54 women's basketball victory over No. 9 Duke in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Wednesday night.

Rachel Theriot, Emily Cady and Hailie Sample produced huge plays on both ends of the court down the stretch to lead No. 12 Nebraska to a 60-54 women's basketball victory over No. 9 Duke in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Wednesday night.

Playing in front of a raucous Husker crowd of 7,571, Nebraska improved to 7-0 on the season for the first time since the 2009-10 Huskers reeled off 30 straight wins to open the year. The Big Red also notched their first win over a ranked non-conference opponent in the regular season since that same Husker bunch rolled to a 77-63 win over No. 5 LSU on Dec. 20, 2009, at the Bob Devaney Sports Center.

Duke, which played its second straight game without All-America center Elizabeth Williams, slipped to 5-2 on the season, following a road loss Sunday at current No. 5 Texas A&M. The Blue Devils face No. 1 South Carolina in Durham, N.C., later this week.

Theriot, Nebraska's All-America point guard, led the Huskers with a game-high 17 points to go along with six rebounds, four assists and a blocked shot. Theriot hit three of NU's six three-pointers on the night, including a huge three with 7:12 left to push NU's lead to 51-46. Theriot sealed the win with a pair of free throws with four seconds left for the game's final points.

Sample, a 6-1 senior from Flower Mound, Texas, matched her season high with 16 points on a perfect 6-for-6 shooting night against the Blue Devils. Sample also went 4-of-6 at the free throw line, including 3-of-4 in the final 3:19 to help secure Nebraska's first win in four tries in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

Cady, a 6-2 senior forward from Seward, Neb., added her third double-double of the season with 13 points, a game-high 11 rebounds and four assists without a turnover against Duke's zone defense. Cady added a pair of huge steals and may have made the game's biggest play with her offensive rebound and putback to give NU a 57-52 lead with 50 seconds left. It was Nebraska's only putback of the second half, as Duke outscored NU, 21-6 on second-chance points for the game.

Senior guards Tear'a Laudermill and Brandi Jeffery also played major roles in the win. Laudermill finished with seven points, including a pair of threes, while adding a career-high seven rebounds. Jeffery added seven points, four rebounds and a game-high five assists. Both played outstanding perimeter defense as well.

Nebraska won despite hitting just 38.2 percent (21-55) of its shots from the field, including just 6-of-29 threes against the extreme length of the Duke lineup. Nebraska also went 12-of-17 from the free throw line. The Huskers were outrebounded, 47-34, including minus-nine on the glass in the second half. But Nebraska won the turnover battle, 13-10.

The Big Red defense held Duke to just 31.7 percent (20-63) shooting, including a dismal 18.2 percent (2-11) from long range. Duke hit 12-of-14 free throws.

Azura Stevens led Duke with 16 points and nine rebounds, while going 8-of-15 from the field. Oderah Chidom added eight points and seven rebounds while hitting 3-of-5 shots. The rest of the Blue Devil starters combined to go just 6-for-34 from the floor.

The Huskers opened the game red hot, hitting 9-of-13 shots from the field to build a 22-9 lead on a Theriot three-pointer with 11:36 left in the first half. Theriot finished with seven first-half points, while Sample finished 4-for-4 from the field to finish with eight points at the half. Cady added eight points on 2-of-3 shooting and 4-of-4 shooting at the line in the opening period.

However, the Huskers went just 2-for-16 the rest of the way, including 0-for-9 from three-point range, to take a 28-27 lead into the locker room at halftime.

Duke hit just 8-of-27 first-half shots and just 1-of-7 threes, but outscored the Huskers 10-4 at the line in the first half to keep it close. Duke outrebounded Nebraska, 21-17, in the first half, but the Huskers won the first-half turnover battle, 7-6.

The Blue Devils came out strong in the second half, tying the game at 34 on a Stevens jumper, before Rebecca Greenwell gave Duke its first lead of the night at 36-34 with 16:33 left. The two teams then exchanged leads until a Theriot three-pointer turned a 42-41 NU deficit into a 44-42 lead with 11:27 remaining. The Huskers would not relinquish the lead the rest of the way, as Duke could get no closer than two points down the stretch.

The Huskers return to non-conference road action on Sunday, when Nebraska travels to Alabama. Tip-off between the Huskers and Crimson Tide is set for 2 p.m. with live video coverage on the SEC Network +. Free live audio will be available on Huskers.com from the Husker Sports Network.