The Nebraska women’s basketball team returns to Big Ten Conference road action Thursday when the Huskers take on No. 20 Maryland in College Park. Tip-off between the Huskers (13-3, 3-2 Big Ten) and the Terrapins (12-4, 3-2 Big Ten) is set for 7 p.m. (CT) in a game that will impact the top tier of the Big Ten standings, as both teams enter the contest in a tie for fifth in the conference race at 3-2.
Live television coverage will be provided by the Big Ten Network with Jason Knapp and Christy Winters Scott on the call for BTN.
Live radio coverage for Thursday’s game can be heard on B107.3 FM and 1400 AM KLIN in Lincoln along with ESPN 590 AM in Omaha beginning at 6:45 p.m. (CT). Stations across the state will also carry the broadcast on the Learfield IMG College Husker Sports Network. Free live audio can be found at Huskers.com, the Huskers App and TuneIn.
Nebraska slipped to 13-3 overall and 3-2 in the Big Ten with a narrow 69-65 loss at Rutgers on Sunday in Piscataway, N.J. The Scarlet Knights improved to 14-2 and moved into a tie for first in the Big Ten standings at 4-1 with the win over the Big Red.
Kate Cain, a Lisa Leslie Award candidate, has been a leader early for the Huskers in Big Ten play, averaging 10.2 points, 11.0 rebounds and 2.8 blocks through five games. Cain, a 6-5 junior from Middletown, N.Y., opened league play with three straight double-doubles.
Two-time All-Big Ten guard Hannah Whitish is averaging 10.4 points, 3.2 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.0 steal in league play. The 5-9 senior guard is the first Husker in history to reach the combined career milestones of 1,000 points (1,102), 400 assists (424) and 200 three-pointers (228).
Sophomore Sam Haiby leads Nebraska in scoring (12.8 ppg) and steals (2.0 spg) in Big Ten play while adding 3.3 assists in conference action.
Fellow sophomore Leigha Brown is a leading contender for Big Ten Sixth Player of the Year honors. The 6-1 guard/forward is averaging a team-best 13.4 points per game (10.4 ppg B1G) and is the only Big Ten player to rank among the top 30 in the league in scoring without making a start.
Freshman Isabelle Bourne put together her best week by averaging 10.0 points, 8.0 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and 1.0 steal off the bench for the Huskers last week. Bourne, a 6-2 forward from Canberra, Australia, is averaging 5.1 points and 5.1 rebounds through 16 games off the bench.
Nebraska Cornhuskers at No. 20/20 Maryland Terrapins
Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020, 7 p.m. (CT)
Xfinity Center (17,950) – College Park, Md.
Live TV: BTN (Jason Knapp, Christy Winters Scott)
Live Radio: Husker Sports Network (6:45 p.m.)
Matt Coatney (PBP), Jeff Griesch (Analyst)
Lincoln – B107.3 FM & 1400 AM; Omaha – ESPN 590 AM
Huskers.com, Huskers App, TuneIn
Nebraska Cornhuskers (13-3, 3-2 Big Ten)
13 – Ashtyn Veerbeek – 6-2 – So. – F – 8.7 ppg, 5.4 rpg
31 – Kate Cain – 6-5 – Jr. – C – 10.1 ppg, 7.7 rpg
3 – Hannah Whitish – 5-9 – Sr. – G – 8.5 ppg, 3.4 rpg
4 – Sam Haiby – 5-9 – So. – G – 11.4 ppg, 3.4 rpg
5 – Nicea Eliely – 6-1 – Sr. – G – 8.4 ppg, 4.4 rpg
Off the Bench
32 – Leigha Brown – 6-1 – So. – F – 13.4 ppg, 3.6 rpg
34 – Isabelle Bourne – 6-2 – Fr. – F – 5.1 ppg, 5.1 rpg
14 – Grace Mitchell – 6-2 – Sr. – F – 1.9 ppg, 1.4 rpg
44 – Kayla Mershon – 6-3 – So. – F – 1.7 ppg, 2.4 rpg
2 – Trinity Brady – 5-11 – Fr. – G – 2.5 ppg, 1.5 rpg
11 – Kristian Hudson – 5-5 – RSr. – G – 1.5 ppg, 0.9 rpg
1 – Makenzie Helms – 5-8 – Fr. – G – 0.3 ppg, 0.5 rpg
Out for Season
33 – Taylor Kissinger – 6-1 – Jr. – G – 8.4 ppg, 2.8 rpg
Head Coach: Amy Williams (Nebraska, 1998)
Fourth Season at Nebraska (55-52); 13th Season Overall (248-161)
20/20 Maryland Terrapins (12-4, 3-2 Big Ten)
24 – Stephanie Jones – 6-2 – Sr. – F – 10.0 ppg, 4.4 rpg
1 – Shakira Austin – 6-5 – So. – F – 11.3 ppg, 6.9 rpg
5 – Kaila Charles – 6-1 – Sr. – G – 13.9 ppg, 8.0 rpg
11 – Taylor Mikesell – 5-11 – So. – G – 10.4 ppg, 2.2 rpg
22 – Blair Watson – 6-0 – Sr. – G – 10.3 ppg, 4.3 rpg
Off the Bench
15 – Ashley Owusu – 6-0 – Fr. – G – 11.4 ppg, 4.0 rpg
14 – Diamond Miller – 6-1 – Fr. – G – 7.4 ppg, 3.6 rpg
13 – Faith Masonius – 6-1 – Fr. – F – 4.4 ppg, 3.6 rpg
32 – Sara Vujacic – 5-11 – Sr. – G – 3.9 ppg, 1.2 rpg
Head Coach: Brenda Frese (Arizona, 1993)
18th Season at Maryland (470-128); 21st Season Overall (527-158)
Scouting the Maryland Terrapins
• Coach Brenda Frese and her No. 20 Maryland Terrapins come into Thursday’s game against Nebraska with a 12-4 overall record that includes a 3-2 Big Ten mark following a 77-49 run past Michigan in Ann Arbor on Sunday afternoon to complete a season series sweep of the Wolverines.
• In her 17 seasons at Maryland, Frese has led the Terps to the 2006 NCAA title, three NCAA Final Four appearances and 15 NCAA Tournament bids. Last year, Maryland finished 29-5 overall and 15-3 in the Big Ten to capture its fourth regular-season conference title in five seasons since joining the league in 2014-15. The Terps lost in the NCAA second round for the second straight year.
• Maryland has struggled with its consistency early this season. The Terps have scored 90 or more points on six occasions, including four games with 105 points or more in non-conference play. However, Maryland has failed to score 65 points five times in 16 games, including twice in its last four contests – an 81-58 loss at Northwestern (Dec. 31) and a 66-61 loss at Iowa (Jan. 9).
• It is the first time since 2012-13 the Terps have failed to score 65 points five times in the same season – and that year Maryland was held to fewer than 65 twice each by UConn and Duke defenses.
• In Big Ten play, Maryland is averaging 67.6 points per game after averaging 88 points per contest while going 9-2 in non-conference play. Maryland’s losses came at the hands of current No. 1 South Carolina (63-54) and current No. 9 NC State (66-59).
• Maryland still features an explosive and experienced lineup with the same five starters back from both wins over Nebraska last year. All five are averaging double figures in points this year.
• Preseason Big Ten Player of the Year Kaila Charles leads Maryland in scoring (13.9 ppg) and rebounding (8.0 rpg) and has turned up those averages to 17.6 points and 10.6 rebounds in Big Ten play. She is also averaging 2.6 steals in the league. Charles has averaged 17.8 points and 8.3 boards in six career games against Nebraska. The active Big Ten scoring leader (1,760 points), Charles also ranks No. 3 with 826 rebounds. She was a McDonald’s High School All-American in 2016.
• Fellow senior Blair Watson has added 10.3 points and 4.3 rebounds, including 11.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 5.0 steals in league play. Watson joined Charles as a McDonald’s High School All-American in 2016. Watson has averaged 12.3 points, 2.7 rebounds and 2.3 steals in three meetings against Nebraska. She did not play in three games against the Huskers during her sophomore season in 2017-18 after suffering a season-ending injury.
• Maryland’s third returning senior starter is Stephanie Jones (10.0 ppg, 4.4 rpg), who was ranked as the No. 35 player in the country by All-Star Girls Report and No. 51 by ESPN coming out of high school. Jones ranks 11th among active Big Ten career scorers with 1,100 points, and has managed 6.8 points and 5.2 rebounds in six career games against Nebraska.
• The Terps showcase a pair of talented sophomore starters in guard Taylor Mikesell (10.4 ppg, 2.2 rpg) and 6-5 forward Shakira Austin (11.3 ppg, 6.9 rpg). Austin was a McDonald’s and WBCA All-American who was ranked as the No. 3 overall player in the nation coming out of high school at Riverdale Baptist – the same school as Kaila Charles. Mikesell was an honorable-mention WBCA All-American in high school and ranked as the No. 32 overall player in the country by ESPN.
• Mikesell, a 5-11 guard, was the 2018 Big Ten Freshman of the Year while Austin joined her on the Big Ten All-Freshman Team. Austin was also a member of the 2019 Big Ten All-Defensive Team.
• A dangerous long-range shooter, Mikesell has hit 40 percent (42-115) of her threes this season after ranking second in the league at 41.1 percent and leading the Big Ten with 2.8 threes per game last season. However, in 2020 Big Ten play, Mikesell has hit just 7-of-31 (.226) of her three attempts.
• While Austin ranks third on the team in scoring and second in rebounding, she has managed just 6.6 points and 6.0 rebounds in Big Ten play, hitting just 32.4 percent (12-37) of her shots, while averaging 3.6 turnovers and 3.6 fouls in 21.4 minutes per game.
• All five Maryland starters were ranked among the top 35 players in the nation coming out of high school and the Terps feature more talent off the bench. Freshman Ashley Owusu was a 2019 McDonald’s All-American and voted the No. 1 point guard in the nation by ESPN. She started Maryland’s first 14 games, but has come off the bench the last two. She ranks second among the Terps with 11.4 points while leading the team with 4.9 assists. In Big Ten play, she has averaged 8.8 points and 2.6 assists. Owusu had 18 points, six assists and six turnovers in Sunday’s win over Michigan.
• Another McDonald’s All-American, freshman guard Diamond Miller was was one of the top 20 players in the nation by both ESPN and Blue Star coming out of high school as the New Jersey Gatorade Player of the Year. Miller (7.4 ppg, 3.6 rpg) had 15 points and five rebounds in Sunday’s win over Michigan to up her averages to 6.2 points and 2.8 rebounds in league play.
• A third freshman, Faith Masonius, was one of the top 50 players in the nation coming out of high school in New Jersey. She has added 4.4 points and 3.6 boards on the year, including 2.4 points and 1.6 rebounds in the Big Ten.
Nebraska vs. Maryland Series History
• Maryland leads the all-time series with Nebraska 11-0, including an 89-63 loss in College Park last season (Feb. 14, 2019). Four of the last five games in the series have been away from Lincoln.
• Last season, Maryland closed the third quarter on a 16-0 run over the final 3:06 in the period and stretched it to 20-0 at the start of the fourth quarter. That run began with a rare seven-point possession for the Terps.
• The Terps opened on a 9-0 run, but the Huskers cut the margin to 29-26 in the second quarter.
• Maryland’s No. 20 ranking this week is the lowest ranking the Terrapins have held entering a game with Nebraska (previous low, No. 17, Big Ten Tournament, March 3, 2018). The Terps have been ranked in the top 10 in six of the previous 11 meetings, and in the top 15 on 10 occasions.
• Two seasons ago, Nebraska took No. 13 Maryland to the wire at the Xfinity Center in College Park before falling 77-75. The Huskers trailed by 14 points in the third quarter before rallying to take a 75-74 lead with 48 seconds left. Hannah Whitish led Nebraska with 14 points, including four three-pointers. She also got a good look at a three from the right wing to win in the closing seconds that caught back iron. Kaila Charles led Maryland with 19 points and 11 rebounds.
• One week later, No. 17 Maryland eliminated Nebraska from the Big Ten semifinals with a 66-53 win in Indianapolis. Brianna Fraser (18) and Kaila Charles (14) led Maryland.
• Nebraska’s first meeting with Maryland came in the 2008 NCAA Tournament second round in College Park – a 76-64 Maryland win. NU is 0-9 against the Terps as Big Ten foes.
• Kate Cain owns Nebraska’s longest streak of consecutive starts (77).
• Nicea Eliely owns Nebraska’s second-longest streak of starts (72).
• Kate Cain has recorded at least one block in all 16 games this season, and has blocked a shot in 18 straight games dating back to last season.
• As a team, Nebraska has blocked at least one shot in 85 consecutive games.
• Nicea Eliely and Leigha Brown are the only Huskers to score points in each of Nebraska’s first 16 games this season.
• Kate Cain, Nicea Eliely and Isabelle Bourne are the only Huskers to record at least one rebound for the Huskers in all 16 games this season.
• Eliely was the only Husker to score in all 30 games last season, and the only Husker to score in all of Nebraska’s games against Big Ten Conference foes. She has scored in 50 consecutive games overall. She did not score in a win over Penn State on Feb. 22, 2018, the only time in the past three seasons (including 2019-20, 72 games) that Eliely was shut out.
• The Huskers have knocked down at least one three in 358 straight games dating back to a loss at UTEP on Dec. 20, 2008. Nebraska has hit at least two three-pointers in 237 consecutive games.
Numbers to Watch
(2) Kristian Hudson needs two assists to reach 400 in her career (383 at FIU).
(7) Kristian Hudson needs seven rebounds to reach 400 in her career (372 at FIU).
(12) Kate Cain is 12 blocked shots away from matching the Nebraska career block record held by Janet Smith (238, 1979-82).
(17) Sam Haiby is 17 points away from 500 in her career.
(31) Hannah Whitish is 31 points away from the top 20 on the Nebraska career scoring list (1,133).
• Nebraska’s 13-3 start is its best 16-game start under Coach Amy Williams and NU’s best start since opening 13-3, including 3-2 in the Big Ten during an 18-game conference season in 2014-15.
• Nebraska ranks No. 15 nationally in total home attendance (46,601).
• Nebraska is No. 34 in the Massey Ratings (Jan. 7). Ten other Big Ten teams are in the top 64, including: Indiana (9), Iowa (18), Northwestern (19), Maryland (20), Rutgers (24), Purdue (36), Ohio State (37), Michigan (43), Minnesota (52) and Michigan State (61).
• Through 16 games, Nebraska is allowing an average of 61.1 points per game (including 59.3 ppg in regulation), after allowing 70.1 points per game last season. NU’s 2018 NCAA Tournament team allowed 63.6.
• Opponents are shooting 35.3 percent from the field and 28.8 percent from three-point range against NU. Last year, Husker foes hit 41.1 percent, including 33.4 percent from three. In 2017-18, Nebraska led the Big Ten in field goal percentage defense (.371) and three-point field goal percentage defense (.299).
• Nebraska has held eight opponents to 55 points or less this season. Last year, NU held only two foes (Radford-39, Kansas-52) to 55 or less. NU held 11 opponents to 55 or less in 2017-18.
• NU’s bench has outscored opponent reserves in 15 of 16 games (not Michigan State) in 2019-20. The Husker bench has outscored opposing benches in 43 of the last 46 games, including double-digit edges 32 times.
• This season, NU’s bench has outscored opposing benches 418-219 (26.1-13.7 ppg).
• Nebraska has hit 10 or more threes 18 times in the last three seasons (77 games), including three times in the last eight contests. Through the first 20 seasons with the three-point shot in women’s basketball (1988-2007), Nebraska hit 10 threes in a game just six times (311 games).