Huskers Tip Big Ten Play with No. 12 Buckeyes
Nebraska Cornhuskers (9-4, 0-0) vs. No. 12/11 Ohio State Buckeyes (11-2, 0-0)
Thursday, Dec. 28, 7 p.m. (CT)
Pinnacle Bank Arena (Lincoln, Nebraska)
TV: BTN (Jordan Bernfield, Brenda VanLengen)
Live Radio: Husker Sports Network
Matt Coatney (PBP), Jeff Griesch (Analyst)
Lincoln - B107.3 FM; Omaha - ESPN 590 AM; Lexington - 880 AM
Free Live Audio: Huskers.com/Huskers App/TuneIn App
Huskers Tip Big Ten Play By Battling No. 12 Buckeyes
• The Nebraska women’s basketball team begins Big Ten Conference competition by taking on No. 12 Ohio State on Thursday in Lincoln. Tip-off between the Huskers (9-4) and Buckeyes (11-2) is set for 7 p.m., with tickets available now at Huskers.com.
• A live radio broadcast will be produced by the Husker Sports Network, with Matt Coatney and Jeff Griesch teaming up for their 17th season together on the call. The game will be carried live for free on Huskers.com and over the air on B107.3 FM in Lincoln, ESPN 590 AM in Omaha and 880 AM KRVN in Lexington. Free audio also can be found on the Huskers App and the TuneIn App.
• Nebraska’s Big Ten opener with Ohio State also will be televised by the Big Ten Network with Jordan Bernfield and former Husker assistant coach Brenda VanLengen on the call.
• Nebraska enters Big Ten Conference play with a 9-4 record, already representing a two-game improvement in the overall win column from last season’s team that finished 7-22.
• The Huskers closed non-conference play with a 73-61 loss to Washington State on Dec. 22, snapping Nebraska’s five-game winning streak.
• Freshman Kate Cain has been a pivotal part of Nebraska’s success. The 6-5 center from Middletown, N.Y., is a four-time Big Ten Freshman of the Week. She won her latest award on Monday after posting the first points-rebounds-blocks triple-double in school history in a win over Florida Atlantic (Dec. 19). Cain had career highs of 22 points and 14 rebounds along with a school-record 11 blocks against the Owls. It was the just the third triple-double of any kind in Husker history.
• Cain’s 11 blocks smashed the previous school record of nine set by former WNBA player, current European professional and Olympic bronze medalist Danielle Page against Baylor on Feb. 3, 2007.
• As a team, Nebraska notched a school-record 13 blocks, eclipsing the previous team mark of 10 blocks, which occurred five times. The last time came against Albany on Dec. 30, 2009.
• Cain, who leads the Big Ten and ranks No. 3 nationally with 50 blocks, needs just four blocks to tie Nebraska’s freshman record of 54 blocks set by NU career leader Janet Smith over 34 games in 1978-79.
• Cain has helped the Huskers climb to No. 10 nationally in blocked shots with 73 through 13 games. Last season, the Huskers ranked 290th nationally with 67 blocks in a 29-game season. That contributed to Nebraska’s field goal percentage defense ranking 335th (.445) in NCAA Division I. This year, the Huskers rank 34th nationally in field goal percentage defense (.353).
Nebraska Cornhuskers (9-4, 0-0 Big Ten)
24 - Maddie Simon - 6-2 - Jr. - F - 10.0 ppg, 6.2 rpg
31 - Kate Cain - 6-5 - Fr. - C - 11.2 ppg, 7.7 rpg
3 - Hannah Whitish - 5-9 - So. - G - 13.1 ppg, 4.5 rpg
5 - Nicea Eliely - 6-1 - So. - G - 8.4 ppg, 5.0 rpg
34 - Jasmine Cincore - 5-10 - Sr. - F - 6.9 ppg, 3.5 rpg
Off the Bench
33 - Taylor Kissinger - 6-1 - Fr. - G - 14.0 ppg, 4.7 rpg
12 - Emily Wood - 5-5 - Sr. - G - 6.8 ppg, 2.7 rpg
15 - Bria Stallworth - 5-6 - So. - G - 4.5 ppg, 2.2 rpg
14 - Grace Mitchell - 6-2 - So. - F - 3.2 ppg, 2.9 rpg
13 - Janay Morton - 5-10 - Sr. - G - 2.2 ppg, 1.0 rpg
43 - Rachel Blackburn - 6-3 - So. - F - 1.7 ppg, 2.4 rpg
50 - Darrien Washington - 6-2 - Jr. - F - 1.5 ppg, 2.0 rpg
Head Coach: Amy Williams (Nebraska, 1998)
Second Season at Nebraska (16-26)
11th Season Overall (209-135)
No. 12/11 Ohio State Buckeyes (11-2, 0-0 Big Ten)
1 - Stephanie Mavunga - 6-3 - RSr. - F - 15.5 ppg, 11.6 rpg
3 - Kelsey Mitchell - 5-8 - Sr. - G - 26.2 ppg, 3.4 rpg
4 - Sierra Calhoun - 6-0 - Jr. - G - 13.0 ppg, 3.2 rpg
15 - Linnae Harper - 5-8 - RSr. - G - 15.5 ppg, 9.2 rpg
20 - Asia Doss - 5-7 - Jr. - G - 9.4 ppg, 2.7 rpg
Off the Bench
22 - Alexa Hart - 6-3 - Sr. - F - 5.2 ppg, 3.0 rpg
24 - Makayla Waterman - 6-2 - Jr. - F - 3.7 ppg, 3.8 rpg
33 - Jensen Caretti - 6-1 - So. - G - 2.8 ppg, 1.3 rpg
5 - Chelsea Mitchell - 5-11 - Jr. - G - 1.0 ppg, 1.4 rpg
12 - Savitha Jayaraman - 6-2 - Fr. - F - 0.8 ppg, 0.3 rpg
14 - Karlie Cronin - 5-8 - So. - G - 0.0 ppg, 0.7 rpg
Head Coach: Kevin McGuff (St. Joseph’s College, 1992)
Fifth Season at Ohio State (106-46)
16th Season Overall (361-145)
Scouting the No. 12/11 Ohio State Buckeyes
• Coach Kevin McGuff brings one of the most explosive offensive teams in the country to Lincoln to clash with the Cornhuskers.
• The No. 12 Buckeyes rank No. 2 in the nation, averaging 91.4 points per game. Ohio State is shooting 45.7 percent from the field, 35.9 percent from three-point range and 74.7 percent from the free throw line. Ohio State also ranks eighth nationally with 9.9 three-pointers per game.
• Ohio State has scored 100 or more points four times in 13 games and the Buckeyes have reached the 90-point mark in four other contests. Only Duke has held OSU to fewer than 83 points in a game, as the Blue Devils beat the Buckeyes 69-60 in Durham in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge on Nov. 30.
• While the Buckeyes rarely turn the ball over, ranking No. 8 nationally with just 11.7 turnovers per game, they have used a gambling defense to generate offense. OSU is averaging 9.3 steals per game and have attempted 111 more field goals than its opponents, while also attempting 75 more free throws.
• The 11-2 Buckeyes own a pair of wins over traditional power Stanford, while their losses have come to current No. 3 Louisville and current No. 14 Duke.
• Ohio State is led by first-team All-American and potential WNBA No. 1 pick Kelsey Mitchell, who is chasing the NCAA scoring record. Mitchell, who became OSU’s career scoring leader early this season, leads the nation with 26.2 points while also leading the Buckeyes with 4.5 assists per contest. Mitchell is shooting 40.5 percent (55-135) from three-point range while hitting 4.3 threes per game.
• Mitchell is one of four experienced Buckeyes averaging 13 or more points per game.
• Fifth-year senior Linnae Harper, a 5-8 guard, is averaging 15.5 points, 9.2 rebounds, 2.3 assists and a team-best 2.7 steals per contest.
• Senior Stephanie Mavunga is averaging a double-double with 15.5 points and a team-leading 11.6 rebounds per game (12th, NCAA). The 6-3 forward is shooting 62.1 percent from the field (17th, NCAA) and leads OSU with 27 blocked shots as the lone post in a four-out, one-in system for the Buckeyes.
• Sierra Calhoun, a fourth-year junior guard has pitched in 13.0 points and 3.2 rebounds while ranking second on the team with 29 made three-pointers. Calhoun, Mitchell and Harper are all shooting better than 80 percent from the free throw line.
• Senior Asia Doss rounds out a starting five that has made all 13 starts together. The 5-7 guard is averaging 9.4 points while ranking second among the Buckeyes in assists (3.6 apg) and steals (1.8 spg).
• Alexa Hart, a 6-3 senior forward and former starter from Columbus, Ohio, supports Mavunga inside by averaging 5.2 points and 3.0 rebounds per game off the bench.
• Fourth-year junior Makayla Waterman has added 3.7 points and 3.8 rebounds as the only other Buckeye to play in all 13 games.
Nebraska vs. Ohio State Series History
• Ohio State leads the all-time series with Nebraska, 8-7, including four consecutive wins.
• Last season, the Buckeyes swept a pair of games with the Big Red, including an 87-69 win over the Huskers in Lincoln on Feb. 16, 2017. That followed a 95-75 loss to OSU in Columbus, Ohio on Jan. 29.
• The Huskers suffered a 96-70 loss at Ohio State on Feb. 18, 2016, after falling 78-60 to the Buckeyes at Pinnacle Bank Arena on March 1, 2015.
• The all-time series with Ohio State has featured several streaks. Nebraska won five consecutive games against Ohio State dating back to the Big Red’s first season in the Big Ten in 2011-12. NU’s most recent win over the Buckeyes came at Ohio State on Feb. 20, 2014 (67-59).
• Nebraska won the first two meetings in series history beginning with a 63-54 victory in Columbus on Dec. 2, 1990. The Huskers added a 60-55 win at the Bob Devaney Sports Center on Dec. 12, 2003.
• Ohio State answered with four consecutive wins, with three non-conference wins before a top-10 Buckeye team beat the Huskers, 82-68, in Columbus in the first meeting between the teams as Big Ten foes on Jan. 19, 2012.
• Five weeks later, Nebraska stormed to a 71-57 win over the same top-10 Buckeyes at the Devaney Center on Feb. 26, 2012, before eliminating Samantha Prahalis and the defending Big Ten Tournament champs, 77-62, at the Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis on March 3, 2012.
• A win for Nebraska against No. 12 Ohio State would be the Huskers’ 10th win of the season, giving the Big Red three more than the seven victories they totaled all of last season.
• A victory over OSU also would give Nebraska its first win over a ranked team under Coach Amy Williams and its first victory over a ranked foe since beating No. 17 Michigan State (73-66) on Feb. 14, 2016 at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
• Over the last six games, Nebraska sophomore point guard Hannah Whitish is averaging 18.3 points, 5.2 rebounds, 6.5 assists and 2.0 steals per game. During that span she has an assist-to-turnover ratio of nearly 5-to-1 (39-to-8).
• Whitish was named the Big Ten Player of the Week (Dec. 11) after scoring career highs of 29 points in road wins at Kansas (Dec. 6) and at Drake (Dec. 9).
• Senior Emily Wood leads the Big Ten Conference in three-point shooting percent (.481). Wood, a 5-5 guard from Salina, Kan., has hit 25-of-52 threes on the year, including a career-high 5-of-7 against Washington State. A former walk-on, Wood entered the season with 24 career three-pointers made.
• Wood (+4.7 ppg) and teammate Maddie Simon (+5.9 ppg) are two of the Big Ten’s most improved players in 2017-18. Wood is averaging 6.8 points per game compared to the 2.1 points per game she averaged while playing all 29 games last season. Simon, a 6-2 junior forward, is averaging 10.0 points per game after averaging 4.1 points through all 29 games a year ago. The last six games, Simon is averaging 11.7 and Wood is averaging 9.2 points per game.
• Kate Cain’s 3.8 blocks per game and 50 total blocks ranked No. 3 nationally through games Dec. 23. No Nebraska individual has ever averaged 2.0 blocks per game in a career, and only two Huskers (Danielle Page, 2.4 bpg, 2007-08; Catheryn Redmon, 2.5 bpg, 2010-11) have ever averaged 2.0 blocks per game in a single season.
• Sophomore guard Hannah Whitish (30) owns the longest current streak of consecutive starts by a Husker. Nebraska’s second-longest streak is 12 games by freshman Kate Cain.
• Whitish is the only Husker to start all 13 games this season.
• Kate Cain has blocked at least one shot in each of the first 13 games of her career. She has 12 games with two or more blocks, including nine straight games.
• Hannah Whitish has posted at least one assist in 15 consecutive games, and has three or more assists in 12 games this season, including nine straight.
• Whitish has knocked down a three-pointer in 10 consecutive games.
• Taylor Kissinger has knocked down at least one three-pointer in six consecutive games.
• Kissinger has at least three rebounds in each of her seven games this season.
• Emily Wood has recorded a steal in four straight games, the longest active streak by a Husker.
• The Huskers have knocked down at least one three-pointer in 293 straight regular-season games dating back to a loss at UTEP on Dec. 20, 2008.
• Nebraska has hit at least two three-pointers in 172 consecutive games.