Photo by Scott Bruhn/Nebraska Communications

Huskers Shoot for Another Perfect Road Trip

By NU Athletic Communications

Nebraska Cornhuskers at Illinois Fighting Illini
Wednesday, Jan. 10, 7 p.m. (CT)
State Farm Center (Champaign, Illinois)
Live Video: BTN Plus
Live Radio: Husker Sports Network
Matt Coatney (PBP), Jeff Griesch (Analyst)
Lincoln - B107.3 FM; Omaha - ESPN 590 AM
Free Live Audio: Huskers.com/Huskers App/TuneIn App
Live Stats

Huskers Shoot for Another Perfect Road Trip
• The Nebraska women’s basketball team will try to complete another unbeaten three-game road swing when the Huskers square off with Illinois on Wednesday. Tip-off between the Huskers (11-5, 2-1 Big Ten) and the Fighting Illini (9-9, 0-4 Big Ten) at the State Farm Center in Champaign is set for 7 p.m.

• 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 and ESPN 590 AM in Omaha. Free audio also can be found on the Huskers App and the TuneIn App. 

• A live premium video stream will be provided to BTN Plus subscribers.

• Nebraska shoots for its seventh straight win away from home. The Huskers are coming off back-to-back Big Ten road wins at Minnesota (79-74, Dec. 31) and at Northwestern (69-59, Jan. 7). Last season, the Huskers went 0-13 away from Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln.

• The Huskers are one of only six teams in the nation that have shown four or more games of improvement in the win column over last season through games Jan. 7. Big Ten leader Rutgers is a nation-leading plus-10 in the win column, while Butler is plus-five.  

• Compared to last season, Nebraska is 7.8 points per game better offensively (70.6-62.8 ppg) and 11.9  points per game better defensively (76.3-64.4 ppg).

• Junior Maddie Simon has played outstanding basketball in Big Ten action. The 6-2 forward has matched sophomore guard Hannah Whitish for the team scoring lead in conference play with 14.0 points per game. Simon has added 5.7 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.3 steals in league play while shooting 53.1 percent. Last season, Simon averaged 3.9 points and 2.1 rebounds in Big Ten play.

• Whitish, who leads Nebraska with 5.4 assists per game, joins Simon and true freshmen Taylor Kissinger (12.9 ppg) and Kate Cain (10.9 ppg) by averaging double figures on the season.

• Cain is a four-time Big Ten Freshman of the Week and has set Nebraska’s freshman season blocked shot record with 59. She leads the Big Ten and ranks third nationally with 3.7 blocks per game.

• Kissinger, who missed Nebraska’s final six non-conference games with a knee injury, would rank third among Big Ten freshmen in scoring but does not meet the 75 percent playing requirement. Kissinger (28 3FG made) is one of only four Big Ten freshmen with more than 20 threes, even though she missed six games. Her 2.8 threes per game trail only Minnesota’s Destiny Pitts among Big Ten freshmen.

Nebraska Cornhuskers (11-5, 2-1 Big Ten)
24 - Maddie Simon - 6-2 - Jr. - F - 11.0 ppg, 6.1 rpg
31 - Kate Cain - 6-5 - Fr. - C - 10.9 ppg, 7.4 rpg
3 - Hannah Whitish - 5-9 - So. - G - 13.3 ppg, 4.3 rpg
5 - Nicea Eliely - 6-1 - So. - G - 8.6 ppg, 4.7 rpg
34 - Jasmine Cincore - 5-10 - Sr. - F - 6.8 ppg, 3.6 rpg
Off the Bench
33 - Taylor Kissinger - 6-1 - Fr. - G - 12.9 ppg, 4.5 rpg
12 - Emily Wood - 5-5 - Sr. - G - 5.8 ppg, 2.3 rpg
15 - Bria Stallworth - 5-6 - So. - G - 3.9 ppg, 1.9 rpg
14 - Grace Mitchell - 6-2 - So. - F - 2.9 ppg, 2.7 rpg
13 - Janay Morton - 5-10 - Sr. - G - 2.1 ppg, 0.8 rpg
43 - Rachel Blackburn - 6-3 - So. - F - 1.6 ppg, 2.1 rpg
50 - Darrien Washington - 6-2 - Jr. - F - 1.3 ppg, 2.2 rpg
Head Coach: Amy Williams (Nebraska, 1998)
Second Season at Nebraska (18-27)
11th Season Overall (211-136)

Illinois Fighting Illini (9-9, 0-4 Big Ten)
35 - Alex Wittinger - 6-1 - Jr. - F - 13.7 ppg, 9.1 rpg
50 - Ali Andrews - 6-2 - So. - F - 8.6 ppg, 3.4 rpg
1 - Brandi Beasley - 5-7 - So. - G - 11.9 ppg, 4.2 rpg
5 - Cierra Rice - 5-9 - So. - G - 4.5 ppg, 2.2 rpg 
13 - Petra Holesinska - 5-9 - So. - G - 7.7 ppg, 4.1 rpg
Off the Bench
25 - Kennedy Cattenhead - 5-10 - RSr. - G - 6.1 ppg, 3.1 rpg
3 - Alli Ball - 6-1 - Sr. - F - 2.9 ppg, 1.9 rpg
23 - Jaelyne Kirkpatrick - 5-7 - Jr. - G - 4.2 ppg, 2.7 rpg
30 - Courtney Joens - 5-10 - So. - G - 2.9 ppg, 1.7 rpg
24 - Jnaya Walker - 6-1 - Fr. - F - 1.8 ppg, 1.2 rpg
2 - Lyric Robins - 5-11 - Fr. - F - 2.6 ppg, 1.5 rpg
14 - Addaya Moore - 5-11 - Fr. - G - 2.0 ppg, 1.2 rpg
11 - Cydnee Kinslow - 6-2 - So. - F - 0.3 ppg, 0.8 rpg
Head Coach: Nancy Fahey (Wisconsin, 1981)
First Season at Illinois (9-9)
31st Season Overall (746-142) 

Scouting the Illinois Fighting Illini
• Coach Nancy Fahey is in her first year leading the Fighting Illini but her 31st season as a head coach. Fahey, who came to Illinois from Washington University in St. Louis. Fahey has won 746 games as a head coach, including a 9-9 mark with Illinois this season.

• Illinois already has matched its season win total from a year ago when the Illini finished 9-22, including 3-13 in the Big Ten.

• Junior forward Alex Wittinger leads Illinois by averaging 13.7 points and 9.1 rebounds per game. Wittinger also ranks third in the Big Ten with 45 blocked shots. Wittinger had 17 points, eight rebounds and three steals in the Illini’s 79-59 regular-season win over the Huskers in Champaign on Jan. 15, 2017. She did not play against the Huskers in the Big Ten Tournament because of injury. She had 20 points and 13 rebounds in the Illini’s 84-71 loss at No. 18 Iowa on Sunday.

• Wittinger, a three-year starter, is the lone junior in a starting five that features four sophomores, including returning starting point guard Brandi Beasley. The 5-7 sophomore is averaging 11.9 points, 4.2 rebounds and team highs of 3.5 assists and 1.3 steals per game. Beasley had 20 points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals while playing the full 40 minutes in the Illini’s 79-70 Big Ten Tournament win over the Huskers on March 1, 2017. She had 17 points, 10 assists, seven rebounds and three steals in Illinois’ regular-season win over the Big Red.

• Sophomore forward Ali Andrews has added 8.6 points and 3.4 rebounds per game. Last season, the 6-2 Andrews scored a game-high 24 points while hitting 6-of-10 three-pointers in the Illini’s Big Ten Tournament win over Nebraska. Andrews, who added nine points and a pair of threes in Illinois’ 79-59 regular-season win in Champaign on Jan. 15, 2017, leads the Illini with 25 three-pointers (.417) this season.

• Sophomore Petra Holesinska, a 5-9 guard from the Czech Republic, led the Illini with 19 points in last year’s regular-season win over the Huskers. Holesinska hit a pair of threes while going 7-for-11 from the field. She added six rebounds and three assists. She was even better in the Big Ten Tournament, scoring 21 points, including 9-of-12 free throws, while adding four assists. She is averaging 7.7 points and 4.1 rebounds per game this season, but was scoreless and played just eight minutes at Iowa Sunday.

• Sophomore guard Cierra Rice has rounded out the starting lineup for the Illini in Big Ten play with 4.5 points and 2.2 rebounds per game. Rice was coming off the bench in non-conference play behind junior guard Jaelyne Kirkpatrick, but Kirkpatrick has been injured for the start of Big Ten play after averaging 4.2 points, 2.7 rebounds and 2.7 assists to open the season. In the two Illini wins over Nebraska last season, Kirkpatrick averaged 5.0 points, 4.5 rebounds, 5.5 assists.

• Fifth-year senior Kennedy Cattenhead was also a regular starter in non-conference play for the Illini, and has averaged 6.1 points and 3.1 rebounds but the 5-10 guard has a turnover-to-assist ratio of 3.4-to-1.

• Courtney Joens (2.9 ppg, 1.7 rpg), Alli Ball (2.9 ppg, 1.9 rpg) and Jnaya Walker (1.8 ppg, 1.2 rpg) have also been regular contributors in the Illini playing rotation.

• Illinois is averaging 63.6 points per game, while allowing 70.3 points per contest. The Illini have a minus-0.4 team rebound margin and a minus-1.1 team turnover margin. The Illini are shooting just 39.1 percent from the field, including 30.8 percent from three-point range. Opponents are hitting 37.5 percent from three-point range against Illinois.

  • Through games Jan. 7, Illinois had not played a game against a team ranked between 53 and 109 in the official NCAA RPI. Nebraska is No. 72 in the RPI. All nine of the Illini’s wins have come against teams 110 or worse in the RPI. Five of Illinois’ nine losses have come to top-25 RPI teams and two more losses have come to top-55 RPI squads (New Mexico-47, and Virginia Tech-52).

Nebraska vs. Illinois Series History
• Nebraska owns a 10-5 edge in the all-time series with Illinois, but the Fighting Illini swept a pair of games against the Huskers last season, including a 79-59 win over NU at the State Farm Center on Jan. 15, 2017. The Illini also eliminated Nebraska from the Big Ten Tournament, 79-70, at Bankers Life Fieldhosue in Indianapolis on March 1.

• Last year’s regular-season loss to Illinois snapped Nebraska’s six-game winning streak in the series. It also ended a four-game road winning streak for the Huskers in Champaign and a stretch of five straight wins away from home for the Huskers against Illinois.

• Overall, Nebraska is 4-2 against Illinois in Champaign, 1-2 on neutral courts and 5-1 against Illinois in Lincoln. The Huskers will face Illinois again at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Feb. 1. Nebraska has won three straight games against Illinois in Lincoln.

• Nebraska’s series with Illinois dates back to an 89-86 Husker win over the Illini at the Bob Devaney Sports Center in Lincoln on March 3, 1982.

Husker Nuggets
• A win for Nebraska at Illinois would be the Huskers’ 12th win of the season, giving them five more than the seven victories they totaled last season.

• A win would also extend Nebraska’s current road winning streak to seven games. Nebraska’s six-game road winning streak is its longest since winning seven straight road games in 2012-13.

• With her next block Kate Cain will move into a tie for sixth on Nebraska’s season block list with 60, tying Olympic bronze medalist Danielle Page (60, 2006-07). Four blocks would pull Cain into a tie for fifth on that list with Catherine Redmon (63, 2009-10). Cain has blocked at least five shots in four games this season, owns at least two blocks in 12 consecutive games and a has block in all 16 games this year.

• Kate Cain’s 3.7 blocks per game and 59 total blocks ranked No. 3 nationally and No. 1 in the Big Ten through games Jan. 7. 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.

• Nebraska freshman Taylor Kissinger has come off the bench for the Huskers in their first three Big Ten games. The 6-1 guard has averaged 10.3 points and 4.0 rebounds in 18.7 minutes in Big Ten play, after averaging a team-best 14.0 points as a starter through seven games. She missed Nebraska’s final six non-conference contests with a knee injury.

• Junior Maddie Simon (+6.9 ppg) is one of the Big Ten’s most improved players in 2017-18. Simon, a 6-2 forward, is averaging 11.0 points per game after averaging 4.1 points through all 29 games a year ago. The last seven games, Simon is averaging 13.7 points with six double-figure scoring efforts. She had just five double-digit efforts in her first two seasons combined. In Big Ten play, Simon is averaging 14.0 points, 5.7 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.3 steals.

Husker Road Warriors
• Nebraska heads to Illinois with a six-game winning streak away from Pinnacle Bank Arena.

• Nebraska’s current streak is the sixth-longest road winning streak in school history, and includes true road games (5) and the neutral site win over Coastal Carolina (San Juan Shootout, Daytona Beach, Fla.) that started the streak on Nov. 24.

• The longest road winning streak in school history came with 14 consecutive wins away from the Bob Devaney Sports Center in 2009-10. That Husker team finished 32-2, won the Big 12 title and advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16.

• The only other double-digit road winning streak in school history came with 10 wins for the 2007 squad that advanced to the NCAA Tournament. After dropping their first game of the season on the road, the 2007 Huskers reeled off 10 straight away from home, including three neutral site wins.

• Three Husker teams have produced seven-game road winning streaks, most recently the 2013 NCAA Sweet 16 team that reeled off seven straight Big Ten road wins from Jan. 20 to March 8. Six of those wins came in true road games with the last coming against Iowa in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament at Hoffman Estates, Ill.

NCAA Division I Most Improved Teams
• Nebraska is putting together one of the nation’s top turnarounds under second-year Coach Amy Williams. The Huskers are already plus-four in the win column heading into Wednesday’s game at Illinois. The only teams in the country that have seen greater increases in the win column through games Jan. 7 are fellow Big Ten Conference school Rutgers (+10) and Butler (+5).

• The Huskers also own wins over two of the nation’s other most improved teams, at Kansas (66-49, Dec. 6) and Florida Atlantic (86-69, Dec. 19). Florida Atlantic is one of three teams joining the Huskers at +4, along with Alabama A&M and Denver, which is coached by Maddie Simon’s uncle, Jim Turgeon.

• Kansas is tied with UC Irvine at No. 7 nationally with a +3 in the win column so far this season.

• Nebraska and Rutgers have shown the most improvement on the road this season. Last year, the Huskers (0-10) and Scarlet Knights (0-14) combined to go 0-24 in true road games. In 2017-18, the two teams are a combined 9-0.

Nebraska Streaks 
• Sophomore guard Hannah Whitish (33) owns the longest current streak of consecutive starts by a Husker. Nebraska’s second-longest streak is 15 games by freshman Kate Cain. 

• Whitish is the only Husker to start all 16 games this season. 

• Whitish has scored in double figures in five straight games and seven of Nebraska’s last eight contests.

• Whitish has posted at least one assist in 18 consecutive games, and has three or more assists in 15 games this season, including 12 straight.

• Whitish has knocked down a three-pointer in 13 consecutive games.

• Kate Cain has blocked at least one shot in each of the first 16 games of her career. She has 15 games with two or more blocks, including 12 straight games.

• Cain has at least two rebounds in every game this season and four or more rebounds in 10 straight contests.

• Taylor Kissinger has knocked down at least one three-pointer in nine consecutive games.

• Kissinger has at least three rebounds in each of her 10 games this season.

• Nicea Eliely has recorded at least two steals in four straight games. • Eliely has at least two assists in five straight games, including three assists in each of Nebraska’s three Big Ten games.

• Eliely has blocked at least one shot in seven consecutive games.

• Maddie Simon has scored in double figures in three straight games and six of the last seven contests. • Simon has at least three rebounds in all 12 of her games this season.

• Simon has at least one assist in 11 straight games, including at least three assists in all three Big Ten contests

. • The Huskers have knocked down at least one three-pointer in 296 straight regular-season games dating back to a loss at UTEP on Dec. 20, 2008.

• Nebraska has hit at least two three-pointers in 175 consecutive games.

Boosters Sponsor Second Bus Trip
• The Nebraska women’s basketball booster club is sponsoring its second bus trip of the 2017-18 season, when the Huskers travel to Iowa City to take on Iowa on Sunday, Jan. 28. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m. at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on the Iowa campus.

• The cost per person is $50 and it includes a ticket to the game.

• A chartered booster bus will leave Lincoln (Walmart at 3400 N. 85th St.) at 8 a.m., and will make a planned stop near Omaha/Gretna (Walmart, I-80 & Hwy 370) at 8:45 a.m. to pick up additional passengers.

• Fans can pay by check to Doug Fry, 2912 Wagon Dr., Lincoln, NE 68507. The deadline to sign-up for the trip is Tuesday, Jan. 16.

• Details and more information about the trip will be available in the main entrance at Pinnacle Bank Arena prior to Nebraska’s home games with Michigan (Jan. 13) and Iowa (Jan. 16). 

• The boosters sold out their first bus trip this season and cheered the Huskers to an 89-84 double-overtime win at defending Missouri Valley Conference champion Drake in Des Moines on Dec. 9.

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