Huskers Ready for Battle with Scarlet Knights
Nebraska Cornhuskers vs. #25 Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Sunday, Jan. 21, 5 p.m. (CT)
The RAC (Piscataway, New Jersey)
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
Huskers Ready for Battle with Scarlet Knights
• The Nebraska women’s basketball team returns to Big Ten road action in search of their eighth consecutive win away from Pinnacle Bank Arena when the Huskers take on No. 25 Rutgers on Sunday. Tip-off between the Big Red (13-6, 4-2 Big Ten) and the Scarlet Knights (17-4, 5-2 Big Ten) from the Rutgers Athletic Center in Piscataway, N.J., is set for 5 p.m. (CT).
• 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 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 video stream will be provided to BTN Plus subscribers.
• Nebraska, which is a perfect 6-0 in true road games this season including 3-0 in the Big Ten, shoots for its first-ever win at the RAC. In their two previous trips to Piscataway, the Huskers have totaled just 99 points. They face a Rutgers team allowing just 55.6 points per game to rank 16th nationally in 2017-18.
• The Huskers are in search of their second straight win over a top-25 foe in their third consecutive game against a ranked opponent. Nebraska notched a 74-65 win over No. 20 Iowa in Lincoln on Tuesday.
• Nebraska will be looking for its first true road win over a top-25 team since the No. 24 Huskers defeated No. 9 Texas A&M (74-63) at Reed Arena in College Station in the second round of the 2013 NCAA Tournament to advance to the Sweet Sixteen.
• Nebraska is one of only six teams nationally (through games Jan. 18) that owns a plus-six or better improvement in the win column over 2016-17. The team that has shown the most improvement is Rutgers. The No. 25 Scarlet Knights are plus-11 in the win column at 17-4 (6-24, 2016-17).
• Compared to last season, Nebraska is 8.1 points per game better offensively (70.9-62.8 ppg) and 11.2 points per game better defensively (65.1-76.3 ppg).
• Sophomore Hannah Whitish is playing at an All-Big Ten level for the Big Red. The 5-9 guard is averaging 16.0 points and 4.8 assists in Big Ten play while shooting 52.8 percent (19-36) from three-point range.
• Junior Maddie Simon and freshman Kate Cain have given the Huskers balance inside. Simon is averaging 12.2 points and 5.2 rebounds in Big Ten play, while Cain has contributed 9.8 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.0 blocks. Cain, who ranks No. 3 nationally with a Nebraska freshman record 68 blocks, is just 10 blocks away from the school season block record (78).
Nebraska Cornhuskers (13-6, 4-2 Big Ten)
24 - Maddie Simon - 6-2 - Jr. - F - 10.9 ppg, 5.8 rpg
31 - Kate Cain - 6-5 - Fr. - C - 10.7 ppg, 6.8 rpg
3 - Hannah Whitish - 5-9 - So. - G - 14.0 ppg, 4.1 rpg
5 - Nicea Eliely - 6-1 - So. - G - 8.4 ppg, 4.4 rpg
34 - Jasmine Cincore - 5-10 - Sr. - F - 6.8 ppg, 3.8 rpg
Off the Bench
33 - Taylor Kissinger - 6-1 - Fr. - G - 11.8 ppg, 4.4 rpg
12 - Emily Wood - 5-5 - Sr. - G - 5.2 ppg, 2.2 rpg
15 - Bria Stallworth - 5-6 - So. - G - 3.5 ppg, 1.7 rpg
13 - Janay Morton - 5-10 - Sr. - G - 3.3 ppg, 1.0 rpg
14 - Grace Mitchell - 6-2 - So. - F - 2.9 ppg, 2.4 rpg
43 - Rachel Blackburn - 6-3 - So. - F - 1.3 ppg, 2.0 rpg
50 - Darrien Washington - 6-2 - Jr. - F - 1.2 ppg, 2.1 rpg
Head Coach: Amy Williams (Nebraska, 1998)
Second Season at Nebraska (20-28)
11th Season Overall (213-137)
#25 Rutgers Scarlet Knights (17-4, 5-2 Big Ten)
35 - Stasha Carey - 6-2 - Jr. - F - 7.3 ppg, 7.7 rpg
40 - Victoria Harris - 6-3 - Jr. - C/F - 4.1 ppg, 4.4 rpg
3 - Tyler Scaife - 5-9 - RSr. - G - 20.5 ppg, 2.6 rpg
11 - Nigia Greene - 5-10 - Sr. - G - 5.6 ppg, 1.0 rpg
12 - Khadaizha Sanders - 5-7 - Jr. - G - 4.9 ppg, 2.1 rpg
Off the Bench
5 - Ciani Cryor - 5-5 - So. - G - 6.5 ppg, 1.8 rpg
1 - Jazlynd Rollins - 5-7 - Sr. - G - 6.4 ppg, 1.8 rpg
15 - Caitlin Jenkins - 6-3 - Jr. - F - 5.6 ppg, 7.7 rpg
31 - Tekia Mack - 6-1 - Fr. - F/G - 2.5 ppg, 1.4 rpg
44 - Jordan Wallace - 6-3 - So. - C - 1.6 ppg, 2.4 rpg
4 - Kate Hill - 5-7 - RFr. - G - 1.6 ppg, 0.6 rpg
10 - Kathleen Fitzpatrick - 5-9 - RSr. - G - 1.2 ppg, 0.4 rpg
13 - Mael Giles - 6-1 - Fr. - F - 0.9 ppg, 1.4 rpg
32 - Desiree Keeling - 6-2 - Jr. - C/F - 0.7 ppg, 0.6 rpg
Head Coach: C. Vivian Stringer (Slippery Rock, 1981)
23rd Season at Rutgers (474-259)
47th Season Overall (994-394)
Scouting The Rutgers Scarlet Knights
• Naismith Hall of Fame Head Coach C. Vivian Stringer brings her resurgent Rutgers program into Sunday’s game against Nebraska at the top of the Big Ten standings and ranked in the top 25.
• Stringer, who is closing in on 1,000 career victories after picking up win No. 994 last Saturday against Minnesota, is leading the nation’s most drastic turnaround this season after a 6-24 season in 2016-17.
• The 17-4 Scarlet Knights are 5-2 in the Big Ten after a 70-67 loss at Penn State on Thursday night. Rutgers, which was listed as the No. 15 seed in the first release of NCAA Tournament projected seeds earlier Thursday, also suffered a Big Ten loss at Purdue (47-33) on Jan. 10.
• Although Rutgers has lost back-to-back Big Ten road games and is 5-4 away from home this season, the Scarlet Knights are a perfect 12-0 at the RAC in Piscataway.
• The biggest reason for the Rutgers revival is the return of senior Tyler Scaife. The 5-9 guard is averaging 20.5 points per game after redshirting last season to undergo heart surgery to repair a congenital defect.
• With Scaife anchoring the offense, the Scarlet Knights are averaging 68.3 points per game compared to the 50.5 points they averaged when they ranked 342nd in the nation in that category in 2016-17.
• Defensively, Rutgers has improved significantly, surrendering 55.6 points per game to rank 16th nationally in scoring defense. Last year, Rutgers allowed 61.6 points per game.
• In 2016-17, Rutgers averaged 9.1 steals per game. This year the Scarlet Knights rank No. 2 in the nation with 265 steals while ranking No. 8 with 12.6 steals per game to help create a plus-6.0 turnover margin, which ranks 19th in the country. Last year, Rutgers was minus-0.2 per game in turnover margin.
• When teams do get a shot off against Rutgers, it is highly contested and often blocked. The Scarlet Knights rank No. 7 nationally with 116 blocks and 25th in field goal percentage defense (.358). • Stasha Carey, a 6-2 junior transfer from Pittsburgh, ranks second on the team in scoring with 7.3 points per game while adding 7.7 rebounds per contest. The athletic Carey owns 37 steals and 24 blocks.
• Khadaizha Sanders, a 5-7 junior guard who is the top returning scorer from a year ago after averaging 7.3 points per game, has contributed 4.9 points and 3.5 assists while adding 34 steals.
• Victoria Harris, a 6-3 senior center has pitched in 4.1 points, 4.4 rebounds, 31 steals and 25 blocks while leading Rutgers with her 59.4 field goal percentage.
•Arguably the Big Ten’s deepest team, Rutgers has eight players who have played in all 21 games and 10 who have started at least one game. A total of 14 players have played at least 15 games.
• Ciani Cryor ranks No. 3 on the team in scoring at 6.5 points per game off the bench, while leading the Scarlet Knights with 40 steals. Cryor also shares the team lead with 23 three-pointers.
• Rutgers’ No. 4 scorer, 5-7 senior Jazlynd Rollins, is averaging 6.4 points and has 24 steals.
• Caitlin Jenkins (5.6 ppg) also comes off the bench to lead Rutgers in rebounding (7.9 rpg) and blocked shots (35) in just 18.1 minutes per game. • Senior guard Nigia Greene (5.6 ppg) is one of RU’s most consistent long-range threats hitting 23-of-62 three-pointers (.371) while hitting 83.3 percent (15-18) at the free throw line.
Nebraska vs. Rutgers Series History
•Rutgers leads the all-time series with Nebraska 3-2, with all five meetings coming as Big Ten foes in the past three seasons. Last season, the Huskers battled to a 62-58 win over the Scarlet Knights in Lincoln on Jan. 10, 2017 for Amy Williams’ first Big Ten Conference win as Nebraska’s coach. Hannah Whitish (11) and Jasmine Cincore (12) both managed double figures in the game.
• In 2015-16, Rutgers went 1-2 against the Huskers, including a 66-56 win at the RAC, and a 66-63 victory over the Huskers in the Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis on March 3, 2016. Tyler Scaife scored 20 points on 10-of-19 shooting in the win in Piscataway and added 10 points in the tournament. Nebraska defeated Rutgers 65-54 in Lincoln on Jan. 16, 2016, in a game that Coach C. Vivian Stringer did not attend as she tended to an ailing family member. Scaife had 11 points in the loss.
•In the first meeting in history between the two schools, No. 21 Rutgers outlasted No. 19 Nebraska, 46-43, at the RAC on Feb. 5, 2015. Scaife had 12 points for the Scarlet Knights.
• Rutgers went 0-for-2 from three-point range in the victory, marking the last time Nebraska had held an opponent without a three-point field goal prior to the Huskers accomplishing the feat in Tuesday night’s win over No. 20 Iowa in Lincoln.
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-six in the win column heading into Sunday’s game at No. 25 Rutgers. The only team in the country that has seen a greater increase in the win column through games Jan. 18 is Rutgers (+11). Alabama A&M and Denver are the only other teams in the country with a plus-six improvement in the win column. Denver is coached by Maddie Simon’s uncle, Jim Turgeon.
•The Huskers 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 plus-four, while Kansas is one of three teams nationally that is plus-three in the win column.
Husker Road Warriors
•Nebraska is riding a seven-game winning streak away from home. NU’s current road streak is tied for the third-longest road winning streak in school history, and includes true road games (6) 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.
•The 2017-18 Huskers are one of four Nebraska teams to produce a seven-game road winning streak. Before this season, that was most recently accomplished by 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.
• A win for Nebraska at Rutgers would be the Huskers’ 14th victory of the season, doubling their win total from 2016-17 (7).
• A win would be Nebraska’s second straight over a top-25 team after defeating No. 20 Iowa (74-65) in Lincoln on Tuesday. Sunday’s game at Rutgers is NU’s third consecutive game against a top-25 foe.
• Kate Cain has climbed to fourth on Nebraska’s season block list with 68. Cain needs one block to match Janet Smith (69, 1979-80) in third place on that list. Cain has blocked at least five shots in five games this season and owns at least one block in all 19 games this year.
• Kate Cain’s 68 blocks rank No. 3 in the nation with her 3.6 blocks per game rank fourth in the country through games Jan. 18. 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 six Big Ten games. The 6-1 guard has averaged 9.2 points and 4.0 rebounds in 17.8 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 (+6.8 ppg) is one of the Big Ten’s most improved players in 2017-18. Simon, a 6-2 forward, is averaging 10.9 points per game after averaging 4.1 points through all 29 games a year ago. Simon has scored in double figures in eight of the last 10 games. She had just five double-digit efforts in her first two seasons combined.
• Sophomore guard Hannah Whitish (36) owns the longest current streak of consecutive starts by a Husker. Nebraska’s second-longest streak is 18 games by freshman Kate Cain.
• Whitish is the only Husker to start all 19 games this season.
• Whitish has scored in double figures in eight straight games and 10 of Nebraska’s last 11 contests.
• Whitish has posted at least one assist in 21 consecutive games, and has three or more assists in 18 games this season, including 15 straight.
• Whitish has knocked down a three-pointer in 16 consecutive games.
• Kate Cain has blocked at least one shot in each of the first 19 games of her career. She has 17 games with two or more blocks.
• Cain has at least two rebounds every game this season.
• Taylor Kissinger has knocked down at least one three-pointer in 12 consecutive games.
• Nicea Eliely has at least one assist in eight straight games.
• Simon has at least three rebounds in all 15 of her games this season.
• Simon has at least one assist in 14 straight games.
• The Huskers have knocked down at least one three-pointer in 299 straight regular-season games dating back to a loss at UTEP on Dec. 20, 2008.
• Nebraska has hit at least two three-pointers in 178 consecutive games.