Huskers Take on Terps in Big Ten Semifinals
Nebraska Cornhuskers  (21-9, 11-5 Big Ten)
vs. #17 Maryland Terrapins  (24-6, 12-4 Big Ten)
Saturday, March 3, 7:15 p.m.
Bankers Life Fieldhouse (Indianapolis)
Television: BTN (Lisa Byington, Christy Winters Scott)
Live Radio: Husker Sports Network (6:45 p.m.)
Matt Coatney (PBP), Jeff Griesch (Analyst)
Lincoln - B107.3 FM; Omaha - ESPN 590 AM
Free Live Audio: Huskers.com/Huskers & TuneIn Apps
Huskers Face No. 17 Maryland in Big Ten Semifinals
• The Nebraska women’s basketball team gets its third chance to take down the No. 17 Maryland Terrapins in the past month, when the Huskers battle the Terps in the Big Ten semifinals on Saturday in Indianapolis. No. 3 seed Nebraska (21-9, 11-5 Big Ten) will tip-off against No. 2 seed Maryland (24-6, 12-4 Big Ten) 25 minutes after the conclusion of Saturday’s first semifinal game between No. 1 seed Ohio State and No. 4 seed Minnesota. Nebraska’s game is expected to begin approximately 7:15 p.m.
• Lisa Byington will be on the play-by-play with Christy Winters Scott in a game that will be nationally televised by the Big Ten Network.
• A live radio broadcast with potential extended pregame coverage starting at 7 p.m. will be available from the Husker Sports Network. Matt Coatney and Jeff Griesch team 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.
• Nebraska continues as one of the biggest surprises in college basketball this season. The Huskers (21-9) own a 14-game improvement over last season’s team (7-22) are tied with conference partner Rutgers as the most improved teams in the nation this season.
• Nebraska’s Amy Williams captured Big Ten Conference Coach-of-the-Year honors from both the league coaches and media. Williams, who was the Summit League Coach of the Year in both 2015 and 2016, is one of 10 semifinalists for the Naismith National Coach-of-the-Year award.
• Sophomore Hannah Whitish earned second-team All-Big Ten honors from both the conference coaches and media. Whitish scored 17 points and grabbed seven rebounds in a quarterfinal win over No. 24 Michigan on Friday night. She is averaging team bests of 12.8 points, 4.9 assists and 1.3 steals per game, while knocking down 69 three-pointers on the year. The 5-9 point guard from Barneveld, Wis., is the only Husker to start all 29 games this year.
• Kate Cain showed why she earned spots on the Big Ten All-Defensive Team and the Big Ten All-Freshman Team by blocking a Nebraska conference tournament record seven shots in NU’s 61-54 victory over Michigan Friday. The 6-5 center from Middletown, N.Y., added six points and seven rebounds while pushing her school-record season total to 98 blocks. Cain is averaging 10.2 points and team bests of 7.3 rebounds and 3.3 blocked shots.
Nebraska Cornhuskers (21-9 11-5 Big Ten)
24 - Maddie Simon - 6-2 - Jr. - F - 10.6 ppg, 5.7 rpg
31 - Kate Cain - 6-5 - Fr. - C - 10.3 ppg, 7.3 rpg
3 - Hannah Whitish - 5-9 - So. - G - 12.7 ppg, 4.0 rpg
5 - Nicea Eliely - 6-1 - So. - G - 8.5 ppg, 4.0 rpg
34 - Jasmine Cincore - 5-10 - Sr. - F - 6.4 ppg, 4.1 rpg
Off the Bench
33 - Taylor Kissinger - 6-1 - Fr. - G - 10.3 ppg, 4.3 rpg
13 - Janay Morton - 5-10 - Sr. - G - 5.2 ppg, 1.4 rpg
12 - Emily Wood - 5-5 - Sr. - G - 4.0 ppg, 1.6 rpg
15 - Bria Stallworth - 5-6 - So. - G - 3.4 ppg, 1.5 rpg
14 - Grace Mitchell - 6-2 - So. - F - 2.1 ppg, 1.8 rpg
43 - Rachel Blackburn - 6-3 - So. - F - 1.6 ppg, 1.9 rpg
50 - Darrien Washington - 6-2 - Jr. - F - 1.3 ppg, 2.2 rpg
Head Coach: Amy Williams (Nebraska, 1998)
Second Season at Nebraska (27-31)
11th Season Overall (220-140)
No. 17 Maryland Terrapins (24-6, 12-4 Big Ten)
24 - Stephanie Jones - 6-2 - So. - F - 11.4 ppg, 6.4 rpg
3 - Channise Lewis - 5-8 - Fr. - G - 5.5 ppg, 2.0 rpg
5 - Kaila Charles - 6-1 - So. - G - 18.3 ppg, 8.3 rpg
12 - Kristen Confroy - 5-9 - Sr. - G - 9.7 ppg, 5.3 rpg
10 - Eleanna Christinaki - 6-0 - Jr. - G - 12.3 ppg, 4.1 rpg
Off the Bench
34 - Brianna Fraser - 6-3 - Jr. - C - 10.1 ppg, 5.8 rpg
1 - Ieashia Small - 6-0 - RSr. - G - 9.4 ppg, 3.8 rpg
21 - Sarah Myers - 6-0 - So. - G - 2.0 ppg, 1.2 rpg
0 - Aja Ellison - 6-3 - Jr. - F - 0.7 ppg, 1.5 rpg
22 - Blair Watson - 6-0 - So. - G - 13.8 ppg, 4.2 rpg
Head Coach: Brenda Frese (Arizona, 1993)
16th Season at Maryland (426-117)
19th Season Overall (482-147)
Scouting the Maryland Terrapins
• Coach Brenda Frese led her Terrapins to the No. 2 seed at the Big Ten Tournament with a 12-4 Big Ten record and a 24-6 overall mark. Maryland is shooting for its fourth consecutive conference tournament title since joining the Big Ten before the 2014-15 season.
• The 17th-ranked Terrapins advanced to the Big Ten semifinals with a 67-54 win over seventh-seeded Indiana in Friday's quarterfinals. Kaila Charles led Maryland with 24 points, while Kristen Confroy, Channise Lewis and Brianna Fraser each pitched in 10 points.
• Maryland is 2-0 against Nebraska this season, including a 77-75 win over the Huskers in College Park in the final game of the regular season on Feb. 25. Nebraska's Hannah Whitish hit a three-pointer to give the Big Red a one-point lead in the closing minute, but her three-pointer in the closing seconds caromed off the back iron to allow the Terps to escape with a two-point win.
• In the first meeting this season, Maryland defeated Nebraska 64-57 at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln. The Huskers, who are 9-3 in their last 12 games, have suffered two of those losses to the Terrapins.
• Kaila Charles, a 6-1 sophomore guard who earned first-team All-Big Ten honors this season, leads Maryland with 18.3 points and 8.3 rebounds per game on the season. She had game highs of 25 points (11-of-16 shooting) and 16 rebounds despite committing nine turnovers in the first meeting with the Huskers. She added 19 points and 11 rebounds in the rematch in College Park (Feb. 25).
• Eleanna Christinaki, a 6-0 junior guard who claimed honorable-mention All-Big Ten accolades, has added 12.3 points and 4.1 rebounds since becoming eligible on Dec. 20 (Coppin State) after sitting out one season due to NCAA transfer rules. Christinaki had 11 points on 3-of-15 shooting in Lincoln. She managed 13 points on 4-of-14 shooting in the rematch, before being held to four points on 2-of-9 shooting in Maryland's quarterfinal win over Indiana on Thursday.
• Stephanie Jones, a 6-2 sophomore forward and the younger sister of former Terp All-American Brionna Jones, leads Maryland inside with 11.4 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. She is shooting a team-best 59.6 percent from the field, while adding 26 blocks. She had just two points, three rebounds and four fouls in just 10 minutes in the first meeting with the Huskers, before getting seven points and 11 rebounds in the rematch. She had 10 points and seven boards in Thursday's quarterfinal win over Indiana.
• The most experienced Terp is senior Kristen Confroy, who earned honorable-mention All-Big Ten accolades this season. The 5-9 guard has joined Jones and Charles in the starting lineup for all 30 games this season. Confroy, who has hit 68-of-153 (.444) of her threes is an elite shooter who is also averaging nearly three assists per game. She has played in 136 games for the Terps with 90 starts. Confroy had three points and 10 rebounds in the first meeting with Nebraska, before adding six points and nine boards in the rematch. She managed five points on 1-of-5 shooting with no threes in Thursday's quarterfinal win over Indiana.
• Fellow senior Ieshia Small, the Big Ten Sixth Player of the Year, gives Maryland a major boost off the bench. The aggressive scoring guard is averaging 9.1 points and 3.7 rebounds in just over 22 minutes per game. She is just 1-for-16 on the season from three-point range. Small was scoreless in the first meeting with the Huskers, but boosted the Terps with five points, five rebounds and three assists in the win at College Park
• Freshman Channise Lewis has assumed starting point guard duties in place of the departed Destiny Slocum this season. The 5-8 Lewis has managed 5.5 points and 4.8 assists per game. She is also a solid three-point shooter, hitting 29-of-69 attempts (.420) on the season, despite making just 23-of-42 free throws (.548). She had nine points and a game-high six assists in the first meeting, before adding 10 points and two assists in the rematch. She went for 10 points and six rebounds while going a perfect 3-for-3 from the field in the Big Ten quarterfinal win over Indiana
• Junior Brianna Fraser gives Maryland five active players averaging in double figures with 10.1 points and 5.8 rebounds in just 19.9 minutes per game. The 6-3 center was huge for the Terps with 14 points in 16 minutes off the bench in the first meeting with Nebraska, before adding 12 points in 19 minutes in College Park. She nearly produced a double-double with 10 points and eight rebounds in 23 minutes in Thursday's win over Indiana.
Nebraska vs. Maryland Series History
• Maryland leads the all-time series with Nebraska 8-0, including a 64-57 win in Lincoln on Feb. 4, and a 77-75 win in College Park on Feb. 25
• The first meeting in history came with Nebraska’s 76-64 setback at Maryland in the second round of the 2008 NCAA Tournament (March 25). The 12-point margin matched the narrowest in series history.
• In 2012-13, the Huskers dropped a 90-71 decision to the Terrapins in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge at the Devaney Center on Nov. 28, 2012.
• The two teams did not meet again until Jan. 3, 2015, when the Huskers fell to Maryland, 75-47 at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Just over a month later, the Huskers battled the Terps to a 59-47 decision in College Park on Feb. 8 - tying for the tighest margin in series history.
• Maryland’s edge grew to 5-0 with an 89-50 win over the Huskers at the Xfinity Center on Jan. 7, 2016, before Nebraska withstood the biggest loss in series history with a 93-49 setback last season in Lincoln (Jan. 4, 2017) - the largest losing margin at home in Husker history.
Nebraska’s Path at the Big Ten Tournament
• The Nebraska women’s basketball team earned the No. 3 seed and a double-bye for the 2018 Big Ten Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis this week. The Huskers, who finished the regular season with an 11-5 conference mark, improved to 21-9 overall with a 61-54 win over 24th-ranked Michigan in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals on Friday night.
• The Huskers, who will try to advance to their third Big Ten Tournament Championship Game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse since joining the league in 2011-12, has a path that presents huge opportunities. Nebraska avenged a regular-season loss to Michigan with its win over the Wolverines on Friday night.
• The Huskers will face a Maryland team that escaped with a pair of narrow victories over the Big Red in February. NU’s first loss to the Terrapins came in Lincoln on Feb. 4, when the No. 11 Terps left Pinnacle Bank Arena with a 64-57 win. In the final game of the regular season, the Huskers took the Terps to the brink. After trailing by 14 points in the third, the Huskers rallied to take a one-point lead on a Hannah Whitish three with 48 seconds left at the XFINITY Center in College Park. Maryland regained a two-point lead before Whitish got a clean look at a three from the right wing in the closing seconds. Her shot hit back iron and caromed off to give the Terps a 77-75 win and the No. 2 seed.
• If the Huskers can advance to Sunday, they could meet No. 13 Ohio State, which earned the tournament’s No. 1 seed after claiming the Big Ten regular-season title with a 13-3 record. The Buckeyes opened Big Ten play with a 73-61 win over the Huskers at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln (Dec. 28). Ohio State must first get past No. 4 seed Minnesota in the first semifinal game on Saturday.
• Nebraska is 11-3 away from home this season, with its only losses to RPI 16 Buffalo (neutral), RPI 19 Maryland and RPI 55 Indiana. The Huskers own top 50 road wins over Iowa (20), Michigan (37), Minnesota (40) and Rutgers (41), while adding quality road wins over Michigan State (65) and Drake (75).
• Kate Cain owns the Nebraska season record for blocks with 98, surpassing the previous mark held by Olympic bronze medalist Danielle Page (78, 2007-08). Cain has a block in all 30 games this season.
• Cain’s 98 blocks rank No. 4 in the nation while her 3.3 blocks per game rank fourth in the country through games March 2. 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’s Taylor Kissinger came off the bench throughout Big Ten play as one of the top freshman scorers in the conference. The 6-1 guard from Minden, Neb., is averaging 10.3 points per game on the year.
• Kissinger (10.3 ppg) and Cain (10.2 ppg) have a chance to become just the second pair of Husker freshmen and the first since 1982-83 to each average double figures in the same season, joining Debra Powell (15.4 ppg) and Crystal Coleman (12.3 ppg).
• Kissinger needs three three-pointers to move into a tie for third on Nebraska’s freshman season three-point list with 51. Hannah Whitish is No. 2 on that list with 57 in 2016-17.
• Junior Maddie Simon (+6.4 ppg) is one of the Big Ten’s most improved players in 2017-18. Simon, a 6-2 forward, is averaging 10.5 points per game after averaging 4.1 points through all 30 games a year ago.
Williams Named Naismith Coach of the Year Semifinalist
• Nebraska’s Amy Williams was named a semifinalist for the Werner Ladder Naismith Women’s Basketball College Coach-of-the-Year award by the Atlanta Tipoff Club on Feb. 21.
• The second-year Husker head coach has led one of the nation’s top turnarounds, guiding the Big Red to a 21-9 overall record that included an 11-5 conference mark. Nebraska has put up a 14-game improvement in the win column over its 7-22 record a year ago.
• Just one year after tying for last place in the 14-team Big Ten, the Huskers went into the final day of conference regular-season play in contention for a share of the regular-season title. Nebraska also solidified its claim as one of the conference’s top-four teams by advancing to the Big Ten Tournament semifinals with a win over Michigan.
• Williams was recognized as the Big Ten Coach of the Year by both the league coaches and media on Monday, Feb. 26.
• The only Big Ten Conference coach listed among the 10 semifinalists for the Naismith National Coach-of-the-Year award, Williams joins Geno Auriemma (UConn), Vic Schaefer (Mississippi State), Jeff Walz (Louisville), Kelly Graves (Oregon), Kim Mulkey (Baylor), Muffet McGraw (Notre Dame), Robin Pingeton (Missouri), Karen Aston (Texas) and Joni Taylor (Georgia) among the contenders for the honor.
Lining Up A Husker Dance Card
• Nebraska’s 14-game turnaround matches Rutgers for the biggest swing in the win column in the nation this season.
• Nebraska Coach Amy Williams is one of 10 semifinalists for the Naismith National Coach of the Year.
• NU’s top five scorers are all scheduled to return for the Huskers next season, including freshmen Kate Cain (10.2 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 3.3 bpg) and Taylor Kissinger (10.3 ppg, 4.3 rpg) and sophomores Hannah Whitish (12.8 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 4.9 apg) and Nicea Eliely (8.7 ppg, 4.0 rpg), along with junior Maddie Simon (10.5 ppg, 5.6 rpg).
• Nebraska is one of only five Big Ten Conference teams to produce 10 or more victories away from home this season. In the Big Ten, only Maryland has a better road winning percentage (12-3, .800) than Nebraska (11-3, .786). Big Ten regular-season champion Ohio State is 12-4 (.750), while Iowa, which Nebraska swept both home and away in 2018, is 11-4 (.733) away from Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Minnesota is 10-5 (.667) .
• Nine of Nebraska’s 14 away games have come against top-75 RPI teams, with the Huskers owning a 6-3 record in those contests.
• Nebraska is 20-6 with Maddie Simon on the court this season. Simon missed four games (Creighton, Buffalo, Coastal Carolina, Clemson) with a significant ankle sprain suffered in warm-ups before the game with Creighton (Nov. 19). Simon missed the rest of NU’s games in November and the Huskers went 1-3.
• Taylor Kissinger missed Nebraska’s final six non-conference games with a knee injury suffered late in the game with Clemson (Nov. 30). Kissinger averaged a team-best 14.0 points per game through the first seven contests this season.
• Sophomore wing Nicea Eliely missed Nebraska’s first three games this season with a foot/ankle injury that kept her off the court for the last two weeks of October and the first two weeks of November.
• Senior guard Janay Morton, a projected starter, missed Nebraska’s first six games this season after undergoing offseason foot surgery. She missed eight games overall and played just 37 total minutes in non-conference play while recovering from the injury that kept her off the court for all of August, September and October. Over the last six games, Morton is averaging 9.0 points per game.
• Nebraska’s full team did not have its first full practice together until Dec. 26 because of the injuries to Morton, Eliely, Simon and Kissinger.
• Sophomore guard Hannah Whitish (76) owns the longest current streak of consecutive starts by a Husker. Nebraska’s second-longest streak is 29 games by freshman Kate Cain.
• Whitish is the only Husker to start all 30 games this season.
• Nebraska has featured the same starting lineup in 22 consecutive games (16-6 record).
• Whitish has posted at least one assist in 32 consecutive games, and has three or more assists in 28 games this season.
• Kate Cain has blocked at least one shot in each of the first 30 games of her career. She has 25 games with two or more blocks.
• Cain has at least two rebounds every game this season.
• Maddie Simon has at least three rebounds in all 26 of her games this season.
• The Huskers have knocked down at least one three-pointer in 310 straight regular-season games dating back to a loss at UTEP on Dec. 20, 2008.
• Nebraska has hit at least two three-pointers in 189 consecutive games.
Big Red Locking Down on Defense in Big Ten
• Nebraska is showing drastic improvement on defense in 2017-18. Last season, Nebraska ranked 14th in the Big Ten by allowing 76.3 points, including 80.4 points per game in league play. Prior to 2015-16, the Huskers had not allowed 65 points per game since 2004-05.
• This season, Nebraska is allowing 63.2 points per game, including 63.6 in Big Ten play.
• Over the last 11 games, the Huskers have allowed just 60 points per game, despite playing five top-25 opponents at game time, including four of the five games away from home.
• Nebraska leads the Big Ten in field goal percentage defense (.369) and three-point field goal percentage defense (.304).
• Last season, Nebraska allowed 82.8 points per game to go 0-13 away from home. This year, Nebraska is allowing just 65.8 points per game while going 11-3 away from Pinnacle Bank Arena.
• Compared to last season, Nebraska is 6.7 points per game better offensively (69.5-62.8 ppg) and 13.1 points per game better defensively (63.2-76.3 ppg).
• Nebraska allowed just 42 points at No. 25 Rutgers, the lowest point total by an opponent in Coach Amy Williams’ two seasons at NU and the fewest points surrendered by the Huskers since holding Creighton to 38 on Dec. 14, 2013. It was also the fewest points allowed by the Huskers in a road game since holding Michigan to 39 points on Feb. 21, 2013, in Ann Arbor. • Nebraska has held 11 foes to 55 points or less, including 42 at No. 25 Rutgers, 47 to Illinois (Feb. 1) and Coastal Carolina (Nov. 24), 48 to Wisconsin (Feb. 11), 49 at Kansas (Dec. 6), 51 to Purdue (Jan. 24) and Penn State (Feb. 22), 52 to Arkansas Pine Bluff (Dec. 2), 53 to SIUE (Nov. 11), 54 to No. 24 Michigan at the Big Ten Tournament and 55 at San Jose State (Dec. 17).
• Last season, the Huskers held just two foes to 55 or less.
• The Huskers have held two opponents (Illinois, 2nd, 0-12, Feb. 1; at Kansas, 4th, 0-14, Dec. 6) without a field goal in a quarter this season. They are the only two times Nebraska has held an opponent without a field goal since the advent of the quarter system.
• Nebraska held Illinois (Feb. 1) to just 10 points in the first half - the lowest total by an opponent in a first half in school history. Illinois managed just one point in the second quarter.
• Nebraska held Kansas (Dec. 6) to just 13 points in the second half, the fewest points ever scored in a half by a Husker road opponent on their homecourt.
• The Huskers limited a potent Michigan offense to just 14 second-half points (4 field goals), including five points in the third quarter, to take the No. 23 Wolverines to overtime (Jan. 13).
• Since accomplishing it the first time in the first quarter (8 points) against Coastal Carolina (Nov. 24), Nebraska has held opponents to single digits in a quarter a total of 13 times, including seven times in Big Ten Conference games. The Huskers held Michigan (3rd, 4th), Rutgers (1st, 4th) and Illinois (1st, 2nd) to single digits twice in the same game.
• The Huskers have held each of the Big Ten’s top five scoring offenses to double digits less (in regulation) than their regular-season averages, including Ohio State (85.3 ppg - 73, Lincoln, Dec. 28), Minnesota (84.9 ppg - 74, Minneapolis, Dec. 31), Maryland (81.7 ppg - 64, Lincoln, Feb. 4), Iowa (79.4 ppg, 65, Lincoln, Jan. 13) and Michigan (76.2 ppg - 62, Lincoln, Jan. 13 & 54, Indianapolis, March 2). The Huskers also held Penn State (No. 8 Big Ten) more than 18 points (69.2 ppg - 51, Lincoln, Feb. 22) below its average.
• In a season sweep of Iowa, the Huskers held the high-scoring Hawkeyes to just 1-for-19 from three-point range combined. In the first first meeting, Iowa went 0-for-7 with multiple air balls and had two attempts blocked by Huskers.