Huskers Return Home to Renew Rivalry with KU
vs. Kansas Jayhawks
Wednesday, December 5, 2018, 7 p.m. (CT)
Pinnacle Bank Arena - Lincoln, Nebraska
Promotion: 2,000 “You Betcha - 3” Roller Banners
Special Event: Honoring Husker Karen Jennings on 25th Anniversary of Winning the Wade Trophy
Live Radio: Husker Sports Network (6:45 p.m.)
Matt Coatney (PBP), Jeff Griesch (Analyst)
Lincoln-B107.3 FM; Omaha-CD 105.9 FM
Huskers.com, Huskers App
Huskers Return Home to Renew Rivalry with Kansas
• The Nebraska women’s basketball team returns to Pinnacle Bank Arena for the first time in 24 days when the Huskers take on traditional rival Kansas on Wednesday night.
• Tip off between the Huskers (2-5) and the Jayhawks (6-0) is set for 7 p.m. (CT) in Lincoln. Live radio coverage will be provided by the Husker Sports Network, beginning at 6:45 p.m. on B107.3 FM in Lincoln and CD 105.9 FM in Omaha. Free live audio can also be found at Huskers.com and on the Huskers App. A live video stream will be provided by BTN Plus Student U.
• Nebraska will honor 1993 Wade Trophy winner Karen Jennings during Wednesday night’s game on the silver anniversary of her being named the nation’s most outstanding player. Jennings was a first-team All-American (1993), a two-time Big Eight Player of the Year (1992, 1993) and a three-time first-team CoSIDA Academic All-American (1991-93). Her No. 51 jersey was the first retired by Nebraska, and she is a member of the CoSIDA Academic All-America Hall of Fame.
• The Huskers have not played on their home court at Pinnacle Bank Arena since an 87-64 win over USC Upstate on Nov. 11. Nebraska completed a five-game non-conference road trip at Creighton on Sunday. Four of NU’s five opponents during the swing competed in either the NCAA or WNIT tournaments in 2018.
• Four of Nebraska’s five losses early this season have come against 2018 NCAA Tournament teams, including Final Four participant and 2018 ACC champion Louisville, Creighton (NCAA second round), Miami and Drake. Both the Hurricanes (25th) and Drake (21st) are currently ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 along with No. 5 Louisville.
• Husker freshman Sam Haiby produced her fifth game in double figures with a team-high 17 points and a career-high matching five rebounds off the bench at Creighton Sunday. The 5-9 guard from Moorhead, Minn., leads Nebraska with 12.3 points per game. She has led the Huskers in scoring in four of the first seven games this season, including a career-high 20 points at Washington State, before getting 14 points at No. 24 Miami (Nov. 23) and 13 points against Drake.
• Preseason All-Big Ten guard Hannah Whitish scored a season-high 15 points for the Huskers at No. 5 Louisville last Thursday. Whitish, who earned second-team All-Big Ten honors a year ago, matched her career-high with 29 points in Nebraska’s 66-49 win at Kansas on Dec. 6, 2017. Whitish scored 25 points in the second half at Allen Fieldhouse.
• Senior Maddie Simon ranks second among the Huskers in scoring with 9.6 points per game, including a season-high 16 points at No. 5 Louisville last Thursday. The 6-2 forward from Lincoln managed six points and seven rebounds against the Jayhawks last season.
Nebraska Cornhuskers (2-5, 0-0 Big Ten)
24 - Maddie Simon - 6-2 - Sr. - F - 9.6 ppg, 4.1 rpg
31 - Kate Cain - 6-5 - So. - C - 9.0 ppg, 6.3 rpg
3 - Hannah Whitish - 5-9 - Jr. - G - 8.3 ppg, 2.7 rpg
5 - Nicea Eliely - 6-1 - Jr. - G - 8.4 ppg, 4.7 rpg
33 - Taylor Kissinger - 6-1 - So. - G - 7.9 ppg, 3.6 rpg
Off the Bench
4 - Sam Haiby - 5-9 - Fr. - G - 12.3 ppg, 2.9 rpg
13 - Ashtyn Veerbeek - 6-2 - Fr. - F - 6.9 ppg, 5.4 rpg
32 - Leigha Brown - 6-1 - Fr. - F - 6.7 ppg, 2.0 rpg
11 - Kristian Hudson - 5-5 - Sr. - G - 2.4 ppg, 1.6 rpg
44 - Kayla Mershon - 6-3 - Fr. - F - 2.0 ppg, 1.3 rpg
14 - Grace Mitchell - 6-2 - Jr. - F - 1.7 ppg, 1.7 rpg
Head Coach: Amy Williams (Nebraska, 1998)
Third Season at Nebraska (30-38); 12th Season Overall (223-147)
Kansas Jayhawks (6-0, 0-0 Big 12)
14 - Austin Richardson - 6-0 - Sr. - F - 9.8 ppg, 6.2 rpg
35 - Bailey Helgren - 6-5 - So. - C - 4.8 ppg, 7.2 rpg
0 - Christalah Lyons - 5-5 - Sr. - G - 9.0 ppg, 0.8 rpg
3 - Jessica Washington - 5-8 - RSr. - G - 17.8 ppg, 3.3 rpg
33 - Kylee Kopatich - 5-10 - Sr. - G - 9.2 ppg, 3.7 rpg
Off the Bench
4 - Mariane De Carvalho - 6-2 - Jr. - F - 10.0 ppg, 2.5 rpg
2 - Brianna Osorio - 5-8 - Sr. - G - 7.5 ppg, 2.8 rpg
21 - Brooklyn Mitchell - 5-6 - Fr. - G - 4.2 ppg, 1.0 rpg
5 - Aniya Thomas - 5-7 - Fr. - G - 3.8 ppg, 0.6 rpg
12 - Micaela Wilson - 6-2 - So. - F - 3.7 ppg, 2.2 rpg
55 - Tyler Johnson - 6-2 - Jr. - C - 2.8 ppg, 1.3 rpg
31 - Brittany Franklin - 6-5 - RFr. - C - 2.2 ppg, 4.4 rpg
50 - Sara Boric - 6-5 - Sr. - C - 0.5 ppg, 0.5 rpg
11 - Niccolly Ramalho - 5-5 - Jr. - G - 0.0 ppg, 0.3 rpg
1 - Chelsea Lott - 6-3 - Sr. - C - 0.0 ppg, 0.0 rpg
Head Coach: Brandon Schneider (Wayland Baptist, 1995)
Fourth Season at Kansas (32-65); 21st Season Overall (433-203)
Scouting the Kansas Jayhawks
• Coach Brandon Schneider brings the Kansas Jayhawks into Wednesday’s game at Nebraska with a perfect 6-0 record after a 68-61 win at LSU (Nov. 29). It was the first road game of the season for the Jayhawks.
• Senior Kylee Kopatich led three Jayhawks in double figures at LSU with 14 points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals. The 5-10 guard had 10 points and four assists while playing the full 40 minutes in last season’s 66-49 loss to Nebraska at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence. Kopatich is averaging 9.2 points and 3.7 rebounds while starting all six games for KU this season. Last season, Kopatich averaged 13.3 points and 4.2 rebounds per game. She owns more than 1,000 career points while playing 97 games with 95 starts at Kansas.
• Sixth-year senior Jessica Washington added 12 points, four rebounds and three assists at LSU. The electric 5-8 guard leads KU in scoring with 17.8 points per game early this season. Washington missed the entire 2017-18 season with a knee injury after averaging 17.1 points and 4.1 rebounds as a junior 2016-17 when she was named the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year. Washington also surpassed 1,000 collegiate points earlier this season, scoring more than 400 total points in her first two years at North Carolina before transferring to Kansas. Washington scored a career-high 30 points in KU’s win over George Mason (Nov. 21) when she went a career-best 6-for-10 from three-point range. Washington did not play in KU’s first two games this season - home wins over UMKC and Oral Roberts.
• Senior Christalah Lyons contributed 10 points at LSU and is averaging 9.0 points and a team-best 3.5 assists per game. The 5-5 guard was KU’s leading scorer last season when she averaged 14.8 points and 3.1 rebounds per contest. She led the Jayhawks with 12 points and six assists while playing 38 minutes against the Big Red last year.
• A fourth senior starter, Austin Richardson, gives KU one of the most experienced lineups the Huskers will face this season. Richardson, a 6-0 forward, is averaging 9.8 points and 6.2 rebounds per contest. Last season, Richardson led KU off the bench against the Big Red with eight points and four rebounds.
• Bailey Helgren, a 6-5 center, is the only non-senior expected to be in the Kansas starting five. Helgren is averaging 4.8 points and a team-best 7.2 rebounds early this season. Helgren has joined Richardson, and Lyons in the starting five for all six games this season, while Kopatich has made five starts and Washington has started three contests. Helgren did not score in last year’s head-to-head match-up against current Nebraska sophomore center Kate Cain, but Helgren did record three blocks. Helgren had two points and five boards in 17 minutes before fouling out at LSU.
• KU also features three seniors off the bench in Brianna Osorio (7.5 ppg, 2.8 rpg), who has started 30 games in her career including three this season. Osorio managed two points and three rebounds in a start against Nebraska last season.
• Senior centers Chelsea Lott and Sara Boric have also contributed for the Jayhawks, while fourth-year junior center Tyler Johnson gives Kansas eight players in at least their fourth season of college basketball. Johnson had 11 points and six rebounds off the bench against the Huskers in 2017-18.
• Two-time junior college All-American Mariane De Carvalho made a major impact at LSU, scoring eight points in 17 minutes off the bench. The 6-2 forward from Brazil opened her KU career with 12 points in 15 minutes in a win over Iona.
• The Jayhawks also include a pair of talented freshmen in 5-6 guard Brooklyn Mitchell (4.2 ppg) and 5-7 guard Aniya Thomas (3.8 ppg). Mitchell was the No. 45 recruit in the nation last season according to ESPN, while Thomas was one of the top 125 players in the nation according to Prospects Nation.
• The Kansas win at LSU snapped an eight-game road losing streak for KU dating back to a 60-47 win at Texas Tech on Jan. 3, 2018.
• The win against the Tigers was just the third true road regular-season non-conference win in the last three-plus seasons under Coach Brandon Schneider, joining a 72-58 victory at Iona (Dec. 20, 2017) and a 68-58 win at Memphis (Nov. 20, 2016).
• In fact, Kansas has only won five true road regular-season non-conference games since Nebraska left the Big 12. In that time, the Jayhawks have appeared in two NCAA Sweet Sixteens.
Nebraska vs. Kansas Series History
• The most frequent opponent in Nebraska women’s basketball history, Kansas owns a 50-32 lead in the all-time series with the Huskers.
• Although the series is decidedly in KU’s favor, Nebraska has dominated the results since Coach Amy Williams’ senior season as a guard for the Huskers in 1997-98. Beginning with an 84-69 win over the Jayhawks at the Devaney Center in Lincoln on Feb. 11, 1998, Nebraska has gone 22-10 against Kansas in the last 32 meetings, including 13-1 in Lincoln.
• Before Nebraska’s 1998 win, KU won 40 of the first 50 meetings between the two schools.
• Last season, Nebraska battled its way to a 66-49 win at historic Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence. The Huskers trailed the Jayhawks 33-20 late in the first half, before Hannah Whitish scored 25 of her career-high 29 points in the second half to lead the Big Red to a decisive victory.
• KU was 7-0 with all seven wins at home before suffering its first loss of the season to the Huskers last year.
• Nebraska and Kansas have played twice since the Huskers exited the Big 12 Conference for the Big Ten at the start of the 2011-12 season. The Jayhawks defeated a depleted Nebraska team 57-49 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Little Rock, Ark., on March 18, 2012.
• Nebraska owns an eight-game home winning streak in the series, beginning with a 59-48 victory over the Jayhawks at the Devaney Center on Feb. 7, 2004. During the stretch, KU has only played the Huskers within single digits once - a 67-58 Husker win on Jan. 21, 2009.
• Kansas has never played at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
• Although Kansas star Jessica Washington did not play against Nebraska last season in Lawrence, she does have experience against the Huskers. The sixth-year senior started and scored seven points in 27 minutes in No. 18 North Carolina’s 75-62 win over No. 15 Nebraska in Chapel Hill on Dec. 4, 2013. First-team All-American Jordan Hooper led the Huskers with 18 points in that game.
• Nebraska is averaging 75.1 points per game through seven contests in 2018-19. Last season the Big Red averaged 68.8 points on the year.
• Nebraska is shooting 73.0 percent (92-126) from the free throw line through seven contests in 2018-19, after shooting just 64.1 percent from the line in 2017-18. Through the first seven games of 2017-18, the Huskers hit just 57.4 percent (62-108) from the line.
• Freshman Sam Haiby led Nebraska with 13 points in a season-opening loss to Drake on Nov. 7. Haiby became the first Husker freshman to lead NU in scoring in an opener since Kelsey Griffin had 18 points in a loss to South Dakota State on Nov. 19, 2005.
• Sam Haiby has led Nebraska in scoring in four of the first seven games this season. Last year as a freshman, Taylor Kissinger led the Huskers in scoring in four of the first seven games.
• Nicea Eliely leads Nebraska’s active roster with 62 career starts as a Husker. Hannah Whitish (55) is the only other Husker with as many as 50 starts at Nebraska.
• Kristian Hudson leads Nebraska with 88 collegiate starts, including her first start as a Husker against USC Upstate (Nov. 11).
• Senior Maddie Simon has played more games as a Husker than any other current player with 85, while fellow senior Kristian Hudson has played in 96 career collegiate games, including seven at NU.
• Sophomore Kate Cain owns the longest streak of consecutive starts by a Husker with 38.
• Junior Nicea Eliely owns Nebraska’s second-longest streak of starts with 33, while senior Maddie Simon has started 31 consecutive games.
• Kate Cain has at least two rebounds in every game of her Nebraska career (39), and she has blocked at least one shot in 37 of 39 games (no blocks in 2018 NCAA Tournament vs. Arizona State and no blocks at Creighton, Dec. 2, 2018).
• Sophomore Taylor Kissinger is 8-for-8 at the free throw line to open the season and owns the longest active free throw streak by a Husker. Kissinger also hit eight consecutive three-pointers over a three-game stretch earlier this season.
• The Huskers have knocked down at least one three in 319 straight games dating back to a loss at UTEP on Dec. 20, 2008. Nebraska has hit at least two three-pointers in 198 consecutive games.
• Nebraska had hit five or more three-pointers in 10 consecutive games dating back to last season, before going just 2-for-22 at Creighton on Sunday.
Freshmen Contributing Early for Huskers
• Nebraska has received production early and often from its 2018-19 freshman class. The four-player class, which was ranked among the top 20 recruiting classes in the nation by ESPN last season, features Sam Haiby (12.3 ppg), Ashtyn Veerbeek (6.9 ppg), Leigha Brown (6.7 ppg) and Kayla Mershon (2.0 ppg).
• Haiby, a 5-9 guard from Moorhead, Minn., leads Nebraska with 12.3 points per game off the bench. She has led the Huskers in scoring in four games, including against nationally ranked Drake (13) and Miami (14), while also scoring a career-high 20 points at Washington State and adding 17 points at Creighton. She owns five double-figure scoring efforts overall, including 12 points at No. 5 Louisville (Nov. 29).
• Haiby also ranks third among the Huskers in assists (2.1 apg).
• Ashtyn Veerbeek ranks second among the Husker freshmen with 6.9 points per game, while leading the group with 5.4 rebounds per contest. Veerbeek produced career highs of 13 points and nine rebounds in a win over Radford (Nov. 25). The 6-2 power forward from Sioux Center, Iowa ranks second overall for the Huskers in rebounding and blocked shots (1.0 bpg).
• Leigha Brown also scored a career-high 13 points against Radford to match Veerbeek for team-high scoring honors. Brown is averaging 6.7 points per game. The 6-1 wing from Auburn, Indiana leads the freshmen with five three-pointers and has hit 80 percent of her free throws.
• Kayla Mershon has pitched in 2.0 points and 1.3 rebounds per game for the Huskers. The 6-3 forward from Chanhassen, Minn., also has dished out four assists and has committed a team-best two turnovers through seven games.
• The freshmen have combined for 37.1 percent (195-of-526) of Nebraska’s points in just 31.7 percent of the team’s total minutes (460-of-1,450) on the season. They also have accounted for just 27.2 percent (31-of-114) of Nebraska’s turnovers.
• Nebraska’s four freshmen are combining to average 27.9 points and 11.6 rebounds per game, while NU’s two sophomores (Kate Cain, Taylor Kissinger) have combined to average 16.9 points and 9.9 boards per contest. Nebraska’s six underclassmen have combined for 59.5 percent of NU’s scoring and 53.8 percent of the team’s rebounding through seven games.
Whitish Earns Preseason All-Big Ten Honors
• Nebraska’s Hannah Whitish was named to the 12-player All-Big Ten Team by the conference coaches when the annual preseason honors were announced on Oct. 22.
• The announcement of the preseason teams marked the tip-off of Big Ten Women’s Basketball Media Week (@B1GWBBall) on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
• Whitish, a 5-9 junior guard from Barneveld, Wis., led Nebraska in scoring (12.6 ppg) and assists (4.7 apg) as a sophomore in 2017-18. She owned a 2-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio as Nebraska’s point guard while also ranking among the Big Ten’s best three-point shooters. Whitish played a major role in lifting Nebraska to the nation’s top turnaround in the win column last season, as the Huskers recorded 14 more victories (21) in 2017-18 than in 2016-17 (7). She captured second-team All-Big Ten accolades at the end of last season while helping Nebraska to the NCAA Tournament.
• Whitish was the lone Husker honored by the league in preseason voting of the conference coaches.
• The Big Ten Conference does not rank its team’s No. 1 through No. 14 in preseason voting, instead the coaches and select media members each choose their projected top-three teams in the league. Maryland is the preseason pick of the coaches and the media to win the Big Ten, while Iowa was picked No. 2 by both the coaches and media. The league coaches chose Michigan in the No. 3 spot, while the conference media selected Minnesota. Iowa senior center Megan Gustafson, the reigning Big Ten Player of the Year, was chosen by the coaches to repeat that honor. Gustafson, Maryland’s Kaila Charles, Michigan’s Hallie Thome and Minnesota’s Kenisha Bell were all unanimous preseason all-conference selections by the coaches.
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