Huskers to Battle Big Ten Unbeaten Rutgers
vs. Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Sunday, January 13, 2019, 2 p.m. (CT)
Pinnacle Bank Arena (15,000) - Lincoln, Nebraska
Live Radio: Husker Sports Network (1:45 p.m.)
Matt Coatney (PBP), Jeff Griesch (Analyst)
Lincoln-B107.3 FM; Omaha-ESPN 590 AM
Huskers.com, Huskers App, TuneIn
Huskers Battle Big Ten Unbeaten Rutgers Sunday
• The Nebraska women’s basketball team is back at Pinnacle Bank Arena to battle Big Ten unbeaten Rutgers on Sunday afternoon.
• Tip off between the Huskers (7-8, 2-2 Big Ten) and the Scarlet Knights (12-3, 4-0 Big Ten) is set for 2 p.m. (CT) in Lincoln and tickets are on sale now at Huskers.com. Live radio coverage (beginning at 1:45 p.m.) can be heard in Lincoln on B107.3 FM, in Omaha, ESPN 590 AM, and in Lexington on 880 AM KRVN, and across the state on Husker Sports Network stations. Free live audio can also be found at Huskers.com, the Huskers App and TuneIn.
• Live television coverage will be provided by BTN with Mike Monaco and Vera Jones on the call.
• The Huskers enter Sunday’s game trying to rebound from back-to-back losses to top 25 Big Ten teams at No. 19 Iowa (Jan. 3) and to No. 9 Maryland on Tuesday night in Lincoln.
• Rutgers comes to Nebraska riding a seven-game winning streak that includes a 73-65 win at then-No. 4 Maryland (Dec. 31), along with home wins over Penn State and Northwestern. The Scarlet Knights, who are receiving votes in both national polls, won 71-60 at Illinois on Wednesday.
• Nebraska and Rutgers tied for the national lead with 14-game turnarounds in the win column a year ago. The Huskers finished 21-11 (11-5 Big Ten) and earned an NCAA Tournament bid, while the Scarlet Knights finished 20-12 (7-9 Big Ten) and declined a WNIT bid.
• This season, Nebraska and Rutgers feature two of the Big Ten’s deepest and most balanced teams. The Huskers regularly use a 10-player rotation with nine averaging double-figure minutes in conference games. Rutgers also has nine players averaging double-digit minutes in league play and have at least 12 players contending for time in Big Ten action.
• Neither Nebraska nor Rutgers feature an individual averaging 11 points per game on the year.
• Nebraska’s Leigha Brown, who was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Week (Jan. 7), owns the highest scoring average for either team in Big Ten games-only. The 6-1 wing from Auburn, Indiana is averaging 13.5 points through four conference contests.
• Husker freshman Sam Haiby enters the Rutgers game with the best season scoring average by a Nebraska player. The 5-9 guard from Moorhead, Minn., is averaging a team-best 10.5 points per game overall on the season.
• Early this season, Naismith Hall of Fame Head Coach C. Vivian Stringer recorded her 1,000th career victory with a win over Central Connecticut (Nov. 13). Stringer is in her 24th season at Rutgers and her 48th overall as a head coach.
Nebraska Cornhuskers (7-8, 2-2 Big Ten)
24 - Maddie Simon - 6-2 - Sr. - F - 8.4 ppg, 3.9 rpg
31 - Kate Cain - 6-5 - So. - C - 7.9 ppg, 6.3 rpg
3 - Hannah Whitish - 5-9 - Jr. - G - 8.7 ppg, 2.5 rpg
5 - Nicea Eliely - 6-1 - Jr. - G - 8.7 ppg, 4.3 rpg
33 - Taylor Kissinger - 6-1 - So. - G - 9.1 ppg, 4.0 rpg
Off the Bench
4 - Sam Haiby - 5-9 - Fr. - G - 10.5 ppg, 3.3 rpg
32 - Leigha Brown - 6-1 - Fr. - F - 9.9 ppg, 2.5 rpg
13 - Ashtyn Veerbeek - 6-2 - Fr. - F - 7.9 ppg, 6.3 rpg
44 - Kayla Mershon - 6-3 - Fr. - F - 2.8 ppg, 2.6 rpg
14 - Grace Mitchell - 6-2 - Jr. - F - 1.3 ppg, 1.3 rpg
11(out) - Kristian Hudson - 5-5 - Sr. - G - 2.4 ppg, 1.6 rpg
Head Coach: Amy Williams (Nebraska, 1998)
Third Season at Nebraska (35-41); 12th Season Overall (228-150)
Rutgers Scarlet Knights (12-3, 4-0 Big Ten)
35 - Stasha Carey - 6-2 - RSr. - F - 10.3 ppg, 6.0 rpg
40 - Victoria Harris - 6-3 - Sr. - C/F - 6.1 ppg, 5.2 rpg
3 - Charise Wilson - 5-5 - Sr. - G - 7.9 ppg, 2.3 rpg
5 - Ciani Cryor - 5-5 - Jr. - G - 8.7 ppg, 3.9 rpg
24 - Arella Guirantes - 5-11 - So. - G - 10.6 ppg, 3.9 rpg
Off the Bench
15 - Caitlin Jenkins - 6-3 - Sr. - F - 6.6 ppg, 7.4 rpg
2 - Noga Peleg Pelc - 5-7 - Fr. - G - 6.9 ppg, 1.8 rpg
4 - Sierra Calhoun - 6-0 - Sr. - G - 5.9 ppg, 1.5 rpg
1 - Zipporah Broughton - 5-7 - Fr. - G - 4.1 ppg, 1.2 rpg
13 - Mael Gilles - 6-1 - So. - F - 2.6 ppg, 2.5 rpg
44 - Jordan Wallace - 6-3 - Jr. - C - 3.1 ppg, 2.7 rpg
31 - Tekia Mack - 6-1 - So. - F/G - 2.7 ppg, 1.8 rpg
22 - Tyia Singleton - 6-2 - Fr. - F - 1.0 ppg, 2.3 rpg
Head Coach: C. Vivian Stringer (Slippery Rock, 1971)
24th Season at Rutgers (489-270); 48th Season Overall (1,009-405)
Scouting the Rutgers Scarlet Knights
• Hall of Fame Coach C. Vivian Stringer brings 1,009 career wins with her into Sunday afternoon’s game at Nebraska. Stringer’s 24th Rutgers team is contending for a spot in the top 25 in the national polls and remains unbeaten early in Big Ten play at 4-0. The Scarlet Knights are 12-3 overall after winning 71-60 at Illinois on Wednesday.
• The balanced Scarlet Knights attack features seven players averaging better than six points per game and seven players who have started at least one Big Ten contest this season.
• Fifth-year senior forward Stasha Carey is an all-around leader for the Scarlet Knights. She averages 10.3 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.6 blocks per game.
• Four more seniors make Rutgers one of the Big Ten’s most experienced groups, including starting post Victoria Harris (6.1 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 2.0 spg) and starting guard Charise Wilson (7.9 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 3.0 apg). Harris leads Rutgers in steals (28), while Wilson leads the Scarlet Knights with 45 assists. Wilson also ranks second among the Scarlet Knights with 18 three-pointers.
• Caitlin Jenkins, a 6-3 forward averaging 6.6 points and a team-best 7.4 rebounds, and 6-0 senior guard Sierra Calhoun, a transfer from Ohio State who is averaging 5.9 points, round out the Rutgers senior contributors.
• Junior guard Ciani Cryor has returned from an early season injury to power Rutgers with 9.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 8.3 assists and 4.0 steals per game in Big Ten play. Cryor is averaging 36 minutes per game in league play. Overall, Rutgers is 7-0 with Cryor on the court this season. She missed time early in the year while serving a team suspension.
• The youngest member of the Rutgers starting five, sophomore guard Arella Guirantes is averaging team bests of 10.6 points per game on the season and 12.3 points in Big Ten play. The 5-11 transfer from Texas Tech ranks third on the team with 16 three-pointers.
• Freshman Noga Peleg Pelc, a 5-7 guard from Israel, also has made a major impact. Pelc, who started eight games early in the season, is averaging 6.9 points per game. She leads Rutgers with 25 threes on the season, including 7-of-11 shooting (.636) from long range in Big Ten play.
• Sophomores Mael Gilles (2.6 ppg, 2.5 rpg) and Tekia Mack (2.7 ppg, 1.8 rpg) have earned Big Ten starts for Rutgers early this season. Gilles has started nine times overall on the year.
• Stringer and Rutgers have always been known for their suffocating defense and this year has been no exception. The Scarlet Knights are holding opponents to just 52.7 points per game despite playing explosive offenses like Maryland, Gonzaga and Drake this season. They have held seven of their 15 opponents to fewer than 50 points this season including 39 by Albany, 41 by Northwestern and 43 by LSU.
• Offensively, Rutgers is averaging 64.4 points per game, outscoring opponents by 11.7 points per game while out-rebounding foes by 8.7 boards per contest. Rutgers also owns a plus-0.5 team turnover margin.
Nebraska vs. Rutgers Series History
• Nebraska and Rutgers have split the all-time series 3-3, with the Huskers claiming the last two victories. Last season, Nebraska battled to a 52-42 win over No. 25 Rutgers at the RAC in Piscataway, N.J., on Jan. 21, 2018. Kate Cain (Middletown, N.Y.) led the Huskers with 14 points, eight rebounds and three blocks. Hannah Whitish and Nicea Eliely each contributed nine points in the win.
• The Huskers are 2-0 all-time against Rutgers at Pinnacle Bank Arena, including a 62-58 win on Jan. 10, 2017. Nebraska also worked its way to a 65-54 win over Rutgers in Lincoln on Jan. 16, 2016. Coach C. Vivian Stringer was not on the sideline for that game because of an illness in her family.
• Rutgers eliminated Nebraska from the 2016 Big Ten Tournament with a 66-63 win in Indianapolis on March 3, 2016. The Scarlet Knights also outlasted the Huskers 66-56 at the RAC on Jan. 30, 2016.
• The No. 21 Scarlet Knights earned a hard-fought 46-43 victory over the No. 19 Huskers in the first-ever meeting between the two teams on Feb. 5, 2015 in Piscataway. Rutgers went 0-for-2 from three-point range in that victory.
• The Husker bench has outscored opponents in each of NU’s 15 games this year, including double-digit advantages in 12 games.
• Overall, Nebraska’s bench has outscored opposition benches 485-219 (32.3-14.6 ppg) for a plus-17.7 margin.
• Nebraska is the only team in the Big Ten with two players off the bench (Sam Haiby, 10.5 ppg; Leigha Brown, 9.9 ppg) as its top two scorers.
• Nebraska is also the only team in the Big Ten with two freshmen as the team’s top two scorers.
• Nebraska’s bench outscored the opposition 149-53 over the final four non-conference games, including a season-high 45 points at Arkansas. NU’s bench posted a season-best scoring differential (+37) in its last non-conference home game by outscoring Denver’s bench, 40-3.
• Nebraska’s bench has scored 40 or more points four times, including 45 at Arkansas, 42 points against San Jose State, 41 points against Drake and 40 against Denver.
• In Nebraska’s Big Ten-opening win over Michigan (Dec. 28), the Husker bench outscored the Wolverine bench 28-10, including 14-0 in the fourth quarter.
• In a 78-69 win at Ohio State, the Husker bench outscored Buckeye reserves, 35-24.
• In a loss at No. 19 Iowa (Jan. 3), Nebraska’s bench outscored the Hawkeye bench, 28-11, before outscoring No. 9 Maryland’s bench, 28-14 (Jan. 8). Nebraska owns a 119-59 edge (29.8-14.8, +15.0 ppg) edge off the bench in Big Ten play.
• Freshman Sam Haiby led Nebraska with 13 points in a season-opening loss to Drake (Nov. 7). Haiby is the first Husker freshman to lead NU in scoring in an opener since Kelsey Griffin’s 18 in a loss to South Dakota State (Nov. 19, 2005).
• At least one Nebraska freshman has led the Huskers in scoring in nine of 15 games this season (Haiby-5; Brown-4; Veerbeek-1).
• Sophomore Kate Cain owns the longest streak of consecutive starts by a Husker with 46.
• Junior Nicea Eliely owns Nebraska’s second-longest streak of starts with 41, while senior Maddie Simon has started 39 consecutive games.
• Nebraska’s bench has outscored the opponent reserves in 15 consecutive games this season.
• Nebraska has featured the same starting lineup - Maddie Simon/Kate Cain/Hannah Whitish/Nicea Eliely/Taylor Kissinger for 13 consecutive games.
• Kate Cain has at least two rebounds in every game of her Nebraska career (47), and she has blocked at least one shot in 45 of 47 games (no blocks in 2018 NCAA Tournament vs. Arizona State and no blocks at Creighton, Dec. 2, 2018).
• Sophomore Taylor Kissinger is 14-for-14 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.
• Freshman Ashtyn Veerbeek is 8-for-8 at the free throw line to open Big Ten play.
• Junior Grace Mitchell had appeared in 13 consecutive games off the bench, including the first 11 contests this season, before missing the Big Ten opener against Michigan (Dec. 28) with a foot injury. Mitchell, who also missed NU’s win at Ohio State (Dec. 31) returned to action at Iowa (Jan. 3).
• The Huskers have knocked down at least one three in 327 straight games dating back to a loss at UTEP on Dec. 20, 2008. Nebraska has hit at least two three-pointers in 206 consecutive games.
Nebraska Numbers to Watch
• (7) Junior Hannah Whitish needs seven points to reach 800 in her career and seven assists to reach 300 in her Husker career.
• (8) Junior Nicea Eliely is eight points away from 600 in her career.
• (12) Sophomore Taylor Kissinger needs 12 points to reach 400 in her career.
• (13) Junior Nicea Eliely is 13 rebounds from 300 career boards.
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 (1 0.5 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 2.9 apg), Leigha Brown (9.9 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 1.2 apg) Ashtyn Veerbeek (7.9 ppg, 6.3 rpg) and Kayla Mershon (2.8 ppg, 2.6 rpg).
• Haiby, a 5-9 guard from Moorhead, Minn., leads Nebraska with 10.5 points per game off the bench. She has led the Huskers in scoring in five 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 also had 16 points to lead the Huskers at Arkansas (Dec. 18). She owns seven double-figure scoring efforts overall, including 12 points at No. 5 Louisville (Nov. 29) and 12 more in Nebraska’s Big Ten-opening win over Michigan (Dec. 28).
• Haiby also ranks second among the Huskers in assists (2.9 apg).
• Leigha Brown ranks second overall among the Huskers in scoring with 9.9 points per game. She erupted for a career-high 20 points at No. 19 Iowa (Jan. 3). It was her second straight game leading the Huskers, after scoring a then-career-high 19 points at Ohio State (Dec. 31). Brown is leading Nebraska in Big Ten play with 13.5 points per game. Brown had 11 points and a career-high five rebounds in a win over Michigan (Dec. 28). She had 18 points in the win over San Jose State (Dec. 8), before adding 17 points and a career-high five assists in the win over Denver (Dec. 15). The 6-1 wing from Auburn, Indiana owns six double-figure scoring efforts and has led the Big Red in scoring four times this season.
• Ashtyn Veerbeek ranks third among the Husker freshmen in scoring with 7.9 points per game, while leading the freshmen and ranking second on the team with 6.3 rebounds. Veerbeek produced her first career double-double with career highs of 14 points and 14 rebounds in a win over San Jose State (Dec. 8). She matched her career high with 14 points in just 14 minutes in the win over Denver (Dec. 15). She added 14 points for the third straight game at Arkansas (Dec. 18) for her fourth double-digit scoring effort of the year. She also ranks second among the Huskers with 12 blocks.
• Kayla Mershon has pitched in 2.8 points and 2.6 rebounds per game for the Huskers. She is coming off a career-high eight points against No. 9 Maryland. She had a career-high seven rebounds in a win over Kansas (Dec. 5). The 6-3 forward from Chanhassen, Minn., also has dished out 10 assists and has committed a team-best five turnovers through 15 games. She has an assist-to-turnover ratio of 10-to-5 (2-to-1) while adding seven steals and four blocks.
• The freshmen have combined for 41 percent (467-of-1,138) of Nebraska’s points in just 35.4 percent of the team’s total minutes (1,080-of-3,050) on the season. They also have accounted for just 29 percent (69-of-238) of Nebraska’s turnovers.
• Nebraska’s four freshmen are combining to average 31.1 points and 13.7 rebounds per game - all off the bench, giving the Huskers one of the deepest and most productive benches in the Big Ten.
Nebraska’s History of Home Success
• Nebraska had its streak of 12 consecutive season-opening wins snapped with an 83-77 loss to current top-25 team and two-time defending Missouri Valley Conference champion Drake on Nov. 7. However, the Huskers still have an outstanding history of success at home, including a 5-2 record at Pinnacle Bank Arena to open 2018-19.
• The Huskers were 10-6 at home in 2017-18, winning five of their final six home games.
• The Huskers went 15-4 at Pinnacle Bank Arena in 2015-16 after going 12-3 (13-3 at home) in 2014-15. The Huskers are 65-26 (.714) all-time at Pinnacle Bank Arena since the building opened for the 2013-14 campaign. The Big Red went 16-2 at home in 2013-14, suffering their only Big Ten loss to Purdue, 77-75, on Jan. 19, 2014. NU’s 16 home wins in 2013-14 tied the school record for single-season home victories.
• The Huskers played the first regular-season game arena history against USA Today No. 25 UCLA (Nov. 8, 2013) and rolled to a 77-49 win over the Bruins. NU’s first win over an AP Top 25 team came with a 76-56 win over No. 24 Michigan State on Feb. 8, 2014. The Huskers added their first-ever win over an AP Top 10 team at the arena with a 94-74 victory over No. 8 Penn State on Feb. 24, 2014.
• NU won its first-ever Big Ten home game at Pinnacle Bank Arena with a 66-65 thriller over Northwestern Jan. 2, 2014, before an 88-85 win over Minnesota on Jan. 16, 2014, marked the first overtime game.
• NU suffered its first loss at the arena to Washington State (76-72) on Nov. 30, 2013.
• The Huskers are 454-156 (.744) all-time at home. The Huskers have gone 190-60 (.760) over the last 16 seasons (including 2018-19), posting double-figure home victory totals 14 times.
• Nebraska played in the Devaney Center from 1976-77 through 2012-13, and added one appearance at Devaney against Utah on Nov. 23, 2014. The Huskers own a 389-130 record at the Devaney Center, including 146-88 (.624) mark in conference play.
Nebraska Ranks Near Top in Attendance
• Nebraska ranked No. 20 nationally with an average home attendance of 4,380 at Pinnacle Bank Arena in 2017-18. It marked the eighth consecutive year that the Huskers have ranked in the top 25 nationally in average home attendance.
• Nebraska has ranked among the top 20 nationally in average home attendance in each of its first five seasons inside Pinnacle Bank Arena.
• In 91 all-time home games at Pinnacle Bank Arena, the Huskers own a 65-26 record (.714 winning percentage) while averaging 5,231 fans per game (476,058 total fans/91 games).
• Nebraska attracted a Pinnacle Bank Arena non-conference record crowd of 9,750 to open its stay in the arena with a win over UCLA on Nov. 8, 2013.
• Nebraska set its all-time single-game record with a sellout crowd of 13,595 fans against Missouri at the Devaney Center on Feb. 27, 2010. NU drew 10 straight crowds of more than 10,000 fans at the Devaney Center in 2009-10.
• Nebraska produced its top attendance season in school history by ranking No. 7 nationally with a record 7,390 fans per game at the Bob Devaney Sports Center in 2009-10. The Huskers went 16-0 at the Devaney Center on their way to a perfect 29-0 record, a Big 12 title and a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Husker Sports Network Covers World
• The Husker Sports Network enters its 25th season producing and marketing the live broadcasts of Nebraska women’s basketball in 2018-19. Women’s basketball play-by-play announcer Matt Coatney and color commentator Jeff Griesch will team up for their 18th season together as the Husker broadcast team.
• The Husker Sports Network and Nebraska women’s basketball have teamed up for well over a decade to take every game, home and away, around the world for free on Huskers.com.
• In addition to carrying every women’s basketball game free on Huskers.com, the Husker Sports Network flagship stations B107.3 FM-KBBK (Lincoln) and ESPN 590 AM-KXSP (Omaha) provide strong signals for Husker women’s basketball. When a network conflict occurs in Omaha, the Huskers also could be heard on CD105.9 FM-KKCD. 880-AM-KRVN (Lexington) also provides a huge AM signal statewide in central Nebraska, while more than 20 stations carry the Husker Sports Network’s women’s basketball coverage across the state and the Midwest.
• Inside Pinnacle Bank Arena, fans can access the direct radio call of the game at 87.7 FM.
Boosters Plan Big Ten Bus Trip to Wisconsin
• Husker fans who would like an opportunity to follow the Nebraska women’s basketball team on the road during Big Ten Conference play have a pair of opportunities coming up in January.
• Nebraska’s second booster bus trip of the season will include an overnight stay in Wisconsin, round-trip bus transportation and a game ticket for Nebraska’s game against the Badgers on Sunday, Jan. 27.
• The bus will leave from Lincoln on Saturday, Jan. 26 at 8 a.m. Husker fans will enjoy a hotel stay at The Graduate on Saturday night ($220/person or $160/person double-occupancy), transportation, game tickets and food as part of the package. Tip at Wisconsin on Sunday, Jan. 27, is set for 2 p.m., and the bus will return to Lincoln immediately following the game with an expected arrival around 2 a.m. (Monday).
• To book your trip or for more information, contact Doug Fry at (402) 617-7039.
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