Huskers Shoot for Season Sweep at Michigan
at Michigan Wolverines
Thursday, February 7, 2019, 6 p.m. (CT)
Crisler Arena (12,707) - Ann Arbor, Michigan
Live TV: BTN (Mike Monaco, Julianne Viani)
Live Radio: Husker Sports Network (5:45 p.m.)
Matt Coatney (PBP), Jeff Griesch (Analyst)
Lincoln-B107.3 FM; Omaha-ESPN 590 AM
Huskers.com, Huskers App, TuneIn
Huskers Shoot for Season Sweep at Michigan
• The Nebraska women’s basketball team will shoot for a season series sweep at Michigan on Thursday night, when the Huskers take on the Wolverines.
• Tip off between Nebraska (10-12, 5-6 Big Ten) and Michigan (14-9, 5-6 Big Ten) is set for 6 p.m. (CT). Live radio coverage (beginning at 5:45 p.m.) can be heard in Lincoln on B107.3 FM, in Omaha on ESPN 590 AM, in Lexington on KRVN 880 AM, and across the state on the Husker Sports Network. Free live audio can be found at Huskers.com, the Huskers App and on TuneIn.
• Live TV coverage will be provided by BTN with Mike Monaco and Julianne Viani on the call.
• Nebraska rallied for a 70-56 win over Michigan to open Big Ten Conference play on Dec. 28. The Huskers outscored the Wolverines 33-13 in the fourth quarter after scoring just 37 points in the first three quarters. Michigan led 43-37 at the end of three quarters, before Nicea Eliely scored all of her game-high 14 points in the final period to spark the Huskers.
• Nebraska has been led in conference play by the resurgence of Hannah Whitish. The 5-9 junior guard from Barneveld, Wis., is averaging 15.3 points and 5.7 assists over her last six games, including 28 points and 12 assists in last Thursday’s road win at Purdue (Jan. 31). Whitish has scored in double figures in six straight games, including 16 points against Indiana on Sunday. She had just five points on 1-of-10 shooting in this season’s first meeting with Michigan.
• Although Nebraska is 10-12 overall and 5-6 in the Big Ten, the Huskers have fought hard down to the wire, with 10 games decided by two possessions or less. Unfortunately, the Huskers are just 2-8 in games decided by six or fewer points, including 1-5 in Big Ten play. Michigan is 2-3 in two-possession games this year - all coming in conference play.
• Thursday’s game features several of the Big Ten’s best freshmen, including the defending conference co-freshmen of the week in Nebraska’s Sam Haiby and Michigan’s Naz Hillmon. Haiby had her best week in Big Ten play last week by averaging 15.0 points and 2.0 assists while hitting 10-of-15 shots from the field, including 3-of-4 three-pointers, and 7-of-8 free throws. Haiby hit three shots to beat the buzzer last week, including a half-court runner to end the third period at Purdue.
• Another featured freshman match-up is Nebraska’s Leigha Brown (Auburn, Ind.) and Michigan’s Amy Dilk (Carmel, Ind.). Brown is averaging 10.3 points in 19.2 minutes off the bench in Big Ten play after coming to Nebraska as a runner-up for Indiana Player-of-the-Year honors at DeKalb High School in 2018. Dilk, who is averaging 9.1 points in 35.5 minutes per Big Ten game for Michigan, was the 2018 Indiana Player of the Year.
Nebraska Cornhuskers (10-12, 5-6 Big Ten)
44 - Kayla Mershon - 6-3 - Fr. - F - 3.0 ppg, 2.8 rpg
31 - Kate Cain - 6-5 - So. - C - 7.1 ppg, 6.3 rpg
3 - Hannah Whitish - 5-9 - Jr. - G - 10.2 ppg, 2.9 rpg
5 - Nicea Eliely - 6-1 - Jr. - G - 7.9 ppg, 4.0 rpg
33 - Taylor Kissinger - 6-1 - So. - G - 8.9 ppg, 3.6 rpg
Off the Bench
32 - Leigha Brown - 6-1 - Fr. - F - 9.5 ppg, 2.5 rpg
4 - Sam Haiby - 5-9 - Fr. - G - 10.0 ppg, 3.2 rpg
13 - Ashtyn Veerbeek - 6-2 - Fr. - F - 8.0 ppg, 5.9 rpg
24 - Maddie Simon - 6-2 - Sr. - F - 7.2 ppg, 3.3 rpg
14 - Grace Mitchell - 6-2 - Jr. - F - 1.2 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 (38-45); 12th Season Overall (231-154)
Michigan Wolverines (14-9, 5-6 Big Ten)
15 - Hailey Brown - 6-1 - So. - F - 7.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg
30 - Hallie Thome - 6-5 - Sr. - F/C - 12.9 ppg, 6.0 rpg
1 - Amy Dilk - 6-0 - Fr. G - 7.7 ppg, 3.7 rpg
10 - Nicole Munger - 5-11 - Sr. - G - 10.4 ppg, 3.1 rpg
20 - Deja Church - 5-10 - So. - G - 8.8 ppg, 4.3 rpg
Off the Bench
00 - Naz Hillmon - 6-2 - Fr. - F - 12.7 ppg, 6.7 rpg
5 - Kayla Robbins - 6-1 - Jr. - G/F - 5.3 ppg, 3.2 rpg
14 - Akienreh Johnson - 6-0 - Jr. - G - 4.5 ppg, 3.0 rpg
21 - Samantha Trammel - 6-0 - Sr. - F - 0.8 ppg, 0.7 rpg
Head Coach: Kim Barnes Arico (Montclair State, 1993)
Seventh Season at Michigan (148-82); 23rd Season Overall (418-287)
Scouting the Michigan Wolverines
• Michigan heads into Thursday’s rematch with Nebraska after putting together its first back-to-back Big Ten wins this past weekend. The Wolverines ran to a 90-81 win over No. 13 Iowa on Friday morning at Crisler Arena, before battling to a 76-70 win at Wisconsin on Sunday.
• The Wolverines improved to 14-9 overall and 5-6 in the Big Ten. Michigan is 9-1 in Ann Arbor this season, but just 3-7 on the road. Michigan is 1-5 in Big Ten road games, including a 70-56 loss at Nebraska to open conference play.
• Coach Kim Barnes Arico is in her seventh season at the helm in Ann Arbor and carries a 148-82 mark as Michigan’s head coach. She owns 418 career victories in 23 seasons as a collegiate head coach.
• The Wolverines finished 23-10 overall last year, including 10-6 in the Big Ten. Michigan finished sixth in the Big Ten standings before falling to Nebraska in the Big Ten quarterfinals. The Wolverines went on to advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
• Michigan features a good blend of experience and youth. Hallie Thome, a 6-5 senior center, is averaging 12.9 points and 6.0 rebounds per game. The preseason All-Big Ten pick leads Michigan with 13.7 points and 6.9 boards in Big Ten play, after averaging 17.4 points and 7.0 boards in 2017-18. Thome had 14 points and seven rebounds in the first meeting this season at Nebraska.
• Fellow senior Nicole Munger has led the Michigan starting backcourt with 10.4 points and 3.1 rebounds per game. The 5-11 guard has knocked down a team-best 46 threes. Munger is shooting 35.7 percent (46-129) from long range, but her production has dropped to 9.5 points and 2.4 rebounds in Big Ten play, while she is shooting just 28.6 percent (16-56) from beyond the arc. Munger is 36-of-39 (.923) at the free throw line this season. Munger managed four points at Nebraska (Dec. 28).
• Sophomores Deja Church (8.8 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 2.5 apg) and Hailey Brown (7.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg) have joined Thome and Munger in the Michigan starting five for every game this season. Church just missed a double-double with nine points and nine rebounds at Nebraska, while Brown added 12 points.
• Freshman guard Amy Dilk, the Indiana High School Player of the Year, has also started every game and is averaging 7.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists on the season. Her production has increased to 9.1 points and 5.2 assists in Big Ten play. Although she was just 1-for-11 from three-point range in non-conference play, Dilk is 5-for-8 from beyond the arc in league play. Dilk is averaging 35.5 minutes in Big Ten games. She had seven points, four rebounds and three assists at NU.
• Freshman Naz Hillmon has been Michigan’s most explosive player this season. The 6-2 forward is averaging 12.7 points and a team-best 6.7 rebounds despite playing just 21.7 minutes per game. Hillmon, who also leads Michigan with 60 fouls, is shooting a superb 67.4 percent (126-187) from the field. She is a four-time Big Ten Freshman of the Week, including sharing the honor with Nebraska’s Sam Haiby (Feb. 4). Hillmon was held to four points and five rebounds in the opener at Nebraska.
• Junior Kayla Robbins also has been solid off the bench for Michigan. The 6-1 wing is averaging 5.3 points and 3.2 rebounds in just under 14 minutes per game. Robbins is 1-for-10 from three-point range and is shooting just 53.1 percent (26-49) from the free throw line.
• Junior Akienreh Johnson has pitched in 4.5 points and 3.0 rebounds as one of eight players averaging double-digit minutes for the Wolverines.
• As a team in Big Ten play, Michigan is averaging 70.2 points per game, while allowing 72.1. In non-conference play, the Wolverines were holding foes to just 55.8 points per game. The Wolverines own a plus-2.6 rebound margin in the league after dominating the boards (44.7-30.8) in non-conference action. Michigan is shooting a solid 44.3 percent from the field and 32.9 percent (46-140) from three-point range in Big Ten play. Michigan has hit just 66 percent of its free throws in league play.
Nebraska vs. Michigan Series History
• Nebraska owns a 13-4 edge in the all-time series with Michigan, including a 70-56 win in this year’s Big Ten opener at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Dec. 28. The Huskers outscored Michigan 33-13 in the fourth quarter to rally to victory, led by Nicea Eliely’s 14 points in the final period.
• The Huskers also claimed a 61-54 victory over the Wolverines in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals on March 2, 2018, at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
• Hannah Whitish led the Huskers with 17 points, seven rebounds and three assists against Michigan in the Big Ten Tournament, while Eliely contributed 12 points and six rebounds. Kate Cain managed six points, seven rebounds and seven blocked shots.
• Hallie Thome (21) and Katelynn Flaherty (17) combined for 38 points against the Huskers in the Big Ten Tournament, while the rest of the Wolverines totaled just 16. Munger scored just one point in 74 combined minutes in the two games last season.
• Then-No. 23 Michigan won the lone regular-season meeting with the Huskers last season with a 69-64 overtime victory at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Jan. 13, 2018. Deja Church provided the heroics for Michigan in that game by hitting three free throws with 0.7 seconds left to send the game to overtime tied at 62. Church then sealed the win in overtime with two more free throws after Hallie Thome scored Michigan’s first five points in the overtime.
• Flaherty led Michigan with 26 points, while Thome added 13 points. Hailey Brown pitched in 12 points while Church put four Wolverines in double figures with 10.
• Nebraska is 6-3 all-time against Michigan in Lincoln.
• Nebraska is 6-1 all-time in Ann Arbor.
• The Husker bench has outscored opponents in each of NU’s 22 games this year, including double-digit advantages 17 times.
• Overall, Nebraska’s bench has outscored opposition benches 705-335 (32.0-15.2 ppg) for a plus-16.8 margin.
• 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 six times, including 45 at Arkansas, 42 points against San Jose State, 41 points against Drake, 40 against Denver, 40 at Illinois (1/17) and most recently 40 at Purdue (1/31).
• 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 the second half at Purdue (Jan. 31), Nebraska’s bench outscored the Boilermaker bench, 27-5, before outscoring the Indiana bench, 26-6 in the second half (Feb. 3).
• In Big Ten play, NU’s bench has outscored opponent benches 348-175 (31.6-15.9, +15.7 ppg), including a 40-14 edge (+26) in a win at Purdue (Jan. 31) and a 34-9 margin (+25) in a win over No. 23 Minnesota (Jan. 20).
• Nebraska’s bench has scored at least 15 points in each of its 11 Big Ten games, including 40 at Illinois (Jan. 17) and Purdue (Jan. 31), 36 against Indiana (Feb. 3) and 35 at Ohio State (Dec. 31).
• Against ranked Big Ten teams (Minnesota, 34-9, +25; Iowa, 28-11, +17; Rutgers 34-17, +17; Maryland 28-14, +14), Nebraska’s bench has outscored opponent benches 124-51.
• At least one Nebraska freshman has led the Huskers in scoring in 13 of 22 games this season (Haiby-7; Brown-5; Veerbeek-2).
• Sophomore Kate Cain owns the longest streak of consecutive starts by a Husker with 53.
• Junior Nicea Eliely owns Nebraska’s second-longest streak of starts with 48.
• Junior Hannah Whitish has scored in double figures six straight games for Nebraska - the longest streak of the season for any Nebraska player.
• Nebraska’s bench has outscored the opponent reserves in all 22 games this season.
• The Huskers have knocked down at least one three in 334 straight games dating back to a loss at UTEP on Dec. 20, 2008. Nebraska has hit at least two three-pointers in 213 consecutive games.
Nebraska Numbers to Watch
• (5) Taylor Kissinger is five three-pointers away from 100 in her career.
• (5) Hannah Whitish is five threes away from moving up to No. 3 on Nebraska’s all-time three-point list (183, Yvonne Turner, 2007-10).
• (6) Whitish is six assists away from 100 on the season.
• (13) Whitish is 13 assists away from No. 9 on Nebraska’s career assist list (342, Ami Beiriger, 1979-83).
• (14) Whitish is 14 points away from 900 in her career.
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 (10.0 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 2.7 apg), Leigha Brown (9.5 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 1.2 apg), Ashtyn Veerbeek (8.0 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 1.0 bpg) and Kayla Mershon (3.0 ppg, 2.8 rpg).
• Haiby, a 5-9 guard from Moorhead, Minn., ranks second among the Huskers with 10.0 points per game off the bench. Haiby, who was the Big Ten Co-Freshman of the Week (Feb. 4), has led Nebraska in scoring in seven games, including 17 points against Indiana (Feb. 3). She also had 13 points in a road win at Purdue (Jan. 13). Haiby added 16 in a win over No. 23 Minnesota (Jan. 20). She scored a season-high 20 points at Washington State (Nov. 16), while also leading the Huskers with 16 at Arkansas (Dec. 18). She put up a 17-point effort at Creighton (Dec. 2), 14 at Miami (Nov. 23) and 13 against Drake (Nov. 7).
• Haiby owns 10 double-figure scoring efforts overall, including 12 points at No. 5 Louisville (Nov. 29) and 12 more in a Big Ten-opening win over Michigan (Dec. 28).
• Haiby also ranks second among the Huskers in assists (2.7 apg).
• Leigha Brown, who earned Big Ten Freshman-of-the-Week honors (Jan. 7), ranks third among all Huskers with 9.5 points per game, including 10.3 points per Big Ten 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). She added 18 points and a career-high six rebounds in a narrow loss to nationally ranked Rutgers (Jan. 13). She also 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).
• Brown, a 6-1 wing from Auburn, Indiana owns eight double-figure scoring efforts and has led the Big Red in scoring five times this season, including three Big Ten games.
• Ashtyn Veerbeek ranks third among the Husker freshmen in scoring with 8.0 points per game, while leading the freshmen and ranking second on the team with 5.9 rebounds. Veerbeek erupted for a career-high 19 points to go along with a team-high eight rebounds in the win at Illinois (Jan. 17). She produced her first career double-double with 14 points and a career-high 14 rebounds in a win over San Jose State (Dec. 8). Veerbeek just missed a double-double with 14 points and nine rebounds in a road win at Purdue (Jan. 31). She had 14 points in 14 minutes in a win over Denver (Dec. 15) and added 14 points for the third straight game at Arkansas (Dec. 18). She owns six double-digit scoring efforts on the year. She also ranks second among the Huskers with 22 blocks.
• Kayla Mershon has pitched in 3.0 points and 2.8 rebounds per game. Her production is on the rise in Big Ten play, and she has made six consecutive starts heading into Thursday’s game at Michigan. Mershon scored a career-high eight points against No. 9 Maryland (Jan. 8), before adding seven points against nationally ranked Rutgers (Jan. 13). She had a career-high seven rebounds in a win over Kansas (Dec. 5) and matched that total against Northwestern (Jan. 24). The 6-3 forward from Chanhassen, Minn., also has dished out 18 assists and committed a team-best eight turnovers through 22 games.
• The freshmen have combined for 41.3 percent (669-of-1,619) of Nebraska’s points in just 36.1 percent of the team’s total minutes (1,606-of-4,450) on the season. They also have accounted for just 29.3 percent (97-of-331) of Nebraska’s turnovers.
• Nebraska’s four freshmen are combining to average 30.4 points and 14.4 rebounds per game.
Whitish Heating Up in Big Ten Play
• Preseason All-Big Ten guard Hannah Whitish is catching fire in conference action and has taken over the team’s scoring lead after a season-high 28-point performance at Purdue (Jan. 31). Whitish added a career-high 12 assists to notch her first career double-double. She also tied a career high with six threes in the win over the Boilermakers.
• Whitish’s 12 assists tied for the ninth-best total by a Husker in school history. Only three players in Nebraska history [Rachel Theriot (4), Kathy Hawkins (3), Stacy Imming (1)] have had more than 12 assists in a game.
• Whitish’s 28 points at Purdue were the most by a Husker in any game this season. Her career highs of 29 points came last season in back-to-back non-conference wins at Kansas and Drake.
• Whitish owns a team-best 45 career double-figure scoring efforts, including a team-high 14 in 2018-19 and 18 in 2017-18. She owns five career 20-point performances, including three in 2017-18.
• Whitish is averaging a team-best 10.2 points per game on the season, including a team-high 12.2 points per conference contest.
• She has climbed to No. 4 on the Nebraska career three-point list with 178, and needs five more to catch Yvonne Turner (2007-10) in third on that chart with 183.
• Whitish leads the Huskers with 48 three-pointers on the season. Whitish has hit 17 threes over the last four games.
• Whitish has scored in double figures in six straight games, averaging 15.3 points per game during that stretch. She is shooting 43.8 percent (21-48) from three-point range during that stretch. She is also averaging 5.7 assists over the past six games.
• Whitish has climbed to No. 10 on the Nebraska career assist list with 329, and she needs 13 more assists to move into a tie for No. 9 (342, Ami Beiriger, 1979-83).
• Nebraska’s growth in the backcourt in 2017-18 started with Whitish, who earned second-team All-Big Ten honors as a sophomore in her first full season as a starter. The 5-9 guard from Barneveld, Wis., led the Huskers in scoring (12.6 ppg), assists (4.7 apg), steals (1.3 spg) and three-pointers (2.3 pg), as the only Husker to start all 32 games in 2017-18.
• She scored in double figures a team-leading 18 times in 2017-18 for a balanced Big Red attack.
• Whitish helped power Nebraska to the Big Ten Tournament semifinals by scoring 17 points while pulling down a team-high seven rebounds in a win over Michigan in the quarterfinals (March 2).
• In her first NCAA Tournament appearance, Whitish scored 12 points and hit a pair of three-pointers against Arizona State (March 17) in Austin, Texas.
• Whitish tied a career high with eight rebounds while adding nine points and a game-high five assists in the win over Penn State (Feb. 22, 2018).
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