Huskers Shoot for Upset at No. 7 Maryland
at 7/8 Maryland Terrapins
Thursday, February 14, 2019, 7 p.m. (CT)
Xfinity Center (17,950) - College Park, Maryland
Live TV: 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
Huskers.com, Huskers App, TuneIn
Huskers Shoot for Upset of Surging Terrapins
• The Nebraska women’s basketball team will try to salvage a season series split with Maryland when the Huskers take on the No. 7 Terrapins Thursday in College Park.
• Tip off between Nebraska (11-13, 6-7 Big Ten) and Maryland (22-2, 11-2 Big Ten) is set for 7 p.m. (CT). Live radio coverage (beginning at 6:45 p.m.) can be heard in Lincoln on B107.3 FM, in Omaha on ESPN 590 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 national television coverage will be provided by BTN with Lisa Byington and Christy Winters Scott on the call. Maryland has won seven straight and 10 of its last 11 games overall.
• The Huskers are coming off a thrilling 67-61 come-from-behind win over Purdue in Lincoln on Sunday. Freshman wing Leigha Brown erupted for a career-high 30 points in just 25 minutes off the bench against the Boilermakers. She scored 22 points in the second half to help the Huskers rally from a 10-point third-quarter deficit and complete a season series sweep of Purdue. Brown, who was the Big Ten Freshman of the Week (Jan. 7), earned a place on the Big Ten Weekly Honor Roll for her performance against the Boilermakers.
• Although Nebraska is below .500 on the season, the Huskers have fought hard down to the wire, with a school-record 12 games decided by two possessions or less. Unfortunately, the Huskers are just 3-9 in games decided by six or fewer points, including 2-6 in Big Ten play. On the flip side, Maryland has played just one two-possession game this season - a 75-69 win over Ohio State (Jan. 5) before defeating Nebraska in Lincoln 81-63 (Jan. 8).
• In the first meeting with the Terrapins this season, no Husker managed double figures in points, as juniors Hannah Whitish and Nicea Eliely led the Big Red with nine each. Sophomore Kate Cain added five points, 10 rebounds, six blocked shots and two assists as all 10 Huskers scored.
• Kaila Charles led four Terp starters in double figures against Nebraska with 19 points, while Taylor Mikesell pitched in 16. Both Mikesell and Blair Watson (12 points) went 4-for-7 from three-point range. Stephanie Jones added 13 points, while freshman Shakira Austin rounded out the Maryland starting five with seven points and 10 rebounds. Reserve point guard Channise Lewis contributed nine points and a game-high six assists.
• Nebraska’s bench outscored Maryland’s reserves 28-14 in the first meeting, including eight points apiece for Sam Haiby and Kayla Mershon, while Ashtyn Veerbeek added six points and Leigha Brown pitched in four points and five boards.
Nebraska Cornhuskers (11-13, 6-7 Big Ten)
44 - Kayla Mershon - 6-3 - Fr. - F - 2.9 ppg, 2.8 rpg
31 - Kate Cain - 6-5 - So. - C - 7.4 ppg, 6.1 rpg
3 - Hannah Whitish - 5-9 - Jr. - G - 9.9 ppg, 3.0 rpg
5 - Nicea Eliely - 6-1 - Jr. - G - 7.8 ppg, 4.2 rpg
33 - Taylor Kissinger - 6-1 - So. - G - 9.0 ppg, 3.5 rpg
Off the Bench
32 - Leigha Brown - 6-1 - Fr. - F - 10.2 ppg, 2.6 rpg
4 - Sam Haiby - 5-9 - Fr. - G - 9.8 ppg, 3.0 rpg
13 - Ashtyn Veerbeek - 6-2 - Fr. - F - 7.4 ppg, 5.6 rpg
24 - Maddie Simon - 6-2 - Sr. - F - 6.9 ppg, 3.1 rpg
14 - Grace Mitchell - 6-2 - Jr. - F - 1.1 ppg, 1.2 rpg
11(out) - Kristian Hudson 5-5 Sr. G 2.4 1.6
Head Coach: Amy Williams (Nebraska, 1998)
Third Season at Nebraska (39-46); 12th Season Overall (232-155)
7/8 Maryland Terrapins (22-2, 11-2 Big Ten)
24 - Stephanie Jones - 6-2 - Jr. - F - 12.9 ppg, 6.0 rpg
1 - Shakira Austin - 6-5 - Fr. - F - 8.6 ppg, 10.0 rpg
5 - Kaila Charles - 6-1 - Jr. - G/F - 16.0 ppg, 6.1 rpg
11 - Taylor Mikesell - 5-11 - Fr. - G - 14.0 ppg, 3.6 rpg
22 - Blair Watson - 6-0 - Jr. - G - 8.1 ppg, 3.9 rpg
Off the Bench
34 - Brianna Fraser - 6-3 - Sr. - G - 7.9 ppg, 4.5 rpg
3 - Channise Lewis - 5-8 - So. - G - 3.6 ppg, 2.3 rpg
32 - Sara Vujacic - 5-11 - Jr. - G - 3.6 ppg, 1.3 rpg
35 - Olivia Owens - 6-4 - Fr. - C - 1.5 ppg, 1.0 rpg
21 - Sarah Myers - 6-0 - Jr. - G - 1.1 ppg, 1.4 rpg
Head Coach: Brenda Frese (Arizona, 1993)
17th Season at Maryland (451-121); 20th Season Overall (508-151)
Scouting the Maryland Terrapins
• Coach Brenda Frese has Maryland contending for a Big Ten title while trying to make a push for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament as the Terrapins approach mid-February. The Terrapins are No. 7 in this week’s AP Poll with a 22-2 record that includes an 11-2 conference mark to lead the Big Ten.
• In her 17 seasons at Maryland, Frese has led the Terps to the 2006 NCAA title, three NCAA Final Four appearances and 14 NCAA Tournament bids. Last year, Maryland finished 26-8 overall and 12-4 in the Big Ten to finish second in the conference. The Terps lost in the NCAA second round.
• Maryland, which went 11-0 in non-conference play this season, was 2-1 in the Big Ten with wins over Ohio State and Penn State around a New Year’s Eve loss at Rutgers before defeating Nebraska 81-63 in Lincoln on Jan. 8. It was Frese’s 500th career win. It was also the only Big Ten loss of more than six points for the Huskers so far this season.
• Maryland has won seven straight games since a 77-60 loss at then-No. 17 Michigan State (Jan. 17). None of the Terps’ last seven opponents have stayed closer than 12 points.
• Maryland’s starting five features three experienced juniors in Kaila Charles (16.0 ppg, 6.1 rpg), Stephanie Jones (12.9 ppg, 6.0 rpg) and Blair Watson (8.1 ppg, 3.9 rpg). Charles and Watson were both McDonald’s High School All-Americans in 2016 and ranked among the top-30 players in the nation. Jones was ranked No. 35 in the country by All-Star Girls Report and No. 51 by ESPN.
• Charles, who had 19 points in the first meeting at Nebraska, earned first-team All-Big Ten honors last year after averaging 17.9 points and 8.1 rebounds as a sophomore. The 6-1 wing out of Riverdale Baptist School in Maryland, is a Naismith and Wade Trophy candidate this season. She was a Big Ten All-Freshman choice and earned a spot on the Big Ten All-Tournament team in 2016-17.
• Watson, a 6-0 guard out of New Jersey, has produced double figures seven times including 12 points at Nebraska when she went 4-for-7 from three-point range. Watson has returned from a knee injury that ended her sophomore season after starting Maryland’s first 17 games. She averaged 13.8 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.3 steals in 2017-18.
• Jones, whose sister Brionna also starred at Maryland (2014-17), is in her second season in the Terp starting five. Stephanie is averaging 12.9 points and 6.0 rebounds. The 6-2 forward from Havre de Grace, Md., scored 12 points in this year’s first game at Nebraska.
• The Terps showcase a pair of impact freshman starters in guard Taylor Mikesell (14.0 ppg, 3.6 rpg) and 6-5 forward Shakira Austin (8.6 ppg, 10.0 rpg). Austin was a McDonald’s and WBCA All-American who was ranked as the No. 3 overall player in the nation coming out of high school at Riverdale Baptist - the same school as Kaila Charles. Mikesell was an honorable-mention WBCA All-American in high school and ranked as the No. 32 overall player in the country by ESPN.
• Austin is a five-time Big Ten Freshman of the Week. She owns eight double-doubles, including three in Big Ten play since scoring seven points and grabbing 10 rebounds at Nebraska. Austin and Nebraska’s Kate Cain are tied for second in the Big Ten with 2.5 blocks per game. Austin is averaging 8.6 points and 10.0 rebounds on the year, including 6.8 points and 8.5 rebounds in the Big Ten.
• Mikesell, a 5-11 guard, has proven herself as one of the Big Ten’s best shooters by knocking down 71-of-165 threes (.430). She has added 3.6 rebounds and 3.4 assists. Mikesell has hit at least one three in all 24 games for the Terps. She had 16 points and hit 4-of-7 threes in Lincoln.
• While all five Maryland starters ranked among the top 35 players in the nation coming out of their respective high school senior classes, the Terps feature even more talent off the bench. Maryland’s lone senior - Brianna Fraser - came out of high school as the No. 12 player in the nation by All-Star Girls Report and No. 15 by ESPN. She is averaging 7.9 points and 4.5 rebounds in just 17.5 minutes per game off the bench. She averaged 10.2 points and 5.8 boards last season. She is expected to play in the 125th game of her career on Thursday.
• Channise Lewis, a 5-8 sophomore who started 32 games at point guard last year and added 10 starts ahead of Mikesell early this season, was ranked as the No. 55 player in the nation by ESPN coming out of Miami Country Day High School. She is averaging 3.6 points and a team-best 5.1 assists this season. Lewis had a double-double with 10 points and 12 assists in a win over nationally ranked South Carolina. She had her second-highest scoring total of the season with nine points to go along with six assists in the win at Nebraska. She played a Big Ten season-high 33 minutes against the Huskers.
• As a team, Maryland is averaging 75.7 points while allowing 58 points per game. The Terps own a plus-10.7 rebound margin, but a minus-0.6 turnover margin. Maryland is shooting 47.3 percent from the field, including 37.4 percent from three-point range and 70.3 percent at the free throw line.
• In the first meeting between Nebraska and Maryland, the Huskers out-rebounded the Terps 38-37, but Maryland hit 51.6 percent (32-62) of its field goals and 58.8 percent (10-17) of its threes.
Nebraska vs. Maryland Series History
• Maryland leads the all-time series with Nebraska 10-0, including three wins in 2017-18.
• The No. 11 Terrapins defeated the Huskers 64-57 at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Feb. 4, 2018, in a battle of the Big Ten’s top two teams at the time. To that point in the series, it was the closest the Huskers had ever played the Terps. Taylor Kissinger led Nebraska with 18 points on 4-of-8 three-point shooting off the bench, while Kaila Charles led Maryland with 25 points and 16 rebounds.
• Three weeks later, Nebraska took No. 13 Maryland to the wire at the Xfinity Center in College Park before falling 77-75. The Huskers trailed by 14 points in the third quarter before rallying to take a 75-74 lead with 48 seconds left. Hannah Whitish led Nebraska with 14 points, including four three-pointers. She also got a good look at a three-pointer from the right wing to win in the closing seconds that caught back iron. Kaila Charles led Maryland with 19 points and 11 rebounds.
• One week later, No. 17 Maryland eliminated Nebraska from the Big Ten semifinals with a 66-53 win in Indianapolis. Brianna Fraser (18) and Kaila Charles (14) led Maryland.
• Nebraska’s first meeting with Maryland came in the 2008 NCAA Tournament second round in College Park - a 76-64 Maryland win. NU is 0-8 against the Terps as Big Ten foes.
• The Husker bench outscored opponent benches in each of NU’s first 22 games this year, before being outscored 37-20 in a 67-61 loss at Michigan (Feb. 7). The Husker bench rebounded with a 39-12 edge in the win over Purdue (Feb. 10). It was NU’s 18th double-digit advantage of the year. In two meetings with Purdue, the Husker bench outscored the Boiler reserves 79-26.
• Overall, Nebraska’s bench has outscored opposition benches 764-382 (31.8-15.9 ppg) for a plus-15.9 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 Big Ten play, NU’s bench has outscored opponent benches 407-224 (31.3-17.2, +14.1 ppg), including 39-12 (+27) and 40-14 (+26) edges against Purdue 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 13 Big Ten games, including at least 35 points on five occasions.
• 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.
• Sophomore Kate Cain owns the longest streak of consecutive starts by a Husker with 55.
• Junior Nicea Eliely owns Nebraska’s second-longest streak of starts with 50.
• Junior Hannah Whitish scored in double figures seven straight games for Nebraska from Jan. 17 (at Illinois) to Feb. 7 (at Michigan) - the longest streak of the season for any Husker.
• The Huskers have knocked down at least one three in 336 straight games dating back to a loss at UTEP on Dec. 20, 2008. Nebraska has hit at least two three-pointers in 215 consecutive games.
Nebraska Numbers to Watch
• (2) Taylor Kissinger is two three-pointers away from 100 in her career.
• (2) Hannah Whitish is two threes away from moving up to No. 3 on Nebraska’s all-time three-point list (183, Yvonne Turner, 2007-10).
• (5) Whitish is five assists away from No. 9 on the Nebraska career assist list (342, Ami Beiriger, 1979-83).
• (8) Nicea Eliely needs eight steals to reach 50 on the season. She would become the first Husker to notch 50 steals in a season since All-American Lindsey Moore (60) in 2012-13.
• (13) Eliely is 13 points away from 200 on the season.
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 Leigha Brown (10.2 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 1.1 apg), Sam Haiby (9.8 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 2.6 apg), Ashtyn Veerbeek (7.4 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 1.0 bpg) and Kayla Mershon (2.9 ppg, 2.8 rpg).
• Leigha Brown, who earned Big Ten Freshman-of-the-Week honors (Jan. 7) and a spot on the Big Ten Honor Roll after her 30-point outburst against Purdue (Feb. 10), leads the Huskers with 10.2 points per game, including 11.5 points per Big Ten game. She added 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 nine double-figure scoring efforts and has led the Big Red in scoring six times this season, including four Big Ten games.
• Haiby, a 5-9 guard from Moorhead, Minn., ranks third among the Huskers with 9.8 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 (2.6 apg).
• Ashtyn Veerbeek ranks third among the Husker freshmen in scoring with 7.4 points per game, while leading the freshmen and ranking second on the team with 5.6 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 23 blocks.
• Kayla Mershon has pitched in 2.9 points and 2.8 rebounds per game. She has made eight consecutive starts heading into Thursday’s game at No. 7 Maryland. 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 20 assists and committed just turnovers through 24 games.
• The freshmen have combined for 41.5 percent (725-of-1,747) of Nebraska’s points in just 36.4 percent of the team’s total minutes (1,763-of-4,850) on the season. They also have accounted for just 30.3 percent (110-of-363) of Nebraska’s turnovers.
• Nebraska’s four freshmen are combining to average 30.2 points and 14 rebounds per game.
Whitish Heating Up in Big Ten Play
• Preseason All-Big Ten guard Hannah Whitish is catching fire in conference action, including 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 career high of 29 points came last season in back-to-back non-conference wins at Kansas and Drake.
• Whitish owns a team-best 46 career double-figure scoring efforts, including a team-high 15 in 2018-19 and 18 in 2017-18. She owns five career 20-point performances, including three in 2017-18.
• Whitish is averaging 11.3 points per Big Ten game this season, and 9.9 points overall on the year.
• She has climbed to No. 4 on the Nebraska career three-point list with 181, and needs two more to catch Yvonne Turner (2007-10) in third on that chart with 183.
• Whitish leads the Huskers with 51 three-pointers on the season. Whitish has hit 20 threes over the last six games.
• Whitish scored in double figures for seven straight games before being shut out by a focused defensive effort from Purdue (Feb. 10). In the seven-game stretch, Whitish averaged 15 points per game and shot 43.6 percent (24-55) from three-point range. She also averaged 5.3 assists over those seven contests.
• Whitish has climbed to No. 10 on the Nebraska career assist list with 337, and she needs five 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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