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Coatney's Call: Michigan Preview
Matt Coatney is the voice of Nebraska women's basketball on the Husker Sports Network.
Photo Courtesy None
Courtesy: NU Media Relations
02/19/2013
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Nebraska (19-6, 9-3) at Michigan (19-6, 8-4)
Thursday, Feb. 21, 6 p.m. (central)
Crisler Arena (Ann Arbor, Mich.)
Live Video:
BTN.com
Radio: Husker Sports Network
(Matt Coatney-PBP; Jeff Griesch-Analyst)
(B107.3 FM-Lincoln; The Wolf 93.3 FM-Omaha; 960 AM-KNEB, Scottsbluff; 1400 AM-KCOW, Alliance)
Internet: Free live audio on Huskers.com

Nebraska (19-6, 9-3) vs. Iowa (17-10, 6-7)
Sunday, Feb. 24, 2 p.m. (central)
Bob Devaney Sports Center (Lincoln, Neb.)
National TV:
BTN (Kevin Kugler-PBP, Stephanie White-Analyst)
Radio: Husker Sports Network
(Matt Coatney-PBP; Jeff Griesch-Analyst)
(B107.3 FM-Lincoln; 1110 AM-KFAB, Omaha; 880 AM-KRVN, Lexington; 94.5 FM-KLIQ, Hastings; 1240 AM-KODY, North Platte; 94.1 FM-KNEB, Scottsbluff; 1400 AM-KCOW, Alliance; 1310 AM-KGMT, Fairbury)
Internet: Free live audio on Huskers.com         

The Nebraska women's basketball team is on a seven-game winning streak and the Huskers' defense has helped them to a 19-6 overall record. NU's 9-3 mark is good for a second-place standing in the Big Ten Conference.

Last Thursday in Lincoln, the Huskers held Ohio State to 39 points, an all-time Buckeye low in the 11 years they've been coached by Jim Foster, as NU swept OSU in the season series with a 58-39 victory.  Sophomore Emily Cady posted her fourth double-double of the season with 10 points and a career-high 16 rebounds. 

Nebraska hits the road for a Thursday night meeting in Ann Arbor with Michigan before returning home for a rematch with the Iowa Hawkeyes Sunday afternoon.

Many people grab a stat sheet to learn about a team. Not me. The first thing I look at is how many seniors a team has on its roster. A good measuring stick for how successful a collegiate team can potentially be is the number of seniors on the team. Under first-year Michigan Head Coach Kim Barnes Arico, Michigan has already experienced one of its best seasons in school history, and it's not surprising the Wolverines have a six-person senior class. The team got off to its best start in program history, going 11-2 in non-conference play, and was ranked for the first time in a decade. For the first time since the 1999 season, Michigan completed the month of December with an undefeated record. They set a program record for fewest points allowed in a game in a 72-29 win over Seton Hall. 

Last week Michigan won a road game at Purdue for the first time in 15 years. Perhaps most significantly for diehard Michigan fans, last Saturday the team snapped a 12-game losing streak to in-state rival Michigan State, winning 70-69 in Ann Arbor. U-M's 19 wins this year are just three shy of the school record of 22 set in 1999-2000. 

The Wolverines have done it with defense, ranking second overall in the Big Ten in scoring defense (54.4 ppg). However, in league games only, Nebraska is second in the conference in scoring defense (57.6 ppg), with Michigan one spot behind the Huskers (59.2 ppg). The Wolverines are 13-2 when outrebounding their opponents and 4-4 (1-3 Big Ten) when their opponents have more rebounds. Michigan is tied with Purdue and Illinois for third place in the league, one game behind the Huskers heading into Thursday night's matchup.

The biggest surprise on this year's Wolverines team is the offensive production of 6-4 guard Kate Thompson. In three previous seasons, she had a career average of 6.2 points per game and 29.3 three-point field goals per season. She has exploded onto the scene as a senior, leading the Big Ten in three-pointers (95). She also leads the nation in three-pointers per game (3.8). Thompson leads the Wolverines in scoring with 15.5 points per game.  She has scored in double figures 21 times, including 20 points with four three-pointers Saturday against Michigan State. Her 95 three-pointers this year have smashed the program single-season record.  She set a school record with seven three-pointers against Northwestern. Thompson's importance to Michigan's hopes this year can't be understated. In their eight league wins, Thompson is shooting .417 (40-of-96) and she averages 15.8 points per game.  In their four losses, her shooting is only .283 (13-of-46) and her scoring slips to 12.0 points per contest. 

Point guard Jenny Ryan was very instrumental in Michigan snapping their 12-game losing streak to the Spartans Saturday. The senior finished with a career-high 24 points, added five assists, four steals and did not commit a turnover. For her efforts, she was named Big Ten Player of the Week.  Ryan leads the team in assists and steals, adds 11.2 points and is fourth in the Big Ten in minutes per game.  Last year she was named to the conference All-Defensive team.  Ryan did not score in Michigan's win at Nebraska in 2012, but added seven rebounds and four assists. 

Senior forward Rachel Sheffer is second on the team in scoring (12.6 ppg) and rebounding (6.0 rpg). Last season she was honorable-mention All-Big Ten and had 13 points, eight rebounds and a career-high five blocked shots against the Huskers. 

Senior forward Nya Jordan was inserted into the starting lineup after six games this season to add rebounding strength. She has started the last 19 games and leads the team in rebounds (6.8 rpg) and contributes 7.7 points per game. 

Sophomore guard Nicole Elmblad rounds out Michigan's probable starting lineup. She averages 4.5 points per game.

Kim Barnes Arico  became the ninth coach in Michigan history when she took the job after Kevin Borseth resigned to return to Wisconsin-Green Bay.  She took St. John's to four NCAA Tournaments in 10 years, including an appearance in the Sweet 16 last year.  Michigan defeated Nebraska 63-52 in Lincoln for their first win ever in seven tries in the series. 

Iowa has a mid-week bye before heading to Lincoln for Sunday afternoon's rematch.  Just a week ago Monday, Nebraska pulled out a 76-75 win over the Hawkeyes, handing them their fourth straight defeat. Iowa lost to league-leading Penn State before handing Purdue a 72-52 loss in West Lafayette, Ind., on Sunday.  It was Iowa's first win at Purdue since 1998, breaking a 12-game road losing streak to the Boilermakers. It also allowed Iowa to improve to 7-1 this season against ranked teams. 

The Hawkeyes headed to Purdue with five straight losses, squarely on the NCAA Tournament bubble (17-10, 6-7 Big Ten). Iowa, which hosts the first two rounds of the Big Dance, got the mid-week off after beating the Boilermakers and could be gearing up for a late-season push. After facing Nebraska, Iowa has a home game with Indiana before closing the year at Northwestern.

Iowa has lost four straight games to the Huskers, including the game in Iowa City on Feb. 11.  Jordan Hooper had 29 points and Lindsey Moore added 14 to lead NU to the one-point win against the Hawkeyes.

I cordially invite you to join Jeff Griesch and me for Nebraska women's basketball on the Husker Sports Network.  Our radio broadcast Thursday night begins with the pre-game show at 5:45 p.m. (central) with the tip-off scheduled for 6 p.m. on the Husker Sports Network, including Lincoln affiliate KBBK 107.3 FM (B107.3), KTWI 93.3 FM (The Wolf) in Omaha, KCOW 1400 in Alliance, KNEB 94.1 in Scottsbluff, and available to our entire 25 network stations.  Sunday's game against Iowa begins with the pre-game show at 1:45 p.m. (central) with the tip-off at 2:05 p.m. on the Husker Sports Network, including KBBK 107.3 FM (B107.3) in Lincoln, KFAB 1110 (Omaha), KRVN 880 (Lexington),KLIQ 94.5 (Hastings), KODY 1240 in North Platte, KCOW 1400 in Alliance, KNEB 94.1 in Scottsbluff, and KGMT 1310 in Fairbury.  All Husker women's basketball broadcasts are also available for free worldwide on the internet at www.huskers.com

I hope you can join us. There are a number of ways to get enhanced information about our broadcast and Husker women's basketball via social media.  You can learn more about the team on the Nebraska Women's Basketball Facebook  page or follow the team on their official Twitter  page @huskerswbb.  I also invite you to friend me on Facebook (Matt Coatney) or follow me on Twitter @coatman1.

Go Big Red! 

Matt  

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