Nebraska Cornhuskers at Iowa Hawkeyes
Saturday, Dec. 31, 2 p.m. (CT)
Carver-Hawkeye Arena (Iowa City, Iowa)
Live Video: BTN Plus
Live Radio: Husker Sports Network
Matt Coatney (PBP), Jeff Griesch (Analyst)
Lincoln - B107.3 FM, Omaha - ESPN 590 AM
Free Live Audio: Huskers.com/Huskers App/TuneIn App
Huskers Close 2016 at Iowa on New Year’s Eve
The Nebraska women’s basketball team makes its first Big Ten Conference road trip of the season on Saturday by taking on Iowa on New Year’s Eve at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Tip-off between the Huskers (4-9) and the Hawkeyes (9-5) is set for 2 p.m., with a live radio broadcast available from the Husker Sports Network. Matt Coatney and Jeff Griesch will call the action on B107.3 FM in Lincoln and 590 AM ESPN radio in Omaha. Free audio also can be found on Huskers.com and the Huskers App and TuneIn App. A live video stream will be available to premium subscribers of BTN Plus.
Nebraska heads to Iowa after suffering a narrow 62-58 loss to 12-2 Northwestern on Wednesday at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln.
Sophomore Jessica Shepard led the Huskers with 17 points and 15 rebounds, while freshman Hannah Whitish added a career-high 12 points while making her first career start.
The Huskers will try to snap a four-game losing streak in the series with the Hawkeyes that includes a 74-68 loss to Iowa in Lincoln last New Year’s Eve.
The only three players on Nebraska’s current roster who played in last year’s game with Iowa are Shepard, senior center Allie Havers and junior guard Jasmine Cincore. Shepard produced 28 points and eight rebounds in 39 minutes against the Hawkeyes, while Havers added six points and five boards in the first Big Ten start of her career. Cincore played just seven minutes off the bench and did not score.
Iowa on the other hand returns four-year starter Ally Disterhoft, who will be making her 99th career start on Saturday. She had 17 points and 11 rebounds against the Huskers last season in Lincoln and owns 99 points and 51 rebounds in six career meetings against Nebraska. Current starters Megan Gustafson, Tania Davis and Christina Buttenham combined for 16 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists off the bench last season against the Huskers, while current reserves Chase Coley and Lincoln native Alexa Kastanek combined for 29 points and nine rebounds as starters last season at Nebraska.
The Huskers lead the all-time series with Iowa 12-11, including eight straight wins to open NU’s participation in the Big Ten. That winning streak culminated with Nebraska’s 72-65 victory over the Hawkeyes in the 2014 Big Ten Tournament Championship Game in Indianapolis.
Nebraska Cornhuskers (4-9, 0-1 Big Ten)
32 - Jessica Shepard - 6-4 - So. - F - 17.9 ppg, 10.8 rpg
22 - Allie Havers - 6-5 - Sr. - C - 6.3 ppg, 5.6 rpg
5 - Nicea Eliely - 6-1 - Fr. - G - 8.4 ppg, 4.5 rpg
3 - Hannah Whitish - 5-8 - Sr. - G - 6.1 ppg, 1.3 rpg
34 - Jasmine Cincore - 5-10 - Jr. - G - 5.9 ppg, 2.8 rpg
Off the Bench
24 - Maddie Simon - 6-2 - So. - G - 4.3 ppg, 2.4 rpg
11 - Esther Ramacieri - 5-8 - Sr. - G - 3.5 ppg, 2.2 rpg
12 - Emily Wood 5-5 - Jr. - G - 2.6 ppg, 1.0 rpg
50 - Darrien Washington - 6-2 - So. - F - 2.5 ppg, 3.9 rpg
2 - Rylie Cascio Jensen - 5-10 - Fr. - G - 2.2 ppg, 1.0 rpg
14 - Grace Mitchell - 6-2 - Fr. - F/G - 1.9 ppg, 1.8 rpg
Head Coach: Amy Williams (Nebraska, 1998)
First Season at Nebraska (4-9); 10th Season Overall (197-118)
Iowa Hawkeyes (9-5, 0-1 Big Ten)
23 - Christina Buttenham - 5-11 - Jr. - F - 4.6 ppg, 3.1 rpg
10 - Megan Gustafson - 6-3 - So. - C - 16.9 ppg, 10.4 rpg
2 - Ally Disterhoft - 6-0 - Sr. - G/F - 17.4 ppg, 5.5 rpg
11 - Tania Davis - 5-4 - So. - G - 9.5 ppg, 3.4 rpg
22 - Kathleen Doyle - 5-9 - Fr. - G - 7.8 ppg, 2.0 rpg
Off the Bench
21 - Hannah Stewart - 6-2 - So. - F - 6.6 ppg, 3.1 rpg
3 - Makenzie Meyer - 5-10 - Fr. - G - 4.8 ppg, 1.5 rpg
1 - Alexa Kastanek - 5-10 - Sr. - G - 3.9 ppg, 1.4 rpg
4 - Chase Coley - 6-3 - Jr. - F/C - 3.1 ppg, 4.2 rpg
35 - Bre Cera - 5-10 - Fr. - G - 1.7 ppg, 2.7 rpg
43 - Amanda Ollinger - 6-1 - Fr. - F - 0.9 ppg, 1.5 rpg
34 - Carly Mohns - 6-1 - So. - F - 1.0 ppg, 1.0 rpg
40 - Hailey Schneden - 6-2 - Sr. - F - 0.7 ppg, 0.3 rpg
Head Coach: Lisa Bluder (Northern Iowa, 1983)
17th Season at Iowa (332-193); 33rd Season Overall (688-335)
Iowa heads into Saturday’s game with a 9-5 overall record after dropping a 70-65 road decision at Illinois in its Big Ten opener on Wednesday.
Sophomore post Megan Gustafson led the Hawkeyes with 21 points and 13 rebounds, while senior guard Ally Disterhoft added a double-double of her own with 11 points and 12 rebounds in a losing effort to the Illini.
Freshman point guard Kathleen Doyle contributed 12 points and six assists, while junior forward Christina Buttenham pitched in 12 points and five rebounds but committed five turnovers before fouling out in 25 minutes of action.
Sophomore starting guard Tania Davis was shut out on 0-for-6 shooting in 35 minutes, although she managed five rebounds and five assists.
The Hawkeyes struggled against the Illini defense, tying a season high by committing 23 turnovers, including four each by Davis and Doyle. Iowa hit just 37.7 percent (23-61) of its shots from the floor, including just 7-of-28 three-pointers. The Hawkeyes did connect on 12-of-14 free throws and outrebounded Illinois by a whopping 46-28 margin. However, Illinois won the turnover battle 23-13.
Iowa, which has made nine consecutive postseason tournament appearances including a trip to the 2016 WNIT, returns four starters from last year’s team that finished 19-14 overall and 8-10 in the Big Ten - right behind Nebraska.
Disterhoft, a four-year starter, is averaging a team-best 17.4 points per game while adding 5.5 rebounds. She is shooting 57.6 percent from the floor and 40.8 percent from three-point range for a Hawkeye team that is hitting a strong 48.0 percent from the field overall, including 33.2 percent from beyond the arc.
Gustafson, a 6-3 sophomore, is averaging a double-double with 16.9 points and a team-best 10.4 rebounds per game. She is hitting 66.9 percent of her field goal attempts and 77.8 percent of her free throws.
Davis, a 5-4 sophomore who has joined Disterhoft and Gustafson in the Iowa starting five for each of the first 14 games, has pitched in 9.5 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.6 assists.
Bre Cera, a 5-10 freshman guard, started 12 of Iowa’s first 13 games before giving way to the more experienced Buttenham against Illinois. Cera has averaged just 1.7 points and 2.7 rebounds on the season and did not score in four minutes off the bench against the Illini.
Doyle, originally a Nebraska signee, has started the last nine games for Illinois. She has averaged 7.8 points, 2.0 rebounds and 3.6 assists while leading the Hawkeyes with 27 steals.
Mackenzie Meyer, a 5-10 freshman from Mason City, Iowa, started Iowa’s first five games this season and has averaged 4.8 points and 1.5 rebounds on the year. She was scoreless in 18 minutes off the bench against Illinois on Wednesday.
Iowa, which entered the season as one of the Big Ten’s most experienced teams, also featured an experienced pair off the bench in Lincoln native Alexa Kastanek and former starter Chase Coley. Kastanek, a 5-10 senior guard who was a teammate of Nebraska sophomore Jessica Shepard at Lincoln Southeast High School, will be playing her 114th career game on Saturday. Kastanek is averaging 3.9 points and 1.4 rebounds in 10 minutes per game this season.
Coley, who started 31 games for the Hawkeyes last year, will be playing her 77th game and is approaching 500 career points (492) and 300 career rebounds (298). In four previous games against Nebraska, Coley has combined to go 10-for-13 from the field.
Last season, Coley and Kastanek were starters in Iowa’s 74-68 conference-opening win over Nebraska at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Dec. 31. Coley finished with 16 points and six rebounds, while Kastanek had 13 points and a pair of three-pointers.
Nebraska leads the all-time series with Iowa 12-11, but the Hawkeyes have won each of the last four games. Prior to Iowa’s current winning streak, Nebraska rolled to eight consecutive victories against the Hawkeyes to open the Huskers’ participation in the Big Ten Conference. NU has won three of the last four meetings against Iowa in Iowa City but dropped a 78-72 overtime decision in the most recent meeting at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Jan. 26, 2015.
Huskers Facing Experienced Coaches
Iowa’s Lisa Bluder will be the third in an amazing stretch of head coaches the Huskers are facing midway through the 2016-17 campaign. Bluder, who is in her 33rd season as a head coach and 17th season at Iowa, owns 688 career wins and will be the third consecutive coach Nebraska has faced with more than 600 victories and 30 years of head coaching experience. She followed Northwestern’s Joe McKeown, who owns 650 career victories in 31 seasons as a head coach.
Nebraska’s six-game stretch against highly successful coaches began with the legendary Geno Auriemma, who owns 967 wins in his 32 seasons at UConn.
In the three-game stretch, Auriemma, McKeown and Bluder have combined for 2,305 wins in 96 combined seasons as head coaches.
Following the Iowa game, Nebraska’s next three opposing coaches have all notched at least 400 wins as head coaches, beginning with Maryland’s Brenda Frese (440 wins) and Michigan State’s Suzy Merchant (415) before facing Naismith Hall of Famer C. Vivian Stringer (974) and Rutgers. Stringer is in her 46th season as a head coach and 22nd season at Rutgers.
Overall, the six coaches have amassed 4,134 wins in 182 seasons as head coaches.
• Jessica Shepard leads the Huskers with averages of 17.9 points and 10.8 rebounds per game. She produced her 17th career double-double with 17 points and 15 rebounds in Nebraska’s Big Ten opener with Northwestern (Dec. 28). Shepard’s next double-double will place her in a tie for ninth on Nebraska’s career double-doubles list with 1998 All-American and two-time WNBA All-Star Anna DeForge (18, 1995-98).
• Shepard owns seven double-doubles this season, including a season-high 28 points and 14 rebounds against San Jose State (Dec. 9). She had 23 points and a season-high 16 rebounds against Drake (Dec. 6), 25 points and 14 rebounds at Virginia Tech (Dec. 1), 24 points and 13 rebounds in a win over Colorado State (Nov. 17), 22 points and 13 rebounds at Creighton (Dec. 18), and 17 points and 15 rebounds in a win over UTRGV (Nov. 12).
• Shepard owns six 20-point scoring efforts through 13 games, including a season-high 28 points against San Jose State (Dec. 9). She owns 22 career 20-plus scoring games in 43 career contests.
• Shepard ranks second among the Huskers in three-point field goals made (14), including a game-clinching three with one minute left in the win over Colorado State on Nov. 14, and a 60-foot heave at the first-half buzzer in the win over UTRGV on Nov. 12. She also beat the first-half buzzer with a three at Creighton (Dec. 18).
• Nebraska freshman Nicea Eliely ranks second on the team in scoring (8.4 ppg), third in rebounding (4.5 rpg), second in assists (2.9 apg) and first in steals (1.6 spg), blocked shots (0.8 bpg), field goal percentage (.512) and three-point field goal percentage (.455) through the first 13 games of her collegiate career.
• Freshman Hannah Whitish made her first career start in Nebraska’s Big Ten opener against Northwestern. She scored a career-high 12 points and added four assists.
Shepard Leads Big Red on B1G Stage
• Sophomore Jessica Shepard owns 17 career double-doubles, including seven this season. Her most recent double-double came with 17 points and 15 rebounds against Northwestern on Wednesday. She had 22 points and 11 rebounds at Creighton on Dec. 18. She had a season-high 28 points and 14 rebounds in a win over San Jose State on Dec. 9. She added 23 points and a season-high 16 rebounds against Drake on Dec. 6. It followed a 25-point, 14-rebound performance in a loss at unbeaten Virginia Tech on Dec. 1. She also had 24 points and 13 rebounds in Nebraska’s 62-59 win over Colorado State on Nov. 17. She opened the season with 17 points and 15 rebounds in a win over UTRGV on Nov. 12.
• Through 13 games, Shepard is averaging team bests of 17.9 points and 10.8 rebounds per game. She also ranks second on the team with 14 three-pointers, including a game-clinching three with one minute left against Colorado State and a 60-footer at the first-half buzzer in the win over UTRGV. She added a first-half buzzer-beater at Creighton. The 6-4 sophomore forward had not hit a collegiate three-pointer prior to this season.
• Shepard earned Preseason All-Big Ten honors when the conference announced its preseason awards on Oct. 24. Shepard was one of two sophomores on the coaches preseason all-conference team, joining Penn State guard Teniya Page. Shepard was the lone sophomore honored by the media on its 10-player preseason team.
• Shepard became the first freshman in Nebraska history to earn first-team all-conference honors. She produced school freshman-record averages of 18.5 points and 8.6 rebounds per game in 2015-16.
• Shepard became the first Husker in history to earn conference freshman-of-the-year accolades. The 6-4 forward from Fremont, Neb., joined Emily Cady (2012) and Rachel Theriot (2013) as Huskers who earned spots on the Big Ten All-Freshman Team in Nebraska’s first five seasons in the conference.
• Shepard set a conference record by winning 10 Big Ten Freshman-of-the-Week awards.
Big Red To Battle one of Nation’s Best Schedules
• Nebraska will likely face the toughest overall schedule in school history in 2016-17. The Huskers will play 10 games against NCAA Tournament teams and 11 more regular-season games against Postseason WNIT teams in 2016-17.
• Through Thursday’s games, Nebraska’s strength of schedule ranked No. 8 nationally. NU’s 13 opponents owned a cumulative record of 115-49 (.701 winning percentage), including unbeaten records for No. 1 UConn (12-0), No. 18 California (13-0) and No. 20 Virginia Tech (12-0).
• Through non-conference play, Nebraska’s Strength of Schedule ranked No. 12 by RPIRatings.com. NU’s schedule strength was No. 2 in the Big Ten, trailing only Minnesota. Nebraska, Minnesota and Rutgers were the only three Big Ten teams to enter conference play with a top-25 strength of schedule. Six Big Ten teams entered league play with strength of schedules below 100, including Purdue (204), Maryland (203), Indiana (176), Northwestern (167), Ohio State (155) and Wisconsin (114).
• Nebraska’s appearance in the 2016 Preseason WNIT to open the year featured three games against postseason foes, including NCAA Tournament teams Missouri and Colorado State.
• Virginia, Virginia Tech, Drake and Creighton all competed in the 2016 WNIT and the Huskers will play three of those games on the road. Nebraska closes non-conference play at home against UConn, which has won four consecutive NCAA titles.
• A total of 13 of Nebraska’s 16 Big Ten Conference games will come against postseason foes, including seven games against NCAA qualifiers and six more against WNIT teams from a year ago.
• Nebraska’s 16-game regular-season home schedule will feature 13 games against postseason teams, including all eight Big Ten Conference home games.
• Nebraska senior Allie Havers has competed in 109 consecutive games since the first game of her freshman season in 2013-14. The Huskers own a 69-40 record in those contests over the last four years.
• Junior Jasmine Cincore owns the longest streak of consecutive starts among the Huskers with 18. Havers has made 16 straight starts, while freshman Nicea Eliely and sophomore Jessica Shepard have each started 13 straight games this season.
• The Huskers have knocked down at least one three-pointer in 264 straight regular-season games dating back to a loss at UTEP on Dec. 20, 2008.
• Nebraska has hit at least two three-pointers in 143 consecutive games.
• Nebraska has had at least two players earn first- or second-team All-Big Ten honors in each of its first five seasons in the Big Ten.
• Nebraska finished with a 9-9 Big Ten record to mark the fifth consecutive season the Huskers have posted a .500 or better Big Ten record. Nebraska is the only Big Ten team with a .500 or better record in each of the last five seasons. In fact, no other Big Ten team has had four straight .500 marks. The only other team with three straight .500 or better Big Ten seasons is Minnesota, which went 11-7 in both 2015 and 2016 after going 8-8 in 2014.
Pump Up the Program
• Nebraska earned its fifth straight postseason tournament bid with a trip to the 2016 WNIT. The Huskers were one of only 21 Division I teams to earn four consecutive NCAA Tournament bids from 2012 through 2015.
• The Huskers have produced seven 20-win seasons in the last 10 years. Nebraska owns 16 20-win seasons in program history.
• Nebraska is the only team in the Big Ten to post a .500 or better conference mark in each of the last five years. Minnesota is the only other Big Ten team to do it each of the last three seasons.
• The Huskers, who joined the Big Ten in 2011-12, have averaged 10.6 conference wins per season since joining the conference. The Big Red have added eight Big Ten Tournament wins for 61 total victories over Big Ten foes during the past five years (12.2 wins per season).
• Nebraska has ranked among the top 12 schools nationally in average home attendance in each of the Huskers’ first three seasons at Pinnacle Bank Arena. The Big Red have ranked among the top 10 nationally in total home attendance in each of the first three seasons at the arena, including 102,682 fans in 2015-16.
• Nebraska set a season ticket sales record with 4,032 season tickets sold as of Jan. 31, 2016. It marked the first time in school history the Huskers sold 4,000 season tickets. Nebraska’s season ticket number for 2016-17 was 3,980 as of Dec. 21, 2016.
• Nebraska featured six first-team academic All-Big Ten selections in 2015-16, including returning Huskers Jasmine Cincore, Allie Havers and Emily Wood.
Shepard Shoots For More as Sophomore
• Jessica Shepard has her sophomore season off to a strong start averaging 17.9 points and 10.8 rebounds per game. She has produced seven double-doubles, including 17 points and 15 rebounds in Nebraska’s Big Ten opener against Northwestern on Dec. 28. She had 22 points and 11 rebounds against Creighton (Dec. 18). That followed a season-high 28 points and 14 rebounds against San Jose State (Dec. 9), 23 points and a season-high 16 rebounds against Drake (Dec. 6), 25 points and 14 rebounds at Virginia Tech (Dec. 1), 24 points and 13 rebounds in a win over Colorado State (Nov. 17), and 17 points and 15 boards in a win over UTRGV (Nov. 12).
• Shepard owns 17 career double-doubles to rank 10th on Nebraska’s career chart in that category. Her next double-double will move her into a tie for ninth at Nebraska with All-American and two-time WNBA All-Star Anna DeForge, who had 18 double-doubles for the Huskers from 1995 to 1998.
• Shepard has six 20-point efforts this season, including a season-high 28 points in the win over San Jose State (Dec. 9). She had 25 points at Virginia Tech (Dec. 1) and against Washington State (Nov. 25). She scored 24 points against Colorado State (Nov. 17), before going for 23 points, including 22 in the second half, against Drake (Dec. 6). Shepard owns 22 career 20-point games in her first 44 games as a Husker.
• Shepard ranks second among the Huskers with 14 three-pointers on the season, including a game-clinching three in the win over Colorado State and a buzzer-beating 60-footer to close the first half in the win over UTRGV. She also hit a first-half buzzer-beater at Creighton. Shepard did not hit a three-pointer as a freshman.
• Nebraska’s first Big Ten Freshman of the Year, Shepard became the first Husker in history to earn first-team all-conference honors as a freshman in 2015-16. During the season, she set a conference record by winning 10 Big Ten Freshman-of-the-Week awards. She was also a two-time Big Ten Player of the Week (Dec. 21, Jan. 25).
• One of only two freshmen on the Naismith Trophy Midseason Top 30 in 2015-16 (joining Cal’s Kristine Anigwe), Shepard was the USBWA National Freshman of the Week (Dec. 22, 2015; Jan. 26, 2016). Shepard was the espnW and College Sports Madness National Player of the Week (Jan. 25).
• Shepard finished 10th overall in the Big Ten in scoring (18.5 ppg) and fifth in rebounding (8.6 rpg), including fourth on the offensive glass (3.1 rpg) and 10th on the defensive boards (5.5 rpg). She ranked 13th in conference field goal percentage (.510).
• The 6-4 forward from Fremont, Neb., finished with Nebraska freshman record averages of 18.5 points and 8.6 rebounds per game. Her 574 total points were a Nebraska freshman record, while her 266 rebounds ranked second among freshmen in Husker history.
• She amassed 16 games with 20 or more points as a freshman, including 11 in Big Ten play. She produced the first of two 35-point performances against Northern Arizona Dec. 19, 2015. She added 35 points at Michigan, Jan. 24. She scored in double figures 25 times.
• Shepard averaged just 4.5 points and 6.0 rebounds in 20 minutes per game over the final two games of 2015-16 as she battled a stress reaction in her foot. She did not practice March 1-17, while she rested the injury.
• Shepard was not cleared for her first full practice until Oct. 27, 2015, after suffering an ACL tear as a high school senior on Dec. 29, 2014. On Nov. 1, she had 29 points and 12 rebounds against Nebraska-Kearney in NU’s exhibition opener. She added 42 points and 12 rebounds in just 25 minutes in a second exhibition against Winona State on Nov. 8.
• She was the top recruit in Nebraska history, as the No. 1 post and No. 3 overall recruit in the nation by ESPN. A first-team Parade All-American as a high school senior despite missing nearly all of her final year (ACL tear, Dec. 29, 2014), Shepard was the 2013 and 2014 Nebraska High School Player of the Year. Shepard averaged 12.8 points and 3.8 rebounds while helping the USA Basketball U18 Team to a 5-0 record and a gold medal at the 2014 FIBA Americas Championship.
Freshmen Contributing Early
Nicea Eliely, 6-1, Guard, Colorado Springs, Colo.
• Eliely, a 6-1 guard out of Rampart High School in Colorado Springs, has started all 13 games and is averaging 8.4 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.6 steals per game.
• Eliely produced a career-high 19-point performance in a loss to California on Dec. 4. She hit 8-of-13 shots from the field including 2-of-3 three-pointers against the Bears. She added two rebounds, two assists and two steals.
• She added her second career double-figure scoring effort with 13 points to go along with seven rebounds, four assists, a steal and a block in a win over San Jose State on Dec. 9. She hit 6-of-9 shots from the field against the Spartans.
• In her Big Ten debut against Northwestern (Dec. 28), Eliely finished with seven points, seven rebounds, and team highs of five assists, two blocks and two steals.
• She earned her first career start in Nebraska’s season-opening win over UTRGV on Nov. 12. Eliely performed well with nine points, two rebounds, four assists and two steals against the Vaqueros, while also drawing the primary defensive assignment on 2016 WAC Player-of-the-Year Shawnte’ Goff.
• Eliely played Nebraska’s best all-around game in the loss to No. 25 Missouri on Nov. 14. She finished with eight points, eight rebounds, two assists and a steal against the Tigers. She also hit her first career three-pointer against the Tigers.
• She was even better in Nebraska’s win over Colorado State, contributing six points, six rebounds and a career-high six assists to go along with three steals. She also helped frustrate and foul out 2016 Mountain West Conference Player of the Year Ellen Nystrom.
• She had one of Nebraska’s best all-around games with seven points, five rebounds, four assists and a block in the loss to No. 1 UConn on Dec. 21.
• Eliely added nine points, six rebounds, two assists and a career-high four steals in Nebraska’s win over Omaha on Nov. 22. She scored nine more points while adding three rebounds, a block and a steal at Virginia Tech on Dec. 1.
• Eliely was a Colorado Class 5A performer as a senior in 2015-16. Ranked as the No. 25 guard in the nation by ESPN and the No. 143 player in the nation by Blue Star, Eliely averaged 21.4 points, 7.6 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 3.4 steals and 2.0 blocks per game as a senior for the Rams.
Hannah Whitish, 5-9, Guard, Barneveld, Wis.
• Whitish, a 5-9 guard from Barneveld, Wis., was the Wisconsin Gatorade Player of the Year after averaging 24.2 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 4.5 steals as a senior. The five-time first-team All-Wisconsin selection led Barneveld High School to four consecutive state championship game appearances including a pair of state titles. She led her team to a 110-4 record in her career, while ranking among the top 10 in Wisconsin High School history in career points with well over 2,000.
• Whitish was Nebraska’s top contributor off the bench in non-conference play before making her first career start in Nebraska’s Big Ten opener with Northwestern (Dec. 28). Whitish, who started in place of injured senior Esther Ramacieri against the Wildcats, scored a career-high 12 points and added four assists in a career-high 27 minutes against Northwestern.
• Through 13 games, Whitish is averaging 6.1 points, 1.3 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 17.7 minutes per contest. Whitish also leads the Huskers with 17 three-pointers this season (17-49, .347).
• She played arguably Nebraska’s best individual game with nine points on a career-high three three-pointers, while adding two rebounds, two assists, no turnovers and a steal in 19 minutes against No. 1 UConn on Dec. 21.
• In her Husker debut, Whitish scored seven points on 3-of-4 shooting with a three-pointer, while adding two assists, one steal and no turnovers in the win over UTRGV on Nov. 12.
• Whitish played a huge role in Nebraska’s win over Colorado State, finishing with her first career double-figure scoring performance. Her 10-point effort in the win over the Rams included a career-high three three-pointers with the final triple coming on a cast from the deep left wing with one second on the shot clock to give Nebraska a 58-55 lead with 1:48 left. She added a free throw with 18 seconds left to seal the 62-59 win.
• Whitish added her second straight double-figure scoring performance with 10 points and career highs of five assists and two steals in Nebraska’s win over Omaha on Nov. 22.
Rylie Cascio Jensen, 5-10, Guard, Fremont, Neb.
• Nebraska’s four-player freshman class of Rylie Cascio Jensen, Nicea Eliely, Grace Mitchell and Hannah Whitish have been looked to for immediate contributions on the Huskers’ 11-player active roster.
• Cascio Jensen, a 5-10 guard from Fremont High School, was the 2016 Nebraska High School Player of the Year. She averaged 22.0 points, 7.4 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 2.6 steals per game for the Tigers.
• She is averaging 2.2 points and 1.8 assists in 14.5 minutes per game this season.
• Cascio Jensen had season highs with six points and two three-pointers in wins over both Omaha (Nov. 22) and San Jose State (Dec. 9).
Grace Mitchell, 6-2, Forward/Guard, Wellington, Kan.
• Mitchell, a 6-2 forward/guard, was the Kansas Player of the Year as selected by USA Today High School Sports. She averaged 21.7 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.7 blocks as a senior at Wellington High School. She also hit 48 percent of her three-pointers while setting a single-season school record with 533 points on her way to Kansas Class 4A Player-of-the-Year honors. She was ranked as the No. 51 wing in the nation by ESPN.
• Mitchell has averaged 1.9 points and 1.8 rebounds in 9.8 minutes per game this season. She produced a career-high seven-point effort against Drake on Dec. 6. Mitchell scored five points and had the first two steals of her career during a 15-5 Husker surge in the second quarter that helped send the Big Red to halftime with a 33-32 lead over the Bulldogs.
• She played well off the bench with five points on 2-of-2 shooting, including a three-pointer, while adding three rebounds against No. 1 UConn on Dec. 21.
• Mitchell hit the first three-pointer of her career in the second quarter against Drake.
• She scored two points and grabbed two rebounds off the bench in her Husker debut against UTRGV, and added an important putback in Nebraska’s 62-59 win over Colorado State on Nov. 17.