Nebraska sophomore Jessica Shepard earned All-Big Ten honors for the second straight season, claiming spots on the second team by both the coaches and Big Ten media when conference honors were announced on the BTN Women's Sports Report on Monday afternoon.
Shepard, a 6-4 forward from Fremont, Neb., led Nebraska in scoring and rebounding for the second consecutive season in 2016-17. She produced 18.6 points and 9.8 rebounds per contest, including 19.1 points and 9.3 boards in Big Ten play.
She closed the 2016-17 regular season with a season-high 32 points to go along with 11 rebounds to help Nebraska to a 76-74 overtime win over Michigan State. It was her third career 30-plus scoring performance. It was Shepard's 14th double-double of the season, including her eighth in Big Ten Conference action. She owns 24 career double-doubles through her first two seasons on the court, which already ranks fifth in school history.
Shepard enters the Big Ten Tournament with 1,096 points in her first two seasons, the highest total by a sophomore in school history, surpassing the 1,078 points scored by 2014 first-team All-American Jordan Hooper as a freshman and sophomore in 2010-11 and 2011-12. Shepard is tied for 24th on Nebraska's all-time scoring list and enters the Big Ten Tournament needing seven points to climb to 23rd (Yvonne Turner, 1,101, 2007-10), 11 points to move to 22nd (Dominique Kelley, 1,107, 2008-11), and 20 points to reach 21st (Meggan Yedsena, 1,116, 1991-94).
Shepard's 540 career rebounds also rank as the third-highest total by a sophomore in school history, and she needs just eight more to catch Kathy Hagerstrom (1979-80 and 1980-81) in second at 548. Hagerstrom played 71 games to reach that total, while Shepard has played just 59 in her career.
Nebraska's all-time rebound leader Janet Smith owns the highest total by a sophomore in her first two seasons with 573 in 1978-79 and 1979-80. Smith competed in 74 games in her first two seasons as a Husker.
Shepard earned first-team All-Big Ten honors as a freshman in 2015-16 when she was the 2016 Big Ten Freshman of the Year. She averaged 18.5 points and 8.6 rebounds for the Huskers as a true freshman. She became the first freshman in school history to earn first-team all-conference honors.
Junior Emily Wood earned Nebraska's Big Ten Sportsmanship Award. The 5-5 guard from Salina, Kan., has averaged 2.1 points while playing in all 28 games for the Huskers in 2016-17. Wood, who carries better than a 3.9 grade-point average, was a 2016 Big Ten Distinguished Scholar and a CoSIDA Academic All-America nominee in 2017. She is a two-time member of the Tom Osborne Citizenship Team and traveled to the Dominican Republic in May of 2016 as part of the Nebraska Athletic Department's second annual service trip abroad. Wood is expected to graduate in just three years from Nebraska as a management major in May of 2017. She plans to attend graduate school at Nebraska.
The Huskers return to action for the first game of the 2017 Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis on Wednesday. Nebraska will face Illinois at 12:30 p.m. (CT) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in a game televised by BTN.