Huskers Open Big Ten Tournament with Illinois
Nebraska Cornhuskers vs. Illinois Fighting Illini
Wednesday, March 1, 12:30 p.m. (CT)
Big Ten Tournament
Bankers Life Fieldhouse (Indianapolis)
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 Open Big Ten Tournament with Illinois
• The Nebraska women’s basketball team opens Big Ten Tournament play on Wednesday when the Huskers take on Illinois in Indianapolis. Tip-off between the Big Red (7-21, 3-13 Big Ten) and the Fighting Illini (8-21, 3-13 Big Ten) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse is set for 12:30 p.m.
• A live telecast of the game will be produced by the Big Ten Network, with Lisa Byington and Vera Jones on the call with sideline reports from Christy Winters Scott.
• A live radio broadcast will be produced by the Husker Sports Network. Matt Coatney and Jeff Griesch will call the action on B107.3 FM in Lincoln and ESPN 590 AM in Omaha. Free audio also can be found on Huskers.com, the Huskers App and the TuneIn App.
• Nebraska is coming off a thrilling 76-74 overtime win over Michigan State to close out regular-season conference play at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Sunday. Jessica Shepard led the Huskers with a season-high 32 points, while freshman Hannah Whitish added career highs of 24 points and five threes.
• NU’s win over current-RPI 46 Michigan State gave Nebraska a pair of home wins over top-50 RPI foes in the final week of Big Ten play, including a 67-64 win over RPI 43 Indiana (Feb. 19). The Huskers own three home wins over top-50 RPI teams, including a 62-59 victory over RPI 47 Colorado State (Nov. 17).
• Illinois won the only regular-season meeting with Nebraska, 79-59, in Champaign on Jan. 15.
• The winner of Wednesday’s game will record their first victory away from home this season. The Huskers and Illini head into the tournament with 0-12 records away from their home courts this season.
• Jessica Shepard earned All-Big Ten honors for the second straight season when she claimed second-team all-conference accolades on Monday. The 6-4 sophomore forward leads the Huskers with 18.6 points and 9.8 rebounds per game. Shepard has 14 double-doubles this season. She earned first-team All-Big Ten accolades as the 2016 Big Ten Freshman of the Year after averaging 18.5 points and 8.6 rebounds per game for the Big Red.
• Hannah Whitish averaged 11.1 points, 3.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists as a starter for the Huskers throughout Big Ten play. Whitish has averaged 17.7 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists over the last three games.
No. 13 Seed Nebraska Cornhuskers (7-21, 3-13 Big Ten)
32 - Jessica Shepard - 6-4 - So. - F - 18.6 ppg, 9.8 rpg
22 - Allie Havers - 6-5 - Sr. - C - 6.8 ppg, 5.3 rpg
3 - Hannah Whitish - 5-9 - Fr. - G - 8.7 ppg, 2.4 rpg
5 - Nicea Eliely - 6-1 - Fr. - G - 7.5 ppg, 3.6 rpg
34 - Jasmine Cincore - 5-10 - Jr. - G - 6.5 ppg, 3.4 rpg
Off the Bench
24 - Maddie Simon - 6-2 - So. - G - 4.2 ppg, 2.3 rpg
11 - Esther Ramacieri - 5-8 - Sr. - G - 2.5 ppg, 1.5 rpg
2 - Rylie Cascio Jensen - 5-10 - Fr. - G - 2.4 ppg, 0.8 rpg
50 - Darrien Washington - 6-2 - So. - F - 2.3 ppg, 3.0 rpg
12 - Emily Wood - 5-5 - Jr. - G - 2.1 ppg, 0.9 rpg
14 - Grace Mitchell - 6-2 - Fr. - F/G - 1.8 ppg, 1.7 rpg
Head Coach: Amy Williams (Nebraska, 1998)
First Season at Nebraska (7-21); 10th Season Overall (200-130)
No. 12 Seed Illinois Fighting Illini (8-21, 3-13 Big Ten)
35 - Alex Wittinger - 6-1 - So. - F - 14.4 ppg, 8.7 rpg
1 - Brandi Beasley - 5-7 - Fr. - G - 13.4 ppg, 5.3 rpg
13 - Petra Holesinska - 5-9 - Fr. - G - 10.1 ppg, 4.0 rpg
25 - Kennedy Cattenhead - 5-10 - Jr. - G - 6.5 ppg, 3.7 rpg
23 - Jaelyne Kirkpatrick - 5-7 - So. - G - 4.7 ppg, 2.8 rpg
Off the Bench
50 - Ali Andrews - 6-2 - Fr. - F - 5.6 ppg, 2.4 rpg
30 - Courtney Joens - 5-10 - Fr. - G - 5.1 ppg, 2.1 rpg
20 - Sarah Overcash - 6-1 - Fr. - F - 1.1 ppg, 1.2 rpg
12 - Ashley McConnell - 5-9 - Sr. - G - 0.9 ppg, 0.8 rpg
Head Coach: Matt Bollant (Winona State, 1994)
Fifth Season at Illinois (60-93); 15th Season Overall (342-148)
• Coach Matt Bollant leads Illinois into Wednesday’s Big Ten Tournament opener trying to snap a pair of double-digit losing streaks. Since beating Nebraska 79-59 at the State Farm Center in Champaign on Jan. 15, the Fighting Illini have lost 11 consecutive games, including nine by double digits.
• Illinois has not won a road game this season (0-12) and has dropped 15 consecutive games away from home dating back to a 76-56 road win at Wisconsin on Feb. 17, 2016.
• Illinois has not won a Big Ten Tournament game since Nebraska joined the conference for the 2011-12 season. The Illini have lost five consecutive Big Ten Tournament games, including an 86-71 setback to the Huskers at Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, Ill., on March 5, 2015.
• Over the last four seasons, Illinois is just 10-46 away from home and 0-4 at the Big Ten Tournament.
• On the road, Illinois is 0-12 and has lost by an average of 18.5 points per game (76.4-57.9) and has been outrebounded by 12.7 boards per game. At home, Illinois is 8-9 and has been outscored by just 0.6 points per game (65.5-64.9) and outrebounded by just 3.0 boards per contest.
• In its win over Nebraska in Champaign on Jan. 15, Illinois hit 56.1 percent (32-57) of its shots, including 7-of-17 threes (.412) and all eight of its free throws, while matching the Huskers on the glass (35-35). Nebraska won the turnover battle 15-14, but hit just 29.2 percent (19-65) of its shots, including just 8-of-29 threes (.276). NU did hit 13-of-17 free throws.
• Nebraska is also 0-12 on the road this season, including 0-10 in true away games and 0-2 at neutral sites. The Huskers have been outscored by an average of 19.8 points per game (82.8-63.0) on the road. NU carries a minus-6.2 team rebounding margin away from home and a minus-5.9 team turnover margin. At home, the Huskers have been outscored by an average of 9.2 points per game (71.3-62.1) while being outrebounded by just 0.7 boards per game and carrying a minus-2.2 turnover margin.
• Overall, Nebraska has lost 17 consecutive games away from Lincoln.
• Sophomore forward Alex Wittinger leads Illinois in scoring (14.4 ppg), rebounding (8.7 rpg) and blocked shots (2.6 bpg). She is also shooting a team-best 46.3 percent from the field. In the first meeting this season, Wittinger had 17 points on 8-of-16 shooting, while adding three steals.
• Brandi Beasley has made a major impact on the Illini lineup. The 5-7 guard earned Big Ten All-Freshman honors after averaging 13.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.7 steals while joining Wittinger in the Illini starting five for all 29 games this season. Beasley led the Illini in scoring (15.3 ppg), assists (3.9 apg) and steals (1.9 spg) in conference play. She hit just 6-of-45 threes (.133) in Big Ten play after opening the season 15-of-45 (.333). Beasley posted a double-double with 17 points and 10 assists to go along with seven rebounds and three steals in the first meeting against Nebraska this season. Beasley hit 8-of-10 shots from the field including her only three-point attempt.
• Another freshman guard, Petra Holešínská, also has emerged to help the Illini. The 5-9 native of Vracov, Czech Republic, gives Illinois three players averaging in double figures with 10.1 points and 4.0 rebounds per game. Holešínská averaged 11.7 points and 4.3 boards in Big Ten play and shot a sizzling 45.6 percent (36-79) from three-point range and 95 percent (19-20) at the free throw line. Holešínská led the Illini with 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting in the first meeting with the Huskers this season.
• Junior guard Kennedy Cattenhead has contributed 6.5 points and 3.7 rebounds per game this season for the Illini. In 15 Big Ten starts, Cattenhead averaged 5.1 points and 3.1 rebounds per game. Cattenhead produced seven points and three boards in 17 minutes in the first meeting with Nebraska this season.
• Sophomore Jaelyne Kirkpatrick rounds out the Illinois probable starters with 4.7 points and 2.8 rebounds per game. The 5-7 guard joins Beasley (112-92) as one of only two Illini regulars to own a positive assist-to-turnover ratio (69-66). Kirkpatrick had five points while making both of her field goal attempts and adding three rebounds and three assists in the win over NU on Jan. 15.
• A pair of Illini freshmen - Courtney Joens (5.2 ppg, 2.1 rpg) and Ali Andrews (5.6 ppg, 2.4 rpg) provide Illinois with solid production off the bench. The duo combined for 14 points and 3-of-6 three-point shooting in the regular-season win over the Huskers.
Nebraska vs. Illinois Series History
•Nebraska leads the all-time series with Illinois 10-4, but the Illini snapped the Huskers’ six-game series winning streak with a 79-59 win over NU in Champaign on Jan. 15, 2017.
•Last season, Nebraska defeated Illinois, 73-57, on Jan. 10, 2016 at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln. Jessica Shepard led the Huskers with 29 points and 19 rebounds against the Illini.
•Nebraska outlasted Illinois 58-53 in the a previous meeting at the State Farm Center on Jan. 11, 2015. It was the first of three wins over the Illini in 2015. The Huskers also won a pair of games against Illinois in 2014, including a 75-56 win in Champaign on Jan. 12, 2014.
•Nebraska is 1-0 against the Fighting Illini at the Big Ten Tournament with an 86-71 win at Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates, Ill., on March 5, 2015.
•The only current players on either roster to score in that Big Ten Tournament game just two seasons ago were Nebraska’s Allie Havers (13 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block) and the Illini’s Kennedy Cattenhead (5 points, 3 rebounds, 5 steals).
• Jessica Shepard is the second Husker in history to record 10 or more double-doubles in back-to-back seasons. She owns 14 double-doubles in 2016-17, including 32 points and 11 rebounds in a win over Michigan State (Feb. 26).
• Shepard leads the Huskers with averages of 18.6 points and 9.8 rebounds per game. She has 24 career double-doubles, which ranks fifth in Husker history. She had eight double-doubles in Big Ten regular-season play, including three in the final four conference contests.
• Shepard owns 1,096 points through her first two seasons, which are the most ever scored by a Husker by the end of a sophomore campaign. Shepard is tied for 24th on Nebraska’s all-time scoring list and needs just five points to catch Yvonne Turner (1,101, 2007-10, 23rd), 11 points to match Dominique Kelley (1,107, 2008-11, 22nd) and 20 points to tie Meggan Yedsena (1,116, 1991-94, 21st) on the Husker career chart.
• Shepard reached the 1,000-point milestone in fewer games (55) than any Husker in history.
• Shepard owns 14 20-point scoring efforts this season, including a season-high 32 points against Michigan State (Feb. 26). She owns three career 30-plus scoring efforts and has 30 career 20-plus scoring games in 59 career contests.
• In two career games against Illinois, Shepard has averaged 27.0 points and 14.0 rebounds.
• Nebraska freshman Nicea Eliely leads the Huskers in steals (44), blocks (20) and field goal percentage (.434), while ranking third among the Huskers in scoring (7.5 ppg). Eliely has started all 28 games this season as a true freshman.
• Eliely will become the first freshman to lead the Huskers in steals since 2000-01, and just the third freshman to lead NU in steals since 1990-91.
• Freshman Hannah Whitish averaged 11.1 points, 3.2 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.3 steals in 16 Big Ten games as a starter. Whitish also leads the Huskers with 53 three-pointers to rank second among freshmen in Husker history. Her 39.8 three-point percentage is the best ever by a Husker freshman.
Huskers Establishing Solid Starting Five
• One of Coach Amy Williams’ primary objectives early in the season was to find a starting five from an inexperienced group of Huskers. Only seven players on NU’s active roster have ever started a game, with five starting 35 or fewer contests.
• Although Jessica Shepard is just a sophomore, she owns a team-high 57 career starts, including 29 in 31 games as a freshman.
• A three-year contributor on the court, 6-5 senior Allie Havers adds 49 career starts to Nebraska’s level of experience in 2016-17.
• Only three other Huskers had ever started a game for Nebraska before this season, including Jasmine Cincore (34 career), Esther Ramacieri (16) and Maddie Simon (5), while true freshmen Nicea Eliely (28) and Hannah Whitish (16) have made their first career starts this season.
• Overall, NU owns 205 career starts, while Illinois carries 211. Only four Big Ten teams enter the tournament with fewer than 300 combined career starts, and those teams settled for the bottom four seeds in the tournament.
• Three times (2003-04, 2006-07, 2011-12) in the last 14 seasons, Nebraska’s starting five has hit the floor for every game together, and five more times the Huskers have only featured six different starters in a season (2005-06, 2007-08, 2009-10, 2012-13, 2013-14).
Shepard Leads Big Red on B1G Stage
• Sophomore Jessica Shepard owns 24 career double-doubles, including 14 this season. Her most recent double-double came with a season-high 32 points and 11 rebounds in a win over Michigan State (Feb. 26). She had 12 points and 11 boards at Michigan (Feb. 23), which followed 28 points and 10 rebounds against No. 12 Ohio State (Feb. 16). She also had 28 points and 13 rebounds at No. 15 Ohio State (Jan. 29). She had 20 points and 12 rebounds at Penn State (Jan. 19), and 22 points and 11 rebounds in a win over Rutgers (Jan. 10). She managed 15 points and 12 rebounds at Michigan State (Jan. 7). She also had 17 points and 15 rebounds against Northwestern (Dec. 28). She had 22 points and 11 rebounds at Creighton (Dec. 18). She had 28 points and 14 rebounds in a win over San Jose State (Dec. 9). She added 23 points and a season-high 16 rebounds against Drake (Dec. 6). It followed a 25-point, 14-rebound effort in a loss at then-unbeaten Virginia Tech (Dec. 1). She had 24 points and 13 rebounds in Nebraska’s 62-59 win over Colorado State (Nov. 17). She opened the season with 17 points and 15 rebounds in a win over UTRGV (Nov. 12).
• Through 28 games, Shepard is averaging team bests of 18.6 points and 9.8 rebounds per game. She also ranks second on the team with 26 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.
• Shepard earned second-team All-Big Ten honors from both the media and coaches.
• 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.
Numbers to Know
• Jessica Shepard has scored in double figures 25 times this season, including 14 20-point games. She owns 14 double-figure rebound games and 14 double-doubles.
• Over the last four games, Shepard is averaging 24.0 points, 9.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.3 steals in 35.0 minutes per game.
• Shepard is averaging 20.6 points and 9.7 rebounds per game on the road this season, while shooting 45.6 percent from the field. At home, she is averaging 17.2 points and 9.9 rebounds but is shooting just 37.2 percent from the field.
• Hannah Whitish’s 39.8 three-point percentage ranks as the best number by a freshman in Nebraska history. Emily Cady (.385, 25-65, 2011-12) currently holds the top spot in that category on the Husker freshman chart.
• Whitish hit 41.8 percent (38-91) of her threes in Big Ten play, making her the first Husker freshman in history to hit better than 40 percent of her threes in conference play while making more than 25 three-pointers.
• In fact, Whitish is just the fifth Husker in history to shoot better than 40 percent from three-point range in conference play while making more than 25 three-pointers.
• Over the last seven games, Whitish has averaged 13.4 points, 4.3 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 1.3 steals in 34.9 minutes per game.
• Over the last three games, Whitish has averaged 17.7 points points per game while hitting 63.3 percent (19-30) of her field goal attempts, including 57.1 percent (12-21) of her threes.
• In the last three games of her senior season, Allie Havers has averaged 11.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.0 block in 31.0 minutes per game.
• Sophomore Maddie Simon has been making the transition from the wing to power forward spot for the Huskers over the last third of the season, although she still sees some time on the wing. In the last two regular-season games, Simon averaged 9.0 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists without committing a turnover in 22.5 minutes per game.
• Jasmine Cincore has averaged 7.0 points and 5.5 rebounds over the last six contests. Through the first 22 games this season, Cincore averaged 2.8 rebounds per game.
• Nebraska is averaging 63.0 points per game on the road and just 62.1 points per game at home. However, the Huskers are allowing 82.8 points per game on the road, compared with just 71.3 points per game at home, despite playing No. 1 UConn, No. 4 Maryland, No. 9 Ohio State, No. 22 Drake, No. 23 Missouri and previously top-25 teams from Michigan and Cal in Lincoln this season.
• Nebraska is minus-6.2 on the glass and minus-5.9 in turnover margin on the road this season. The Huskers are minus-0.7 on the the boards and minus-2.2 in turnovers at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
• Despite losing 13 consecutive games away from home to Big Ten opponents, the Huskers are still better than .500 against conference foes away from Lincoln since joining the Big Ten in 2011-12. The Huskers opened their Big Ten participation with a 32-17 record on the road against Big Ten teams and currently sit at 32-30 (.516).
Big Red Battling One of Nation’s Best Schedules
• Nebraska is facing 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.
• Nebraska’s strength of schedule has ranked among the top 20 teams in the nation throughout the season, coming in at No. 12 through games Feb. 27. Each of Nebraska’s final four regular-season games came against current top-50 RPI teams, including No. 24 Ohio State, No. 43 Indiana, No. 40 Michigan and No. 46 Michigan State. The Huskers went 2-2 in those games with wins over Indiana and Michigan State.
• Through games Feb. 27, NU’s 25 opponents owned a combined record of 447-277 (.617 winning percentage), including current top-25 opponents No. 1 UConn (29-0), No. 4 Maryland (27-2), No. 9 Ohio State (25-5), No. 22 Drake (23-4) and No. 23 Missouri (21-9). Michigan (22-8), Colorado State (22-6) and Creighton (22-6) are among the top teams receiving votes in the AP Poll this week, while Indiana (20-9) gives Nebraska nine opponents (11 games) against 20-win teams this season. Penn State (19-9), Michigan State (19-10), Northwestern (19-10), Purdue (19-11), Virginia (18-11), UTRGV (18-11), California (18-12), Iowa (17-12) and Virginia Tech (17-12) give Nebraska 19 opponents (22 games) against teams that are already postseason eligibile.
• Omaha (15-14) and Minnesota (14-15) are still in the hunt for postseason, while Washington State (11-18), San Jose State (10-18), Illinois (8-21), Wisconsin (8-21) and Rutgers (6-23) give Nebraska only five foes with fewer than 14 wins this season.
• Nebraska is 3-10 against current RPI Top 50 foes. The Huskers have played 21 games this season against current Top 100 RPI opponents, going 0-8 against teams between 51 and 90 in the RPI. Nebraska is 4-3 against non-top-100 RPI teams, including 4-0 at home.
• Nebraska’s non-conference Strength of Schedule was ranked No. 8 by the NCAA (Jan. 1). NU’s non-conference schedule strength trailed only Minnesota in the Big Ten. 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.
Freshmen Eliely, Whitish Give Huskers Hope
• Nebraska freshmen Nicea Eliely and Hannah Whitish have helped solidify the Huskers’ starting five, while providing hope for the future for a young Husker roster.
• Eliely, a 6-1 guard from Colorado Springs, Colo., has started all 28 games and ranks third on the team in scoring with 7.5 points per game. She also leads the Huskers in steals (44), blocked shots (20) and field goal percentage (.434). She ranks second in minutes per game (27.2).
• Eliely has produced seven double-figure scoring efforts. She had 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting, including a career-best three three-pointers, in Nebraska’s win over Indiana (Feb. 19). She also tied her career high with six assists without a committing a turnover, and she led the Huskers with three steals against the Hoosiers. Eliely also had 13 points against No. 12 Ohio State (Feb. 16), 12 points at Wisconsin (Feb. 9) and 10 points along with a career-high-tying four steals against Michigan (Jan. 22). She had a career-high 19 points against California (Dec. 4).
• Whitish, the 2016 Wisconsin Gatorade Player of the Year at Barneveld High School, ranks second on the team in scoring (8.7 ppg), including 11.1 points per game in Big Ten play. Whitish leads the Huskers with 53 threes, which ranks as the second-best total by a freshman in school history. Whitish also leads the Huskers in assists (76) and ranks third in steals (27).
• In Big Ten play, Whitish leads the Huskers in assists (59), three-pointers (38) and three-point percentage (.418), while ranking second on the team in scoring (11.1 ppg) and steals (20). She has produced double figures 10 times in Big Ten play and 12 times overall this season. She is coming off a career-high 24-point performance on 9-of-13 shooting, including a career-best five threes, in a win over Michigan State (Feb. 26). She had 18 points in a win over Indiana to earn Big Ten Freshman-of-the-Week honors (Feb. 20).
• Whitish had 16 points and tied her then-career best with four threes at Illinois (Jan. 15). She added 13 points and hit four more threes at Wisconsin (Feb. 9).
• Eliely and Whitish have a chance to become the first pair of Husker freshmen since 1983-84 to both average better than 7.0 points per game. The last two Husker freshmen to each average better than 7.0 points per game were Angie Miller (14.6 ppg) and Stacy Imming (9.9 ppg) in 1983-84.
• Since 2010, Nebraska has had five freshmen earn spots on conference all-freshman teams, including Lindsey Moore (Big 12, 2010), Jordan Hooper (Big 12, 2011), Emily Cady (Big Ten, 2012), Rachel Theriot (Big Ten, 2013) and Jessica Shepard (Big Ten, 2016).
• Nebraska senior Allie Havers has competed in 124 consecutive games since the first game of her freshman season in 2013-14. The Huskers own a 72-52 record in those contests over the last four years.
• Junior Jasmine Cincore owns the longest streak of consecutive starts among the Huskers with 33. Havers has made 31 straight starts, while freshman Nicea Eliely and sophomore Jessica Shepard have each started 28 straight games this season. Hannah Whitish has made 16 straight starts.
• The Huskers have knocked down at least one three-pointer in 279 straight regular-season games dating back to a loss at UTEP on Dec. 20, 2008.
• Nebraska has hit at least two three-pointers in 158 consecutive games.
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 was the only team in the Big Ten to post a .500 or better conference mark in each of the previous five seasons. Minnesota was the only other team to do it each of the previous three years.
• The Huskers, who joined the Big Ten in 2011-12, have averaged 9.3 conference wins per season since joining the conference. The Big Red have added eight Big Ten Tournament wins for 64 total victories over Big Ten foes during the past six years (10.7 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 Earns Second-Team All-Big Ten Honors
• Jessica Shepard earned second-team All-Big Ten honors after averaging 18.6 points and 9.8 rebounds per game as a sophomore in 2016-17. She has produced 14 double-doubles, including eight in Big Ten play after her season-high 32-point, 11-rebound effort in a win over Michigan State (Feb. 26). She had 12 points, 11 rebounds and five assists at Michigan (Feb. 23). She had a 28-point, 10-rebound effort against No. 12 Ohio State (Feb. 16). She also had a 28-point, 13-rebound performance at No. 15 Ohio State (Jan. 29). She had 20 points and 12 rebounds at Penn State (Jan. 19), after going for 22 points, 11 rebounds, three assists and a season-high three steals in a win over Rutgers (Jan. 10). That followed 15 points and 12 rebounds at Michigan State (Jan. 7). She had 17 points and 15 rebounds in Nebraska’s Big Ten opener against Northwestern (Dec. 28). She had 22 points and 11 rebounds against Creighton (Dec. 18). That followed 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 24 career double-doubles, which ranks fifth on Nebraska’s career chart in that category.
• She heads into the Big Ten Tournament with 1,096 points and 540 rebounds in her career. She has scored more points by the end of her sophomore campaign than any other player in Husker history.
• Shepard has 14 20-point efforts this season, including a season-high 32 against Michigan State (Feb. 26), which marked her third career 30-point performance. She had 28 points against San Jose State (Dec. 9), at Iowa (Dec. 31) and twice against top-15 Ohio State (Jan. 29, Feb. 16). She had 25 points at Illinois (Jan. 15), 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). She had 21 points and Purdue (Jan. 26) and 20 points at Penn State (Jan. 19). Shepard owns 30 career 20-point games in her first 59 contests as a Husker.
• Shepard ranks second among the Huskers with 26 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).
• Shepard was one of 28 players nationally named to the Ann Meyers Drysdale National Player of the Year Midseason Watch List by the USBWA on Jan. 24, 2017.
• 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.
• 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.