Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Tuesday, Jan. 10, 7 p.m.
Pinnacle Bank Arena
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Huskers Hope to Slay Scarlet Knights Tuesday
The Nebraska Cornhuskers women’s basketball team returns home Tuesday to take on Rutgers. Tip-off between the Huskers (4-12, 0-4 Big Ten) and the Scarlet Knights (5-12, 2-2 Big Ten) is set for 7 p.m.
An inexperienced team of Huskers and a group of first-year coaches led by former Nebraska player Amy Williams has been challenged by the toughest schedule in school history through the first 16 games this season. Through Sunday’s games, Nebraska’s opponents carry a combined .701 winning percentage. In fact, 13 of Nebraska’s 16 opponents already have accumulated double-digit wins this season, led by 15-0 Virginia Tech and 14-0 UConn.
The Huskers, who own victories over 11-win teams from Colorado State (11-5) and UTRGV (12-6), will be playing just their second game of the season against a team with a losing record when they face Rutgers (5-12). The only other team Nebraska has played this season that is currently below .500 is San Jose State (4-11).
Nebraska and Rutgers are two of the most inexperienced teams in the Big Ten this season. The active Husker roster has combined for 145 career starts, while the Rutgers active roster has started just 105 career games, including 85 this season.
Nebraska is led BY Jessica Shepard, who is averaging a double-double with 18.0 points and 10.4 rebounds per game. Shepard averaged 22.5 points and 5.0 rebounds as the Huskers split a pair of regular-season meetings with the Scarlet Knights last season. She managed just four points and three rebounds while battling injury in a Big Ten Tournament loss to Rutgers.
32 - Jessica Shepard - 6-4 - So. - F
22 - Allie Havers - 6-5 - Sr. - C
3 - Hannah Whitish - 5-9 - Fr. - G
5 - Nicea Eliely - 6-1 - Fr. - G
34 - Jasmine Cincore - 5-10 - Jr. - G
Rutgers Scarlet Knights
32 - Desiree Keeling - 6-2 - So. - C/F
5 - Shrita Parker - 5-7 - Jr. - G
11 - Aliyah Jeune - 6-1 - So. - G/F
12 - Khadaizha Sanders - 5-7 - So. - G
22 - Kandiss Barber - 5-10 - Jr. - F/G
Naismith Hall of Fame Head Coach C. Vivian Stringer brings Rutgers to Lincoln in search of its third win in the last four games. The Scarlet Knights, who lost four starters off last season’s team that finished 19-15 overall and 8-10 in the Big Ten, went just 3-10 in non-conference play before losing their Big Ten opener to Michigan, 63-50.
Following the loss to the Wolverines, Rutgers reeled off back-to-back wins against Penn Stateand Wisconsin before suffering a loss at Illinois on Saturday. The loss to the Fighting Illini stretched the Rutgers road losing streak to eight games this season.
Rutgers, which has struggled to score throughout the season, averaging just 50.2 points per game, has managed just 45.8 points per game on the road. The Scarlet Knights, who have always been known for playing a suffocating defense under Stringer, have surrendered just 59.2 points per game on the season, but that number increases to 63.3 points per contest on the road.
Shrita Parker, is the only returning starter and the only player averaging in double figures for the Scarlet Knights. She has managed 10.1 points, while adding 2.5 assists per games. Kandiss Barber, has added 9.9 points and 5.5 rebounds.
As a team, Rutgers is hitting just 35.6 percent of its shots from the field, including a dismal 27.5 percent (69-251) from three-point range. The Scarlet Knights are also hitting just 66.7 percent of their free throws as the eight active players other than Parker and Sanders have combined to go just(.513) at the stripe.
Rutgers has been out-rebounded 39.1-33.8 and own a negative -0.8 team turnover margin. However, in four Big Ten games, Rutgers owns a plus-3.0 turnover margin but has been outrebounded, 38.5-28.5.
Rutgers leads the all-time series with Nebraska 3-1, with all four meetings coming as Big Ten foes in the past two seasons.
• Jessica Shepard leads the Huskers with averages of 18.0 points and 10.4 rebounds per game.
• Nicea Eliely, has started all 16 games and is averaging 8.0 points, 4.3 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.7 steals per game.
• Freshman Hannah Whitish is averaging 10.3 points, 1.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.8 steals in four Big Ten games as a starter for the Huskers. Whitish also leads the Huskers with 22 three-pointers on the season.
• Overall, Nebraska owns just 145 career starts. However, Rutgers is even more inexperienced than the Huskers, carrying just 105 career starts including 85 this season.
• Nebraska sent nine different starting lineups onto the floor in 2015-16.
• Nebraska’s strength of schedule ranked No. 6 nationally. Through games Jan. 7, Nebraska’s 16 opponents owned a cumulative record of 178-76 (.701 winning percentage), including unbeaten records for No. 1 UConn (14-0) and No. 15 Virginia Tech (15-0).
• Allie Havers has competed in 112 consecutive games since the first game of her freshman season in 2013-14.
BEAT THE SCARLET KNIGHTS!