Thursday, Jan. 26, 5 p.m.
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Huskers Set for Battle with Boilermakers
The Nebraska women’s basketball team returns to the road this week for two more Big Ten contests, beginning with a Thursday tussle at Purdue. Tip-off between the Huskers (5-15, 1-7 Big Ten) and Boilermakers (13-8, 4-3 Big Ten) at Mackey Arena in West Lafayette, Ind., is set for 5 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 20 games this season. Nebraska’s strength of schedule ranks No. 10 nationally. Purdue will be the 16th Husker opponent with 13 or more wins this season,
Purdue improved to 4-3 in the Big Ten with a 76-66 win at Michigan State. The Boilermakers completed a season series sweep of the Spartans with the victory. The Boilermakers also own Big Ten wins over Penn State and at Wisconsin, while suffering losses at Northwestern, at Indiana and at home to Ohio State.
Purdue leads the all-time series with Nebraska 6-3, including a 68-50 win in the last meeting between the two teams. The Huskers won last year in West Lafayette, escaping from Mackey Arena with a 62-61 victory.
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
13 - Bridget Perry - 6-2 - Sr. - F
20 - Dominique McBryde - 6-2 - So. - F
1 - Ashley Morrissette - 5-9 - Sr. - G
10 - Andreona Keys - 5-10 - Jr. - G
11 - Dominique Oden - 5-8 - Fr. - G
Coach Sharon Versyp leads a scrappy bunch of Boilermakers into Thursday’s game with Nebraska at Mackey Arena.
Ashley Morrissette, a 5-9 senior guard, leads the Boilers with 15.2 points, 4.4 assists and 2.3 steals per game. She also has knocked down a team-leading 36 threes. Bridget Perry, a 6-2 forward, has added 10.3 points and 5.0 rebounds per game. Perry and Morrissette have combined for 150 career starts for the Boilermakers, nearly matching the 165 starts of the entire Nebraska roster.
Dominique Oden, a 5-8 guard from Atlanta, Ga., ranks second among the Boilermakers with 10.5 points per game. Andreona Keys, a 5-10 guard from Atlanta, has added 9.6 points and 5.6 boards per game.
Purdue is averaging just 65.5 points per game on the season, including 65.9 in Big Ten play. Defensively, the Boilermakers have surrendered 57.1 points per contest, including 62.7 in conference action.
Purdue is shooting 42.9 percent from the field, including 32.1 percent from three-point range, but has knocked down just 28.4 percent (29-102) of its three attempts in Big Ten play.
The Boilermakers own a plus-2.9 rebound margin and a plus-1.3 turnover margin, but are minus-3.7 on the boards and plus-2.3 in turnover margin in Big Ten action.
• Jessica Shepard became the second Husker in history to record 10 or more double-doubles in back-to-back seasons when she notched 20 points and 12 rebounds at Penn State.
• Shepard leads the Huskers with averages of 18.0 points and 10.2 rebounds per game.
• Nebraska freshman Nicea Eliely leads the Huskers in assists (52), steals (37) and blocks (15), while ranking second in scoring (8.0 ppg) and field goal percentage (.458). Eliely has started all 20 games this season as a true freshman.
• Freshman Hannah Whitish is averaging 10.1 points, 2.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.4 steals in eight Big Ten games as a starter. Whitish also leads the Huskers with 32 three-pointers on the season. She ranks fifth among freshmen in Husker history with 32 threes and needs one more to catch Kaitlyn Burke in fourth.
• One of Coach Amy Williams’ primary objectives early in the season was to find a starting five from a relatively inexperienced group of Huskers. Only seven players on Nebraska’s active roster have ever started a game for the Huskers, with five of them starting 30 or fewer contests.
• Nebraska’s strength of schedule ranked No. 10 nationally through games Jan. 22. NU’s 20 opponents owned a combined record of 258-134, including current top-25 opponents No. 1 UConn (18-0), No. 3 Maryland (19-1) and No. 19 Virginia Tech (16-3).
• Only four Husker opponents currently have losing records, including Washington State (8-11, RPI 65), Illinois (8-12, RPI 171), Rutgers (6-15, RPI 172) and San Jose State (6-13, RPI 206). Omaha (10-10, RPI 155) gives Nebraska 17 opponents with .500 or better records through 21 games (including Purdue) this season.
• 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 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.
• Nebraska’s freshmen are 35-of-41 (.854) at the free throw line in Big Ten play, while the Huskers as a team are shooting 64.4 percent.
BEAT THE BOILERMAKERS!