Minnesota Golden Gophers
Saturday, Feb. 4, 5 p.m.
Pinnacle Bank Arena
Live Television: BTN (Kevin Kugler, Mike Thibault)
Live Radio: Husker Sports Network (Matt Coatney, Jeff Griesch)
Huskers Glad to be Home to Face Gophers
The Nebraska women’s basketball team returns home for just the second time in 24 days to take on Minnesota on Saturday. Tip-off between the Huskers (5-17, 1-9 Big Ten) and the Golden Gophers (11-11, 2-7 Big Ten) at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln is set for 5 p.m.
Approximately 20 women’s basketball alumni will be recognized during Saturday’s while participating in an Alumni Weekend event.
Nebraska has been challenged by the toughest schedule in school history. Nebraska’s strength of schedule ranks No. 9 nationally. Minnesota’s No. 6 strength of schedule leads the Big Ten. Nebraska and Minnesota are the only schools in the Big Ten with top-25 schedule strengths this season.
The Huskers are led by 6-4 sophomore forward Jessica Shepard, who is averaging a double-double with 18.5 points and 10.2 rebounds per game. She owns 21 career double-doubles, including 11 this season, after tying her season high with 28 points and adding 13 rebounds at No. 15 Ohio State. It was her fifth double-double in Big Ten play this season.
Shepard is just the fourth Husker in history to produce double-digit double-doubles in two seasons in her career, joining first-team All-Americans Jordan Hooper and Karen Jennings and four-time All-Big Ten choice Emily Cady.
Shepard enters the Minnesota game needing 18 points to become the 32nd player in Husker history to reach 1,000 career points. She will become just the second sophomore to accomplish the feat, joining All-American and current WNBA forward Jordan Hooper.
Shepard could reach 1,000 points faster than any player in Husker history. Hooper achieved 1,000 in her 60th career game. Shepard will be playing her 54th career game on Saturday against Minnesota.
Nebraska freshmen Nicea Eliely (7.5 ppg) and Hannah Whitish (7.4 ppg) could become the first pair of Husker freshmen to both average more than 7.0 points per game since 1983-84.
Nebraska leads the all-time series with Minnesota 11-8 Nebraska owns a 6-3 series edge as Big Ten foes.
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
Minnesota Golden Gophers
5 - Taiye Bello - 6-2 - Fr. - F
22 - Joanna Hedstrom - 6-1 - Sr.
21 - Jasmine Brunson - 5-7 - Fr. - G
23 - Kenisha Bell - 5-9 - So. - G
33 - Carlie Wagner - 5-10 - Jr. - G
Coach Marlene Stollings brings her third Minnesota team to Lincoln trying to snap a three-game losing streak. The Golden Gophers are 11-11 overall and 2-7 in the Big Ten, just ahead of the Huskers in the Big Ten standings.
All seven of Minnesota’s Big Ten losses have been by double digits and the Golden Gophers are 0-4 in Big Ten road games. Minnesota owns Big Ten home victories over Wisconsin and Illinois.
Minnesota owns the best strength of schedule in the Big Ten, coming in at No. 6 nationally.
As a team, Minnesota is shooting 40.6 percent from the field, including 32.2 percent from three-point range. The Gophers own a plus-0.7 rebound margin, but a minus-1.5 turnover margin, while shooting 71.5 percent at the free throw line. Minnesota is averaging 75.3 points, but allowing 75.2 points per game.
Minnesota’s Big Ten foes are averaging 78.1 points per game while shooting 42.6 percent from the field, including 34.2 percent at the line. The Gophers own a minus-4.0 turnover margin in Big Ten play.
Jessica Shepard is the second Husker in history to record 10 or more double-doubles in back-to-back seasons. She owns 11 double-doubles this season.
Shepard leads the Huskers with averages of 18.5 points and 10.2 rebounds per game.
Shepard needs 18 points and nine rebounds against Minnesota to reach 1,000 points and 500 boards.
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.
Whitish, 2016 Wisconsin Gatorade Player of the Year, ranks third on the team in scoring (7.4 ppg), including 9.5 points per game in Big Ten play. She leads the Huskers with 34 threes, which ranks as the fourth-best total by a freshman in school history.
Nebraska’s freshmen are 37-of-43 (.860) at the free throw line in Big Ten play, while the Huskers as a team are shooting 65.9 percent.
Nebraska senior Allie Havers has competed in 118 consecutive games since the first game of her freshman season in 2013-14. The Huskers own a 70-48 record in those contests over the last four years.
The Huskers have knocked down at least one three-pointer in 273 straight regular-season games dating back to a loss at UTEP in 2008.
Nebraska has hit at least two three-pointers in 152 consecutive games.
BEAT THE GOPHERS!