Thursday, Feb. 16, 7 p.m.
Pinnacle Bank Arena
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Huskers Back Home for Rematch with Buckeyes
The Nebraska women’s basketball team returns home Thursday for another battle against a top-25 foe when the Huskers face No. 12 Ohio State. Tip-off between the Huskers (5-19, 1-11 Big Ten) and the Buckeyes (22-5, 12-1 Big Ten) at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln is set for 7 p.m.
The Huskers are led by 6-4 sophomore forward Jessica Shepard, who is averaging a double-double with 18.2 points and 9.9 rebounds per game. She owns 21 career double-doubles, including 11 this season.
At Wisconsin, Shepard became the 32nd player in Husker history to reach 1,000 career points. She became just the second sophomore to accomplish the feat, joining All-American and current WNBA forward Jordan Hooper.
Nicea Eliely (7.6 ppg) and Hannah Whitish (7.6 ppg) could become the first pair of Husker freshmen to both average more than 7.0 points per game since 1983-84. Jasmine Cincore has produced double figures in three straight games.
Nebraska’s all-time series with Ohio State is tied, 7-7, but the Buckeyes have won three straight meetings including a 95-75 win over the Huskers in Columbus on Jan. 29.
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
Ohio State Buckeyes
0 - Tori McCoy - 6-4 - Fr. - F
32 - Shayla Cooper - 6-2 - Sr. - F
3 - Kelsey Mitchell - 5-8 - Jr. - G
4 - Sierra Calhoun - 6-0 - So. - G
23 - Kiara Lewis - 5-8 - Fr. - G
Scouting Ohio State
Coach Kevin McGuff has Ohio State chasing a Big Ten title again in his fourth season with the Buckeyes. The former Xavier and Washington head coach and Notre Dame assistant, has led the No. 12 Buckeyes to a 22-5 overall record and a 12-1 Big Ten mark this season.
The Buckeyes are riding an eight-game winning streak and have won 13 of their last 14 games.
All-American Kelsey Mitchell, a 5-8 junior guard from Cincinnati, is averaging 23.0 points, 2.9 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.3 steals. Mitchell had 22 points, six rebounds and seven assists in Ohio State’s 95-75 win over the Huskers in Columbus.
Stephanie Mavunga has added a strong presence inside in her first season on the court with the Buckeyes. The 6-3 forward is averaging 11.8 points and a team-best 11.3 rebounds to go along with a team-high 48 blocks. However, Mavunga did not play in Sunday’s win over Iowa and is not expected to play against the Huskers.
Four of Ohio State’s five losses this season are to top-20 teams, including 82-63 at No. 1 UConn, 85-68 against No. 2 Baylor, 92-80 against No. 5 South Carolina and to No. 17 Miami, 94-89 in overtime. Ohio State’s lone Big Ten loss came at Michigan State.
• Jessica Shepard is the second Husker in history to record 10 or more double-doubles in back-to-back seasons.
• Shepard became the 32nd Husker in history to score 1,000 career points (at Wisconsin, Feb. 9) and just the second to achieve the milestone as a sophomore, joining All-American Jordan Hooper.
• 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.
• Nicea Eliely leads the Huskers in steals (38), blocks (15) and field goal percentage (.447), while tying for second in scoring (7.6 ppg). Eliely has started all 24 games this season as a true freshman.
• Hannah Whitish is averaging 9.7 points, 3.0 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.4 steals in 12 Big Ten games as a starter. Whitish also leads the Huskers with 40 three-pointers on the season to rank fourth among freshmen in Husker history. She needs six more to catch Anna DeForge in third.
• Overall, Nebraska owns just 185 career starts. Ohio State is one of the Big Ten’s most experienced teams with 336 career starts at Ohio State and 101 additional starts from players on its active roster that played previously at other NCAA Division I schools.
• In 65 all-time home games at Pinnacle Bank Arena, the Huskers own a 48-17 record (.738 winning percentage) while averaging 5,623 fans per game.
• Nebraska’s strength of schedule has ranked among the top 15 teams in the nation throughout the season until the Huskers’ last road trip to Wisconsin knocked NU to No. 30 in the most recent SOS rankings.
• Traditionally one of the Big Ten’s best free throw shooting teams, Nebraska has struggled this season at the line. However, NU’s free throw numbers are on the way up thanks to solid shooting by the Husker freshmen.
• Nebraska’s freshmen are 43-of-53 (.811) at the free throw line in Big Ten play, while the Huskers as a team are shooting 65.2 percent.
BEAT THE BUCKEYES!