Sunday, Dec. 4, 3 p.m.
Pinnacle Bank Arena
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Huskers Return Home to Battle Cal Bears Sunday
The Nebraska women’s basketball team returns home after a three-game road swing to take on California Sunday at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
Tip-off between the Big Red (3-4) and the unbeaten Golden Bears (6-0) is set for 3 p.m.,
The Huskers, who are 3-1 at home, will shoot for their fourth win against an unbeaten Bears bunch. The Big Red also will try to avenge an 87-80 overtime loss to the Bears in Berkeley last season. If the Huskers are going to be successful, they will have to control the tempo against an explosive and experienced team from Cal.
The Bears return four starters who combined for 84 of their 87 of their points in last year’s game. Overall, Cal returns all 87 of those points.
On the flip side, Nebraska’s lone returning starter from that game is sophomore Jessica Shepard. The 6-4 forward from Fremont, Neb., was handcuffed with foul trouble and managed just six points, four rebounds and three assists in 23 minutes against the Bears.
Shepard is averaging 18.9 points and 10.4 rebounds per game after producing her third double-double of the season with 25 points and 14 rebounds Thursday at Virginia Tech.
Current Husker starter Allie Havers had a breakout game against the Bears, erupting for a career-high 18 points on 9-of-15 shooting in 37 minutes off the bench for the Big Red. Overall, Nebraska returns just 26 of its 80 points from its first-ever meeting with Cal last season.
Nebraska continues to face one of the top schedules in school history in non-conference play. All eight of the Huskers’ opponents thus far (including Cal) carry .500 or better records into the weekend, including Virginia Tech (7-0), California (6-0), Virginia (5-2), Missouri (5-2), Washington State (4-2), UTRGV (4-3), Omaha (4-3) and Colorado State (3-3) to combine for a 38-15 (.717) overall record.
Entering the weekend the Huskers own the nation’s No. 27 strength of schedule, while Cal comes in as the
No. 22 RPI team in the country according to the College Basketball News RPI. The Huskers have upcoming games with Drake (RPI 81, 3-2), San Jose State (RPI 182, 2-5), at Creighton (RPI 105, 3-3) and UConn (RPI 2, 6-0).
32 - Jessica Shepard - 6-4 - So. - F
22 - Allie Havers - 6-5 - Sr. - C
5 - Nicea Eliely - 6-1 - Fr. - G
11 - Esther Ramacieri - 5-8 - Sr.
34 - Jasmine Cincore - 5-10 - Jr. - G
California Golden Bears
12 - Penina Davidson - 6-3 - Jr. - F
31 - Kristine Anigwe - 6-4 - So. - F/C
1 - Asha Thomas - 5-4 - So. - G
3 - Mikayla Cowling - 6-2 - Jr. - G/F
24 - Courtney Range - 6-3 - Sr. - G/F
Coach Lindsay Gottlieb brings her Cal Golden Bears to Lincoln for the first time with a 6-0 record to open the season. The Bears are receiving top-25 consideration thanks to four talented returning starters and more depth than they had a year ago.
Last season, Cal struggled to a 15-17 overall record and a 4-14 Pac-12 mark to finish 10th in the conference. Along the way, the young Bears defeated Nebraska, 87-80 in overtime at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley on Dec. 15.
Cal returns all 87 points the Bears scored in that game. Sophomore Kristine Anigwe, who was the Pac-12 and USBWA National Freshman of the Year, scored 29 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead the Bears to victory. The 6-4 forward is averaging 18.5 points and 9.7 rebounds through six games. Last season, she finished with averages of 20.5 points and 9.3 boards.
Fellow sophomore Asha Thomas had 17 points and five assists against the Huskers. The 5-4 guard is averaging 10.2 points and 4.3 assists while shooting a blistering 60.9 percent (14-23) from three-point range.
Courtney Range, who has joined Anigwe among Bears with national player-of-the-year consideration during her career, is averaging 14.3 points and 6.3 rebounds this season.
• Cal (6-0) is the second of back-to-back unbeaten opponents for the Huskers this week, joining now 7-0 Virginia Tech
• Entering the week, Nebraska’s first eight opponents (including Virginia Tech and Cal) had combined for a 34-13 record. Of the 13 losses, three were to the Huskers, four were to top-20 teams and three more were to 2016 conference champions.
• Jessica Shepard leads the Huskers with averages of 18.9 points and 10.4 rebounds per game. She produced her 13th career double-double with 25 points and 14 rebounds at Virginia Tech. Shepard is tied for 10th in Husker history with 13 double-doubles.
• Shepard owns three 20-point scoring efforts through seven games.
• Nebraska freshman Nicea Eliely ranks second on the team in scoring (7.3 ppg), fourth in rebounding (3.9 rpg), tied for first in assists (2.7 apg) and first in steals (1.7 spg) through the first seven games of her collegiate career.