Husker women open Big Ten play against Iowa
From: Nebraska Athletics
The Nebraska women’s basketball team opens Big Ten Conference action by taking on the Iowa Hawkeyes on Saturday in Lincoln. Tip-off between the Huskers (10-1) and Hawkeyes (9-2) is set for 1 p.m. (CT) at Pinnacle Bank Arena, with tickets available now through the Nebraska Athletic Ticket Office at Huskers.com.
Live radio coverage for Saturday’s game with Iowa can be heard on B107.3 FM in Lincoln and ESPN 590 AM in Omaha beginning at 12:45 p.m. (CT). Stations across the state will also carry the broadcast on the Learfield IMG College Husker Sports Network. Free live audio can be found at Huskers.com, the Huskers App and TuneIn.
A live video stream will be provided to subscribers of BTN+, featuring the Husker Sports Network radio call.
Saturday’s game between the Huskers and Hawkeyes features a pair of Big Ten teams receiving votes in the Associated Press Poll (Dec. 23). Both teams have had strong non-conference seasons to prepare for league play. The all-time series between Nebraska and Iowa is knotted at 14 wins apiece.
Nebraska sophomore Leigha Brown leads Nebraska and ranks 11th in the Big Ten in scoring (14.7 ppg) after her season-high 25-point effort against Manhattan (Dec. 22). Brown added five rebounds and four assists against the Jaspers to earn a spot on the Big Ten Weekly Honor Roll (Dec. 23). Brown is a top contender for Big Ten Sixth Player of the Year honors. She is the only non-starter in the Big Ten averaging more than 12 points per game.
Fellow sophomore Sam Haiby earned spots on the Big Ten Weekly Honor Roll (Nov. 11, Dec. 16) after big performances in Husker wins. Haiby, who had 10 points and six assists in the win over Manhattan (Dec. 22), earned her second honor roll spot with 20 points in a win over Oral Roberts (Dec. 14). She claimed her first weekly honor with a career-high 28 points in a win at Missouri (Nov. 10). Haiby ranks second among the Huskers with 10.7 points per game.
Junior Kate Cain has scored in double figures in five of Nebraska’s last six games. She ranks third among the Huskers in scoring (10.1 ppg), second in rebounding (6.2 rpg) and leads the Huskers and ranks second in the Big Ten in blocks (3.0 bpg). The Lisa Leslie Award candidate needs four blocks on Saturday to catch Catheryn Redmon (216, 2008-11) at No. 2 on Nebraska’s career block list.
Sophomore Ashtyn Veerbeek (Sioux Center, Iowa) is averaging 9.3 points and a team-best 6.4 rebounds for the Huskers. She missed the win over Manhattan with an ankle sprain suffered vs. ORU.
• Iowa comes to Lincoln to open Big Ten Conference play with a four-game winning streak that includes wins over in-state rivals Iowa State (75-69, Dec. 11) and Drake (79-67, Dec. 21), and a Big Ten/ACC Challenge game victory over Clemson (76-60, Dec. 4).
• Like the Huskers, the Hawkeyes are unbeaten in December, suffering their last loss to Washington (70-63, Nov. 30) at the Puerto Rico Clasico. The only other loss for the Hawkeyes came in an 88-68 setback at Northern Iowa (88-66, Nov. 17).
• Iowa has found early season success despite the losses of National Player of the Year Megan Gustafson, forward Hannah Stewart and guard Tania Davis from last year’s team that won the Big Ten Tournament title before advancing to the NCAA Elite Eight.
• Gustafson scored 1,001 points and grabbed 481 rebounds last year alone, finishing her career with 2,804 points and 1,460 rebounds as one of the most productive players in NCAA history. Davis added more than 1,000 points and more than 400 assists in her career, while Stewart pitched in more than 800 points and nearly 500 rebounds in her career.
• Senior point guard Kathleen Doyle (15.5 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 6.5 apg) is the motor that drives the Hawkeyes in 2019-20. Doyle owns 1,164 points, 588 assists and 200 steals in her career.
• Fellow senior guard Makenzie Meyer is Iowa’s leading scorer. She is averaging 15.9 points, 4.2 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game this season. Meyer, who is in her fourth year as a starter, joined Nebraska’s Leigha Brown on the Big Ten Weekly Honor Roll (Dec. 23), after producing 24 points, four rebounds and five assists in the win over Drake (Dec. 21). Meyer also reached the 1,000-point scoring mark in her career in the win over the Bulldogs.
• Junior guard Alexis Sevillian gives the Hawkeyes a very experienced backcourt. Sevillian who is averaging 6.6 points and 2.5 rebounds per game, has started more than 40 games in her career.
• Inside, senior Amanda Ollinger (6.6 ppg, 8.7 rpg) and sophomore Monika Czinano (15.1 ppg, 4.2 rpg) have replaced Megan Gustafson (27.8 ppg, 13.4 rpg) and Hannah Stewart (11.1 ppg, 6.7 rpg).
• Czinano is averaging 18.8 points per game during Iowa’s current four-game winning streak and shooting 72.3 percent from the field this season.
• Ollinger pulled down 20 rebounds in the win over Iowa State and is averaging 11.3 rebounds during Iowa’s four-game winning streak. Ollinger needs just one more rebound to match her season total (97) in 36 games a year ago.
• Iowa has received strong contributions from freshman guard Gabbie Marshall (7.0 ppg) and freshman wing McKenna Warnock (6.0 ppg, 3.6 rpg). Marshall ranks second among the Hawkeyes with 20 threes (20-50, .400). She made her first career start in a win over North Alabama in place of Alexis Sevillian. Marshall scored a career-high 13 points against North Alabama.
• Redshirt freshman Kate Martin (3.6 ppg, 3.6 rpg) and sophomore guard Tomi Taiwo (2.8 ppg) have also provided sparks. Taiwo, who has four threes on the season and eight in her career, went a career-best 3-for-3 from three-point range to propel the Hawkeyes to a six-point win at Iowa State.
• Iowa features an explosive offense that ranks second in the Big Ten at 79.6 points per game. The Hawkeyes also ranked third in the conference with a 47.5 field goal percentage, while also ranking third in the league with a 37.7 three-point percentage. Iowa ranks second in the Big Ten with 8.5 threes per game and second in the conference with a 72.4 free throw percentage.
• The Hawkeyes rank 13th in the Big Ten in scoring defense (67.8 ppg), 13th in field goal percentage defense (.391) and 12th in three-point field goal percentage defense (.312).
• Iowa owns a plus-one rebound margin and a plus-one turnover margin.
Nebraska vs. Iowa Series History
• Nebraska and Iowa are tied in the all-time series, 14-14. Iowa swept the season series last season, including a 74-58 win at Pinnacle Bank Arena in the Huskers’ home finale on Feb. 25, 2019. Nebraska dropped a 77-71 decision in Iowa City on Jan. 3, 2019.
• Leigha Brown led Nebraska with 20 points at Iowa, while Hannah Whitish added 14 for the Huskers.
• The Huskers are 5-6 all-time against Iowa in Lincoln, dating back to a 67-66 win over the Hawkeyes at the Bob Devaney Sports Center on Dec. 22, 1979.
• Nebraska defeated then-No. 20 Iowa 74-65 at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Jan. 16, 2018. The Huskers snapped Iowa’s five-game series winning streak despite 29 points and 18 rebounds from Hawkeye All-American Megan Gustafson in that game.
• The Huskers completed a 2018 Big Ten sweep of Iowa with a 92-74 win on Jan. 28, 2018, after the Huskers built a 36-point lead midway through the third quarter. Nebraska led 56-26 at the half, and the 56 points were the most ever allowed by the Hawkeyes in a first half at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
• The Huskers are 4-6 all-time against the Hawkeyes in Iowa City with five of the last seven games being decided by two possessions or less, including one overtime finish (Iowa 78, Nebraska 72, Jan. 26, 2015).
• Nebraska is 5-2 all-time against Iowa on neutral courts dating back to the first meeting in the series, a 71-63 Husker win at the Jennies’ Classic in Warrensburg, Mo., on Jan. 13, 1978.
• The Huskers dominated the series in their first years in the Big Ten. From 2011-12 through 2013-14 (three seasons) the Huskers went 8-0 against the Hawkeyes, culminating with a 72-65 victory in the 2014 Big Ten Tournament Championship Game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
• Nebraska’s 10-1 start is its best under Coach Amy Williams and NU’s best start since also opening 10-1 in 2014-15. The Huskers dropped their first two Big Ten games in 2014-15. The 2011-12 Huskers opened 15-1 in their first season in the Big Ten, including 3-0 in the conference.
• Entering the week, Nebraska was one of 34 teams nationally with 10 or more wins. The Huskers were one of 33 teams with one loss or less (four Big Ten teams). Only nine unbeatens remain among the 344 NCAA Division I teams.
• Nebraska is No. 44 in the Massey Ratings (Dec. 26). Other Big Ten teams in the top 45 included: Indiana (12), Maryland (17), Northwestern (21), Minnesota (22), Rutgers (24), Iowa (28), Michigan (34), Purdue (37) and Ohio State (42).
• Through 11 games, Nebraska is allowing an average of 59.4 points per game, after allowing 70.1 points per game last season. NU’s 2018 NCAA Tournament team allowed 63.6.
• Opponents are shooting 34.4 percent from the field and 28 percent from three-point range against NU. Last year, Husker foes hit 41.1 percent, including 33.4 percent from three. In 2017-18, Nebraska led the Big Ten in field goal percentage defense (.371) and three-point field goal percentage defense (.299).
• Nebraska has held seven opponents to 55 points or less this season. Last year, NU held only two foes (Radford-39, Kansas-52) to 55 or less. NU held 11 opponents to 55 or less in 2017-18.
• NU’s bench has outscored opponent reserves in all 11 games in 2019-20, and 39 of the last 41 games overall. The Husker bench has outscored opponent benches by double digits in 30 of the last 41 games.
• This season, NU’s bench has outscored opposing benches 316-147 (28.7-13.4 ppg).