NEB WBB: Huskers Aim for Big Ten Road Win at Northwestern

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Posted By: Sports

Courtesy: UNL Media Relations

Nebraska Cornhuskers at Northwestern Wildcats
Sunday, Jan. 7, 2 p.m. (CT)
Evanston Township High School (Evanston, Illinois)
Live Video: BTN Plus
Live Radio: Husker Sports Network
Matt Coatney (PBP), Jeff Griesch (Analyst)
Lincoln – B107.3 FM; Omaha – ESPN 590 AM
Free Live Audio: App/TuneIn App

Huskers Aim For Big Ten Road Win at Northwestern
• The Nebraska women’s basketball team continues a three-game Big Ten road swing by tangling with Northwestern on Sunday in Evanston, Ill. Tip-off between the Huskers (10-5, 1-1 Big Ten) and the Wildcats (8-9, 1-2 Big Ten) at Evanston Township High School is set for 2 p.m.

• A live radio broadcast will be produced by the Husker Sports Network, with Matt Coatney and Jeff Griesch teaming up for their 17th season together on the call. The game will be carried live for free on and over the air on B107.3 FM in Lincoln and ESPN 590 AM in Omaha. Free audio also can be found on the Huskers App and the TuneIn App.

• A live premium video stream will be provided to BTN Plus subscribers.

• Nebraska enjoyed the mid-week off after working its way to an impressive 79-74 road win at Minnesota on New Year’s Eve. The Huskers trailed by eight points late in the third quarter and were down by one with 30 seconds left before rallying for their fifth consecutive road win. The Big Red also handed the Golden Gophers their first home loss of the season at Williams Arena.

• The Huskers, who have produced three more wins (10) than last season (7), provided another example of their drastically improved defense. Nebraska held the nation’s No. 9 scoring offense 20 points below its home scoring average (94.2 ppg), including just 33 points in the second half. That effort came just three days after holding the nation’s No. 1 scoring offense (Ohio State) 19 points below its season average.

• Junior Maddie Simon played outstanding basketball in the first week of Big Ten action. The 6-2 forward averaged 16.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 4.5 assists while shooting 52 percent from the field, 40 percent from three-point range and 100 percent at the free throw line. Simon hit the go-ahead shot with 29.8 seconds left, then grabbed the next defensive rebound, was fouled and made both free throws to seal Nebraska’s road win at Minnesota.

• Simon is part of a balanced Big Red attack that features four players averaging in double figures, including freshman center Kate Cain (11.1 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 3.6 bpg) and freshman guard Taylor Kissinger (12.8 ppg, 4.7 rpg).

• Cain is a four-time Big Ten Freshman of the Week and will set Nebraska’s freshman season blocked shot record with her next block. She enters the Northwestern game with 54 rejections, matching career school record holder Janet Smith’s freshman total from 1978-79.

• Sophomore point guard Hannah Whitish leads Nebraska with 13.1 points and 5.3 assists per game.

Nebraska Cornhuskers (10-5, 1-1 Big Ten)
24 – Maddie Simon – 6-2 – Jr. – F – 11.1 ppg, 6.4 rpg
31 – Kate Cain – 6-5 – Fr. – C – 11.1 ppg, 7.6 rpg
3 – Hannah Whitish – 5-9 – So. – G – 13.1 ppg, 4.5 rpg
5 – Nicea Eliely – 6-1 – So. – G – 8.5 ppg, 4.8 rpg
34 – Jasmine Cincore – 5-10 – Sr. – F – 7.0 ppg, 3.4 rpg
Off the Bench
33 – Taylor Kissinger – 6-1 – Fr. – G – 12.8 ppg, 4.7 rpg
12 – Emily Wood – 5-5 – Sr. – G – 6.1 ppg, 2.5 rpg
15 – Bria Stallworth – 5-6 – So. – G – 4.1 ppg, 1.9 rpg
14 – Grace Mitchell – 6-2 – So. – F – 3.1 ppg, 2.9 rpg
13 – Janay Morton – 5-10 – Sr. – G – 2.0 ppg, 0.9 rpg
43 – Rachel Blackburn – 6-3 – So. – F – 1.6 ppg, 2.2 rpg
50 – Darrien Washington – 6-2 – Jr. – F – 1.3 ppg, 2.2 rpg
Head Coach: Amy Williams (Nebraska, 1998)
Second Season at Nebraska (17-27)
11th Season Overall (210-136)

Northwestern Wildcats (8-9, 1-2 Big Ten)
4 – Bryana Hopkins – 6-2 – So. – F – 3.8 ppg, 2.8 rpg
14 – Pallas Kunaiyi-Akpanah – 6-2 – Jr. – F – 10.5 ppg, 10.4 rpg
44 – Abi Scheid – 6-3 – So. – F/C – 12.8 ppg, 5.1 rpg
10 – Lindsey Pulliam – 5-10 – Fr. – G – 14.5 ppg, 4.1 rpg
24 – Jordan Hamilton – 5-8 – Fr. – G – 6.9 ppg, 4.0 rpg
Off the Bench
12 – Lydia Rohde – 5-10 – Sr. – G – 6.5 ppg, 1.9 rpg
22 – Byrdy Galernik – 5-8 – So. – G – 4.7 ppg, 2.3 rpg
34 – Oceana Hamilton – 6-4 – Sr. – C – 4.1 ppg, 2.9 rpg
21 – Abbie Wolf – 6-4 – So. – F/C – 1.4 ppg, 1.6 rpg
11 – Brooke Pikiell – 5-10 – Fr. – G – 0.3 ppg, 0.6 rpg
Head Coach: Joe McKeown (Kent State, 1979)
Ninth Season at Northwestern (157-147)
32nd Season Overall (666-321)

Scouting the Northwestern Wildcats
• Coach Joe McKeown brings a new look Northwestern team into Sunday’s game with the Huskers. The Wildcats were hit harder by graduation than any other team in the Big Ten this season, losing four-year starters Nia Coffey, Ashley Deary and Christen Inman, along with Lauren Douglas.

• All four of those Wildcats were 1,000-point career scorers and combined for 6,021 points, led by Coffey who was a four-time first-team All-Big Ten choice who finished second in school history with 2,287 points. Coffey also closed as the school’s top rebounder (1,183) and shot blocker (229).

•Deary closed her career as the Big Ten’s all-time steals leader (429) while finishing second in school history with 788 assists.

• Northwestern opened Big Ten play with a 90-63 loss to Minnesota in Evanston (Dec. 28), before bouncing back for a 74-59 road win at in-state rival Illinois (Dec. 31). The Wildcats suffered an 81-51 loss at Michigan State in East Lansing on Wednesday night.

• Freshman Lindsey Pulliam has stepped in immediately to help the Wildcats. The 5-10 guard from Silver Spring, Md., is averaging a team-high 14.5 points while adding 4.1 rebounds per contest.

• Another freshman, 5-8 guard Jordan Hamilton, has started 14 games and is averaging 6.9 points, 4.0 rebounds, a team-best 5.1 assists and a team-best 20 blocked shots. Hamilton missed Northwestern’s final three non-conference games with a lower body injury suffered in a loss to DePaul (Dec. 13).

• Sophomore Abi Scheid, a 6-2 forward, has stepped into a leadership role for the Wildcats, averaging 12.8 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.4 assists while playing a team-high 33.5 minutes per game.

• Fellow sophomore Bryana Hopkins (3.8 ppg, 2.8 rpg) has started all three of Northwestern’s Big Ten games, while 6-2 junior forward Pallas Kunaiyi-Akpanah has provided an outstanding athletic presence by averaging a double-double with 10.5 points, 10.4 rebounds and a team-best 22 steals.

• Senior guard Lydia Rohde has provided consistency and outside shooting, averaging 6.5 points per game while hitting 39.3 percent (24-61) of her threes. Rohde missed Northwestern’s first two Big Ten games with an upper body injury, but returned off the bench at Michigan State.

• Senior center Oceana Hamilton (4.1 ppg, 2.1 rpg) has played in all 17 games to provide post depth, while sophomore 6-4 sophomore Abbie Wolf and freshman guard Brooke Pikiell round out the Wildcat contributors.

• As a team, Northwestern is averaging 62.7 points per game while shooting 43.8 percent of its shots from the field, including 36.5 percent (73-200) of its three-pointers. The Cats also have hit 72.2 percent of their free throws. They own a plus-3.0 rebound margin, but a minus-3.5 turnover margin, while holding opponents to 63.4 points per game.

Nebraska vs. Northwestern Series History
• Nebraska leads the all-time series with Northwestern, 8-6, but the Wildcats won the last meeting between the two teams 62-58 at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln on Dec. 28, 2016.

• Northwestern has won three consecutive games against Nebraska in Evanston, Ill., including an 85-62 win at Welsh-Ryan Arena on Jan. 3, 2016. The Wildcats also produced a 59-51 win at Welsh-Ryan on Jan. 18, 2015, and a 63-59 victory on Jan. 26, 2014.

• Nebraska’s last win in Evanston came on Feb. 7, 2013, when the Huskers worked their way to a 55-50 victory over the Cats. It is the Huskers’ lone win over Northwestern in Evanston since joining the Big Ten.

• The Huskers are 3-5 all-time against Northwestern in Evanston, and 4-1 against the Wildcats in Lincoln.Nebraska also owns an 88-56 win over Northwestern in the 2012 Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis.

Husker Nuggets
• A win for Nebraska at Northwestern would be the Huskers’ 11th win of the season, giving the Big Red four more than the seven victories they totaled all of last season.

• A win at Northwestern would also snap Nebraska’s three-game road losing streak to the Wildcats in Evanston, while extending Nebraska’s current road winning streak to six games. Nebraska’s five-game road winning streak is its longest since winning seven straight road games in 2012-13.

• With her next block, Kate Cain will set the Nebraska freshman blocked shot record held by Husker all-time block leader Janet Smith (1978-79). Cain has blocked at least two shots in 11 consecutive games and a has block in all 15 games this year.

• Kate Cain’s 3.6 blocks per game and 54 total blocks ranked No. 3 nationally through games Jan. 1. No Nebraska individual has ever averaged 2.0 blocks per game in a career, and only two Huskers (Danielle Page, 2.4 bpg, 2007-08; Catheryn Redmon, 2.5 bpg, 2010-11) have ever averaged 2.0 blocks per game in a single season.

• Nebraska freshman Taylor Kissinger has come off the bench for the Huskers in their first two Big Ten games. The 6-1 guard has averaged 8.5 points in 16.5 minutes in Big Ten play, after averaging a team-best 14.0 points as a starter through NU’s first seven games this season. Kissinger missed Nebraska’s final six non-conference contests with a knee injury.

• Senior Emily Wood ranks third in the Big Ten in three-point percentage (.464). Wood, a 5-5 guard from Salina, Kan., has hit 26-of-56 threes on the year. A former walk-on, Wood entered the season with 24 career three-pointers made.

• Junior Maddie Simon (+7.0 ppg) is one of the Big Ten’s most improved players in 2017-18. Simon, a 6-2 forward, is averaging 11.1 points per game after averaging 4.1 points through all 29 games a year ago. The last six games, Simon is averaging 14.3 points and 5.2 rebounds per game, including 16.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 4.5 assists in Big Ten play.

NCAA Division I Most Improved Teams Calling Big Ten Home
Nebraska is putting together one of the nation’s top turnarounds under second-year Coach Amy Williams. The Huskers are already plus-three in the win column heading into Sunday’s game at Northwestern. The only team in the country that has seen a greater increase in the win column through games Jan. 3 is fellow Big Ten Conference school Rutgers (+9).

The Huskers also own wins over two of the nation’s other most improved teams, at Kansas (66-49, Dec. 6) and Florida Atlantic (86-69, Dec. 19). Both the Jayhawks and Owls have won two more games than their final record a year ago.

Nebraska and Rutgers have shown the most improvement on the road this season. Last year, the Huskers (0-10) and Scarlet Knights (0-14) combined to go 0-24 in true road games. In 2017-18, the two teams are a combined 8-0.

Husker Road Warriors
Nebraska heads to Northwestern with a five-game winning streak away from Pinnacle Bank Arena.

Nebraska’s current streak is tied for the sixth-longest road winning streak in school history, and includes true road games (4) and the neutral site win over Coastal Carolina (San Juan Shootout, Daytona Beach, Fla.) that started the streak on Nov. 24.

The longest road winning streak in school history came with 14 consecutive wins away from the Bob Devaney Sports Center in 2009-10. That Husker team finished 32-2, won the Big 12 title and advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16.

The only other double-digit road winning streak in school history came with 10 wins for the 2007 squad that advanced to the NCAA Tournament. After dropping their first game of the season on the road, the 2007 Huskers reeled off 10 straight away from home, including three neutral site wins.

Three Husker teams have produced seven-game road winning streaks, most recently the 2013 NCAA Sweet 16 team that reeled off seven straight Big Ten road wins from Jan. 20 to March 8. Six of those wins came in true road games with the last coming against Iowa in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament at Hoffman Estates, Ill.

Nebraska Streaks
• Sophomore guard Hannah Whitish (32) owns the longest current streak of consecutive starts by a Husker. Nebraska’s second-longest streak is 14 games by freshman Kate Cain.

• Whitish is the only Husker to start all 15 games this season.

• Kate Cain has blocked at least one shot in each of the first 15 games of her career. She has 14 games with two or more blocks, including 11 straight games.

• Hannah Whitish has posted at least one assist in 17 consecutive games, and has three or more assists in 14 games this season, including 11 straight.

• Whitish has knocked down a three-pointer in 12 consecutive games.

• Taylor Kissinger has knocked down at least one three-pointer in eight consecutive games.

• Kissinger has at least three rebounds in each of her nine games this season.

• The Huskers have knocked down at least one three-pointer in 295 straight regular-season games dating back to a loss at UTEP on Dec. 20, 2008.

• Nebraska has hit at least two three-pointers in 174 consecutive games.