NEB WBB: Huskers Close Home Stand with Spartans Friday

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Courtesy: UNL Media Relations

Nebraska Cornhuskers (3-6) vs. San Jose State Spartans (2-7)
Friday, Dec. 9, 7 p.m. (CT)
Pinnacle Bank Arena (Lincoln, Neb.)

Tickets: Huskers.com
Live Video: BTN Plus
Live Radio: Husker Sports Network
Matt Coatney (PBP), Jeff Griesch (Analyst)
Lincoln – B107.3 FM, Omaha – CD105.9 FM
Free Live Audio: Huskers.com/Huskers App

Huskers Close Home Stand with San Jose State
The Nebraska women’s basketball team wraps up its three-game home stand by taking on San Jose State Friday at Pinnacle Bank Arena.

Tip-off between the Huskers (3-6) and the Spartans (2-7) is set for 7 p.m., with tickets available now at Huskers.com. Tickets also will be available on game day at the Pinnacle Bank Arena Box Office beginning 90 minutes prior to tip-off.

A live radio broadcast will be available from the Husker Sports Network with Matt Coatney and Jeff Griesch calling the action on B107.3 FM in Lincoln and CD105.9 FM in Omaha. Free audio also can be found on Huskers.com and the Huskers App.

BTN Plus will provide a live video stream to premium subscribers as part of its BTN Student U productions.

Sophomore Jessica Shepard continues to lead the Huskers at the offensive end, averaging 18.1 points and 10.8 rebounds per contest after notching her fourth double-double of the season and 14th of her 40-game career with 23 points and a season-high 16 rebounds in Tuesday’s loss to Drake. The 6-4 forward scored 22 points in the second half, but Nebraska relinquished a 33-32 halftime lead in the 84-70 setback to a Bulldog team picked to win the Missouri Valley Conference in preseason voting. It was the 20th 20-point scoring performance of Shepard’s career.

Nebraska will try to snap a five-game losing streak when the Huskers face San Jose State. NU has lost two games to Pac-12 foes (California, 7-0; Washington State, 5-3) and two more to ACC opponents (Virginia Tech, 8-0; Virginia, 6-2) and the fifth game to Drake (4-3) on Tuesday night. Those five opponents have a combined record of 30-8.

Through Tuesday’s games, Nebraska’s first nine opponents owned a combined mark of 50-23, with all nine carrying a .500 or better record. Nebraska’s strength of schedule was No. 17 nationally according to RPIratings.com on Wednesday.

Nebraska Cornhuskers (3-6, 0-0 Big Ten)
32 – Jessica Shepard – 6-4 – So. – F – 18.1 ppg, 10.8 rpg
22 – Allie Havers – 6-5 – Sr. – C – 6.1 ppg, 5.7 rpg
5 – Nicea Eliely – 6-1 – Fr. – G – 8.4 ppg, 3.7 rpg
11 – Esther Ramacieri – 5-8 – Sr. – G – 3.3 ppg, 2.1 rpg
34 – Jasmine Cincore – 5-10 – Jr. – G – 6.7 ppg, 2.4 rpg
Off the Bench
3 – Hannah Whitish – 5-9 – Fr. – G – 5.6 ppg, 0.9 rpg
24 – Maddie Simon – 6-2 – So. – G – 5.3 ppg, 2.9 rpg
12 – Emily Wood – 5-5 – Jr. – G 0- 2.3 ppg, 1.2 rpg
14 – Grace Mitchell – 6-2 – Fr. – F/G – 2.0 ppg, 1.4 rpg
2 – Rylie Cascio Jensen – 5-10 – Fr. – G – 2.0 ppg, 0.7 rpg
50 – Darrien Washington – 6-2 – So. – F – 1.4 ppg, 3.7 rpg
Head Coach: Amy Williams (Nebraska, 1998)
First Season at Nebraska (3-6); 10th Season Overall (196-115)

San Jose State Spartans (2-7, 0-0 Mountain West)
3 – Paris Baird – 6-2 – Sr. – F – 6.2 ppg, 4.9 rpg
11 – Jasmine Smith – 6-0 – Sr. – C – 8.8 ppg, 7.1 rpg
1 – Myzhanique Ladd – 5-10 – Jr. – G – 7.1 ppg, 5.2 rpg
20 – Rachol West – 5-10 – Sr. – G – 7.2 ppg, 2.4 rpg
21 – Dezz Ramos – 5-7 – Sr. – G – 19.1 ppg, 2.0 rpg
Off the Bench
23 – Hallie Gennett – 5-11 – Jr. – F – 7.3 ppg, 3.0 rpg
2 – Andrea Kohlhaas – 5-11 – So. – G – 5.0 ppg, 2.0 rpg
30 – Taylor Turney – 5-9 – Fr. – G – 3.2 ppg, 1.2 rpg
24 – Alexis Harris – 6-3 – Fr. – C – 0.9 ppg, 1.1 rpg
4 – Fa-Ko-Fieme’a Hafoka – 5-9 – Fr. – G – 0.4 ppg, 1.0 rpg
Head Coach: Jamie Craighead (Oregon, 2002)
Fourth Season at San Jose State (41-60); Eighth Season Overall (92-130)

Scouting San Jose State
San Jose State comes to Lincoln with a 2-7 overall record following a Tuesday night loss at San Francisco.

Fourth-year head coach Jamie Craighead and her Spartans have played a challenging schedule early in the season, including losses to a top-10 Mississippi State squad at the Rainbow Wahine Showdown and a loss at nationally ranked Arizona State on opening weekend. The Spartans also fell to a 6-1 Oregon team in Hawaii, after opening the tournament with a 16-point win over the Wahine.

The Spartans, who also own a win over Santa Clara, will try to snap a four-game losing streak that includes a road loss at St. Mary’s in Moraga, Calif., on Dec. 3.

Senior Dezz Ramos leads the Spartans on the court. The 5-7 point guard is the only Spartan averaging double figures, putting up 19.1 points and a team-best 4.4 assists per game. The 2016-17 Preseason All-Mountain West guard was named the 2016 Mountain West Newcomer of the Year as a junior in 2015-16. She was a two-year starter at Weber State before transferring to San Jose State.

Senior Jasmine Smith, a 6-0 senior center, ranks second on the team in scoring with 8.8 points per game while adding a team-best 7.1 rebounds per contest.

A third senior, 6-2 forward Paris Baird, has pitched in 6.2 points and 4.9 rebounds per game. Rachol West gives the Spartans four senior starters. The 5-10 guard averages 7.2 points and 2.4 rebounds per game.

Myzanique Ladd, a 5-10 junior guard averaging 7.1 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.8 steals per game rounds out an experienced group of starters.

Ramos (18.1 ppg, 4.1 apg), Smith (9.4 ppg, 6.2 rpg) and Ladd (7.8 ppg, 4.9 rpg) were all regular starters for the Spartans last season, when the team fought its way to a 13-17 overall record that included an 11-7 Mountain West Conference mark. San Jose State finished fourth in the final Mountain West standings, after going 2-10 in non-conference play.

West and Baird also started games for SJSU last season as two of the top players off the bench.

Hallie Gennett, a 5-11 junior guard who transferred from Sacramento State, has provided the most consistent contributions off the bench for the Spartans this year. Gennett is averaging 7.3 points and 3.0 rebounds in 18 minutes per game.

Andrea Kohlhaas, a 5-11 sophomore guard from Germany has pitched in 5.0 points and 2.0 rebounds per game. Taylor Turney (3.2 ppg, 1.2 rpg), Alexis Harris (0.9 ppg, 1.1 rpg) and Fa-Ko-Fieme’a Hofoka (0.4 ppg, 1.0 rpg) each have played in all nine games in a 10-player rotation for the Spartans.

San Jose State has regularly been one of the most aggressive three-point shooting teams in the nation. Through nine games, the Spartans are averaging 25.7 attempts from long range, while hitting 7.4 threes per contest. In 2015-16, SJSU attempted 24.6 threes per game, after attempting a school-record 27.3 threes per game in 2014-15. As a comparison, Nebraska attempted a school-record 23.0 threes per game in 2011-12.

On Jan. 22, 2014, San Jose State attempted a then-school-record 42 threes at San Diego State. That season, former Husker Rebecca Woodberry led the Spartans with 90 made threes.

Last Saturday, the Spartans broke the school three-point attempt record by hoisting 43 threes in the loss at St. Mary’s. They made 11, with West (2-10), Ramos (2-9) and Gennett (1-9) combining to go 5-for-28.
The Spartans have hit just 36.9 percent of their overall field goal attempts, including 29.0 percent of their threes. They have converted 66.4 percent of their free throw attempts.

The Spartans have been outscored by 14.1 points per game and carry a minus-14.1 rebound margin.

Husker Nuggets
• San Jose State is Nebraska’s first opponent this season to carry a losing record. Each of Nebraska’s first nine foes owned a .500 or better record through Tuesday’s games, combining for a 50-23 mark (.685). Nebraska’s strength of schedule was ranked No. 17 nationally through games Tuesday, Dec. 6.
• Friday’s game marks the first meeting between Nebraska and San Jose State in history.
• Jessica Shepard leads the Huskers with averages of 18.1 points and 10.8 rebounds per game. She produced her 14th career double-double with 23 points and a season-high 16 rebounds against Drake on Tuesday. Shepard has moved into sole possession of 10th in Husker history with 14 double-doubles. She needs four more to catch All-American and two-time WNBA All-Star Anna DeForge in ninth (18) on the NU list.
• Shepard owns four double-doubles this season, including 25 points and 14 rebounds at Virginia Tech on Dec. 1, 24 points and 13 rebounds in a win over Colorado State on Nov. 17, and 17 points and 15 rebounds in a win over UTRGV on Nov. 12.
• Shepard owns four 20-point scoring efforts through nine games, including season highs of 25 points against Washington State (Nov. 25) and Virginia Tech (Dec. 1). She owns 20 career 20-plus scoring games.
• Shepard leads Nebraska in three-point field goals made (12) and three-point field goal percentage (.480), including a game-clinching three with one minute left in the win over Colorado State on Nov. 14, and a 60-foot heave at the first-half buzzer in the win over UTRGV on Nov. 12. Shepard is the only Husker to hit at least one three in all nine games this season.
• Nebraska freshman Nicea Eliely ranks second on the team in scoring (8.4 ppg), fourth in rebounding (3.7 rpg), second in assists (2.6 apg) and first in steals (1.8 spg) through the first nine games of her collegiate career.

Shepard Leads Big Red on B1G Stage
• Sophomore Jessica Shepard owns 14 career double-doubles, including four this season. Her most recent double-double came with 23 points and a season-high 16 rebounds against Drake on Tuesday. It followed a 25-point, 14-rebound performance in a loss at unbeaten Virginia Tech on Dec. 1. She also had 24 points and 13 rebounds in Nebraska’s 62-59 win over Colorado State on Nov. 17. She opened the season with 17 points and 15 rebounds in a win over UTRGV on Nov. 12.
• Through nine games, Shepard is averaging team bests of 18.1 points and 10.8 rebounds per game. She is also a team-best 12-for-25 from three-point range, including a game-clinching three with one minute left against Colorado State and a 60-footer at the first-half buzzer in the win over UTRGV. The 6-4 sophomore forward had not hit a collegiate three-pointer prior to this season.
• Shepard earned Preseason All-Big Ten honors when the conference announced its preseason awards on Oct. 24. Shepard was one of two sophomores on the coaches preseason all-conference team, joining Penn State guard Teniya Page. Shepard was the lone sophomore honored by the media on its 10-player preseason team.
• Shepard became the first freshman in Nebraska history to earn first-team all-conference honors. She produced school freshman-record averages of 18.5 points and 8.6 rebounds per game in 2015-16.
• Shepard became the first Husker in history to earn conference freshman-of-the-year accolades. The 6-4 forward from Fremont, Neb., joined Emily Cady (2012) and Rachel Theriot (2013) as Huskers who earned spots on the Big Ten All-Freshman Team in Nebraska’s first five seasons in the conference.
• Shepard set a conference record by winning 10 Big Ten Freshman-of-the-Week awards.

Nebraska Ranks Near Top in Attendance
• Nebraska closed the 2015-16 season ranked No. 9 nationally in total attendance (102,682) and No. 12 in NCAA Division I in average home attendance (5,404). It marked the third consecutive season inside Pinnacle Bank Arena that the Big Red have ranked among the top 12 nationally in both categories.
• In 58 all-time home games at Pinnacle Bank Arena, the Huskers own an impressive 46-12 record (.793 winning percentage) while averaging 5,707 fans per game (330,993 total fans/58 games).
• Nebraska attracted a non-conference school-record crowd of 9,750 to open its stay in the building with a win over UCLA on Nov. 8, 2013.

Big Red To Battle one of Nation’s Best Schedules
• Nebraska will likely face the toughest overall schedule in school history in 2016-17. The Huskers will play 10 games against NCAA Tournament teams and 11 more regular-season games against Postseason WNIT teams in 2016-17.
• Nebraska’s appearance in the 2016 Preseason WNIT to open the year featured three games against postseason foes, including NCAA Tournament teams Missouri and Colorado State.
• Virginia, Virginia Tech, Drake and Creighton all competed in the 2016 WNIT and the Huskers will play three of those games on the road. Nebraska closes non-conference play at home against UConn, which has won four consecutive NCAA titles.
• A total of 13 of Nebraska’s 16 Big Ten Conference games will come against postseason foes, including seven games against NCAA qualifiers and six more against WNIT teams from a year ago.
• Nebraska’s 16-game regular-season home schedule will feature 13 games against postseason teams, including all eight Big Ten Conference home games.

Nebraska Streaks
• Nebraska senior Allie Havers has competed in 105 consecutive games since the first game of her freshman season in 2013-14. The Huskers own a 68-37 record in those contests over the last four years.
• Junior Jasmine Cincore owns the longest streak of consecutive starts among the Huskers with 14. Havers has made 12 straight starts, while Esther Ramacieri has started 10 consecutive games dating back to the end of last season.
• The Huskers have knocked down at least one three-pointer in 260 straight regular-season games dating back to a loss at UTEP on Dec. 20, 2008.
• Nebraska has hit at least two three-pointers in 139 consecutive games.
• Jessica Shepard has hit at least one three-pointer in all nine games for the Huskers this season – the only Husker to hit at least one three in every game this year.
• Nebraska has had at least two players earn first- or second-team All-Big Ten honors in each of its first five seasons in the Big Ten.
• Nebraska finished with a 9-9 Big Ten record to mark the fifth consecutive season the Huskers have posted a .500 or better Big Ten record. Nebraska is the only Big Ten team with a .500 or better record in each of the last five seasons. In fact, no other Big Ten team has had four straight .500 marks. The only other team with three straight .500 or better Big Ten seasons is Minnesota, which went 11-7 in both 2015 and 2016 after going 8-8 in 2014.

Shepard Shoots for More as Sophomore
• Jessica Shepard has her sophomore season off to a strong start averaging 18.1 points and 10.8 rebounds per game. She has produced four double-doubles, including 23 points and a season-high 16 rebounds against Drake (Dec. 6), 25 points and 14 rebounds at Virginia Tech (Dec. 1), 24 points and 13 rebounds in a win over Colorado State (Nov. 17), and 17 points and 15 boards in a win over UTRGV (Nov. 12).
• Shepard owns 14 career double-doubles to rank 10th on Nebraska’s career chart in that category.
• Shepard has four 20-point efforts this season, including a season-high 25 points at Virginia Tech (Dec. 1) and against Washington State (Nov. 25). She scored 24 points against Colorado State (Nov. 17), before going for 23 points, including 22 in the second half, against Drake (Dec. 6) Shepard owns 20 career 20-point games in her first 40 games as a Husker.
• Shepard leads the Huskers with 12 three-pointers on the season, including a game-clinching three in the win over Colorado State and a buzzer-beating 60-footer to close the first half in the win over UTRGV. Shepard did not hit a three-pointer as a freshman.
• Nebraska’s first Big Ten Freshman of the Year, Shepard became the first Husker in history to earn first-team all-conference honors as a freshman in 2015-16. During the season, she set a conference record by winning 10 Big Ten Freshman-of-the-Week awards. She was also a two-time Big Ten Player of the Week (Dec. 21, Jan. 25).
• One of only two freshmen on the Naismith Trophy Midseason Top 30 in 2015-16 (joining Cal’s Kristine Anigwe), Shepard was the USBWA National Freshman of the Week (Dec. 22, 2015; Jan. 26, 2016). Shepard was the espnW and College Sports Madness National Player of the Week (Jan. 25).
• Shepard finished 10th overall in the Big Ten in scoring (18.5 ppg) and fifth in rebounding (8.6 rpg), including fourth on the offensive glass (3.1 rpg) and 10th on the defensive boards (5.5 rpg). She ranked 13th in conference field goal percentage (.510).
• The 6-4 forward from Fremont, Neb., finished with Nebraska freshman record averages of 18.5 points and 8.6 rebounds per game. Her 574 total points were a Nebraska freshman record, while her 266 rebounds ranked second among freshmen in Husker history.
• She amassed 16 games with 20 or more points as a freshman, including 11 in Big Ten play. She produced the first of two 35-point performances against Northern Arizona Dec. 19, 2015. She added 35 points at Michigan, Jan. 24. She scored in double figures 25 times.
• Shepard averaged just 4.5 points and 6.0 rebounds in 20 minutes per game over the final two games of 2015-16 as she battled a stress reaction in her foot. She did not practice March 1-17, while she rested the injury.
• Shepard was not cleared for her first full practice until Oct. 27, 2015, after suffering an ACL tear as a high school senior on Dec. 29, 2014. On Nov. 1, she had 29 points and 12 rebounds against Nebraska-Kearney in NU’s exhibition opener. She added 42 points and 12 rebounds in just 25 minutes in a second exhibition against Winona State on Nov. 8.
• She was the top recruit in Nebraska history, as the No. 1 post and No. 3 overall recruit in the nation by ESPN. A first-team Parade All-American as a high school senior despite missing nearly all of her final year (ACL tear, Dec. 29, 2014), Shepard was the 2013 and 2014 Nebraska High School Player of the Year. Shepard averaged 12.8 points and 3.8 rebounds while helping the USA Basketball U18 Team to a 5-0 record and a gold medal at the 2014 FIBA Americas Championship.

Freshmen Contributing Early
Rylie Cascio Jensen, 5-10, Guard, Fremont, Neb.
• Nebraska’s four-player freshman class of Rylie Cascio Jensen, Nicea Eliely, Grace Mitchell and Hannah Whitish have been looked to for immediate contributions on the Huskers’ 11-player active roster.
• Cascio Jensen, a 5-10 guard from Fremont High School, was the 2016 Nebraska High School Player of the Year. She averaged 22.0 points, 7.4 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 2.6 steals per game for the Tigers.
• She is averaging 2.0 points and 1.1 assists in 12.7 minutes per game this season.

Nicea Eliely, 6-1, Guard, Colorado Springs, Colo.
• Eliely, a 6-1 guard out of Rampart High School in Colorado Springs, has started all nine games and is averaging 8.4 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.7 steals per game.
• Eliely produced a career-high 19-point performance in a loss to California on Dec. 4. She hit 8-of-13 shots from the field including 2-of-3 three-pointers against the Bears. She added two rebounds, two assists and two steals.
• She earned her first career start in Nebraska’s season-opening win over UTRGV on Nov. 12. Eliely performed well with nine points, two rebounds, four assists and two steals against the Vaqueros, while also drawing the primary defensive assignment on 2016 WAC Player-of-the-Year Shawnte’ Goff.
• Eliely played Nebraska’s best all-around game in the loss to No. 25 Missouri on Nov. 14. She finished with eight points, eight rebounds, two assists and a steal against the Tigers. She also hit her first career three-pointer against the Tigers.
• She was even better in Nebraska’s win over Colorado State, contributing six points, six rebounds and a career-high six assists to go along with three steals. She also helped frustrate and foul out 2016 Mountain West Conference Player of the Year Ellen Nystrom.
• Eliely added nine points, six rebounds, two assists and a career-high four steals in Nebraska’s win over Omaha on Nov. 22. She scored nine more points while adding three rebounds, a block and a steal at Virginia Tech on Dec. 1.
• Eliely was a Colorado Class 5A performer as a senior in 2015-16. Ranked as the No. 25 guard in the nation by ESPN and the No. 143 player in the nation by Blue Star, Eliely averaged 21.4 points, 7.6 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 3.4 steals and 2.0 blocks per game as a senior for the Rams.

Hannah Whitish, 5-9, Guard, Barneveld, Wis.
• Whitish, a 5-9 guard from Barneveld, Wis., was the Wisconsin Gatorade Player of the Year after averaging 24.2 points, 5.2 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 4.5 steals as a senior. The five-time first-team All-Wisconsin selection led Barneveld High School to four consecutive state championship game appearances including a pair of state titles. She led her team to a 110-4 record in her career, while ranking among the top 10 in Wisconsin High School history in career points with well over 2,000.
• Whitish has been Nebraska’s top contributor off the bench through nine games with 5.6 points and 1.7 assists in 18.1 minutes per contest.
• In her Husker debut, Whitish scored seven points on 3-of-4 shooting with a three-pointer, while adding two assists, one steal and no turnovers in the win over UTRGV on Nov. 12.
• After struggling against Missouri, Whitish played a huge role in Nebraska’s win over Colorado State, finishing with her first career double-figure scoring performance. Her 10-point effort in the win over the Rams included a career-high three three-pointers with the final triple coming on a cast from the deep left wing with one second on the shot clock to give Nebraska a 58-55 lead with 1:48 left. She added a free throw with 18 seconds left to seal the 62-59 win.
• Whitish added her second straight double-figure scoring performance with 10 points and career highs of five assists and two steals in Nebraska’s win over Omaha on Nov. 22.

Grace Mitchell, 6-2, Forward/Guard, Wellington, Kan.
• Mitchell, a 6-2 forward/guard, was the Kansas Player of the Year as selected by USA Today High School Sports. She averaged 21.7 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.7 blocks as a senior at Wellington High School. She also hit 48 percent of her three-pointers while setting a single-season school record with 533 points on her way to Kansas Class 4A Player-of-the-Year honors. She was ranked as the No. 51 wing in the nation by ESPN.
• Mitchell has averaged 2.0 points and 1.4 rebounds in 8.9 minutes per game this season. She is coming off a career-high seven-point effort against Drake on Dec. 6. Mitchell scored five points and had the first two steals of her career during a 15-5 Husker surge in the second quarter that helped send the Big Red to halftime with a 33-32 lead over the Bulldogs.
• Mitchell hit the first three-pointer of her career in the second quarter against Drake.
• She scored two points and grabbed two rebounds off the bench in her Husker debut against UTRGV, and added an important putback in Nebraska’s 62-59 win over Colorado State on Nov. 17.

Nebraska’s History of Home Success
• Nebraska opened 2016-17 with a 71-53 win over UTRGV for its 11th consecutive season-opening win at home. The Huskers went 15-4 at Pinnacle Bank Arena in 2015-16 after going 12-3 (13-3 at home) in 2014-15. The Huskers are 46-12 all-time at Pinnacle Bank Arena since the building opened for the 2013-14 campaign. The Big Red went 16-2 at home in 2013-14, suffering their only Big Ten loss to Purdue, 77-75, on Jan. 19, 2014. Nebraska’s 16 home wins in 2013-14 tied the school record for single-season home victories.
• The Huskers played the first regular-season basketball game in the history of the arena against USA Today No. 25 UCLA (Nov. 8, 2013) and rolled to a 77-49 win over the Bruins. NU’s first win over an AP Top 25 team came with a 76-56 win over No. 24 Michigan State on Feb. 8, 2014. The Huskers added their first-ever win over an AP Top 10 team at the arena with a 94-74 victory over No. 8 Penn State on Feb. 24, 2014
• NU won its first-ever Big Ten home game with a 66-65 thriller over Northwestern Jan. 2, 2014, before an 88-85 win over Minnesota on Jan. 16, 2014, marked the first overtime game in Pinnacle Bank Arena history.
• NU suffered its first loss at the arena to Washington State (76-72) on Nov. 30, 2013.
• The Huskers are 435-142 (.754) all-time at home. The Huskers have gone 171-46 (.788) over the last 14 seasons, posting double-figure home victory totals in each of the last 13 years.
• Nebraska played in the Devaney Center from 1976-77 through 2012-13, and added one appearance at Devaney against Utah on Nov. 23, 2014. The Huskers own a 389-130 record at the Devaney Center, including 146-88 (.624) mark in conference play.