NEB WBB: Huskers Close Preseason WNIT with Colorado State

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Courtesy: UNL Media Relations

Nebraska Cornhuskers (1-1) vs. Colorado State Rams (1-1)
Thursday, Nov. 17, 7 p.m.
Pinnacle Bank Arena (Lincoln, Neb.)

Live Radio: Husker Sports Network
Lincoln – B107.3 FM, Omaha – CD105.9 FM
Free Live Audio: Huskers.com/Huskers App
Live Video Stream: BTN Plus

Huskers Close WNIT with Colorado State
The Nebraska women’s basketball team (1-1) will close out its three-game appearance in the 2016 Preseason WNIT by playing host to Colorado State (1-1) on Thursday night at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln.

Tip-off between the Huskers and Rams is set for 7 p.m., and fans can purchase tickets at Huskers.com or by calling 1-800-8-BIG-RED. Tickets are also available in person at the Nebraska Athletic Ticket Office across the street from Memorial Stadium during regular business hours, and at the Pinnacle Bank Arena Box Office beginning at 6 p.m. on Thursday.

Fans can also follow the action live on B107.3 FM in Lincoln and CD 105.9 FM in Omaha and on select stations across the Husker Sports Network. Free live audio of Thursday’s game will be available on Huskers.com and through the Huskers App.

A live video stream will be available for BTN Plus subscribers as a BTN Student U production.

Nebraska will try to rebound from a 55-35 loss to No. 25 Missouri in Monday night’s Preseason WNIT quarterfinals at Pinnacle Bank Arena. The Huskers struggled offensively against a stingy bunch of Tigers. Sophomore Jessica Shepard was the only Husker to manage double figures, finishing with 12 points and nine rebounds, despite going just 4-of-17 from the floor and 3-of-7 at the free throw line.

Freshman Nicea Eliely, a 6-1 guard from Colorado Springs, Colo., added eight points and eight rebounds. Eliely was the only Husker to hit at least 40 percent (2-5) of her shots from the field. Eliely was an All-Colorado Class 5A player at Rampart High School a year ago and is off to a solid start at Nebraska. She has started both games for the Big Red and ranks second on the team in scoring (8.5 ppg), tied for third in rebounding (5.0 rpg), first in assists (3.0 apg) and tied for first in steals (1.0 spg). She also leads the Huskers in field goal percentage (.400) and free throw percentage (.667).

While the Huskers struggled offensively against Missouri, they have played solid defense themselves in each of their first two games. Nebraska is allowing just 54 points per game and opponents are shooting just 33.9 percent from the field, including just 21.3 percent from three-point range.

Nebraska Cornhuskers (1-1, 0-0 Big Ten)
32 – Jessica Shepard – 6-4 – So. – F – 14.5 ppg, 12.0 rpg
22 – Allie Havers – 6-5 – Sr. – C – 5.0 ppg, 6.5 rpg
5 – Nicea Eliely – 6-1 – Fr. – G – 8.5 ppg, 5.0 rpg
11 – Esther Ramacieri – 5-8 – Sr. – G – 5.0 ppg, 1.0 rpg
34 – Jasmine Cincore – 5-10 – Jr. – G – 5.5 ppg, 1.5 rpg
Off the Bench
24 – Maddie Simon – 6-2 – So. – G – 6.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg
3 – Hannah Whitish – 5-9 – Fr. – G – 3.5 ppg, 0.5 rpg
12 – Emily Wood – 5-5 – Jr. – G – 3.0 ppg, 1.5 rpg
50 – Darrien Washington – 6-2 – So. – F – 1.0 ppg, 4.5 rpg
14 – Grace Mitchell – 6-2 – Fr. – F/G – 1.0 ppg, 1.5 rpg
2 – Rylie Cascio Jensen – 5-10 – Fr. – G – 0.0 ppg, 1.0 rpg
Head Coach: Amy Williams (Nebraska, 1998)
First Season at Nebraska (1-1); 10th Season Overall (194-110)

Colorado State Rams (1-1, 0-0 Mountain West)
15 – Veronika Mirkovic – 6-1 – Jr. – F – 3.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg
22 – Elin Gustavsson – 6-3 – Sr. – F – 12.0 ppg, 6.5 rpg
5 – Sofie Tryggedsson – 6-0 – So. – G – 11.5 ppg, 2.0 rpg
10 – Hannah Tvrdy – 5-10 – Jr. – G – 5.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg
13 – Ellen Nystrom – 6-1 – Sr. – G – 21.5 ppg, 6.0 rpg
Off the Bench
4 – Jordyn Edwards – 5-8 – Fr. – G – 4.5 ppg, 1.0 rpg
12 – Callie Kaiser – 5-10 – So. – G/F – 3.0 ppg, 1.0 rpg
2 – Stine Austgulen – 5-11 – Jr. – G – 3.0 ppg, 0.0 rpg
24 – Amanda Kantzy – 6-3 – So. – F – 2.5 ppg, 1.5 rpg
33 – Anna Dreimane – 6-5 – Fr. – C – 1.0 ppg, 0.5 rpg
34 – Myanne Hamm – 5-11 – So. – G/F – 1.0 ppg, 0.0 rpg
Head Coach: Ryun Williams (South Dakota, 1992)
Fifth Season at Colorado State (91-38); 18th Season Overall (349-191)

Scouting Colorado State
Colorado State comes to Lincoln after suffering a 101-68 loss to No. 17 Washington on Monday night in Seattle. The Rams opened the season with a 69-42 victory over Omaha in Fort Collins, marking their 16th consecutive home win at Moby Arena.

The Rams bring a heavy European flavor with them to Nebraska, including one player from Latvia, one from Denmark, one from Norway and five from Sweden.

In fact, three of the Swedes make up 60 percent of the starting lineup alongside Denmark’s Sofie Tryggedsson. The only American starter in the CSU lineup is Nebraska native Hannah Tvrdy.

Tvrdy, a 5-10 guard from Seward, is averaging 5.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists, while the 6-0 Tryggedsson has pitched in 11.5 points and 2.0 boards, while hitting 7-of-14 threes early in the season.

Ellen Nystrom, a 6-1 senior guard from Lulea, Sweden, leads the Ram backcourt with 21.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 2.0 steals per game. The 2016 Mountain West Conference Player of the Year, Nystrom has hit 17-of-34 field goals, including 2-of-5 three-pointers. She is also 7-for-7 from the free throw line this season. Last year, Nystrom averaged 10.2 points, 5.5 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game. She ranked 24th nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.33-to-1) and 25th nationally in total assists (186).

Elin Gustavsson, a 6-3 senior forward from Angelholm, Sweden, gives CSU three starters in double figures with 12.0 points and 6.5 boards per game. Gustavsson started all 33 games alongside Nystrom and averaged 10.6 points and 4.2 boards in 2015-16.

Veronika Mirkovic, a 6-1 junior forward from Nassjo, Sweden, rounds out the starting five with 3.5 points and 3.5 rebounds per game.

Colorado State leads the all-time series with Nebraska 2-0, including an 89-78 loss in Fort Collins on Dec. 12, 1981. Tonight’s game is the first meeting between the two teams in Lincoln.

Connecting with Colorado State
Thursday’s game marks the first meeting between Nebraska and Colorado State in women’s basketball in more than 20 years, but features plenty of Nebraska, Colorado and South Dakota connections.

The last time the Huskers and Rams met on the court came in the first round of the 1996 NCAA Tournament, when CSU escaped with a 66-62 victory over the Huskers in Palo Alto, Calif.

Current Nebraska head coach Amy (Gusso) Williams was a junior guard on that Husker team and the Big Red was representing the Big Eight Conference in the Big Dance.

After graduating from Nebraska in 1998, Williams spent 14 seasons in coaching before taking the reins at the University of South Dakota. She followed current Colorado State head coach Ryun Williams in that position at USD.

Ryun Williams, the 1988 Mr. Basketball in the state of Wyoming out of Campbell County High School in Gillette, played two seasons at Sheridan College before earning his bachelor’s degree from USD in 1992. He returned to Sheridan College as the head women’s volleyball coach from 1993 to 1995 and the head women’s basketball coach from 1995 to 1998, before taking over as the head women’s basketball coach at Wayne State (Neb.) College from 1998 to 2008.

After 10 seasons with the Wildcats, Ryun Williams spent four seasons at USD before heading to Colorado State. Amy Williams, who had spent five successful years as the head coach at Rogers State in Oklahoma, took over for him at South Dakota for the 2012-13 season.

In four years at USD, Amy Williams averaged 23.5 wins per season, including 32 wins and a 2016 Postseason WNIT Championship. She was also a two-time Summit League Coach of the Year at South Dakota, leading the Coyotes to the conference tournament title game all four seasons in Vermillion.

During the past four years, Ryun Williams has enjoyed success at CSU as well, leading the Rams to three consecutive Mountain West Conference crowns, including 31 wins and a trip to the 2016 NCAA Tournament. Colorado State has averaged 22.5 wins per year over the last four seasons.

In addition to the coaching connections, Colorado State starting guard Hannah Tvrdy is a junior from Seward, Neb. She was in the same freshman class at Nebraska with Allie Havers and Esther Ramacieri and was a member of the Huskers’ 2014 Big Ten Championship team that advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

In another connection, CSU video coordinator Amber (Hegge) Cunningham was an all-state high school player at Crofton in northeast Nebraska, before a standout career for Ryun Williams at USD.
Finally, Nebraska freshman guard Nicea Eliely was an all-state guard in Colorado for the Rampart Rams in Colorado Springs. Colorado State freshman Liah Davis is also from Colorado Springs, playing her high school basketball at Sand Creek.

Husker Nuggets
• Nebraska freshman Nicea Eliely ranks second on the team in scoring (8.5 ppg), tied for third in rebounding (5.0 rpg), first in assists (3.0 apg) and tied for first in steals (1.0 spg) through the first two games of her collegiate career.
• Eliely, a 6-1 wing, also leads the Huskers in field goal percentage (.400) and free throw percentage (.667) while leading the Big Red in both free throws made (8) and attempted (12).
• Nebraska and Colorado State have not met in women’s basketball since the 1996 NCAA Tournament. The Rams own a 2-0 series lead over the Huskers, including a 66-62 victory on March 17, 1996 in Palo Alto, Calif.
• Jessica Shepard produced her 11th career double-double with 17 points and 15 rebounds in a Preseason WNIT first-round win over UTRGV. Her next double-double will put the sophomore in a tie for 12th on Nebraska’s career double-double list.
• Shepard’s 15 rebounds against the Vaqueros on Saturday marked her third career game with 15 or more boards and her 11th career game with double-figure rebounds.
• Jessica Shepard and Allie Havers both hit the first three-pointers of their careers in Nebraska’s season-opening win over UTRGV. Havers, a 6-5 center, was 0-for-6 in her career before knocking down a first-half three. Shepard, a 6-4 forward, was 0-for-2 in her career before hitting two first-half threes against the Vaqueros. Her second was a 60-footer at the buzzer to end the half.
• Freshman guard Hannah Whitish also hit the first three of her career against UTRGV, while senior guard Esther Ramacieri set a career high by hitting two threes against the Vaqueros. Ramacieri entered the game with three career three-pointers in 52 career games. She is 3-for-9 through two games of 2016-17.

Shepard Leads Big Red on B1G Stage
• Sophomore Jessica Shepard led the Huskers with her 11th career double-double with 17 points and 15 rebounds to go along with three assists and one steal in Nebraska’s season-opening win over UTRGV on Saturday. Shepard hit the first two three-pointers of her career against the Vaqueros, including a 60-footer at the first-half buzzer.
• Through two games, Shepard is averaging a double-double with 14.5 points and 12.0 rebounds per game. She is also 3-for-6 from three-point range.
• 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. Shepard 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 54 all-time home games at Pinnacle Bank Arena, the Huskers own an impressive 44-10 record (.815 winning percentage) while averaging 5,788 fans per game (312,572 total fans/54 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 will feature at 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 has won 11 consecutive regular-season home openers dating back to a 68-49 loss to South Dakota State on Nov. 19, 2005.
• Nebraska is 4-0 in home openers since moving into Pinnacle Bank Arena for the start of the 2013-14 season. NU’s average margin of victory in its regular-season home openers at Pinnacle Bank Arena is 29.8 points per contest.
• The Huskers have knocked down at least one three-pointer in 253 straight regular-season games dating back to a loss at UTEP on Dec. 20, 2008.
• Nebraska has hit at least two three-pointers in 132 consecutive games.
• 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 has won 31 consecutive exhibition games dating back to an 81-58 loss to the Australian Institute of Sport on Nov. 12, 2000.
• 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.

Pump up the Program
• Nebraska earned its fifth straight postseason tournament bid with a trip to the 2016 WNIT. The Huskers were one of only 21 Division I teams to earn four consecutive NCAA Tournament bids from 2012 through 2015.
• The Huskers have produced seven 20-win seasons in the last 10 years. Nebraska owns 16 20-win seasons in program history.
• Nebraska is the only team in the Big Ten to post a .500 or better conference mark in each of the last five years. Minnesota is the only other Big Ten team to do it each of the last three seasons.
• The Huskers, who joined the Big Ten in 2011-12, have averaged 10.6 conference wins per season since joining the conference. The Big Red have added eight Big Ten Tournament wins for 61 total victories over Big Ten foes during the past five years (12.2 wins per season).
• Nebraska has ranked among the top 12 schools nationally in average home attendance in each of the Huskers’ first three seasons at Pinnacle Bank Arena. The Big Red have ranked among the top 10 nationally in total home attendance in each of the first three seasons at the arena, including 102,682 fans in 2015-16.
• Nebraska set a season ticket sales record with 4,032 season tickets sold as of Jan. 31, 2016. It marked the first time in school history the Huskers sold 4,000 season tickets. Nebraska’s season ticket number for 2016-17 was 3,947 as of Nov. 1, 2016.
• Nebraska featured six first-team academic All-Big Ten selections in 2015-16, including returning Huskers Jasmine Cincore, Allie Havers and Emily Wood.

Shepard Sets Big Red Records as Freshman
• Jessica Shepard set a Nebraska freshman record with 574 points, shattering Debra Powell’s previous NU freshman mark of 461 (1981-82) by 113 points. Shepard’s 18.5 points per game smashed Powell’s Husker freshman mark of 15.4 points per game.
• Shepard’s 8.6 rebounds per game broke Powell’s previous Nebraska freshman mark of 7.6 per game (1981-82). With 266 total rebounds, Shepard finished 11 shy of Kathy Hagerstrom’s freshman mark of 277 (1979-80). Shepard amassed her rebounds in 31 games. Hagerstrom pulled down her 277 in 40 games.
• Shepard produced one of the best individual performances in Nebraska history with a freshman-record 35 points to go along with 20 rebounds in a win at Michigan on Jan. 24. It is the only 30-point/20-rebound performance in Nebraska women’s basketball history.
• Shepard owns the Nebraska freshman record with 10 double-doubles. She had six double-doubles in Big Ten play. She is just the eighth Husker in history to produce 10 double-doubles in a season.
• Shepard’s 228 made field goals were a Nebraska freshman record.
• Her 203 free throw attempts set the Nebraska freshman record in that category in 2015-16.
• Shepard’s 20 free throw attempts against Northern Arizona (Dec. 19) were the most by any Husker in a game in history, regardless of class.
• Shepard produced a record-setting regular-season debut with 24 points and 13 rebounds against Arkansas Pine Bluff Nov. 14. She became the first freshman in history to notch a double-double in an opener and her 24 points and 13 rebounds were the most by a freshman in school history in a season-opening game.

Shepard Shoots For More as Sophomore
• Jessica Shepard got her sophomore season off to a strong start with a 17-point, 15-rebound performance in the WNIT opening-round win over UTRGV on Nov. 12. It marked Shepard’s 11th career double-double, which moved her into a tie for 12th on the Nebraska career list.
• Shepard hit the first two three-pointers of her career against UTRGV, including a buzzer-beating 60-footer to close the first half.
• Through two games this season, Shepard is averaging 14.5 points and 12.0 rebounds per game.
• She had 30 points and 13 rebounds in an exhibition win over Southwest Baptist on Nov. 6.
• 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, 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.

Havers Looked to for Senior Leadership
• One of the tallest Huskers in history, 6-5 center Allie Havers will be looked to for senior leadership in 2016-17. She got her senior season off to a solid start with 10 points and seven rebounds in the WNIT first-round victory over UTRGV on Nov. 12.
• The senior from Mattawan, Mich., is the most experienced active Husker, competing in 98 career games with 23 starts. In fact, senior Esther Ramacieri (54) and junior Jasmine Cincore (53) are the only other Huskers who have played in more than 50 career games.
• Havers, who was a freshman on Nebraska’s 2014 Big Ten Championship team and helped the Huskers to NCAA Tournament appearances in her first two seasons in Lincoln, will need to draw on her experience to help an extremely young Husker squad with a group of first-year coaches this season.
Last season, Havers stepped into the starting lineup and stepped up her production as a junior.
• Havers tied for 15th in the Big Ten with 6.6 rebounds per game, while her 1.0 blocked shots per game tied for 14th in the conference.
• Her scoring numbers increased throughout the season, finishing at 8.3 points per game – her highest average at any point during the season. Over the final five games, Havers averaged 13.0 points and 6.8 rebounds while hitting 70.7 percent of her shots from the field in 27.8 minutes per game. In the first five games of 2015-16, Havers averaged just 4.6 points and 6.0 rebounds in 16.8 minutes per game, while hitting just 36 percent of her shots from the floor.
• Havers scored in double figures 11 times as a junior, including each of the final five games of the season. She has 19 career double-figure scoring efforts, including a career-high 18 points at California on Dec. 12, 2015.
• She also produced five double-figure rebound games, including a career-high 14 against Wisconsin on Jan. 27, 2016. Havers notched four double-doubles in 2015-16, including back-to-back games against Northwestern (Feb. 28) and Rutgers (March 3).
• Havers also stepped up her passing production, totaling 34 assists in 31 after managing just 21 assists in the first 65 games of her career.
• Havers added her second academic All-Big Ten award for the Huskers in 2016.

Home Grown Huskers at Heart of Nebraska
• Nebraska’s 11-player active roster features a trio of Huskers who combined forces to win the last four Nebraska Gatorade High School Player-of-the-Year honors. Sophomore Jessica Shepard claimed state high school honors in 2013 and 2014, before fellow Husker sophomore Maddie Simon earned state player-of-the-year accolades as a senior at Lincoln Pius X High School in 2015. Shepard’s high school teammate, freshman Rylie Cascio Jensen, was named the state player of the year at Fremont High School in 2016.
• Shepard, a two-time state high school player of the year (2013, 2014), earned Big Ten Freshman-of-the-Year honors as a Husker in 2015-16. The graduate of Fremont High School started 29 games for the Big Red as a freshman and averaged team highs and Husker freshman records of 18.5 points and 8.6 rebounds per game.
• Simon opened 2016-17 with six points and a career-high matching seven rebounds off the bench in Nebraska’s win over UTRGV on Nov. 12. She added six more points two go along with three rebounds and a steal in just 11 minutes in the loss to No. 25 Missouri.
• She started Nebraska’s final four regular-season games in 2015-16, before missing the Postseason WNIT with a severe ankle sprain suffered in practice on March 14. The 6-2 guard out of Pius X High School in Lincoln also started the season opener for the Huskers on Nov. 14. In five games as a starter, Simon averaged 7.0 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 23.8 minutes per game. For the season, she averaged 5.0 points, 1.4 rebounds and 1.0 assist in 14.2 minutes over 21 contests.
• In her last two games of 2015-16, Simon averaged 12.5 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.0 assist, while hitting 9-of-16 shots from the floor, including 4-of-9 threes. She had career highs of 16 points and seven rebounds in Nebraska’s win over Northwestern on Feb. 28. She also hit a career-high three three-pointers against the Wildcats. Simon notched three double-figure scoring performances on the season.
• Over her last seven games of 2015-16, Simon hit 8-of-19 (.421) of her three-point attempts, finishing at 12-for-35 (.343) on the season.
• Simon missed 10 games, primarily because of injuries, in 2015-16. She suffered a broken left (non-shooting) arm in a non-basketball accident on Dec. 7, 2015. She also suffered a strain in her right arm in the same fall, and a severe ankle sprain in practice before the 2016 Postseason WNIT.
• The 2015 Nebraska High School Player of the Year, Simon was a two-time first-team Super-State selection while leading Lincoln Pius X to the 2015 Class B state championship. She was the No. 149 player in the nation according to Blue Star and the No. 22 guard by ESPN in 2015. A tremendous all-around athlete, Simon won the Class A 100- and 300-meter hurdles championships at the 2015 Nebraska State Track & Field Championships.
• Her mother, Nicole Ali Simon, was a CoSIDA Academic All-American as a member of Coach Gary Pepin’s national champion Huskers in 1983 and 1984.
• Cascio Jensen averaged 22.0 points, 7.4 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 2.6 steals to lead Fremont High School to the Class A quarterfinals as a senior in 2015-16. The 5-10 guard hit 40.7 percent of her three-point attempts and 78.2 percent of her free throws, including a Class A state record 34 straight free throws as a senior.
• As a junior in 2014-15, Cascio Jensen averaged 19.0 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.2 assists. She led Fremont to the district final despite the loss of Shepard in December to an ACL tear. At the time of her injury, Shepard was averaging 33.0 points and 14.3 rebounds per game.

Freshmen Need to Contribute Early
• Nebraska’s four-player freshman class of Rylie Cascio Jensen, Nicea Eliely, Grace Mitchell and Hannah Whitish will be 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.
• Eliely, a 6-1 guard out of Rampart High School in Colorado Springs, 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.
• 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.
• 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. 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.
• 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. She scored two points and grabbed two rebounds off the bench in her Husker debut against UTRGV.

Huskers Sign Taylor Kissinger for 2017-18
• The top-ranked high school recruit in the state of Nebraska, Taylor Kissinger signed her National Letter of Intent to join the Nebraska women’s basketball team for the 2017-18 season on the first day of the fall signing period on Wednesday, Nov. 9.
• Kissinger, a 6-1 forward/guard from Minden, was ranked as the No. 26 player in the nation by Prospects Nation and continued to climb in the national player rankings after a strong summer of 2016. She is ranked as the No. 40 player in the nation by ESPN and No. 58 by Blue Star Basketball. Kissinger is the only prep player from the state of Nebraska ranked among the nation’s top 100 recruits in the 2017 signing class.
• Kissinger earned a spot on the 2017 Naismith Trophy High School Girls Preseason Player-of-the-Year Watch List, announced on Nov. 16.
• She was also one of five Nebraska players on the 2016 USA Today High School Sports All-Nebraska team in 2015-16, joining future Husker teammate and 2016 Nebraska Gatorade Player of the Year Rylie Cascio Jensen.
• Kissinger, who missed nearly half of her junior season at Minden High School with a broken wrist in 2015-16, averaged 28.8 points and 8.2 rebounds per game for the Whippets following her return to the court. She earned second-team Super-State honors as a junior and is a two-time first-team Class C-1 all-stater (2015, 2016).
• In 2015, Kissinger became the first sophomore in history to be named the Kearney Hub Territory Player of the Year after averaging 25.6 points and 10.0 rebounds per game while hitting 62 three-pointers. She was also a third-team All-Nebraska selection as a sophomore in 2015.
• Kissinger claimed second-team Class C-1 all-state honors as a freshman in 2014 after averaging 16.8 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. She also tied a Nebraska state tournament record by knocking down seven three-pointers in an opening-round win over Lincoln Lutheran.
• Kissinger’s older twin sisters are both Division I guards, with Brooke entering her first season at Creighton after spending her first two seasons at Illinois, and Jamie entering her third season at San Diego.
• Taylor Kissinger, who played her club basketball last season for the All-Iowa Attack after previously playing for the Cornhusker Shooting Stars, also was invited to compete in the USA Basketball U16 National Team Trials in Colorado Springs. She chose Nebraska over Oklahoma State and Creighton. She also received offers from Arizona State, Louisville, Iowa, Iowa State and Illinois among others.
• Kissinger’s parents, Brian and Amy, were both collegiate student-athletes, with Brian playing basketball and Amy playing volleyball at NCAA Division II Nebraska-Kearney. Taylor’s brother Derek played college basketball at NAIA Hastings College.

Husker Sports Network Covers World
The Husker Sports Network is in its 23rd season producing and marketing the live broadcasts of Nebraska women’s basketball in 2016-17. Women’s basketball play-by-play announcer Matt Coatney and color commentator Jeff Griesch are teaming up for their 16th season together as the Huskers’ broadcast team.
The Husker Sports Network and Nebraska women’s basketball have teamed up for well over a decade to take every game, home and away, around the world for free on Huskers.com.
In addition to carrying every women’s basketball game free on Huskers.com, the Husker Sports Network flagship stations B107.3 FM-KBBK (Lincoln) and ESPN 590 AM-KXSP (Omaha) provide strong signals for Husker women’s basketball. When a network conflict occurs in Omaha, the Huskers also could be heard on CD105.9 FM-KKCD. 880-AM-KRVN (Lexington) also provides a huge AM signal statewide in central Nebraska, while more than 20 stations carry the Husker Sports Network’s women’s basketball coverage across the state and the Midwest.
Inside Pinnacle Bank Arena, fans can access the direct radio call of the game at 87.7 FM.

Nebraska Posts 12th Straight Perfect GSR
In the eyes of the NCAA’s Division I Graduation Success Rate (GSR), the Husker women’s basketball program has been perfect for 12 consecutive years. Nebraska is the only program among the 14 Big Ten Conference schools to accomplish the perfect score for 12 straight years.

The NCAA announced the release of its annual Graduation Success Rate report on Nov. 15, 2016, and Nebraska was a national leader in women’s basketball for the 12th straight season (2004-05).

The Nebraska women’s basketball program joins the Husker women’s tennis and volleyball programs as Husker teams that have produced perfect 100 percent rates each of the last 12 years.