NEB WBB: Huskers Glad to be Home to Face Gophers
Posted By: Sports
Courtesy: UNL Media Relations
Nebraska Cornhuskers vs. Minnesota Golden Gophers
Saturday, Feb. 4, 5 p.m. (CT)
Pinnacle Bank Arena (Lincoln, Nebraska)
Live Television: BTN (Kevin Kugler, Mike Thibault)
Live Radio: Husker Sports Network (Matt Coatney, Jeff Griesch)
Lincoln – B107.3 FM, Omaha – ESPN 590 AM
Free Live Audio: Huskers.com/Huskers App/TuneIn App
Huskers Glad to be Home to Face Gophers
• The Nebraska women’s basketball team returns home for just the second time in 24 days to take on Minnesota on Saturday. Tip-off between the Huskers (5-17, 1-9 Big Ten) and the Golden Gophers (11-11, 2-7 Big Ten) at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln is set for 5 p.m. (CT).
• Saturday’s game will be televised by BTN with Kevin Kugler and Mike Thibault on the call.
• A live radio broadcast will be produced by the Husker Sports Network. Matt Coatney and Jeff Griesch will call the action on B107.3 FM in Lincoln and ESPN 590 AM in Omaha. Free audio also can be found on Huskers.com, the Huskers App and the TuneIn App.
• Approximately 20 women’s basketball alumni will be recognized during Saturday’s while participating in an Alumni Weekend event.
• Nebraska has been challenged by the toughest schedule in school history. Nebraska’s strength of schedule ranks No. 9 nationally. Minnesota’s No. 6 strength of schedule leads the Big Ten. Nebraska and Minnesota are the only schools in the Big Ten with top-25 schedule strengths this season.
• The Huskers are led by 6-4 sophomore forward Jessica Shepard, who is averaging a double-double with 18.5 points and 10.2 rebounds per game. She owns 21 career double-doubles, including 11 this season, after tying her season high with 28 points and adding 13 rebounds at No. 15 Ohio State (Jan. 29). It was her fifth double-double in Big Ten play this season.
• Shepard is just the fourth Husker in history to produce double-digit double-doubles in two seasons in her career, joining first-team All-Americans Jordan Hooper (2011-12, 2013-14) and Karen Jennings (1990-91, 1992-93) and four-time All-Big Ten choice Emily Cady (2013-14, 2014-15).
23• Shepard enters the Minnesota game needing 18 points to become the 32nd player in Husker history to reach 1,000 career points. She will become just the second sophomore to accomplish the feat, joining All-American and current WNBA forward Jordan Hooper (1,078, 2010-11/2011-12).
23• Shepard could reach 1,000 points faster than any player in Husker history. Hooper achieved 1,000 in her 60th career game. Shepard will be playing her 54th career game on Saturday against Minnesota.
• Nebraska freshmen Nicea Eliely (7.5 ppg) and Hannah Whitish (7.4 ppg) could become the first pair of Husker freshmen to both average more than 7.0 points per game since 1983-84.
Nebraska Cornhuskers (5-17, 1-9 Big Ten)
32 – Jessica Shepard – 6-4 – So. – F – 18.5 ppg, 10.2 rpg
22 – Allie Havers – 6-5 – Sr. – C – 6.4 ppg, 5.3 rpg
3 – Hannah Whitish 5-9 – Fr. – G – 7.4 ppg, 1.9 rpg
5 – Nicea Eliely – 6-1 – Fr. – G – 7.5 ppg, 3.8 rpg
34 – Jasmine Cincore – 5-10 – Jr. – G – 6.3 ppg, 2.8 rpg
Off the Bench
24 – Maddie Simon – 6-2 – So. – G – 4.2 ppg, 2.2 rpg
11 – Esther Ramacieri – 5-8 – Sr. – G – 2.9 ppg, 1.8 rpg
2 – Rylie Cascio Jensen – 5-10 – Fr. – G – 2.8 ppg, 0.8 rpg
50 – Darrien Washington – 6-2 – So. – F – 2.4 ppg, 3.1 rpg
12 – Emily Wood – 5-5 – Jr. – G – 1.9 ppg, 0.7 rpg
14 – Grace Mitchell – 6-2 – Fr. – F/G – 1.7 ppg, 1.7 rpg
Head Coach: Amy Williams (Nebraska, 1998)
First Season at Nebraska (5-17); 10th Season Overall (198-126)
Minnesota Golden Gophers (11-11, 2-7 Big Ten)
5 – Taiye Bello – 6-2 – Fr. – F – 2.6 ppg, 4.4 rpg
22 – Joanna Hedstrom – 6-1 – Sr. – G – 5.5 ppg, 4.7 rpg
21 – Jasmine Brunson – 5-7 – Fr. – G – 2.5 ppg, 0.8 rpg
23 – Kenisha Bell – 5-9 – So. – G – 16.6 ppg, 4.0 rpg
33 – Carlie Wagner – 5-10 – Jr. – G – 20.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg
Off the Bench
34 – Gadiva Hubbard – 5-9 – Fr. – G – 13.4 ppg, 3.1 rpg
10 – Jessie Edwards – 6-3 – Jr. – C – 7.1 ppg, 7.1 rpg
30 – Whitney Tinjum – 6-1 – Sr. – F – 6.4 ppg, 4.2 rpg
14 – Bryanna Fernstrom – 6-5 – Jr. – C – 6.1 ppg, 7.1 rpg
15 – Allina Starr – 5-10 – Sr. – G – 2.0 ppg, 2.8 rpg
32 – Karley Barnes – 6-3 – Sr. – C – 1.7 ppg, 2.9 rpg
25 – Palma Kaposi – 6-1 – So. – F – 1.3 ppg, 1.1 rpg
41 – Annalese Lamke – 6-3 – So. – C – 0.5 ppg, 0.3 rpg
Head Coach: Marlene Stollings (Ohio, 1998)
Third Season at Minnesota (54-33); Sixth Season Overall (105-75)
• Coach Marlene Stollings brings her third Minnesota team to Lincoln trying to snap a three-game losing streak. The Golden Gophers are 11-11 overall and 2-7 in the Big Ten, just ahead of the Huskers in the Big Ten standings.
• All seven of Minnesota’s Big Ten losses have been by double digits and the Golden Gophers are 0-4 in Big Ten road games. Minnesota owns Big Ten home victories over Wisconsin (88-60) and Illinois (78-50).
• Minnesota owns the best strength of schedule in the Big Ten, coming in at No. 6 nationally. The Gophers play four of the final seven Big Ten games on the road, including trips to Penn State, Michigan State and No. 3 Maryland after coming to Nebraska. The Golden Gophers will face Rutgers (Feb. 11), Northwestern (Feb. 13, originally scheduled for Jan. 11) and Purdue (Feb. 23) at Williams Arena.
• The Golden Gophers have struggled to replace the Big Ten’s all-time leading scorer and All-America guard Rachel Banham from last year’s squad that finished 20-12 overall, including 11-7 in the Big Ten, but came up short of an NCAA Tournament bid.
• Minnesota was eliminated, 101-89 by eventual champion South Dakota (coached by Amy Williams) in the second round of the 2016 Postseason WNIT at Williams Arena in Minneapolis on March 20.
• The Gophers have used 13 different starting combinations through 22 games and no combination has started three consecutive games this season.
• Junior guard Carlie Wagner leads Minnesota with 20.0 points per game, while ranking third on the team with 5.0 rebounds. Wagner, who owns 82 career starts, is playing 35 minutes per game.
• Sophomore transfer Kenisha Bell has added 16.6 points, 4.0 rebounds and team bests of 5.6 assists and 2.1 steals per game. Bell, who was a starter at Marquette in 2014-15, also has committed a whopping 111 turnovers (5.3 pg). She is the only Big Ten player with 100 turnovers.
• Wagner and Bell have combined to attempt nearly half of Minnesota’s field goals (731 of 1468) on the season, while shooting 38.8 percent (284-731) from the field, including 30.8 percent (68-221) from three-point range. The duo has combined for 447 missed field goals and 173 turnovers to combine for 620 empty possessions for Minnesota this year. Heading into Thursday night’s games, no other Big Ten duo had 500.
• Gadiva Hubbard, a 5-9 freshman guard, has added 13.4 points but has missed six games this season with illness or injury. Hubbard suffered a broken nose in practice on Jan. 28, and did not play in Monday night’s loss to Michigan State.
• Jessie Edwards, a 6-3 junior center from Australia, has contributed 7.1 points and a team-best 7.1 rebounds per game. Her 36 blocks and 61.8 field goal percentage both lead Minnesota.
• Bryanna Fernstrom, a 6-5 junior center who was a part-time starter for two seasons at Iowa State before transferring for the start of the second semester in 2015-16, has managed 6.1 points and 7.1 rebounds for Minnesota in Big Ten play. She is shooting a dismal 34.5 percent from the field.
• Whitney Tinjum, a 6-1 senior forward who transferred from Bradley after starting her career at Washington State, has added 6.4 points and 4.2 rebounds per game.
• Amid the barrage of transfers, 6-1 senior guard Joanna Hedstrom has still found a way to start 16 games for Minnesota. The Minnetonka High School graduate has been a four-year contributor for the Gophers and is averaging 5.5 points and 4.7 rebounds per game.
• Other starters for Minnesota this season have included 6-2 freshman forward Taiye Bello (2.6 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 5 starts), 5-7 freshman guard Jasmine Brunson (2.5 ppg, 0.8 rpg, 5 starts), 5-10 senior guard Allina Starr (2.0 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 2 starts) and 6-3 senior center Karley Barnes (1.7 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 2 starts). Annalese Lamke, a 6-3 sophomore center, regularly started in an effort to win the tip for Minnesota last year.
• As a team, Minnesota is shooting 40.6 percent from the field, including 32.2 percent from three-point range. The Gophers own a plus-0.7 rebound margin, but a minus-1.5 turnover margin, while shooting 71.5 percent at the free throw line. Minnesota is averaging 75.3 points, but allowing 75.2 points per game.
• Minnesota’s Big Ten foes are averaging 78.1 points per game while shooting 42.6 percent from the field, including 34.2 percent at the line. The Gophers own a minus-4.0 turnover margin in Big Ten play.
Nebraska vs. Minnesota Series History
• Nebraska leads the all-time series with Minnesota 11-8, including a 110-73 loss at Williams Arena in Minneapolis on Feb. 11, 2016. Nebraska owns a 6-3 series edge as Big Ten foes.
• In the last meeting between the two schools in Lincoln, Nebraska rolled to a 74-50 victory over the Golden Gophers on Feb. 24, 2015.
• Nebraska has won four straight meetings with Minnesota in Lincoln, including an 88-85 overtime win on Jan. 16, 2014, in the first game between the schools at Pinnacle Bank Arena. The Huskers added an 80-56 win (Feb. 3, 2013) and a 64-49 win (Jan. 22, 2012) in Lincoln as Big Ten foes.
• Nebraska is 9-2 all-time against Minnesota in Lincoln, but 1-6 against the Gophers in Minneapolis. The Huskers defeated the Gophers 80-67 at the Big Ten Tournament on March 7, 2014.
• Although women’s basketball was not a full varsity sport at Nebraska until 1975-76, a women’s team from Nebraska suffered its first defeat at Minnesota in 1904 after going unbeaten between 1897 and 1903. Two weeks after the first meeting with Minnesota, Nebraska beat the same team in Lincoln.
• Minnesota’s Rachel Banham owns the Pinnacle Bank Arena opponent scoring record with 33 points against the Huskers in an overtime loss to Nebraska on Jan. 16, 2014. NU’s Rachel Theriot answered with 33 points in the same game in a head-to-head performance between two All-America guards. Last season, Banham had 32 points in Minnesota’s victory at Williams Arena.
• Minnesota’s Laura Coenen scored 42 points for the Gophers in a 90-79 win over the Huskers on Nov. 30, 1984. That effort is tied for the most points by any opponent in a game against the Huskers.
• Jessica Shepard is the second Husker in history to record 10 or more double-doubles in back-to-back seasons. She owns 11 double-doubles in 2016-17, including 28 points and 13 rebounds at No. 15 Ohio State (Jan. 29).
• Shepard leads the Huskers with averages of 18.5 points and 10.2 rebounds per game. She has 21 career double-doubles, which is tied for seventh in Husker history.
• Shepard needs 18 points and nine rebounds against Minnesota to reach 1,000 points and 500 boards. She is poised to become the 32nd Husker in history to score 1,000 career points and just the second to achieve the milestone as a sophomore, joining All-American Jordan Hooper (1,078, 2010-11, 2011-12). Hooper reached the 1,000-point mark in her 60th career game.
• Shepard owns 12 20-point scoring efforts in 22 games, including season highs of 28 points at No. 15 Ohio State (Jan. 29), at Iowa (Dec. 31) and San Jose State (Dec. 9). She owns 28 career 20-plus scoring games in 53 career contests.
• Shepard ranks second among the Huskers in three-point field goals made (23), 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.
• Nebraska freshman Nicea Eliely leads the Huskers in assists (53), steals (37), blocks (15) and field goal percentage (.449), while ranking second in scoring (7.5 ppg). Eliely has started all 22 games this season as a true freshman.
• Freshman Hannah Whitish is averaging 9.5 points, 2.6 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.4 steals in 10 Big Ten games as a starter. Whitish also leads the Huskers with 34 three-pointers on the season to rank fourth among freshmen in Husker history. She needs 12 more to catch Anna DeForge in third (46, 1994-95).
Huskers Establishing Solid Starting Five
• One of Coach Amy Williams’ primary objectives early in the season was to find a starting five from a relatively inexperienced group of Huskers. Only seven players on Nebraska’s active roster have ever started a game for the Huskers, with five of them starting 30 or fewer contests.
• Although Jessica Shepard is just a sophomore, she owns a team-high 51 career starts, including 29 in 31 games as a freshman.
• A three-year contributor on the court, 6-5 senior Allie Havers adds 43 career starts to Nebraska’s level of experience in 2016-17.
• Only three other returning Huskers had ever started a game for Nebraska before this season, including Jasmine Cincore (28 career), Esther Ramacieri (16) and Maddie Simon (5), while true freshmen Nicea Eliely (22) and Hannah Whitish (10) have made their first career starts this season.
• Overall, Nebraska owns just 175 career starts. On paper, Minnesota is also one of the Big Ten’s most inexperienced teams with 209 career starts at Minnesota spread across 12 players who have all started at least four games. However, three current Gophers all own 29 or more career starts at other NCAA Division I schools, led by Bryanna Fernstrom (37 at Iowa State), Whitney Tinjum (32 at Bradley) and Kenisha Bell (29 at Marquette). Those three Gophers add 98 career Division I starts to give Minnesota 308 career collegiate starts.
• Nebraska sent nine different starting lineups onto the floor in 2015-16.
• Three times (2003-04, 2006-07, 2011-12) in the last 14 seasons, Nebraska’s starting five has hit the floor for every game together, and five more times the Huskers have only featured six different starters in a season (2005-06, 2007-08, 2009-10, 2012-13, 2013-14).
Shepard Leads Big Red on B1G Stage
• Sophomore Jessica Shepard owns 21 career double-doubles, including 11 this season. Her most recent double-double came with a season-high 28 points and 13 rebounds at No. 15 Ohio State (Jan. 29). She had 20 points and 12 rebounds at Penn State (Jan. 19). She had 22 points and 11 rebounds in a win over Rutgers (Jan. 10), which followed 15 points and 12 rebounds at Michigan State (Jan. 7). She also had 17 points and 15 rebounds against Northwestern (Dec. 28). She had 22 points and 11 rebounds at Creighton (Dec. 18). She had a season-high 28 points and 14 rebounds in a win over San Jose State (Dec. 9). She added 23 points and a season-high 16 rebounds against Drake (Dec. 6). It followed a 25-point, 14-rebound performance in a loss at then-unbeaten Virginia Tech (Dec. 1). She had 24 points and 13 rebounds in Nebraska’s 62-59 win over Colorado State (Nov. 17). She opened the season with 17 points and 15 rebounds in a win over UTRGV (Nov. 12).
• Through 22 games, Shepard is averaging team bests of 18.5 points and 10.2 rebounds per game. She also ranks second on the team with 23 three-pointers, 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.
• 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 64 all-time home games at Pinnacle Bank Arena, the Huskers own a 48-16 record (.750 winning percentage) while averaging 5,636 fans per game (360,675 total fans/64 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 Battling One of Nation’s Best Schedules
• Nebraska is facing 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 strength of schedule ranked No. 9 nationally through games Jan. 31. NU’s 22 opponents owned a combined record of 316-165 (.657 winning percentage), including current top-25 opponents No. 1 UConn (21-0), No. 3 Maryland (21-1) and No. 14 Ohio State (20-5).
• Michigan (18-5), Northwestern (17-5), Colorado State (17-5), Drake (16-4), Virginia Tech (16-5), Missouri (16-7), Creighton (15-6), California (15-7), Michigan State (15-7), Virginia (14-7), Penn State (14-8), Purdue (14-8) and UTRGV (14-9) give Nebraska 16 opponents with 14 or more victories in 2016-17.
• Minnesota (RPI 57) comes to Lincoln as Nebraska’s 14th opponent this season currently ranked in the RPI Top 60. It will be Nebraska’s 18th game against a current RPI Top 100 team. Four of NU’s final five regular-season games will come against current RPI Top 60 foes.
• Only six Husker opponents have won fewer than 14 games, including Iowa (13-8, RPI 54), Omaha (11-11, RPI 163), Washington State (9-12, RPI 60), Illinois (8-15, RPI 177), San Jose State (7-14, RPI 191) and Rutgers (6-16, RPI 182). Minnesota comes to Lincoln with an 11-11 record (RPI 57).
• UTRGV (RPI 259) is the only one of Nebraska’s first 23 opponents outside the top 200 of the 349 NCAA Division I teams in the RPI.
• Nebraska’s non-conference Strength of Schedule was ranked No. 8 by the NCAA (Jan. 1). NU’s non-conference schedule strength trailed only Minnesota in the Big Ten. Nebraska, Minnesota and Rutgers were the only three Big Ten teams to enter conference play with a top-25 strength of schedule. Six Big Ten teams entered league play with strength of schedules below 100, including Purdue (204), Maryland (203), Indiana (176), Northwestern (167), Ohio State (155) and Wisconsin (114).
• 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.
Freshmen Eliely, Whitish Give Huskers Hope
• Nebraska freshmen Nicea Eliely and Hannah Whitish have helped solidify the Huskers’ starting five, while providing hope for the future for a young Husker roster.
• Eliely, a 6-1 guard from Colorado Springs, Colo., has started all 22 games and ranks second on the team in scoring with 7.5 points per game. She also leads the Huskers in assists (53), steals (37) and blocked shots (15) and field goal percentage (.449). She ranks second in minutes per game (26.0).
• Eliely has produced four double-figure scoring efforts, including 10 points and a career-high-tying four steals against Michigan (Jan. 22). She had a career-high 19 points against California (Dec. 4).
• Whitish, 2016 Wisconsin Gatorade Player of the Year at Barneveld High School, ranks third on the team in scoring (7.4 ppg), including 9.5 points per game in Big Ten play. She leads the Huskers with 34 threes, which ranks as the fourth-best total by a freshman in school history. Whitish also ranks second overall in assists (51) and third in steals (20), despite ranking fifth in minutes per game (21.7).
• In Big Ten play, Whitish leads the Huskers in assists (34) and three-pointers (19), while ranking second on the team in scoring (9.5 ppg), steals (14) and three-point percentage (.365). She has produced double figures six times in Big Ten play and eight times overall this season. She had career highs of 16 points and four three-pointers at Illinois (Jan. 15).
• Eliely and Whitish have a chance to become the first pair of Husker freshmen since 1983-84 to both average better than 7.0 points per game. The last two Husker freshmen to each average better than 7.0 points per game were Angie Miller (14.6 ppg) and Stacy Imming (9.9 ppg) in 1983-84.
• Since 2010, Nebraska has had five freshmen earn spots on conference all-freshman teams, including Lindsey Moore (Big 12, 2010), Jordan Hooper (Big 12, 2011), Emily Cady (Big Ten, 2012), Rachel Theriot (Big Ten, 2013) and Jessica Shepard (Big Ten, 2016).
Freshmen Leading Huskers at Free Throw Line
• Traditionally one of the Big Ten’s best free throw shooting teams, Nebraska has struggled this season at the line. However, NU’s free throw numbers are on the way up thanks to solid shooting by the Husker freshmen.
• Nebraska’s freshmen are 37-of-43 (.860) at the free throw line in Big Ten play, while the Huskers as a team are shooting 65.9 percent.
• Rylie Cascio Jensen has hit 11 consecutive free throws, including 9-for-9 in Big Ten play and 7-for-7 at Penn State (Jan. 19).
• Nicea Eliely has hit 12 consecutive free throws, dating back to a miss against Maryland on Jan. 4. She hit four free throws in the final 37 seconds in the win over Rutgers (Jan. 10).
• Hannah Whitish has hit four straight free throws including the final two to seal the win over Rutgers (Jan. 10).
• Grace Mitchell also hit both of her free throws against Rutgers.
• As a team, Nebraska has hit 70.4 percent (76-108) of its free throws over the past six games. In the first four Big Ten games, the Huskers hit just 58.5 percent (38-65) of their free throw attempts.
• Nebraska senior Allie Havers has competed in 118 consecutive games since the first game of her freshman season in 2013-14. The Huskers own a 70-48 record in those contests over the last four years.
• Junior Jasmine Cincore owns the longest streak of consecutive starts among the Huskers with 27. Havers has made 25 straight starts, while freshman Nicea Eliely and sophomore Jessica Shepard have each started 22 straight games this season. Hannah Whitish has made 10 straight starts.
• The Huskers have knocked down at least one three-pointer in 273 straight regular-season games dating back to a loss at UTEP on Dec. 20, 2008.
• Nebraska has hit at least two three-pointers in 152 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 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 is averaging 18.5 points and 10.2 rebounds per game. She has produced 11 double-doubles, including five in Big Ten play after her 28-point, 13-rebound performance at No. 15 Ohio State (Jan. 29). She had 20 points and 12 rebounds at Penn State (Jan. 19), after going for 22 points, 11 rebounds, three assists and a season-high three steals in a win over Rutgers (Jan. 10). That followed 15 points and 12 rebounds at Michigan State (Jan. 7). She had 17 points and 15 rebounds in Nebraska’s Big Ten opener against Northwestern (Dec. 28). She had 22 points and 11 rebounds against Creighton (Dec. 18). That followed a season-high 28 points and 14 rebounds against San Jose State (Dec. 9), 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 21 career double-doubles to tie for seventh on Nebraska’s career chart in that category.
• She heads into the Minnesota game with 982 points, 491 rebounds and 100 assists in her career.
• Shepard has 12 20-point efforts this season, including season highs of 28 points against San Jose State (Dec. 9), at Iowa (Dec. 31) and at No. 15 Ohio State (Jan. 29). She had 25 points at Illinois (Jan. 15), 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). She had 21 points and Purdue (Jan. 26) and 20 points at Penn State (Jan. 19). Shepard owns 28 career 20-point games in her first 53 games as a Husker.
• Shepard ranks second among the Huskers with 23 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. She also hit a first-half buzzer-beater at Creighton. 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).
• Shepard was one of 28 players nationally named to the Ann Meyers Drysdale National Player of the Year Midseason Watch List by the USBWA on Jan. 24, 2017.
• 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.
• 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.
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 48-16 (.750) 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 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 at Pinnacle Bank Arena 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.
• NU suffered its first loss at the arena to Washington State (76-72) on Nov. 30, 2013.
• The Huskers are 437-146 (.750) all-time at home. The Huskers have gone 173-50 (.776) 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.