NEB WBB: Huskers Hope to Tame Bulldogs Tuesday

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Courtesy: UNL Media Relations

Nebraska Cornhuskers (3-5) vs. Drake Bulldogs (3-3)
Tuesday, Dec. 6, 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 Hope to Tame Bulldogs at Home Tuesday
The Nebraska women’s basketball team continues its three-game home stand by taking on Drake Tuesday at Pinnacle Bank Arena.

Tip-off between the Huskers (3-5) and the Bulldogs (3-3) 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 with Tommy Rezac and David Eickholt on the call.

Nebraska will try to snap a four-game losing streak when they face Drake. The Huskers have lost two games to Pac-12 foes (California, 7-0; Washington State, 5-3) and two more to ACC opponents (Virginia Tech, 7-0; Virginia, 5-2) with three of the games coming on the road during the stretch. Those four opponents have a combined record of 24-5.

Through Sunday’s games, Nebraska’s first eight opponents owned a combined mark of 45-18 and Nebraska’s strength of schedule was No. 11 nationally according to RPIratings.com.

Drake is 3-3 overall and 1-3 away from home after suffering a 71-48 loss at 6-1 Green Bay. The lone loss for the Phoenix this season is to then-No. 1 Notre Dame in the Preseason WNIT. The Bulldogs went to Green Bay averaging 80.2 points per game, but were held to just 48 points against the Phoenix.

However, a potent Drake offense featuring one of the school’s all-time leading scorers Lizzy Wendell, will still provide a tough test for the young Huskers. Wendell, a 6-0 senior forward, needs just eight points to become the fourth 2,000-point scorer in Drake History. Fellow senior Caitlin Ingle, a 5-8 guard, moved to No. 2 on Drake’s career assist list on Saturday. She owns 579 assists in her career, including 7.5 assists per game so far this season.

Nebraska Cornhuskers (3-5, 0-0 Big Ten)
32 – Jessica Shepard – 6-4 – So. – F – 17.5 ppg, 10.1 rpg
22 – Allie Havers – 6-5 – Sr. – C – 5.1 ppg, 6.3 rpg
5 – Nicea Eliely – 6-1 – Fr. – G – 8.8 ppg, 3.6 rpg
11 – Esther Ramacieri – 5-8 – Sr. – G – 4.8 ppg, 2.0 rpg
34 – Jasmine Cincore – 5-10 – Jr. – G – 6.6 ppg, 2.8 rpg
Off the Bench
3 – Hannah Whitish – 5-9 – Fr. – G – 5.8 ppg, 1.0 rpg
24 – Maddie Simon – 6-2 – So. – G – 5.3 ppg, 2.9 rpg
12 – Emily Wood – 5-5 – Jr. – G – 2.6 ppg, 1.4 rpg
14 – Grace Mitchell – 6-2 – Fr. – F/G – 1.4 ppg, 1.5 rpg
2 – Rylie Cascio Jensen – 5-10 – Fr. – G – 1.9 ppg, 0.8 rpg
50 – Darrien Washington – 6-2 – So. – F – 1.6 ppg, 3.9 rpg
Head Coach: Amy Williams (Nebraska, 1998)
First Season at Nebraska (3-5); 10th Season Overall (196-114)

Drake Bulldogs (3-3, 0-0 MVC)
3 – Lizzy Wendell – 6-0 – Sr. – F – 22.2 ppg, 5.8 rpg
50 – Sara Rhine – 6-1 – So. – F – 11.3 ppg, 6.3 rpg
21 – Sammie Bachcrodt – 5-10 – So. – G – 11.5 ppg, 5.2 rpg
22 – Caitlin Ingle – 5-8 – Sr. – G – 11.0 ppg, 2.8 rpg
24 – Nicole Miller – 5-9 – So. – G – 5.2 ppg, 2.7 rpg
Off the Bench
5 – Becca Hittner – 6-0 – Fr. – G – 9.5 ppg, 5.0 rpg
35 – Becca Jonas – 6-2 – So. – F/C – 4.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg
12 – Brenni Rose – 6-0 – Fr. – F/G – 3.8 ppg, 1.3 rpg
34 – Cortni Rush – 5-10 – Sr. – G – 2.5 ppg, 2.8 rpg
15 – Paige Greiner – 5-5 – Jr. – G – 1.5 ppg, 1.0 rpg
45 – Mya Mertz – 6-2 – Fr. – F/C – 0.7 ppg, 2.3 rpg
Head Coach: Jennie Baranczyk (Iowa, 2004)
Fifth Season at Drake/Overall (74-59)

Scouting Drake
Coach Jennie Baranczyk brings her fifth Drake Bulldog team to Pinnacle Bank Arena to face the Huskers. Baranczyk, who is a 2004 graduate of Iowa, owns a 74-59 record at Drake in her first stint as a head coach. Last season, she led the Bulldogs to a 23-10 overall record that included a 14-4 Missouri Valley Conference mark. The Bulldogs tied for second in the Valley before advancing to the 2016 Postseason WNIT.

Drake fell to Missouri State in the conference tournament semifinals last season, before beating Sacred Heart in the first round of the WNIT. The Bulldogs then lost to the same Northern Iowa team that edged the Huskers at home in the WNIT opening round last season.

Drake returns four starters from last year’s squad, including the school’s No. 5 all-time leading scorer Lizzy Wendell. The 6-0 senior guard from Blue Springs, Mo., enters Tuesday night’s game with 1,992 points. She needs four points to catch former Bulldog and current Iowa assistant coach Jan Jensen in the No. 4 spot and eight points to become just the fourth Drake player to reach 2,000 career points.

Wendell comes to Lincoln averaging 22.2 points per game. She was limited to 12 points on 5-of-14 shooting in Drake’s loss at Green Bay on Saturday, as the Phoenix held the Bulldogs to a season-low 48 points. It was the first time in six games that Drake scored fewer than 60 points, after entering the game averaging 80.2 points per contest.

In their previous game on Nov. 30, the Bulldogs ran to a 95-86 win over Northern Illinois at the Knapp Center in Des Moines, and Wendell poured in 30 points for her ninth career game with 30 or more points. Wendell also leads Drake with 2.5 steals per game, while ranking second on the team in rebounds (5.8 rpg) and assists (3.2 apg).

Wendell entered the season with 192 career three-pointers as a 34.7 percent shooter from beyond the arc but has struggled early from long range. Although her next three-pointer will be the 200th of her career, she is shooting just 21.9 percent (7-32) from beyond the arc early this year.

Wendell leads four Bulldog starters averaging double figures, including senior Caitlin Ingle. The 5-8 point guard is averaging 11.0 points, 2.8 rebounds and a team-leading 7.5 assists. Ingle ranks No. 2 in Drake history with 579 career assists. Ingle is also a perfect 13-for-13 at the free throw line this season for a Drake squad that is hitting 79.3 percent of its free throws early in the year.

A trio of sophomores join Drake’s history-making seniors in the starting five. Sammie Bachcrodt, a 5-10 guard, ranks second on the team in scoring (11.5 rpg) and third on the team in rebounding (5.2 rpg) while leading the Bulldogs from three-point range (13-25, .520). She also ranks second on the team with 10 steals.

Sara Rhine, a 6-1 forward has pitched in 11.3 points and a team-best 6.3 rebounds per game. Rhine also leads the Bulldogs in free throws made (24) and attempted (26) while hitting 92.3 percent of her shots at the stripe.

Nicole Miller, a 5-9 guard, rounds out Drake’s starting five with 5.2 points and 2.7 rebounds per game. Becca Hittner (9.5 ppg, 5.0 rpg) and Becca Jonas (4.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg) have contributed significant statistics in limited roles early this season. Hittner, a 6-0 freshman, has appeared in just two games, while Jonas has made three appearances with two starts. Jonas missed all of last season with a knee injury after earning a spot on the Missouri Valley Conference All-Freshman Team in 2014-15.

Brenni Rose (3.8 ppg, 1.3 rpg), Cortni Rush (2.5 ppg, 2.8 rpg) and Paige Greiner (1.5 ppg, 1.0 rpg) have played the most significant minutes off the bench for the Bulldogs.

As a team, Drake is shooting a solid .453 from the field, including .284 from three-point range. The Bulldogs have been outrebounded, 37.8-37.2 and own a minus-1.2 team turnover margin, while forcing 14.8 turnovers per game.

Nebraska leads the all-time series with Drake, 10-8, including Postseason WNIT wins in the last two meetings. The Huskers defeated Drake 62-59 on March 16, 2006, at the Devaney Center, after rolling to a 73-60 win over the Bulldogs on March 18, 2004 at Devaney.

Tuesday’s game will be Drake’s first-ever game at Pinnacle Bank Arena and the first regular-season meeting between the Huskers and Bulldogs in Lincoln since a 63-55 Drake win on Dec. 5, 2002. Nebraska is set to return to Drake in non-conference play next season, giving the Huskers their first appearance in Des Moines since an 88-74 loss on Dec. 16, 2001.

Nebraska is 5-5 all-time against Drake in Lincoln.

Husker Nuggets
• Drake is Nebraska’s eighth consecutive opponent this season that currently carries a .500 or better record. The combined record of Nebraska’s first seven opponents this season is 45-18 (.714).
• Tuesday’s game is the first meeting between Nebraska and Drake since a 62-59 Husker win on March 16, 2006 in the Postseason WNIT. It is the first regular-season meeting between the two schools since Dec. 5, 2002.
• Nebraska owns two straight Postseason WNIT wins (2004, 2006) in the 18-game series with Drake. The Huskers produced a seven-game series winning streak from Dec. 19, 1987 through Dec. 3, 1998.
• Jessica Shepard leads the Huskers with averages of 17.5 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. She produced her 13th career double-double with 25 points and 14 rebounds at Virginia Tech on Dec. 1. Shepard is tied for 10th in Husker history with 13 double-doubles.
• Shepard owns three double-doubles this season, including 24 points and 13 rebounds in a win over Colorado State on Nov. 17, and 17 points and a season-high 15 rebounds in a win over UTRGV on Nov. 12.
• Shepard owns three 20-point scoring efforts through eight games, including season highs of 25 points against Washington State (Nov. 25) and Virginia Tech (Dec. 1). She owns 19 career 20-plus scoring games.
• Shepard leads Nebraska in three-point field goals made (11) and three-point field goal percentage (.500), 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 ranks second on the team in scoring (8.8 ppg), fourth in rebounding (3.6 rpg), second in assists (2.6 apg) and first in steals (1.8 spg) through the first eight games of her collegiate career.

Shepard Leads Big Red on B1G Stage
• Sophomore Jessica Shepard owns 13 career double-doubles, including three this season. Her most recent double-double came with 25 points and 14 rebounds in a 76-67 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 eight games, Shepard is averaging team bests of 17.5 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. She is also a team-best 11-for-22 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 57 all-time home games at Pinnacle Bank Arena, the Huskers own an impressive 46-11 record (.807 winning percentage) while averaging 5,733 fans per game (326,793 total fans/57 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.

Huskers Have History of Home-Opening Success
• Nebraska owns a history of season-opening success on the Huskers’ home court. NU notched its 41st season-opening win with a 71-53 victory over UTRGV on Nov. 12.
• NU is 4-0 at Pinnacle Bank Arena in season openers, including a 96-46 victory over Arkansas Pine Bluff on Nov. 14, 2015, a 100-65 win over Pepperdine on Nov. 15, 2014, and a 77-49 win over UCLA in the first regular-season basketball game in the history of the building on Nov. 8, 2013. Nebraska’s last loss in a home opener came to South Dakota State on Nov. 19, 2005. NU’s only other home-opening loss was to Kansas (88-56) on Nov. 21, 1980.
• Nebraska has been strong in its first six home games every season. In fact, NU is 220-36 in the past 43 years in its first six home contests (.859), including 36-7 in Game No. 2.
• The Huskers had their streak of 16 straight wins in their second home games of the year snapped with a 55-35 loss to No. 25 Missouri on Nov. 14.
• Nebraska is 35-8 in Game No. 3, 37-6 in Game No. 4, 37-6 in Game No. 5 and 34-7 in Game 6. The Huskers only played five total home games in their first season in 1974-75.

Nebraska Streaks
• Nebraska senior Allie Havers has competed in 104 consecutive games since the first game of her freshman season in 2013-14. The Huskers own a 68-36 record in those contests over the last four years.
• Junior Jasmine Cincore owns the longest streak of consecutive starts among the Huskers with 13. Havers has made 11 straight starts, while Esther Ramacieri has started nine consecutive games dating back to the end of last season.
• The Huskers have knocked down at least one three-pointer in 259 straight regular-season games dating back to a loss at UTEP on Dec. 20, 2008.
• Nebraska has hit at least two three-pointers in 138 consecutive games.
• Jessica Shepard has hit at least one three-pointer in all eight 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 17.5 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. She has produced three double-doubles, including 25 points and 14 rebounds at unbeaten Virginia Tech on Dec. 1, 24 points and 13 rebounds in a win over Colorado State on Nov. 17, and 17 points and 15 boards in a win over UTRGV on Nov. 12.
• Shepard owns 13 career double-doubles to tie for 10th on Nebraska’s career chart in that category.
• Shepard has a trio of 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 on Nov. 17. Shepard owns 19 20-point games in the first 39 games of her career.
• Shepard leads the Huskers with 11 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.

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 46-11 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 435-141 (.755) all-time at home. The Huskers have gone 171-45 (.792) 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.