NEB WBB: Huskers Return Home to Tangle With Wolverines
Posted By: Sports
Courtesy: UNL Media Relations
Nebraska Cornhuskers vs. Michigan Wolverines
Sunday, Jan. 22, 2 p.m. (CT)
Pinnacle Bank Arena (Lincoln, Neb.)
Live Video: BTN Plus
Live Radio: Husker Sports Network
Matt Coatney (PBP), Jeff Griesch (Analyst)
Lincoln – B107.3 FM, Omaha – ESPN 590 AM
Free Live Audio: Huskers.com/Huskers App/TuneIn App
Huskers Return Home to Tangle with Wolverines
• The Nebraska women’s basketball team returns to Pinnacle Bank Arena Sunday afternoon to battle Michigan. Tip-off between the Huskers (5-14, 1-6 Big Ten) and Wolverines (15-5, 4-2 Big Ten) in Lincoln is set for 2 p.m. (CT).
• 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. A live video stream will be available to premium subscribers of BTN Plus.
• An inexperienced team of Huskers and a group of first-year coaches led by former Nebraska player Amy Williams has been challenged by the toughest schedule in school history through the first 19 games this season. Nebraska’s strength of schedule ranks No. 11 nationally. Michigan will be the 15th Husker opponent with 12 or more wins this season, led by No. 1 UConn (17-0), No. 3 Maryland (18-1) and No. 17 Virginia Tech (16-2). Michigan will be Nebraska’s fifth opponent with 15 or more wins.
• Nebraska owns victories over a pair of 12-win teams – Colorado State (13-5) and UTRGV (12-8).
• The active Husker roster has combined for 160 career starts, while the Michigan active roster has started 316 career games, including 120 from senior guard Siera Thompson alone.
• The Huskers are led by 6-4 sophomore forward Jessica Shepard, who is averaging a double-double with 18.7 points and 10.4 rebounds per game. She owns 20 career double-doubles, including 10 this season, after going for 20 points and 12 rebounds at Penn State on Thursday. It was her fourth 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 Emily Cady (2013-14, 2014-15).
• A first-team All-Big Ten performer as the conference’s freshman of the year in 2015-16, Shepard erupted for 35 points and 20 rebounds in last season’s 93-81 win at Michigan on Jan. 24, 2016. She hit 13-of-22 field goals and 9-of-16 free throws. She had 23 points and 15 boards in the second half alone.
Nebraska Cornhuskers (5-14, 1-6 Big Ten)
32 – Jessica Shepard – 6-4 – So. – F – 18.7 ppg, 10.4 rpg
22 – Allie Havers – 6-5 – Sr. – C – 6.2 ppg, 5.6 rpg
3 – Hannah Whitish – 5-9 – Fr. – G – 7.4 ppg, 1.6 rpg
5 – Nicea Eliely – 6-1 – Fr. – G – 7.8 ppg, 4.2 rpg
34 – Jasmine Cincore – 5-10 – Jr. – G – 6.5 ppg, 3.1 rpg
Off the Bench
24 – Maddie Simon – 6-2 – So. – G – 4.3 ppg, 2.2 rpg
11 – Esther Ramacieri – 5-8 – Sr. – G – 2.9 ppg, 1.7 rpg
2 – Rylie Cascio Jensen – 5-10 – Fr. – G – 2.7 ppg, 0.9 rpg
50 – Darrien Washington – 6-2 – So. – F – 2.3 ppg, 3.4 rpg
12 – Emily Wood – 5-5 – Jr. – G – 1.9 ppg, 0.8 rpg
14 – Grace Mitchell – 6-2 – Fr. – F/G – 1.8 ppg, 1.6 rpg
Head Coach: Amy Williams (Nebraska, 1998)
First Season at Nebraska (5-14); 10th Season Overall (198-123)
Michigan Wolverines (15-5, 4-2 Big Ten)
11 – Jillian Dunston – 5-11 – Jr. – F – 6.1 ppg, 7.2 rpg
30 – Hallie Thome – 6-5 – So. – F – 14.9 ppg, 7.7 rpg
1 – Kysre Gondrezick – 5-9 – Fr. – G – 13.4 ppg, 3.1 rpg
2 – Siera Thompson – 5-7 – Sr. – G – 9.1 ppg, 3.7 rpg
3 – Katelynn Flaherty – 5-7 – Jr. – G – 19.7 ppg, 1.8 rpg
Off the Bench
20 – Danielle Williams – 5-9 – Sr. – G – 2.2 ppg, 3.3 rpg
10 – Nicole Munger – 5-11 – So. – G – 5.2 ppg, 1.9 rpg
5 – Kayla Robbins – 6-1 – Fr. – F – 3.4 ppg, 3.1 rpg
23 – Maria Backman – 6-1 – Jr. – G/F – 2.0 ppg, 2.2 rpg
14 – Akienreh Johnson – 6-0 – Fr. – G – 3.2 ppg, 1.6 rpg
22 – KeAsja Peace – 6-3 – Fr. – F – 2.1 ppg, 1.5 rpg
Head Coach: Kim Barnes Arico (Montclair State, 1993)
Fifth Season at Michigan (98-59); 21st Season Overall (368-264)
• Coach Kim Barnes Arico brings her fifth Michigan team to Lincoln looking to rebound from an 83-70 loss at No. 3 Maryland on Thursday night.
• Despite the loss, Michigan is in the hunt for a top-four seed in the Big Ten Tournament with a 4-2 conference record. The Wolverines are 15-5 overall.
• Michigan is one of the Big Ten’s most explosive offensive teams, averaging 79.4 points per game on the season. The Wolverines scored more than 100 points in each of the first three games this season (Oakland, Niagara, Howard). Michigan has added a pair of 90-point performances.
• Michigan owns Big Ten home wins over Rutgers, Indiana and Minnesota and a Big Ten road win at Wisconsin. The Wolverines’ Big Ten losses have come on the road at No. 3 Maryland and then-No. 11 Ohio State.
20• Heading into the week (Jan. 16), Michigan ranked second nationally in three-point field goal percentage (.413), eighth nationally in scoring margin (+22.4 ppg), ninth in field goal percentage (.474), 13th in three-point field goals made (152), 16th nationally in scoring offense (79.9 ppg), 21st in rebound margin (+8.7 rpg) and 22nd in assists per game (17.3 apg).
• Junior guard Katelynn Flaherty leads the Wolverines with 19.7 points per game. A premier long-range shooter, the 5-7 Flaherty has knocked down 60 threes on the season (.390), while hitting 89.5 percent (51-57) of her free throws. She also ranks second among the Wolverines in assists (3.3 apg). Flaherty, who scored 30 points at Maryland, ranks third in the Big Ten and 22nd nationally in made three-pointers.
• Kysre Gondrezick, a strong candidate for the Big Ten All-Freshman team, has added 13.4 points and 3.1 rebounds per game. She started her first five games to open Big Ten play before coming off the bench at Maryland. Gondrezick is the daughter of former NBA player Grant Gondrezick. Her mother, Lisa, won a national title at Louisiana Tech, and Kysre’s sister, Kalabrya, plays at Michigan State.
• Gondrezick has hit 44-of-94 threes (.468), which leads the Big Ten and ranks 13th nationally in three-point percentage.
• Siera Thompson is the lone senior in Michigan’s starting five. The four-year starter is averaging 9.1 points, 3.7 rebounds and a team-best 5.2 assists. Thompson owns a 3.1-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio, which ranks third in the Big Ten and 16th nationally.
• Thompson has started 120 games as a Wolverine. Nebraska’s active roster owns 160 career starts.
• Thompson owns 1,344 points and 479 assists in her career. She is a career 90.3 percent free throw shooter, and a career 39.0 percent shooter from three, with 227 career makes. Thompson would rank third in Husker history with her 227 career threes, but she ranks second among active Wolverines behind Flaherty’s 243.
• Sophomore Hallie Thome provides Michigan with a strong inside presence, averaging 14.9 points and a team-best 7.5 rebounds per game. The 6-5 forward is shooting 62.9 percent from the field and leads Michigan with 37 blocks.
• Junior forward Jillian Dunston rounds out Michigan’s starting five with 6.1 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. Dunston leads the Wolverines with 27 steals.
• Senior guard Danielle Williams has added 2.2 points and 3.3 rebounds after starting Michigan’s first 14 games and the loss at Maryland. She is one of only six Wolverines to play in all 20 games this year.
20• Sophomore guard Nicole Munger (5.2 ppg, 1.9 rpg) and freshman forward Kayla Robbins (3.4 ppg, 3.1 rpg) round out the top eight players in Michigan’s rotation.2.0 3.3
Nebraska vs. Michigan Series History
• Nebraska has dominated the all-time series with Michigan, 11-1, including five consecutive victories after a 93-81 win on Jan. 24, 2016, at Crisler Arena in Ann Arbor.
• Jessica Shepard produced one of the best individual performances in school history last season against the Wolverines with 35 points and 20 rebounds. Shepard hit 13-of-22 field goals and 9-of-16 free throws. She had 23 points and 15 boards in the second half alone.
• Nebraska’s average margin of victory in the last five games against Michigan is 17.2 points per game.
• Michigan’s only victory in the history of the series with Nebraska came in a 63-52 win on Feb. 9, 2012, under Coach Kevin Borseth at the Bob Devaney Sports Center.
• Nebraska was 6-0 against Michigan as non-conference foes from 1980 through 2006, with all six wins by double digits. NU’s average margin of victory in 11 all-time wins against Michigan is 19.2 points per game.
• In the 12 all-time games with Michigan, only one of the games has been decided by single digits, a 76-68 Nebraska win on Feb. 13, 2014, in Ann Arbor.
• Jessica Shepard became the second Husker in history to record 10 or more double-doubles in back-to-back seasons when she notched 20 points and 12 rebounds at Penn State on Thursday.
• Shepard leads the Huskers with averages of 18.7 points and 10.4 rebounds per game. She produced her 20th career double-double with 20 points and 12 rebounds at Penn State on Jan. 19.
• Shepard owns 10 double-doubles this season, including a season-high 28 points and 14 rebounds against San Jose State (Dec. 9). She had 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), 22 points and 13 rebounds at Creighton (Dec. 18), 22 points and 11 rebounds in a win over Rutgers (Jan. 10), 17 points and 15 rebounds in a win over UTRGV (Nov. 12) and 15 points and 12 rebounds at Michigan State (Jan. 7).
• Shepard owns 10 20-point scoring efforts in 19 games, including season highs of 28 points at Iowa (Dec. 31) and vs. San Jose State (Dec. 9). She owns 26 career 20-plus scoring games in 50 career contests.
• Shepard ranks second among the Huskers in three-point field goals made (22), 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 (51), steals (33) and blocks (15), while ranking second in scoring (7.8 ppg) and field goal percentage (.448). Eliely has started all 19 games this season as a true freshman.
• Freshman Hannah Whitish is averaging 10.6 points, 2.1 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.6 steals in seven Big Ten games as a starter. Whitish also leads the Huskers with 31 three-pointers on the season. She ranks fifth among freshmen in Husker history with 31 threes and needs two more to catch Kaitlyn Burke in fourth (33, 2007-08).
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 25 or fewer contests.
• Although Jessica Shepard is just a sophomore, she owns a team-high 48 career starts, including 29 in 31 games as a freshman.
• A three-year contributor on the court, 6-5 senior Allie Havers adds 40 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 (25 career), Esther Ramacieri (16) and Maddie Simon (5), while true freshmen Nicea Eliely (19) and Hannah Whitish (7) have made their first career starts this season.
• Overall, Nebraska owns just 160 career starts. Michigan (316) carries nearly double the number of career starts as the Huskers, including 120 from senior guard Siera Thompson alone.
• Nebraska sent nine different starting lineups onto the floor in 2015-16.
• The longest stretch Nebraska was able to play with a consistent starting five in 2015-16 was eight games (Game 2 vs. North Florida, Nov. 16 – Game 9 at California, Dec. 12).
• 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 20 career double-doubles, including 10 this season. Her most recent double-double came with 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 19 games, Shepard is averaging team bests of 18.7 points and 10.4 rebounds per game. She also ranks second on the team with 22 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 63 all-time home games at Pinnacle Bank Arena, the Huskers own a 48-15 record (.762 winning percentage) while averaging 5,649 fans per game (355,912 total fans/63 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. 11 nationally through games Jan. 19. Nebraska’s 19 opponents owned a cumulative record of 231-114 (.670 winning percentage), including current top-25 opponents No. 1 UConn (17-0), No. 3 Maryland (18-1), No. 17 Virginia Tech (16-2) and No. 24 California (14-4).
• Michigan (15-5) will be Nebraska’s fifth opponent with 15 or more wins this season, joining No. 1 UConn (17-0), No. 3 Maryland (18-1), No. 17 Virginia Tech (16-2) and Northwestern (15-4). California (14-4), Virginia (13-5), Colorado State (13-5), Drake (13-5), Michigan State (13-6), Penn State (13-6), Missouri (13-7), Creighton (12-5), Iowa (12-7) and UTRGV (12-8) give Nebraska 15 opponents with 12 or more victories. Next up for Nebraska after Michigan is 12-8 Purdue.
• Omaha (9-10), Washington State (8-10), Illinois (8-11), Rutgers (6-14) and San Jose State (6-12) are the only Husker opponents with losing records.
• 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.
• Nebraska senior Allie Havers has competed in 115 consecutive games since the first game of her freshman season in 2013-14. The Huskers own a 70-45 record in those contests over the last four years.
• Junior Jasmine Cincore owns the longest streak of consecutive starts among the Huskers with 24. Havers has made 22 straight starts, while freshman Nicea Eliely and sophomore Jessica Shepard have each started 19 straight games this season. Hannah Whitish has made seven straight starts.
• The Huskers have knocked down at least one three-pointer in 270 straight regular-season games dating back to a loss at UTEP on Dec. 20, 2008.
• Nebraska has hit at least two three-pointers in 149 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.
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 3,980 as of Dec. 21, 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 Shoots For More as Sophomore
• Jessica Shepard has her sophomore season off to a strong start averaging 18.7 points and 10.4 rebounds per game. She has produced 10 double-doubles, including four in Big Ten play after her 20-point, 12-rebound effort at Penn State (Jan. 19). She had 22 points, 11 rebounds, three assists and a season-high three steals in Nebraska’s 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 20 career double-doubles to rank ninth on Nebraska’s career chart in that category.
• She eclipsed 900 career points with her 25-point effort at Illinois (Jan. 15). She heads into Sunday’s game with Michigan with 929 points, 464 rebounds and 93 assists in her career.
• Shepard has 10 20-point efforts this season, including a season-high 28 points in the win over San Jose State (Dec. 9). She matched her season high with 28 points to go along with eight rebounds at Iowa (Dec. 31). 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 20 points at Penn State (Jan. 19). Shepard owns 26 career 20-point games in her first 50 games as a Husker.
• Shepard ranks second among the Huskers with 22 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).
• 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.
Freshmen Contributing Early
• 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.
Nicea Eliely, 6-1, Guard, Colorado Springs, Colo.
• Eliely, a 6-1 guard out of Rampart High School in Colorado Springs, has started all 19 games and is averaging 7.8 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.7 steals per game.
• Eliely leads the Huskers in assists (51), steals (33) and blocked shots (15). She ranks second on the team in scoring (7.8 ppg) and field goal percentage (.448).
• 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 added her second career double-figure scoring effort with 13 points to go along with seven rebounds, four assists, a steal and a block in a win over San Jose State on Dec. 9. She hit 6-of-9 shots from the field against the Spartans.
• Eliely contributed her third double-figure performance with 11 points, four rebounds, two assists and three steals at Iowa on Dec. 31.
• She had eight points, including 4-of-4 free throws in the game’s final 37 seconds to seal Nebraska’s win over Rutgers on Jan. 10. She added two big steals against the Scarlet Knights.
• In her Big Ten debut against Northwestern (Dec. 28), Eliely finished with seven points, seven rebounds, and team highs of five assists, two blocks 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 NU’s best all-around game against No. 25 Missouri (Nov. 14), finishing with eight points, eight rebounds, two assists and a steal. 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.
• She had one of Nebraska’s best all-around games with seven points, five rebounds, four assists and a block in the loss to No. 1 UConn on Dec. 21.
• 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.
• As a starter in Big Ten play, Whitish is averaging 10.6 points, 2.1 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.6 steals per game.
• Whitish had her fifth double-figure scoring effort in seven Big Ten starts with a career-high 16 points and a career-best four threes at Illinois (Jan. 15). She added 11 points in a win over Rutgers (Jan. 10).
• Whitish had 14 points at Michigan State (Jan. 7). She added two rebounds, two assists and a career-high three steals.
• She had 14 points while adding four rebounds, a team-high four assists and two steals in a start at Iowa (Dec. 31). She hit a trio of three-pointers against the Hawkeyes.
• Whitish was Nebraska’s top contributor off the bench in non-conference play before making her first career start in Nebraska’s Big Ten opener with Northwestern (Dec. 28). Whitish, who started in place of injured senior Esther Ramacieri against the Wildcats, scored 12 points and added four assists.
• Through 19 games, Whitish is averaging 7.4 points, 1.6 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 20.7 minutes per contest. Whitish also leads the Huskers with 31 three-pointers this season (31-82, .378).
• Whitish joined Nebraska’s top five all-time among freshman three-point shooters with two at Penn State (Jan. 19) to push her season total to 31, passing Kiera Hardy (30, 2003-04) at No. 5. Whitish needs two more three to match Kaitlyn Burke (33, 2007-08) in fourth on that list.
• Whitish ranks second among the Huskers this season with seven double-figure scoring efforts.
• She played arguably Nebraska’s best individual game with nine points on three three-pointers, while adding two rebounds, two assists, no turnovers and a steal in 19 minutes against No. 1 UConn (Dec. 21).
• 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.
• 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.
Rylie Cascio Jensen, 5-10, Guard, Fremont, Neb.
• 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.
• Cascio Jensen erupted for a career-high 15 points on 3-of-4 shooting with two threes and a 7-for-7 effort at the free throw line at Penn State (Jan. 19).
• She is averaging 2.7 points and 1.5 assists in 13.9 minutes per game this season.
• Cascio Jensen had previous season highs with six points and two three-pointers in wins over both Omaha (Nov. 22) and San Jose State (Dec. 9).
• She added five points, two rebounds, two assists and a steal against No. 3 Maryland on Jan. 4.
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 nation’s No. 51 wing by ESPN.
• Mitchell has averaged 1.8 points and 1.6 rebounds in 9.8 minutes per game this season. She produced 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.
• She played well off the bench with five points on 2-of-2 shooting, including a three-pointer, while adding three rebounds against No. 1 UConn on Dec. 21.
• Mitchell added five points on 2-of-3 shooting and another three, while grabbing two rebounds and a steal against No. 3 Maryland on Jan. 4.
• 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 48-15 (.762) 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 437-145 (.751) all-time at home. The Huskers have gone 173-49 (.779) 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.