NEB WBB: Huskers Return to Road at Penn State Thursday

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Courtesy: UNL Media Relations

Nebraska Cornhuskers at Penn State Lady Lions
Thursday, Jan. 19, 6 p.m. (CT)
Bryce Jordan Center (University Park, Pa.)
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 Back on Road at Penn State Thursday
• The Nebraska women’s basketball team returns to Big Ten road action Thursday when the Huskers tangle with Penn State. Tip-off between the Big Red (5-13, 1-5 Big Ten) and the Lady Lions (12-6, 2-4 Big Ten) is set for 6 p.m. (CT) at the Bryce Jordan Center in University Park, Pa.
• 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 18 games this season. Nebraska’s strength of schedule ranks No. 10 nationally. Penn State will be the 13th Husker opponent with 12 or more wins this season, led by No. 1 UConn (16-0), No. 3 Maryland (17-1) and No. 15 Virginia Tech (16-1).
• Nebraska owns victories over a pair of 12-win teams – Colorado State (12-5) and UTRGV (12-8).
• The active Husker roster has combined for 155 career starts, while the Penn State active roster has started 290 career games, including 90 this season.
• The Huskers are led by 6-4 sophomore forward Jessica Shepard, who is averaging a double-double with 18.6 points and 10.3 rebounds per game. A first-team All-Big Ten performer as the conference’s freshman of the year in 2015-16, Shepard scored 29 points on 10-of-12 shooting from the field and a 9-for-10 effort at the free throw line in Nebraska’s 83-78 win at Penn State on Jan. 13, 2016. She added 10 rebounds. She also had 20 points on 9-of-14 shooting in NU’s win over Penn State in Lincoln on Feb. 2, 2016.
• In two career games against Penn State, Shepard has averaged 24.5 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists while shooting 73.1 percent (19-26) from the field and 91.7 percent (11-12) from the free throw line.

Nebraska Cornhuskers (5-13, 1-5 Big Ten)
32 – Jessica Shepard – 6-4 – So. – F – 18.6 ppg, 10.3 rpg
22 – Allie Havers – 6-5 – Sr. – C – 6.4 ppg, 5.5 rpg
3 – Hannah Whitish – 5-9 – Fr. – G – 7.5 ppg, 1.6 rpg
5 – Nicea Eliely – 6-1 – Fr. – G – 7.8 ppg, 4.4 rpg
34 – Jasmine Cincore – 5-10 – Jr. – G – 6.4 ppg, 3.2 rpg
Off the Bench
24 – Maddie Simon – 6-2 – So. – G – 4.3 ppg, 2.1 rpg
11 – Esther Ramacieri – 5-8 – Sr. – G – 3.0 ppg, 1.8 rpg
12 – Emily Wood – 5-5 – Jr. – G – 2.0 ppg, 0.8 rpg
50 – Darrien Washington – 6-2 – So. – F – 2.2 ppg, 3.6 rpg
2 – Rylie Cascio Jensen – 5-10 – Fr. – G – 2.1 ppg, 0.9 rpg
14 – Grace Mitchell – 6-2 – Fr. – F/G – 1.9 ppg, 1.7 rpg
Head Coach: Amy Williams (Nebraska, 1998)
First Season at Nebraska (5-13); 10th Season Overall (198-122)

Penn State Lady Lions (12-6, 2-4 Big Ten)
24 – Ashanti Thomas – 6-4 – So. – C – 4.4 ppg, 3.7 rpg
2 – Amari Carter – 5-8 – Fr. – G – 7.6 ppg, 2.6 rpg
5 – Sierra Moore – 5-11 – Sr. – G – 8.7 ppg, 4.2 rpg
11 – Teniya Page – 5-7 – So. – G – 18.7 ppg, 3.1 rpg
31 – Jaida Travascio-Green – 6-2 – Fr. – G – 5.9 ppg, 1.9 rpg
Off the Bench
12 – Lindsey Spann – 5-6 – Jr. – G – 11.4 ppg, 2.7 rpg
15 – Kaliyah Mitchell – 6-2 – Sr. – F – 7.2 ppg, 5.5 rpg
25 – Peyton Whitted – 6-3 – Sr. – F – 5.3 ppg, 5.4 rpg
35 – De’Janae Boykin – 6-2 – RFr. – F – 4.7 ppg, 4.8 rpg
23 – Jaylen Williams – 6-3 – So. – F – 1.9 ppg, 3.4 rpg
4 – Siyeh Frazier – 5-9 – Fr. – G – 1.0 ppg, 0.4 rpg
22 – Leah Knizer – 5-9 – So. – G – 1.0 ppg, 0.0 rpg
34 – Sarah McMurtry – 5-6 – So. – G – 0.0 ppg, 0.0 rpg
Head Coach: Coquese Washington (Notre Dame, 1992)
10th Season at Penn State (172-130); 10th Season Overall (172-130)

Scouting Penn State
• Coach Coquese Washington has her 10th Penn State team off to a 12-6 start that includes a 2-4 Big Ten record after a 76-46 win over Wisconsin on Monday night at the Bryce Jordan Center.
• Penn State improved to 9-1 at home with the win over the Badgers. The Lady Lions also own home wins over Iowa (71-58), Tennessee (70-56) and Pittsburgh (91-62). PSU’s average margin of victory in their nine home wins is 19.4 points per game, with seven double-digit wins. The Lady Lions’ lone home loss came in Big Ten play to Indiana, 89-70, on Dec. 28.
• Although Penn State owns an experienced roster with a combined 290 starts, freshmen and sophomores dominate PSU’s starting five.
• Sophomore Teniya Page leads the Lady Lions with 18.7 points per game. The 5-7 guard also leads Penn State in three-pointers made (34) and three-point percentage (.442, 34-77). She also ranks second among the Lady Lions is assists (60) and steals (24).
• Fellow sophomore Ashanti Thomas, a 6-4 center, has added 4.4 points and 3.7 rebounds in less than 15 minutes per game. She is shooting a team-best 58.5 percent from the field.
• Freshman point guard Amari Carter has contributed 7.6 points and 2.6 rebounds, while leading the Lady Lions with 4.6 assists per game.
• Fellow freshman Jaida Travascio-Green made her fourth career start in the win over Wisconsin. She is averaging 5.9 points and 1.9 rebounds in 16 minutes per game.
• Senior guard Sierra Moore rounded out PSU’s starting five against Wisconsin with 8.7 points and 4.2 rebounds per game.
• Penn State also features a potent and experienced bench. Lindsey Spann, a 5-6 junior guard, has started 14 games for the Lady Lions this season and 57 in her career. She ranks second on the team in scoring this season with 11.4 points per game. She also ranks second on the team in threes (29).
• Senior Kaliyah Mitchell, a 6-2 forward, has pitched in 7.2 points and a team-best 5.5 rebounds in 23 minutes per game. She also leads the Lady Lions in steals (26) and blocks (10). Mitchell owns 69 career starts.
• Peyton Whitted, a 6-3 senior forward, has pitched in 5.3 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. Whitted has contributed 40 career stars.
• Spann, Mitchell and Whitted have combined for 166 career starts, which is 11 more than Nebraska’s 2016-17 active roster.
• Penn State also has been bolstered in Big Ten play by the addition of UConn transfer De’Janae Boykin. The 6-2 redshirt freshman is averaging 4.7 points and 4.8 rebounds despite battling an ankle injury.
• As a team, Penn State is averaging 72.6 points per game while shooting 43.5 percent from the field. The Lady Lions have also knocked down a solid 35.7 percent of their threes. PSU has struggled to shoot 68 percent from the line with seven Lady Lions hitting less than 60 percent of their free throws.
• Penn State carries a plus-3.1 team turnover margin and a plus-2.8 rebounding margin.

Nebraska vs. Penn State Series History
•The all-time series between Nebraska and Penn State is tied at five wins apiece, including Nebraska’s 87-69 victory over the Lady Lions at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln on Feb. 2, 2016.
•The Huskers have won four consecutive games in the series with Penn State, including Nebraska’s 83-78 victory over the Lady Lions at the Bryce Jordan Center on Jan. 13, 2016. Jessica Shepard led the Huskers with 29 points on 10-of-12 shooting and 9-of-10 free throws, while Allie Havers added 10 points, eight rebounds and four assists. Esther Ramacieri also started against the Lady Lions last year.
•Nebraska owns a 2-1 advantage over Penn State as Big Ten foes in University Park, Pa., including a 71-63 win over the Lady Lions in the Huskers’ first-ever Big Ten Conference game on Jan. 30, 2011.
•The Huskers are 2-2 all-time at Penn State, dating back to the first-ever meeting between the two teams on Jan. 2, 1993 – a 102-66 PSU win.

Husker Nuggets
• Jessica Shepard leads the Huskers with averages of 18.6 points and 10.3 rebounds per game. She produced her 19th career double-double 22 points and 11 rebounds in Nebraska’s win over Rutgers on Tuesday, Jan. 10.
• Shepard owns nine 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 nine 20-point scoring efforts through 18 games, including season highs of 28 points at Iowa (Dec. 31) and against San Jose State (Dec. 9). She owns 25 career 20-plus scoring games in 49 career contests.
• Shepard ranks second among the Huskers in three-point field goals made (21), 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. She also beat the first-half buzzer with a three at Creighton (Dec. 18).
• Nebraska freshman Nicea Eliely leads the Huskers in assists (50), steals (32), blocks (13) and field goal percentage (.453), while ranking second on the team in scoring (7.8 ppg). She also ranks third in rebounding (4.4 rpg). Eliely has started all 18 games this season as a true freshman.
• Freshman Hannah Whitish is averaging 11.3 points, 2.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.8 steals in six Big Ten games as a starter. Whitish also leads the Huskers with 29 three-pointers on the season. Her next three-pointer will tie her with Kiera Hardy (30, 2003-04) for fifth on NU’s freshman three-point list.

Shepard Leads Big Red on B1G Stage
• Sophomore Jessica Shepard owns 19 career double-doubles, including nine this season. Her most recent double-double came with 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 18 games, Shepard is averaging team bests of 18.6 points and 10.3 rebounds per game. She also ranks second on the team with 21 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. She added a first-half buzzer-beater at Creighton. 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.

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 47 career starts, including 29 in 31 games as a freshman.
• A three-year contributor on the court, 6-5 senior Allie Havers adds 39 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 (24 career), Esther Ramacieri (16) and Maddie Simon (5), while true freshmen Nicea Eliely (18) and Hannah Whitish (6) have made their first career starts this season.
• Overall, Nebraska owns just 155 career starts. Penn State (290) carries nearly double the number of career starts as the Huskers.
• 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).

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. 10 nationally through games Jan. 16. Nebraska’s 18 opponents owned a cumulative record of 210-111 (.654 winning percentage), including current top-25 opponents No. 1 UConn (16-0), No. 3 Maryland (17-1), No. 15 Virginia Tech (16-1) and No. 24 California (14-4).
• Penn State (12-6) will be Nebraska’s 13th opponent with 12 or more wins this season. No. 1 UConn (17-0), No. 3 Maryland (17-1), No. 15 Virginia Tech (16-1), No. 24 California (14-4), Northwestern (14-4), Michigan State (13-5), Drake (13-5), Colorado State (12-5), Creighton (12-5), Virginia (12-5), Missouri (12-7) and UTRGV (12-8) all own 12 or more victories. Iowa has added an (11-7) record to give the Huskers 14 opponents with double-digit victories through the first 19 games. Next up for Nebraska after Penn State is 15-4 Michigan.
• Illinois (8-10), Washington State (8-10), Omaha (8-10), Rutgers (6-13) and San Jose State (6-11) 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 Streaks
• Nebraska senior Allie Havers has competed in 114 consecutive games since the first game of her freshman season in 2013-14. The Huskers own a 70-44 record in those contests over the last four years.
• Junior Jasmine Cincore owns the longest streak of consecutive starts among the Huskers with 23. Havers has made 21 straight starts, while freshman Nicea Eliely and sophomore Jessica Shepard have each started 18 straight games this season. Hannah Whitish has made six straight starts.
• The Huskers have knocked down at least one three-pointer in 269 straight regular-season games dating back to a loss at UTEP on Dec. 20, 2008.
• Nebraska has hit at least two three-pointers in 148 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 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, 2015. 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 an NU freshman in a season opener.

Shepard Shoots For More as Sophomore
• Jessica Shepard has her sophomore season off to a strong start averaging 18.6 points and 10.3 rebounds per game. She has produced nine double-doubles, including three in Big Ten play. 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 19 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 to Penn State with 909 points, 452 rebounds and 92 assists in her career.
• Shepard has nine 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). Shepard owns 25 career 20-point games in her first 49 games as a Husker.
• Shepard ranks second among the Huskers with 21 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 18 games and is averaging 7.8 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.8 steals per game.
• Eliely leads the Huskers in assists (50), steals (32), blocked shots (13) and field goal percentage (.453), while ranking second among the Huskers in points (140).
• 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 Nebraska’s best all-around game in the loss to No. 25 Missouri on Nov. 14. She finished with eight points, eight rebounds, two assists and a steal against the Tigers. She also hit her first career three-pointer against the Tigers.
• She was even better in Nebraska’s win over Colorado State, contributing six points, six rebounds and a career-high six assists to go along with three steals. She also helped frustrate and foul out 2016 Mountain West Conference Player of the Year Ellen Nystrom.
• 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 11.3 points, 2.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.8 steals per game.
• Whitish produced her fifth double-figure scoring performance in six Big Ten starts with a career-high 16 points and a career-best four three-pointers at Illinois (Jan. 15). She has scored in double figures in three straight games, including 11 points in the 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 18 games, Whitish is averaging 7.5 points, 1.6 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 20.6 minutes per contest. Whitish also leads the Huskers with 29 three-pointers this season (29-78, .372).
• Whitish is closing in on joining Nebraska’s top five all-time among freshman three-point shooters. She needs one more three to match Kiera Hardy’s 30 made threes as a freshman in 2003-04, which ranks fifth all-time among Husker freshmen. Kaitlyn Burke (2007-08) ranks fourth on that list with 33 threes.
• Whitish ranks second among the Huskers this season 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.
• She is averaging 2.1 points and 1.5 assists in 13.2 minutes per game this season.
• Cascio Jensen had 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 1.9 points and 1.7 rebounds in 10.1 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.