Huskers Wrap Up Home Stand Against Pioneers
Huskers Wrap Up Home Stand Against Pioneers
The Nebraska women’s basketball team concludes its three-game
non-conference home stand by playing host to the Denver Pioneers on
Saturday at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
• Tip off between the Huskers (4-5)
and the Pioneers (7-3) is set for 4:30 p.m. (CT) in Lincoln. Live radio
coverage (beginning at 4:15 p.m.) can be heard in Lincoln on B107.3 FM,
in Omaha on ESPN 590 AM, in Lexington on 880 AM KRVN, and across the
state on many other Husker Sports Network stations. Free live audio can
also be found at Huskers.com, on the Huskers App and on TuneIn. A live
video stream will be provided by BTN Plus Student U.
has won the first two games in its longest home stand of the season,
defeating traditional rival Kansas (58-52, Dec. 5), before rolling to a
96-63 win over San Jose State (Dec. 8). The Huskers have taken the week
off from competition for Finals Week at the University of Nebraska
before facing the Pioneers.
• Nebraska produced plus-20 rebound
margins in the back-to-back wins over the Jayhawks (+21) and Spartans
(+28) to become just the third Husker team in history to achieve
consecutive plus-20 margins in a season, joining the 2009-10 team and
the 1990-91 Husker squad. The 1990-91 Huskers are the only NU team to
achieve plus-20 margins in three consecutive games, accomplishing that
feat in the first three games of the year.
• The last time Nebraska
played Denver in Lincoln, the Huskers worked their way to a 73-38 win
(Dec. 30, 2007), including a plus-33 (58-25) rebound margin - the
third-largest margin in NU history.
• The 2018-19 version of the
Pioneers has produced a 43.3-43.0 (+0.3) rebound margin through their
first 10 games of the season, including a 50-32 edge on the glass in a
recent win at Southern Utah (Dec. 8). DU was out-rebounded (49-38) in
Tuesday’s 66-64 loss at New Mexico State.
• Nebraska got a big
performance from 6-5 center Kate Cain in Saturday’s win over San Jose
State. The sophomore from Middletown, N.Y., matched her season high
with 16 points while grabbing a season-best 17 rebounds for her seventh
career double-double and second of the season. Cain, who hit 8-of-9
shots against the Spartans, is shooting a team-best 57.7 percent from
the field while averaging 9.2 points and team-bests of 7.4 rebounds and
2.4 blocked shots.
• The Big Red also received the first career
double-double from freshman Ashtyn Veerbeek against San Jose State. The
6-2 forward from Sioux Center, Iowa notched career highs with 14 points
and 14 rebounds in just 17 minutes of action against the Spartans.
Veerbeek is averaging 7.7 points and 7.0 rebounds on the year after
averaging 10.5 points, 12.5 rebounds and 2.0 blocks in just 18.0
minutes in last week’s wins over Kansas and San Jose State.
last Wednesday’s win over the Jayhawks, sophomore Taylor Kissinger
recorded her second career double-double with 11 points and a
career-high 11 rebounds. The 6-1 guard pitched in 17 points on 5-of-11
three-point shooting in the win over San Jose State. She averaged 14.0
points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.5 steals last week and is
shooting a team-best 55.3 percent (21-38) from three-point range, which
ranked No. 4 in NCAA Division I through games Dec. 11.
game with Denver will feature two of the nation’s hottest three-point
shooters, as Denver’s Lauren Loven ranks eighth nationally with her
52.3 shooting percentage (41-77) from long range. Loven is averaging
4.1 made threes per game.
• Freshman guard Sam Haiby also has
produced double figures five times this season, including a career-high
20 points at Washington State. Haiby has put up double digits against
nationally ranked teams Miami (14), Drake (13) and Louisville (12)
along with 17 points at Creighton. She is averaging a team-best 10.9
points to go along with 3.1 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game.
Junior guard Hannah Whitish had a season-high eight assists to go along
with nine points in the win over San Jose State. Whitish is averaging
8.7 points and a team-best 4.2 assists per game.
• Four of
Nebraska’s five losses early this season have come against 2018 NCAA
Tournament teams, including Final Four participant and 2018 ACC
champion Louisville, Creighton (NCAA second round), Miami and Drake.
Both the Hurricanes (22nd) and Drake (25th) are currently ranked in the
USA Today Coaches Top 25 along with No. 4 Louisville.
Nebraska Cornhuskers (4-5, 0-0 Big Ten)
24 - Maddie Simon - 6-2 - Sr. - F - 8.7 ppg, 4.2 rpg
31 - Kate Cain - 6-5 - So. C - 9.2 ppg, 7.4 rpg
3 - Hannah Whitish - 5-9 - Jr. - G - 8.7 ppg, 2.7 rpg
5 - Nicea Eliely - 6-1 - Jr. - G - 7.8 ppg, 4.8 rpg
33 - Taylor Kissinger - 6-1 - So. - G - 9.2 ppg, 4.2 rpg
Off the Bench
4 - Sam Haiby - 5-9 - Fr. - G - 10.9 ppg, 3.1 rpg
13 - Ashtyn Veerbeek - 6-2 - Fr. - F - 7.7 ppg, 7.0 rpg
32 - Leigha Brown - 6-1 - Fr. - F - 7.7 ppg, 2.1 rpg
11(out) - Kristian Hudson - 5-5 - Sr. - G - 2.4 ppg, 1.6 rpg
44 - Kayla Mershon - 6-3 - Fr. - F - 2.2 ppg, 2.0 rpg
14 - Grace Mitchell - 6-2 - Jr. - F - 1.7 ppg, 1.6 rpg
Head Coach: Amy Williams (Nebraska, 1998)
Third Season at Nebraska (32-38); 12th Season Overall (225-147)
Denver Pioneers (7-3, 0-0 Summit League)
23 - Madison Nelson - 6-1 - Jr. - F - 14.9 ppg, 9.7 rpg
15 - Courtney Smith - 6-2 - Jr. - C - 11.8 ppg, 9.4 rpg
3 - Lauren Loven - 5-7 - Jr. - G - 17.0 ppg, 2.6 rpg
12 - Claire Gritt - 5-10 - So. - G - 12.2 ppg, 4.8 rpg
22 - Samantha Romanowski - 5-9 - Sr. - G - 8.5 ppg, 3.1 rpg
Off the Bench
25 - Sydney Mech - 6-2 - Fr. - G/F - 8.6 ppg, 4.4 rpg
1 - Grace White - 5-10 - So. - G/F - 6.2 ppg, 3.8 rpg
32 - Tsimba Malonga - 5-8 - Fr. - G - 6.6 ppg, 2.9 rpg
0 - Abi Curtin - 6-1 - Jr. - F - 2.3 ppg, 3.8 rpg
10 - Haley Simental - 5-8 - Sr. - G - 2.5 ppg, 0.3 rpg
33 - Jasmine Jeffcoat - 6-2 - So. - F - 1.2 ppg, 2.1 rpg
5 - Anna Jackson - 6-0 - Fr. - F - 0.8 ppg, 0.3 rpg
Head Coach: Jim Turgeon (Washburn, 1997)
Second Season at Denver (23-17); Fourth Season Overall (77-27)
Scouting the Denver Pioneers
Denver comes to Lincoln with a 7-3 record after dropping a 66-64
decision at New Mexico State (5-2) on Tuesday night. The Pioneers were
outscored 22-14 in the fourth quarter in Las Cruces.
• The Pioneers
own a high-powered offense averaging 83.9 points and 9.5 threes per
game on 40.8 percent three-point shooting under the direction of
second-year coach Jim Turgeon. Jim is the brother of Maryland men’s
basketball coach Mark Turgeon, and the uncle of Husker Maddie Simon.
DU features four players averaging in double figures led by junior
Lauren Loven. The 5-7 guard from Scottsdale, Ariz., is averaging 17.0
points per game. Before going 1-for-11 from long range at New Mexico
State, Loven was leading the nation in three-pointers made and
three-pointers made per game. She ranked second nationally in
three-point field goal percentage (.606) and was the only player in the
top 15 in percentage with more than 30 makes. Despite going 1-for-11 at
NMSU, and 3-for-17 in her last two games, Loven is shooting 53.2
percent (41-77) from three this year.
• Loven scored 20 or more
points and hit at least five threes in each of Denver’s first six wins
this season. She managed eight points on 2-of-6 shooting in a 71-70 win
at Southern Utah (Dec. 8). In DU’s wins, Loven is averaging 20.7 points
and 5.6 made threes per game. In the Pioneers’ three losses, she is
averaging 7.7 points and 1.3 made threes per game.
• Fellow junior
Madison Nelson is nearly averaging a double-double with 14.9 points and
a team-best 9.7 rebounds per game. The 6-1 forward from Dover, Minn.,
had three consecutive double-doubles before being held to 15 points and
three rebounds in a loss at Wyoming (Dec. 4). That stretch began with a
23-point, 20-rebound effort in a 117-110 2OT win over Lamar (Nov. 23).
Sophomore Claire Gritt is averaging 12.2 points and 4.8 boards while
leading Denver with 1.8 steals per game. The 5-10 guard ranks second
among the Pioneers with 12 threes. Gritt has scored in double figures
eight times this season, including a season-high 20 at Northern
Colorado (Nov. 16).
• Junior transfer Courtney Smith has averaged
11.8 points and 9.4 rebounds while playing in five games with four
starts. She notched a double-double with 14 points and 16 rebounds in a
win over American, then missed the next three games before returning
for 15 points and six boards in the loss at Wyoming. Smith, a 6-2
forward from Thorton, Colo., who spent her first two seasons at
Northern Colorado, had 12 points and 13 boards in the loss at New
• Sydney Mech, a 6-2 freshman wing out of Englewood,
Colo., has pitched in 8.6 points and 4.4 rebounds. She is shooting 50
percent from the field including a red hot 8-for-10 from three-point
range and 89.5 percent (17-19) at the free throw line. She did not play
at New Mexico State.
• Senior Samantha Romanowski ranks among the
top players in the nation with 6.3 assists per game, while adding 8.5
points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.5 steals. The 5-9 guard is also averaging
1.4 blocks per game.
• Sophomore guard Grace White (6.2 ppg, 3.8
rpg) and freshman guard Tsimba Malonga (6.6 ppg, 2.9 rpg) give the
Pioneers more good, young production from the backcourt off the bench.
Junior forward Abi Curtain (2.3 ppg, 2.8 rpg), senior guard Haley
Simental (2.5 ppg) and sophomore forward Jasmine Jeffcoat (1.2 ppg, 2.1
rpg) also have seen significant playing time.
• As a team, Denver
owns a plus-10.9 scoring margin, a plus-0.3 rebound margin and a
minus-0.3 turnover margin. The Pioneers are shooting 44.2 percent from
the field, including 40.8 percent from three-point range and a strong
77.5 percent at the free throw line. DU has held opponents to just 37.2
percent shooting from the field, including 32.3 percent from long
range. The opposition has hit just 62.9 percent of their free throws.
Nebraska vs. Denver Series History
Nebraska leads the all-time series with Denver, 2-0. Saturday’s game
will be the first in more than a decade with Denver, dating back to a
76-55 Nebraska win in the Mile High City on Nov. 24, 2008. The previous
season, the Huskers defeated the Pioneers 73-38 at the Bob Devaney
Sports Center on Dec. 30, 2007.
• The previous meeting in Lincoln
featured Colorado native and eventual Olympic bronze medalist Danielle
Page getting 10 points, eight rebounds and three steals for the
Huskers, along with Lincoln East graduate and two-sport standout (also
soccer at DU), Jenna Cole, getting a start for Denver.
• The game
also included a plus-33 (58-25) rebound margin for the Huskers, which
is the third-largest margin in the 1,351 games in Husker history.
• Nebraska’s plus-28 rebound margin (56-28) against San Jose State (Dec. 8) tied for the 10th-best margin in school history.
Nebraska’s 64 total rebounds against Kansas (Dec. 5) tied for the
fourth-highest total in school history and was NU’s second-best total
ever against a Power Five Conference team, trailing only 66 rebounds
against USC (Nov. 18, 2011).
• Nebraska had a plus-21 rebound margin (64-43) in the win over the Jayhawks.
Nebraska’s back-to-back plus-20 rebound margin games marked the first
time the Huskers have accomplished the feat since 2009-10, when NU’s
first NCAA Sweet Sixteen team went back-to-back against both Idaho
State (+23)/Washington State (+21) and against Albany (+26)/Vermont
• The only other team to achieve back-to-back plus-20 rebound
margins was the 1990-91 squad, which opened the season with three
consecutive plus-20 margins against Sam Houston State (+28), James
Madison (+27) and Robert Morris (+23). The 1990-91 team is the only
Husker squad to achieve three straight plus-20 rebound margins.
Only five Husker teams (2015-16 (3), 2009-10 (4), 1997-98 (6), 1993-94
(3), 1990-91 (3) have produced three plus-20 rebound margins in the
• Nebraska’s 34 points in the fourth quarter against
San Jose State tied for the most in any quarter in school history. It
joined 34 in the second quarter at Iowa and 34 in the fourth quarter
against Florida Atlantic in games last season.
• NU’s 62 points in
the second half against San Jose State tied for the fifth-most points
scored in any half by the Huskers in school history.
• Freshman Sam
Haiby led Nebraska with 13 points in a season-opening loss to Drake
(Nov. 7). Haiby is the first Husker freshman to lead NU in scoring in
an opener since Kelsey Griffin’s 18 in a loss to South Dakota State
(Nov. 19, 2005).
Freshmen Contributing Early for Huskers
Nebraska has received production early and often from its 2018-19
freshman class. The four-player class, which was ranked among the top
20 recruiting classes in the nation by ESPN last season, features Sam
Haiby (10.9 ppg, 3.1 rpg), Ashtyn Veerbeek (7.7 ppg, 7.0 rpg), Leigha
Brown (7.7 ppg, 2.1 rpg) and Kayla Mershon (2.2 ppg, 2.0 rpg).
Haiby, a 5-9 guard from Moorhead, Minn., leads Nebraska with 10.9
points per game off the bench. She has led the Huskers in scoring in
four games, including against nationally ranked Drake (13) and Miami
(14), while also scoring a career-high 20 points at Washington State
and adding 17 points at Creighton. She owns five double-figure scoring
efforts overall, including 12 points at No. 5 Louisville (Nov. 29).
• Haiby also ranks third among the Huskers in assists (2.4 apg).
Ashtyn Veerbeek is tied with Leigha Brown for second among the Husker
freshmen in scoring with 7.7 points per game, while leading the group
and ranking second on the team with 7.0 rebounds. Veerbeek produced her
first career double-double with career highs of 14 points and 14
rebounds in a win over San Jose State (Dec. 8). She also ranks second
among the Huskers with 12 blocks.
• Leigha Brown set a career high
with 18 points in the win over San Jose State (Dec. 8). Brown, who has
led the Huskers twice in scoring early in the season, is averaging 7.7
points per game. The 6-1 wing from Auburn, Indiana leads the freshmen
with seven three-pointers and has committed a total of just four
turnovers over the past eight games.
• Kayla Mershon has pitched in
2.2 points and 2.0 rebounds per game for the Huskers, including a
career-high seven rebounds in the win over Kansas (Dec. 5). The 6-3
forward from Chanhassen, Minn., also has dished out five assists and
has committed a team-best two turnovers through nine games.
freshmen have combined for 37.6 percent (256-of-680) of Nebraska’s
points in just 32.8 percent of the team’s total minutes (607-of-1,850)
on the season. They also have accounted for just 26.5 percent
(40-of-151) of Nebraska’s turnovers.
• Nebraska’s four freshmen are
combining to average 28.4 points and 14.2 rebounds per game, while NU’s
two sophomores (Kate Cain, Taylor Kissinger) have combined to average
18.4 points and 11.7 boards per contest. Nebraska’s six underclassmen
have combined for 62.1 percent of NU’s scoring and 58.4 percent of the
team’s rebounding through nine games.
• Sophomore Kate Cain owns the longest streak of consecutive starts by a Husker with 40.
• Junior Nicea Eliely owns Nebraska’s second-longest streak of starts
with 35, while senior Maddie Simon has started 33 consecutive games.
Kate Cain has at least two rebounds in every game of her Nebraska
career (41), and she has blocked at least one shot in 39 of 41 games
(no blocks in 2018 NCAA Tournament vs. Arizona State and no blocks at
Creighton, Dec. 2, 2018).
• Sophomore Taylor Kissinger is 8-for-8 at
the free throw line to open the season and owns the longest active free
throw streak by a Husker. Kissinger also hit eight consecutive
three-pointers over a three-game stretch earlier this season.
Huskers have knocked down at least one three in 321 straight games
dating back to a loss at UTEP on Dec. 20, 2008. Nebraska has hit at
least two three-pointers in 200 consecutive games.
Nebraska’s History of Home Success
Nebraska had its streak of 12 consecutive season-opening wins snapped
with an 83-77 loss to current top-25 team and two-time defending
Missouri Valley Conference champion Drake on Nov. 7. However, the
Huskers still have an outstanding history of success at home, including
a 3-1 record at Pinnacle Bank Arena to open 2018-19.
• The Huskers were 10-6 at home in 2017-18, winning five of their final six home games.
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 63-25 (.716) 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. NU’s 16 home wins
in 2013-14 tied the school record for single-season home victories.
The Huskers played the first regular-season game arena history 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 452-155 (.745) all-time at home. The Huskers have gone
188-59 (.761) over the last 16 seasons (including 2018-19), posting
double-figure home victory totals 14 times.
• 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