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Nebraska WBB vs USC Upstate: Preview and Game Thread

The Husker women’s basketball team looks to even their record against a Big South Conference opponent.

NCAA Womens Basketball: Big Ten Conference Tournament- Maryland vs Nebraska Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

Sunday, November 11, 2018, 11 a.m.
Pinnacle Bank Arena (Lincoln, Nebraska)
Live Video: BTN Plus
Live Radio: Husker Sports Network (10:45 a.m.) Matt Coatney (PBP), Jeff Griesch (Analyst); Lincoln-B107.3 FM; Omaha-ESPN 590 AM; Lexington-KRVN 880 AM; & Huskers App, TuneIn App

Huskers Hope to Rebound Against Spartans Sunday
The Nebraska women’s basketball team will try to even its record by battling the University of South Carolina Upstate Spartans. Nebraska opened the regular season with a hard-fought 83-77 loss to two-time defending Missouri Valley Conference champion Drake on Wednesday night at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Freshman Sam Haiby led the Huskers with 13 points in 20 quality minutes off the bench, while junior returning starters Hannah Whitish and Nicea Eliely each contributed 10.

Nebraska’s five newcomers combined for 40 of 77 points and 16 of NU’s 40 rebounds in 88 total minutes against the Bulldogs, who returned 10 letterwinners including all five starters from a team that advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 2017 and 2018. The Huskers return their top five scorers from their 2018 team that finished with a 21-11 overall record and advanced to the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The Big Red finished 11-5 to tie for third in the Big Ten Conference and advanced to the Big Ten Tournament semifinals.

Nebraska Cornhuskers (0-1, 0-0 Big Ten)
24 - Maddie Simon - 6-2 - Sr. - F - 4.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg
31 - Kate Cain - 6-5 - So. - C - 4.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg
3 - Hannah Whitish - 5-9 - Jr. - G - 10.0 ppg, 1.0 rpg
5 - Nicea Eliely - 6-1 - Jr. - G - 10.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg
33 - Taylor Kissinger - 6-1 - So. - G - 8.0 ppg, 6.0 rpg

USC Upstate Spartans (0-1, 0-0 Big South)
32 - Natalia Panufnik - 5-10 - Jr. - F - 5.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg
33 - Michaela Gibbons - 5-11 - So. - F - 6.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg
21 - Riley Popplewell - 5-11 - Jr. - C - 2.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg
1 - Brianna Lewis - 5-3 - Jr. - G - 17.0 ppg, 6.0 rpg
23 - DeNisha Swain - 5-7 - Sr. - G - 3.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg

Scouting The USC Upstate Spartans

• Coach Tammy George brings her 14th USC Upstate Spartan squad to Lincoln after suffering a 96-45 season-opening loss to Virginia Tech in Blacksburg on Tuesday. USC Upstate is competing in the Big South Conference in 2018-19 after going 6-8 in the Atlantic Sun and 11-19 overall last season.

• Overall, the Spartans return three starters and eight letterwinners from last year’s team.

• USC Upstate was led in its opener by junior Brianna Lewis, who produced team highs with 17 points, six rebounds and five assists. The 5-3 guard from Chicago by way of Eastern Florida State College, went 5-of-18 from the field but 0-for-5 from three-point range against an aggressive Hokie defense.

• As a team, the Spartans hit just 15-of-60 shots from the field, including 8-of-35 threes against Virginia Tech. The Hokies shot nearly 50 percent (36-73) while dominating the glass, 53-29, and winning the turnover battle, 21-18. Virginia Tech knocked down 13-of-35 threes.

• USC Upstate did not feature a starter who was 6-feet or taller, and only two players in its 12-player rotation against Virginia Tech reached 6-0. Those two posts were 6-3 freshman center Barrett Herring from Birmingham, Ala., and 6-2 freshman forward Kathryn Kirkwood from Milwaukee, Wis. Kirkwood scored six points in just six minutes off the bench, but USC Upstate’s big freshman combo played just 11 total minutes and Herring did not shoot or get a rebound in her five minutes.

• Sophomore guard Anda Kuzmina (5-9) is USC Upstate’s top returning scorer after averaging 8.7 points and 3.1 rebounds. She started 29 games and averaged 27.0 minutes per contest last season, but played just eight minutes off the bench against the Hokies and did not score.

Husker Nuggets

• Nebraska has never started a season 0-2 at home. On the two previous occasions the Huskers lost a home season opener, they bounced back in big ways.

• After NU’s first-ever season-opening home loss to Kansas on Nov. 21, 1980, the Huskers responded with a 118-92 win over Michigan seven days later in the highest scoring game in school history. Following an opening-night loss to South Dakota State on Nov. 19, 2005, the Big Red responded with an 84-50 pounding of Creighton two days later.

• In both previous seasons in which the Huskers dropped their home opener, they finished with at least 18 victories on the year.