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Nebraska WBB vs Denver: Preview & Game Thread

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It is niece vs uncle as Huskers senior Maddie Simon faces Jim Turgeon’s Pioneers

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

Nebraska Cornhuskers vs. Denver Pioneers
Saturday, December 15, 2018, 4:30 p.m. (CT)
Pinnacle Bank Arena - Lincoln, Nebraska
Live Video: BTN Plus
Live Radio: Husker Sports Network (4:15 p.m.); Matt Coatney (PBP), Jeff Griesch (Analyst); Lincoln-B107.3 FM; Omaha-ESPN 590 AM
Huskers.com, Huskers App, TuneIn

The Huskers women’s basketball team has a chance to bring their record to .500, but has to get past a good, balanced Pioneer team first.

Nebraska has been hitting the glass hard (in a good way) in the past two games as they’ve posted two of the best rebounding efforts in school 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. Nebraska had a plus-21 rebound margin (64-43) in the win over the Jayhawks.

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)

This game 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. Nebraska sophomore Taylor Kissinger is shooting a team-best 55.3 percent (21-38) from three-point range, which ranks No. 4 in NCAA Division I through games Dec. 11.

Scouting the Pioneers

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. 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.

Fellow junior Madison Nelson is nearly averaging a double-double with 14.9 points and a team-best 9.7 rebounds per game. Sophomore Claire Gritt is averaging 12.2 points and 4.8 boards while leading Denver with 1.8 steals per game. Junior transfer Courtney Smith has averaged 11.8 points and 9.4 rebounds while playing in five games with four starts. Sydney Mech, a 6-2 freshman wing out of Englewood, Colo., has pitched in 8.6 points and 4.4 rebounds.