Nebraska Cornhuskers (5-5) at Arkansas Razorbacks (8-3)
Tuesday, December 18, 2018, 7 p.m. (CT)
Bud Walton Arena - Fayetteville, Arkansas
Live Video: SEC Network Plus
Live Radio: Husker Sports Network (6:45 p.m.); Matt Coatney (PBP), Jeff Griesch (Analyst), Lincoln-B107.3 FM; Omaha-CD 105.9 FM
Huskers.com, Huskers App
The Huskers women’s basketball team has a three game winning streak. All three wins came in the friendly confines of Pinnacle Bank Arena. Now, the team looks to return to their road warrior ways of last season.
In Nebraska’s win against Denver this past Saturday, sophomore guard Taylor Kissinger scored 18 points to lead five Huskers in double figures against Denver. Fellow sophomore Kate Cain is averaging 9.7 points, 7.2 rebounds and 2.4 blocks through 10 games.
The Nebraska starters are averaging more than eight points per game. In fact, eight Huskers are averaging more than eight points. This is a very balanced Husker attack that forces opposing teams to scout everyone and defend the entire floor.
Sam Haiby is NU’s leading scorer overall with 10.5 points per game. The 5-9 freshman has added 3.4 rebounds and 3.0 assists, including a career-high eight assists and no turnovers against Denver.
Leigha Brown, a 6-1 freshman wing, improved her season scoring to 8.6 points per game.
Freshman Ashtyn Veerbeek is also surging after producing back-to-back career-high totals of 14 points against San Jose State and Denver. In fact, during Nebraska’s three-game home stand the 6-2 forward from Sioux Center, Iowa averaged a double-double with 11.7 points and 10.0 rebounds in just 16.7 minutes per game. Veerbeek is averaging 8.3 points and 6.8 rebounds on the year.
Nebraska Cornhuskers (5-5, 0-0 Big Ten)
24 - Maddie Simon - 6-2 - Sr. - F - 8.6 ppg, 4.1 rpg
31 - Kate Cain - 6-5 - So. - C - 9.7 ppg, 7.2 rpg
3 - Hannah Whitish - 5-9 - Jr. - G - 8.7 ppg, 2.7 rpg
5 - Nicea Eliely - 6-1 - Jr. - G - 8.4 ppg, 4.8 rpg
33 - Taylor Kissinger - 6-1 - So. - G - 10.1 ppg, 4.4 rpg
Off the Bench
4 - Sam Haiby - 5-9 - Fr. - G - 10.5 ppg, 3.4 rpg
32 - Leigha Brown - 6-1 - Fr. - F - 8.6 ppg, 2.1 rpg
13 - Ashtyn Veerbeek - 6-2 - Fr. - F - 8.3 ppg, 6.8 rpg
44 - Kayla Mershon - 6-3 - Fr. - F - 2.2 ppg, 2.1 rpg
14 - Grace Mitchell - 6-2 - Jr. - F - 1.5 ppg, 1.6 rpg
11(out) - Kristian Hudson - 5-5 - Sr. - G - 2.4 ppg, 1.6 rpg
Head Coach: Amy Williams (Nebraska, 1998); Third Season at Nebraska (33-38); 12th Season Overall (226-147)
Arkansas Razorbacks (8-3, 0-0 SEC)
10 - Kiara Williams - 6-1 - Jr. - F/C - 7.3 ppg, 8.5 rpg
2 - Alexis Tolefree - 5-8 - Jr. - G - 12.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg
10 - Malica Monk - 5-5 - Sr. - G - 12.8 ppg, 2.6 rpg
14 - Jailyn Mason - 5-9 - Jr. - G - 6.6 ppg, 3.4 rpg
33 - Chelsea Dungee - 5-11 - So. - G - 16.3 ppg, 4.2 rpg
Off the Bench
00 - A’Tyanna Gaulden - 5-7 - So. - G - 6.4 ppg, 2.0 rpg
22 - Bailey Zimmerman - 6-0 - Sr. - G/F - 5.3 ppg, 5.1 rpg
24 - Taylah Thomas - 6-1 - So. - F - 4.2 ppg, 6.2 rpg
52 - Rokia Doumbia - 5-9 - Fr. - G - 1.8 ppg, 1.0 rpg
1 - Raven Northcross-Baker - 5-9 - Sr. - G - 1.6 ppg, 0.8 rpg
30 - Macy Weaver - 6-3 - So. - F - 1.6 ppg, 2.4 rpg
13 - Grayce Spangler - 5-11 - So. - G - 0.8 ppg, 0.5 rpg
20 - Sydney Stout - 6-0 - Jr. - F - 0.0 ppg, 0.3 rpg
Head Coach: Mike Neighbors (Arkansas, 1993); Second Season at Arkansas (21-21); Sixth Season Overall (119-92)
Scouting the Arkansas Razorbacks
Arkansas has earned an 8-3 record this season. Coach Mike Neighbors has the Razorbacks look to be an improved team compared to the on that posted a 13-18 record and a 3-13 SEC mark last year.
The Razorbacks added Oklahoma transfer Chelsea Dungee who was a member of the Big 12 All-Freshman Team in 2016-17. The 5-11 redshirt sophomore is averaging a team-best 16.3 points while shooting 36.4 percent (16-44) from three-point range this season.
Malica Monk, a 5-5 senior guard, is averaging 12.8 points and 2.4 assists and shooting well from the three point line. Monk has struggled at the freethrow line, hitting just 56.6 percent (30-53), but she was a 78 percent free throw shooter last year.
Two-time transfer Alexis Tolefree is a 5-8 junior who started her career at Central Arkansas before transferring to Jones County JC in Ellisville, Miss. The two-time NJCAA All-American is averaging 12.5 points as a high-volume shooter for Arkansas. Tolefree leads Arkansas with 21 steals.
Jailyn Mason, a 5-9 junior guard joins Monk as a returning starter to the Razorback backcourt. Mason is averaging 6.6 points while shooting 37.5 percent (9-24) from three-point range. Mason had eight points, five rebounds and four steals in last season’s loss in Lincoln.
The lone forward in the Arkansas starting five this season is Kiara Williams. The 6-1 junior is averaging 7.3 points and team bests of 8.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks while shooting a team-best 54.4 percent (31-57) from the field. Williams had six points and 11 rebounds as a starter in last year’s loss at Nebraska.
Huskers vs Razorbacks - What To Expect
This Nebraska team has been turning the ball over a fair bit. This is probably at least partly due to the youth movement in which six of the 10 players who will see the floor are freshman and sophomores. Arkansas is carrying a plus-7.4 team turnover margin. The Razorbacks are forcing 18.8 turnovers per game, while committing just 11.5. Arkansas will be looking to pick off Husker passes and try to get cheap baskets in transition before the Huskers’ taller, more physical lineup can get set on defense.
As a team, Arkansas owns a plus-11.5 scoring margin (74.8-63.3) but a minus-1.5 rebound margin. Given that Arkansas features four guards in the starting five, the negative rebounding differential is not a surprise. The Huskers have been rebounding lights-out lately. Look for Nebraska to try and push around a smaller Razorback lineup and control the glass to take advantage of second-chance opportunities.
As is the case in most games this season, expect the Husker bench to outscore the Arkansas bench. Nebraska’s four freshman have been immediate contributors and are earning playing time in close games and pressure situations - not garbage time minutes.
Arkansas is shooting just 38.8 percent from the field as a team, including 29.9 percent from three-point range. The Razorbacks have hit just 66 percent of their free throws but have attempted 75 more free throws than their opponents.
The Huskers are shooting 42.2% from the field and 33.6% from the three point line. Nebraska is shooting just under 70% from the free throw line.