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Nebraska WBB vs Oral Roberts Preview

The Husker women will be looking for their ninth win of the season Saturday vs the Golden Eagles

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: MAR 07 Big Ten Conference Women’s Tournament - Purdue v Nebraska Photo by Jeffrey Brown/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Nebraska Cornhuskers (8-1) vs. Oral Roberts Golden Eagles (4-6)
Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019, 1 p.m. (CT)
Pinnacle Bank Arena (15,000) - Lincoln, Neb.
Live Video: BTN+
Live Radio: Husker Sports Network (12:45 p.m.) Matt Coatney (PBP), Jeff Griesch (Analyst) Lincoln - B107.3 FM; Omaha-ESPN 590 AM; Huskers.com; Huskers App; TuneIn

The Husker women are off to a great start in 2019 with an 8-1 record. How much of that is smoke and mirrors due to a lackluster non-conference schedule and how much is due to improvement on the team? Right now, RPI and the polls lean toward “smoke and mirrors” as Nebraska is #80 in RPI, behind ten other Big Ten teams. Four Big Ten teams are ranked (Indiana, Maryland, Michigan and Michigan State) with four others receiving votes (Minnesota, Ohio State, Rutgers and Northwestern).

The Huskers lone loss (by 5 points) came to #8 (RPI) Creighton. The Huskers own wins over Duke (#22 RPI) and USC (#77 RPI). We have to get through two more non-conference games before we find out if these Huskers are smoke and mirrors or if they can hold their own in a wide-open and rugged Big Ten.

Last time out, the Huskers notched a win vs Duke in the B1G/ACC challenge. Senior Hannah Whitish, finished with 10 points and a season-high six assists in the win over the Blue Devils, scoring Nebraska’s final four points at the free throw line to seal the win.

Junior Taylor Kissinger led Nebraska with a season-high 19 points and a career-high-tying six three-pointers. Junior Kate Cain added 12 points, five rebounds and five blocks in the win over Duke. Cain moved into a tie at No. 3 on the Husker career block chart (207) with Olympic bronze medalist Danielle Page (2005-08).

Sophomore Ashtyn Veerbeek played an impressive all-around game in the win over Duke with a season-high 14 points on a perfect shooting night that included a career-high-tying three threes. Veerbeek (9.6 ppg) is part of a trio of sophomores leading Nebraska in scoring, including Leigha Brown (13.6 ppg) and Sam Haiby (9.8 ppg).

Nebraska Cornhuskers (8-1, 0-0 Big Ten)
13 - Ashtyn Veerbeek - 6-2 - So. - F - 9.6 ppg, 6.3 rpg
31 - Kate Cain - 6-5 - Jr. - C - 9.2 ppg, 5.8 rpg
3 - Hannah Whitish - 5-9 - Sr. - G - 8.4 ppg, 3.6 rpg
4 - Sam Haiby - 5-9 - So. - G - 9.8 ppg, 2.8 rpg
5 - Nicea Eliely - 6-1 - Sr. - G - 8.7 ppg, 5.2 rpg

Off the Bench
32 - Leigha Brown - 6-1 - So. - F - 13.6 ppg, 3.4 rpg
33 - Taylor Kissinger - 6-1 - Jr. - G - 8.4 ppg, 2.8 rpg
34 - Isabelle Bourne - 6-2 - Fr. - F - 4.9 ppg, 4.7 rpg
14 - Grace Mitchell - 6-2 - Sr. - F - 2.2 ppg, 1.4 rpg
11 - Kristian Hudson - 5-5 - RSr. - G - 1.9 ppg, 1.1 rpg
44 - Kayla Mershon - 6-3 - So. - F - 1.6 ppg, 2.7 rpg
1 - Makenzie Helms - 5-8 - Fr. - G - 0.7 ppg, 0.7 rpg

Head Coach: Amy Williams (Nebraska, 1998) Fourth Season at Nebraska (50-50); 13th Season Overall (243-159)

Oral Roberts Golden Eagles (4-6, 0-0 Summit)
24 - Montserrat Brotons - 6-4 - Sr. - C - 9.5 ppg, 7.0 rpg
33 - Keni Jo Lippe - 5-9 - Jr. - G - 18.7 ppg, 7.0 rpg
21 - Rylie Torrey - 5-11 - RSr. - G - 14.4 ppg, 3.1 rpg
23 - Macy Gore - 5-7 - Fr. - G - 5.2 ppg, 2.2 rpg
32 - Sarah Garvie - 5-8 - Sr. - G - 8.3 ppg, 2.1 rpg

Off the Bench
22 - Karly Gore - 5-9 - Fr. - G/F - 4.6 ppg, 4.5 rpg
11 - Gem Summers - 5-9 - Fr. - G - 4.2 ppg, 1.4 rpg
3 - Katie Kirkhart - 5-9 - Jr. - G - 2.5 ppg, 1.9 rpg
1 - Nena Taylor - 5-8 - Fr. - G - 2.5 ppg, 1.8 rpg
20 - Regan Schumacher - 6-2 - Jr. - C - 2.3 ppg, 3.3 rpg
13 - Rachel Skalnik - 5-8 - Sr. - G - 1.6 ppg, 2.5 rpg

Head Coach: Misti Cussen (Southern Nazarene, 1993) Eighth Season at ORU (113-112); Eighth Season Overall: (113-112)

Scouting Oral Roberts

Coach Misti Cussen brings her eighth Oral Roberts team to Lincoln with a 4-6 overall record after a 78-58 loss at Utah on Thursday, Dec. 5. • The Golden Eagles own early season wins over Wichita State (79-66), Sam Houston State, Texas State and Central Christian. ORU is 0-5 on the road this season with losses at Arkansas, Kansas State, Tulsa and Southern Utah, joining the setback to the Utes.

Junior Keni Jo Lippe provides ORU with an explosive presence in the backcourt. The 5-9 guard from Adair, Okla., is averaging 18.7 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 2.3 steals. Lippe lives at the free throw line, averaging 7.8 free throw attempts per contest.

Lippe is joined in the backcourt by fifth-year senior Rylie Torrey. An impressive shooter, Torrey is averaging 2.9 made threes per game (29-66, .439) while averaging 14.4 points per game.

Another senior, Sarah Garvie adds more experience to the ORU backcourt. Garvie is averaging 8.3 points and 2.1 rebounds while giving the Golden Eagles another dangerous three-point threat. The 5-8 guard is averaging 2.2 threes per game (22-56, .393).

Spaniard Montserrat Brotons provides ORU with a strong inside presence. The 6-4 center is averaging 9.5 points and team bests of 7.0 rebounds and 1.4 blocks.

As a team, ORU is averaging 70.7 points per game but shooting just 37.2 percent from the field. The Golden Eagles have hit 33.6 percent of their three-point attempts and are averaging 8.2 three-pointers made per game. ORU is also an outstanding free throw shooting team, hitting 77.4 percent of their attempts. ORU owns a plus-4.7 rebound margin but a minus-1.7 turnover margin.

Nebraska vs. Oral Roberts Series History

• Nebraska is 6-0 all time against Oral Roberts with all six meetings coming in Lincoln.

• The largest margin of victory in the series for the Huskers was a 110-61 (+49) win over ORU on Dec. 5, 1989.

• In 2012-13, the Huskers worked their way to an 80-67 victory on Dec. 20, 2012. It matched their narrowest victory margin (+13) in the series and the last time the two teams met at the Devaney Center. That Nebraska team advanced to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen.