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Nebraska WBB vs Michigan State Preview

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The Huskers will make an appearance on BTN when they visit a Spartan team that was ranked for most of the non-conference season

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

Nebraska Cornhuskers (11-1, 1-0 Big Ten) at Michigan State Spartans (7-5, 0-1 Big Ten)
Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2019, Noon (CT)
Breslin Center (14,759) - East Lansing, Mich.
Live TV: BTN (Chris Vosters, Vera Jones)
Live Radio: Husker Sports Network (11:45 a.m.)Matt Coatney (PBP), Jeff Griesch (Analyst)Lincoln - B107.3 FM; Omaha-ESPN 590 AM; Huskers.com, Huskers App, TuneIn

Nebraska leads the all-time series with Michigan State 8-3 with all 11 meetings as Big Ten Conference foes, including a 79-69 win over the Spartans in East Lansing on Feb. 14, 2018. The Huskers are 2-3 against Michigan State all-time at the Breslin Center.

About the Spartans

Coach Suzy Merchant had her Spartans in the top 25 throughout the non-conference season until losing back-to-back games to Syracuse (77-63) and West Virginia (63-57) at the Sunshine Challenge before the holiday break. The Spartans have one of the oldest starting lineups in the conference with two redshirt seniors, two seniors and a sophomore.

Michigan State’s most explosive and consistent player is sophomore Nia Clouden. The 5-8 guard ranks sixth in the Big Ten in scoring at 15.7 points per game. She also ranks third in the Big Ten with 2.5 steals per game. Taryn McCutcheon, a 5-5 guard is averaging more than 30 minutes per game, 11.2 points, 4.2 rebounds and nearly three assists per game.

Shay Colley, who was a first-team All-Big Ten choice last year and a preseason All-Big Ten selection entering this season, is averaging 9.7 points and 4.2 rebounds despite battling injury early this season. Victoria Gaines, a 6-3 forward, is averaging 4.2 points and 3.7 rebounds with nine starts in 10 games. A fourth senior, Nia Hollie, made her first start of the season and 16th of her career at Indiana. The 6-0 forward is averaging 3.2 points and 2.5 rebounds. While the Spartans are experienced, they have not been settled on a starting five because of several factors including injuries.

Nebraska Cornhuskers (11-1, 1-0 Big Ten)
13 - Ashtyn Veerbeek - 6-2 - So. - F - 8.9 ppg, 6.0 rpg
31 - Kate Cain - 6-5 - Jr. - C - 10.6 ppg, 6.7 rpg
3 - Hannah Whitish - 5-9 - Sr. - G - 7.9 ppg, 3.5 rpg
4 - Sam Haiby - 5-9 - So. - G - 10.7 ppg, 2.8 rpg
5 - Nicea Eliely - 6-1 - Sr. - G - 8.5 ppg, 4.8 rpg

Off the Bench
32 - Leigha Brown - 6-1 - So. - F - 14.3 ppg, 3.7 rpg
34 - Isabelle Bourne - 6-2 - Fr. - F - 5.0 ppg, 4.9 rpg
14 - Grace Mitchell - 6-2 - Sr. - F - 2.3 ppg, 1.6 rpg
44 - Kayla Mershon - 6-3 - So. - F - 1.8 ppg, 2.6 rpg
2 - Trinity Brady - 5-11 - Fr. - G - 2.5 ppg, 2.0 rpg
11 - Kristian Hudson - 5-5 - RSr. - G - 1.6 ppg, 1.0 rpg
1 - Makenzie Helms - 5-8 - Fr. - G - 0.4 ppg, 0.6 rpg

Out for Season
33 - Taylor Kissinger - 6-1 - Jr. - G - 8.4 ppg, 2.8 rpg

Head Coach: Amy Williams (Nebraska, 1998)Fourth Season at Nebraska (53-50); 13th Season Overall (246-159)

Michigan State Spartans (7-5, 0-1 Big Ten)
12 - Nia Hollie - 6-0 - Sr. - F - 3.2 ppg, 2.5 rpg
15 - Victoria Gaines - 6-3 - RSr. - F - 4.2 ppg, 3.7 rpg
0 - Shay Colley - 5-9 - RSr. - G - 9.7 ppg, 4.2 rpg
4 - Taryn McCutcheon - 5-5 - Sr. - G - 11.2 ppg, 4.2 rpg
24 - Nia Clouden - 5-8 - So. - G - 15.7 ppg, 3.7 rpg

Off the Bench
40 - Julia Ayrault - 6-2 - Fr. - G - 6.1 ppg, 4.9 rpg
1 - Tory Ozment - 6-1 - So. - G/F - 5.2 ppg, 2.8 rpg
2 - Mardrekia Cook - 6-0 - Jr. - F - 5.2 ppg, 2.6 rpg
42 - Kayla Belles - 6-3 - So. - F - 4.7 ppg, 3.0 rpg
3 - Alyza Winston - 5-7 - Fr. - G - 4.2 ppg, 1.3 rpg
22 - Moira Joiner - 5-10 - Fr. - G - 4.2 ppg, 3.0 rpg
14 - Taiyier Parks - 6-3 - Fr. - F - 4.1 ppg, 4.0 rpg

Head Coach: Suzy Merchant (Central Michigan, 1991)13th Season at Michigan State (272-139); 25th Season Overall (473-259)

Numbers to Watch

  • Kate Cain needs three blocks to match Catheryn Redmon (216, 2008-11) at No. 2 on Nebraska’s career blocked shot list. Cain would also match Casey Leonhardt (37, 1999-00) at No. 4 on the Husker junior single-season block list.
  • Kristian Hudson needs three assists to reach 400 in her career (383 at FIU).(5) Nicea Eliely needs five rebounds to reach 400 in her career. When she achieves that milestone she will become just the 12th player in Nebraska history to reach the combined career milestones of 800 points, 400 rebounds and 200 assists.
  • Kristian Hudson needs seven rebounds to reach 400 in her career (372 at FIU).
  • Nicea Eliely is expected to make her team-leading 98th career start on Tuesday.