#6 Nebraska Cornhuskers at Big Ten Tournament vs. #11 Purdue
Thursday, March 7, 2019, approx. 7:45 p.m. (CT)
Bankers Life Fieldhouse (20,000) - Indianapolis
Live TV: BTN (Lisa Byington, Christy Winters Scott)
Live Radio: Husker Sports Network (7 p.m.) Matt Coatney (PBP), Jeff Griesch (Analyst); Lincoln-B107.3 FM; Omaha-ESPN 590 AM
Huskers.com, Huskers App, TuneIn
The Nebraska women’s basketball team hopes to begin a post-season run at the Big Ten Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis on Thursday night. Nebraska (14-15, 9-9 Big Ten) claimed the No. 6 seed in the 14-team tournament following a 79-74 victory at Penn State to close the regular season on Saturday.
Nebraska has won at least one game in five of its first seven Big Ten tournaments and owns a 9-6 all-time record in the conference tournament. The Huskers won the Big Ten Tournament title in 2014 and advanced to the championship game in 2012.
The Huskers are playing their best basketball heading into the tournament. NU won four of its last six regular-season games with its only losses to conference champion and No. 8 Maryland and Big Ten runner-up and No. 10 Iowa.
Nebraska went 2-0 this season against Purdue . The Huskers defeated Purdue at West Lafayette on Jan. 31, before completing the season sweep of the Boilermakers in Lincoln on Feb. 10.
Nebraska entered the week at No. 79 in RealTimeRPI.com rankings with the No. 24 Strength of Schedule in the nation and No. 2 schedule strength in the Big Ten, trailing only Iowa (No. 15).
Nebraska only has five double-digit losses (Louisville, Maryland-2, Iowa, Miami) and all five have come to teams that have been ranked in the top 15 in the AP rankings this season.
Nebraska Cornhuskers (14-15, 9-9 Big Ten)
44 - Kayla Mershon - 6-3 - Fr. - F - 3.2 ppg, 3.0 rpg3
1 - Kate Cain - 6-5 - So. - C - 7.4 ppg, 5.9 rpg
3 - Hannah Whitish - 5-9 - Jr. - G - 10.1 ppg, 3.0 rpg
5 - Nicea Eliely - 6-1 - Jr. - G - 8.0 ppg, 3.9 rpg
32 - Leigha Brown - 6-1 - Fr. - G/F - 9.6 ppg, 2.7 rpg
Off the Bench
4 - Sam Haiby - 5-9 - Fr. - G - 10.0 ppg, 3.1 rpg
33 - Taylor Kissinger - 6-1 - So. - G - 8.7 ppg, 3.2 rpg
13 - Ashtyn Veerbeek - 6-2 - Fr. - F - 7.1 ppg, 5.5 rpg
24 - Maddie Simon - 6-2 - Sr. - F - 6.9 ppg, 3.1 rpg
14 - Grace Mitchell - 6-2 - Jr. - F - 1.0 ppg, 1.0 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 (42-48); 12th Season Overall (235-157)
Purdue Boilermakers (17-14, 8-10 Big Ten)
25 - Tamara Farquhar - 6-0 - So. - F - 6.5 ppg, 7.4 rpg
32 - Ae’Rianna Harris - 6-1 - Jr. - F - 13.2 ppg, 9.3 rpg
1 - Karissa McLaughlin - 5-7 - So. - G - 15.1 ppg, 2.6 rpg
11 - Dominique Oden - 5-8 - Jr. - G - 14.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg
23 - Kayana Traylor - 5-9 - Fr. - G - 6.3 ppg, 2.0 rpg
Off the Bench
3 - Lyndsey Whilby - 5-11 - So. - G - 3.2 ppg, 2.0 rpg
5 - Cassidy Hardin - 5-10 - Fr. - G - 2.7 ppg, 1.0 rpg
45 - Fatou Diagne - 6-4 - RJr. - C - 1.9 ppg, 2.4 rpg
30 - Nyagoa Gony - 6-2 - Fr. - F - 1.2 ppg, 1.5 rpg
Head Coach: Sharon Versyp (Purdue, 1989) 13th Season at Purdue (274-161); 19th Season Overall (391-226)
The Boilermakers are 2-8 in their last 10 games after opening Big Ten play 6-2. Two of Purdue’s eight Big Ten losses since Jan. 27 came to Nebraska. One of Purdue’s two wins in February came with a 72-50 victory over Illinois in West Lafayette, Ind. (Feb. 7).
Over the last 10 games, Purdue is averaging just 59.2 points per contest, after scoring 62.8 points through the first eight conference games. On the defensive side, Purdue allowed just 58.9 points through the first eight league games, but has surrendered 67.3 over the last 10 contests.
Purdue is 4-10 away from Mackey Arena this season, while going 13-4 at home.
Sophomore guard Karissa McLaughlin earned first-team All-Big Ten honors by averaging 15.1 points and 3.8 assists on the year. McLaughlin, who led the Boilers with 80 threes, averaged a league-high 38.8 minutes per game in Big Ten play. She has hit 38.3 percent of her threes on the year and 89.3 percent of her free throws. McLaughlin averaged 13.0 points, 2.0 rebounds and 4.5 assists against Nebraska this season.
Ae’Rianna Harris, an athletic 6-1 forward, was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year for the second straight season in 2019. Harris leads the Big Ten with 98 blocks, while adding 35 steals. She averaged 13.2 points and 9.3 rebounds in the regular season to earn second-team All-Big Ten honors. In the two meetings with Nebraska this season, Harris has averaged 14.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 3.0 blocks and 2.0 steals.
Dominique Oden, a 5-8 junior guard, claimed honorable-mention All-Big Ten recognition after averaging 14.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.7 steals. In two games against Nebraska, Oden has averaged 14.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 2.0 steals.
Tamara Farquhar, a 6-0 sophomore forward from Quebec, has joined McLaughlin, Oden and Harris in Purdue’s starting lineup for all 18 conference games. Farquhar is averaging 6.5 points and 7.4 rebounds. She averaged 5.5 points, 9.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.5 steals against Nebraska.
Kayana Traylor has been Purdue’s fifth starter in 14 Big Ten games. The 5-9 freshman suffered an ankle sprain in the first quarter in the Boilermakers’ first meeting with Nebraska, but returned to the starting lineup for the second game with the Big Red. In two games, Traylor averaged 3.0 points, 1.0 rebound and 2.0 turnovers in 15.0 minutes against the Huskers.
- Kate Cain owns Nebraska’s longest streak of consecutive starts (60).
- Nicea Eliely owns Nebraska’s second-longest streak of starts (55).
- Eliely is the only Husker to score in all 29 games this season, and the only Husker to score in each of Nebraska’s 18 Big Ten Conference contests. She has scored in 33 consecutive games overall. She did not score in a win over Penn State on Feb. 22, 2018, the only time in the past two seasons (58 games) that she has been shut out.
- Junior Hannah Whitish scored in double figures seven straight games for Nebraska from Jan. 17 (at Illinois) to Feb. 7 (at Michigan) - the longest streak of the season for any Husker.
- The Huskers have knocked down at least one three in 341 straight games dating back to a loss at UTEP on Dec. 20, 2008. Nebraska has hit at least two three-pointers in 220 consecutive games.
- (1) Hannah Whitish is one steal away from 100 in her career.
- (1) Kate Cain is one block away from tying Danielle Page (78, 2007-08) for the No. 2 season block total at Nebraska. Cain owns the single-season school record with 100 blocks last year.
- (4) Ashtyn Veerbeek needs four blocks to tie for the No. 5 total by a freshman in school history (31). She enters the Big Ten Tournament with 27 blocks on the season.
- (4) Taylor Kissinger needs four rebounds to reach 200 in her career.
- (6) Kate Cain needs six rebounds to reach 400 in her career.
- (7) Nicea Eliely is seven points away from 700 in her career.
- (8) Eliely needs eight steals to reach 60 on the year. Eliely (52) is the first Husker to record 50 steals in a season since All-American Lindsey Moore (60) in 2012-13.
- (8) Freshman Kayla Mershon is eight points away from 100 this season.
- (11) Freshman Sam Haiby (289) is 11 points away from 300 this year.
- (12) Mershon is 12 rebounds away from 100 this season.
- (22) Freshman Leigha Brown (278) is 22 points away from 300 on the year.
- (43) Hannah Whitish (957) is 43 points away from 1,000 in her career.