Nebraska Cornhuskers (3-3, 1-2 Big Ten)
vs. No. 15/16 Northwestern Wildcats (4-0, 2-0 Big Ten)
Thursday, Dec. 31, 2020, 1 p.m. (CT)
Pinnacle Bank Arena - Lincoln, Nebraska
Live TV: B1G Network (Larry Punteney, Brenda VanLengen)
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
Thursday’s game will be the first of two meetings between Nebraska and Northwestern this season. The Huskers are scheduled to travel to Evanston, Ill., to battle the Cats on Feb. 17.
The Huskers headed into the holiday break with a 3-3 record after an 83-72 loss at Purdue on Dec. 23. Sophomore Isabelle Bourne continued to shine, scoring a career-high 22 points to go along with a career-high four assists while adding seven rebounds. The 6-2 forward/guard from Canberra, Australia, Bourne heads into the Northwestern game ranked second among the Huskers in scoring (15.2 ppg), rebounding (6.8 rpg) and blocks (1.2 bpg).
Junior Sam Haiby joins Bourne and senior Kate Cain as Nebraska captains this season. Haiby leads Nebraska in scoring (15.7 ppg), rebounding (7.3 rpg) and assists (3.5 apg) after scoring 16 points at Purdue.
Kate Cain, a 6-5 center from Middletown, N.Y., ranks third among the Huskers in scoring (9.0 ppg), while leading the Huskers with 2.8 blocks per game. A three-time Lisa Leslie Award candidate, Cain is Nebraska’s career block leader (297) and is poised to become just the sixth player in Big Ten history with 300 career blocked shots.
Ashley Scoggin has stepped into a major role in her first year as a Husker. The 22-year-old redshirt sophomore tied her career high with 16 points to go along with three assists and two steals at Purdue. Scoggin is averaging 7.2 points through her first six games as a starter at Nebraska.
Junior Bella Cravens has been a major contributor as a starter in Big Ten play. The 6-3 forward from Laie, Hawaii, is averaging 7.0 points and a team-best 9.3 rebounds in conference games, including a career-high-tying 16 rebounds in the win over Illinois. She added 10 boards at Purdue.
Scouting No. 15 Northwestern
Northwestern is hunting a second straight Big Ten regular-season title with an experienced lineup filled with athletic guards. The Wildcats come to Lincoln ranked No. 15 in the Associated Press Top 25 and No. 16 in the USA Today/WBCA Coaches Top 25 with a 4-0 record. The Cats are 2-0 in the Big Ten with wins over Minnesota (80-51) and at Purdue (70-54).
Last season, Northwestern put together the best season in school history with a 26-4 record that included a 16-2 Big Ten mark to share the regular-season title with Maryland. The Wildcats lost both of their top post players from last season, Abi Scheid (6-2, 11.5 ppg, 4.7 rpg) and Abbie Wolf (6-4, 11.3 ppg, 6.6 rpg). Scheid was a first-team All-Big Ten choice after hitting 47.7 percent (73-153) of her three-point attempts as one of the Big Ten’s best stretch fours. Wolf was honorable-mention All-Big Ten as one of the conference’s most improved players in her final year.
Despite those two big losses, the Wildcats return first-team All-Big Ten guard Lindsey Pulliam. The 5-10 senior averaged a team-best 18.8 points per game while adding 4.7 rebounds per contest.
Sydney Wood has emerged as a force early this season. The 5-11 guard/forward is averaging 14.3 points per game and has scored in double figures in each of NU’s first four contests. Wood is deadly in the mid-range as a slasher, but she has not attempted a three-pointer this season and has hit just four in her Northwestern career.
The only starter that is six feet tall for the Wildcats is junior Courtney Shaw. The 6-0 forward is averaging 9.3 points and a team-best 6.5 rebounds. Shaw played just 19 minutes as a freshman for the Cats, before averaging 3.9 points and 2.7 rebounds over 30 games last season.
As a team, Northwestern is averaging 80.5 points per game, while surrendering just 53.0 points per contest. Northwestern leads the Big Ten with a plus-14.3 team turnover margin. In fact, Northwestern has more steals (59) than they have committed turnovers (48) this season. The Wildcats are shooting a solid 46.4 percent from the field, but just 25 percent from three-point range. They have hit 72.4 percent of their free throws. Northwestern also owns a plus-5.3 team rebounding margin (36.3-31.0).
NEBRASKA CORNHUSKERS 3-3, 1-2 BIG TEN)
No. Player Ht. Yr. Pos. PPG RPG
14 Bella Cravens 6-3 Jr. F 5.7 6.7
34 Isabelle Bourne 6-2 So. F 15.2 6.8
31 Kate Cain 6-5 Gr./Sr.C 9.0 5.0
0 Ashley Scoggin 5-7 RSo. G 7.2 2.3
4 Sam Haiby 5-9 Jr. G 15.7 7.3
Off the Bench
21 Annika Stewart 6-3 Fr. F 7.3 4.5
2 Trinity Brady 5-11 So. G 8.5 5.0
10 Whitney Brown 5-8 Fr. G 2.7 1.5
11 Ruby Porter 5-10 Fr. G 2.0 2.0
5 MiCole Cayton 5-9 Gr./RJr. G DNP
Head Coach: Amy Williams (Nebraska, 1998) Fifth Season at Nebraska (62-65) 14th Season Overall (255-174)
15/16 NORTHWESTERN WILDCATS (4-0, 2-0 BIG TEN)
No. Player Ht. Yr. Pos. PPG RPG
3 Sydney Wood 5-11 Jr. G/F 14.3 4.8
15 Courtney Shaw 6-0 Jr. F 9.3 6.5
24 Jordan Hamilton 5-8 Sr. G 8.5 3.3
10 Lindsey Pulliam 5-10 Sr. G 14.0 4.5
12 Veronica Burton 5-9 Jr. G 21.3 2.5
Off the Bench
2 Lauryn Satterwhite 5-7 RJr. G 3.5 1.8
20 Paige Mott 6-1 Fr. F 2.3 3.8
33 Laya Hartman 5-11 So. G 2.3 1.5
1 Kaylah Rainey 5-6 So. G 2.3 0.5
23 Jasmine McWilliams 5-11 Fr. G 2.0 1.0
42 Anna Morris 6-3 Fr. F 1.3 2.0
11 Brooke Pikiell 5-10 Sr. G 0.0 0.0
Head Coach: Joe McKeown (Kent State, 1979) 12th Season at Northwestern (212-177) 35th Season Overall (721-351)