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Nebraska WBB vs Illinois Preview

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Can the Huskers complete the season sweep of the Illini?

Scott Bruhn

Nebraska Cornhuskers (7-5, 5-4 Big Ten) at Illinois Fighting Illini (2-7, 0-6 Big Ten)

Monday, Jan. 25, 2021, 7 p.m. (CT)

State Farm Center - Urbana-Champaign, Ill.

Live TV: B1G Network (Chris Vosters, Meghan McKeown)

Live Radio: Husker Sports Network (6:45 p.m.) Matt Coatney (PBP), Jeff Griesch (Analyst) Lincoln (B107.3 FM), Omaha (ESPN 590 AM), Huskers.com, Huskers App, TuneIn

The Husker women were playing some really good basketball in early January. Then came a letdown loss vs a struggling Minnesota team. Tonight, the ladies get back on the court to face a team they have already seen once this season. Will they be able to get back into the “W” column?

Nebraska opened Big Ten play with a hard-fought 78-72 win over Illinois in Lincoln on Dec. 10. Sam Haiby scored a career-high 33 points and added nine rebounds and four assists in the victory. Isabelle Bourne contributed 21 points and eight rebounds of her own, as those efforts helped the Huskers offset an Illini roster that featured five players who scored in double figures. llinois has lost six straight starting with the loss at Nebraska, including four losses to top-25 Big Ten foes (Indiana, Ohio State, Michigan, Northwestern) and a loss to Iowa.

Recently, the Huskers have been playing with just seven active players (six scholarship and walk-on Whitney Brown). The Nebraska roster got a boost with the addition of freshman early enrollee Kendall Coley. The 6-2 wing was cleared for full participation on Wednesday and practiced for the first time Thursday (Jan. 21).

I am unsure if sophomore sensation Isabelle Bourne will be back in the lineup for the Huskers tonight. I suspect she will not be; her ankle injury looked pretty severe at the time it happened. I think (but could be wrong) that she was not even bearing any weight on that ankle when she was on the sideline at the last game (six days ago).

However, having six days’ rest should be a good thing for the team. They looked fatigued in the loss to Minnesota and having only seven players has to increase the wear and tear on everyone. Whenever they have gotten a significant break, they have come back to play really well. Let’s hope that trend continues.

Scouting the Illini

Coach Nancy Fahey brings a young and balanced Illinois roster into Monday’s game with Nebraska. Sophomores Kennadi Myles (11.2 ppg, 7.8 rpg), Jeanae Terry (10.7 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 3.6 apg) and Jada Peebles (10.0 ppg, 2.0 apg) are all averaging double figures for the Illini. Peebles, a 5-10 guard, led Illinois with 16 points in the first meeting against Nebraska.

As a team, Illinois has hit just 36 percent of its shots, including 22 percent (35-159) of its threes on the season, but the Illini knocked down 9-of-23 threes in the first meeting at Nebraska. Illinois has been minus-7.1 on the boards in Big Ten play, including minus-12 (47-35) in the loss at Nebraska. Illinois did get 14 offensive rebounds against the Big Red and both teams finished with eight second-chance points.

NEBRASKA CORNHUSKERS (7-5, 5-4 BIG TEN)

No. Player Ht. Yr. Pos. PPG RPG
14 Bella Cravens 6-3 Jr. F 6.4 8.2
34 Isabelle Bourne 6-2 So. F 14.0 7.3
31 Kate Cain 6-5 Gr./Sr.C 9.1 6.5
0 Ashley Scoggin 5-7 RSo. G 8.2 2.2
4 Sam Haiby 5-9 Jr. G 16.9 8.2

Off the Bench
2 Trinity Brady 5-11 So. G 8.5 5.0
21 Annika Stewart 6-3 Fr. F 5.0 3.3
10 Whitney Brown 5-8 Fr. G 3.9 1.8
11 Ruby Porter 5-10 Fr. G 3.2 2.0
5 MiCole Cayton 5-9 Gr./RJr. G DNP
32 Kendall Coley 6-2 Fr. G/F

Head Coach: Amy Williams (Nebraska, 1998) Fifth Season at Nebraska (66-67) 14th Season Overall (259-176)

ILLINOIS FIGHTING ILLINI (2-7, 0-6 BIG TEN)

No. Player Ht. Yr. Pos. PPG RPG
44 Kennedi Myles 6-2 So. F 11.2 7.8
22 Eva Rubin 6-5 RJr. C 9.3 3.9
0 J-Naya Ephraim 5-9 Jr. G 6.1 2.6
10 Jeanae Terry 5-11 So. G 10.7 8.7
11 Jada Peebles 5-10 So. G 10.0 1.9

Off the Bench
32 Aaliyah Nye 5-11 Fr. G 5.3 2.3
3 Solape Amusan 6-1 So. F 5.0 2.1
14 Geovana Lopes 6-3 Jr. F/C 5.0 3.0
2 Lyric Robins 5-11 Sr. F 2.3 1.9
20 Erika Porter 6-3 Fr. F 1.4 0.8
21 Aaliyah McQueen 5-9 Fr. G 0.6 2.4
13 Tara O’Malley 5-6 Jr. G 0.5 0.3
1 Nancy Panagiotopoulou 6-3 RJr. F 0.0 0.8

Head Coach: Nancy Fahey (Wisconsin, 1981) Fourth Season at Illinois (32-68) 35th Season Overall (769-201)