Nebraska Cornhuskers (8-5, 6-4 Big Ten) vs. Wisconsin Badgers (3-10, 0-10 Big Ten)
Thursday, Jan. 28, 2021, 7 p.m. (CT)
Pinnacle Bank Arena - Lincoln, Nebraska
Live Video: B1G Network+ (Matt Coatney, Jeff Griesch)
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
Reinforcements have arrived for the Husker women as they will be able to suit up nine players (they had been down to seven). Transfer MiCole Cayton played 19 big minutes in her Husker debut on Monday night. Early enrollee Kendall Coley also suited up, but has only been involved in a handful of practices and did not play. I expect she will get on the floor before too long.
The Huskers will host a Wisconsin team looking for their first Big Ten win. Just because the Badgers are not a good basketball team does not mean Husker fans should feel overly confident. Of late, Nebraska seems determined to play close games.
Kate Cain is continuing to get noticed as she was one of 15 players named to the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year Watch List. Cain, a 6-5 center from Middletown, N.Y., leads the Big Ten with 3.1 blocks per game. She ranks sixth in Big Ten history with a Nebraska record 320 career blocks, including a Big Ten-best and school-record 101 blocks last season. She is also a Lisa Leslie Award candidate. Cain ranks No. 2 among active NCAA Division I players in career blocks.
Husker junior guard Sam Haiby continued her strong push for All-Big Ten honors by scoring 12 of her game-high 22 points in the fourth quarter. Haiby’s heroics included a steal in the closing seconds with the Huskers clinging to a 55-53 lead. She sank two free throws with 5.7 seconds left to give NU its second straight road win. Haiby, a 5-9 guard from Moorhead, Minn., leads Nebraska in scoring (17.3 ppg), rebounding (7.9 rpg), assists (4.2 apg) and steals (1.2 spg). She earned her fourth appearance on the Big Ten Weekly Honor Roll (Jan. 25) and has put up back-to-back double-doubles in her last two games at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
Ruby Porter, a 5-10 freshman from Adelaide, Australia, added a career-high 11 points and tied a career best with three three-pointers at Illinois. She made her third straight start in place of injured sophomore Isabelle Bourne (Canberra, Australia). Bourne was Nebraska’s second-leading scorer (14.0 ppg) and rebounder (7.3 ppg) until suffering an ankle injury in the closing seconds of Nebraska’s win at No. 23 Michigan State (Jan. 10).
Freshman Annika Stewart pumped in 12 points at Illinois including a career-high three threes. The 6-3 forward from Minneapolis, Minn., hit back-to-back threes in a one-minute span midway through the fourth quarter to shoot Nebraska to the lead for good against the Illini.
Scouting The Wisconsin Badgers
Head coach Jonathan Tsipis brings his fifth Wisconsin team into Thursday’s game after a 94-62 loss to Michigan State on Sunday. It followed a 56-55 last-second loss at Purdue last Thursday. The Badgers slipped to 3-10 overall and 0-10 in the Big Ten. The Badgers have not had a winning season in women’s basketball since 2010-11 (18-15).
Junior Imani Lewis provides a strong presence inside for the Badgers. The 6-1 forward is averaging 13.1 points and a team-leading 8.1 rebounds per game. Lewis was an honorable-mention All-Big Ten choice as a sophomore. Last season, Lewis notched a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds in a 65-50 loss in Lincoln, before getting 21 points and six boards in a 72-71 loss in Madison.
Sydney Hilliard, who made an immediate impact as a freshman, has taken over the role as Wisconsin’s leading scorer. The 5-11 guard is averaging 17.0 points, 5.7 rebounds and a team-leading 4.8 assists. Hilliard is shooting better than 50 percent from the field, including 45.5 percent (5-11) from three-point range.
As a team, Wisconsin is averaging 65.2 points per game while shooting 41.5 percent from the field, including 32.2 percent from three-point range. The Badgers have been solid at the free throw line (.728). Wisconsin carries a minus-2.9 rebounding margin and a minus-5.5 team turnover margin, which ranks last in the Big Ten. Those disparities have allowed the opposition to attempt 120 more field goals, including 102 more three-pointers than the Badgers.
On defense, the Badgers have struggled to hold teams in check consistently, allowing 76.5 points per game. Opponents have hit 34 more three-pointers and 19 more free throws than the Badgers.
NEBRASKA CORNHUSKERS (8-5, 6-4 BIG TEN)
No. Player Ht. Yr. Pos. PPG RPG
14 Bella Cravens 6-3 Jr. F 6.2 7.9
31 Kate Cain 6-5 Gr./Sr.C 8.8 6.8
0 Ashley Scoggin 5-7 RSo. G 7.5 2.3
4 Sam Haiby 5-9 Jr. G 17.3 7.9
11 Ruby Porter 5-10 Fr. G 3.9 2.2
Off the Bench
34 Isabelle Bourne 6-2 So. F 14.0 7.3
2 Trinity Brady 5-11 So. G 8.5 5.0
21 Annika Stewart 6-3 Fr. F 5.5 3.4
10 Whitney Brown 5-8 Fr. G 3.6 1.7
5 MiCole Cayton 5-9 Gr./RJr. G 3.0 0.0
32 Kendall Coley 6-2 Fr. G/F DNP
Head Coach: Amy Williams (Nebraska, 1998) Fifth Season at Nebraska (67-67) 14th Season Overall (260-176)
WISCONSIN BADGERS (3-10, 0-10 BIG TEN)
No. Player Ht. Yr. Pos. PPG RPG
34 Imani Lewis 6-1 Jr. F 13.1 8.1
41 Sara Stapleton 6-3 So. F/C 6.4 3.7
1 Estella Moschkau 6-1 Sr. G 6.2 3.2
5 Julie Pospisilova 6-0 So. G 9.2 3.5
30 Sydney Hilliard 5-11 So. G 17.0 5.7
Off the Bench
44 Alex Luehring 6-2 RJr. G 3.4 1.4
10 Halle Douglass 6-1 Fr. F 3.1 1.4
32 Kate Thompson 6-2 Fr. F/C 3.0 2.6
40 Tara Stauffacher 5-11 So. F 2.9 1.8
3 Brooke Schramek 6-1 Fr. G 2.8 2.1
Head Coach: Jonathan Tsipis (North Carolina, 1996) Fifth Season at Wisconsin (48-90) Ninth Season Overall (140-128)