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Nebraska WBB: Midland Exhibition Preview and Game Thread

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The Huskers are looking to improve on a .500 record from 2020-21 behind familiar faces and an exciting freshman class

Nebraska v Maryland Photo by G Fiume/Maryland Terrapins/Getty Images

Nebraska Cornhuskers vs. Midland Warriors

Monday, Nov. 1, 2021, 7:30 p.m. (CT)

Pinnacle Bank Arena - Lincoln, Nebraska

Live Video: B1G+ (subscription required)

Live Radio: Huskers Radio Network (7 p.m.) Matt Coatney (PBP), Jeff Griesch (Analyst) Lincoln (B107.3 FM & 1400 AM-KLIN), Omaha (ESPN 590 AM), Huskers.com, Huskers App

Nebraska returns five starters and 10 letterwinners from its 2020-21 team that advanced to the round of 16 in the Postseason WNIT after knocking off five top-25 opponents during the regular season. The Huskers finished with a 13-13 overall record that included a 9-10 Big Ten mark.

Nebraska’s top two returning players are second-team All-Big Ten guard Sam Haiby (Moorhead, Minn.) and honorable-mention All-Big Ten forward Isabelle Bourne (Canberra, Australia).

Haiby was the only Big Ten player to rank among the conference’s top 15 in scoring (11th, 16.8 ppg), rebounding (15th, 6.8 rpg) and assists (8th, 4.4 apg) in 2020-21.

Bourne showed her versatility in a breakout 2020-21 season, averaging 13.6 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists. One of the top power forwards in the Big Ten, Bourne also started games on the wing when the Huskers were short-handed because of injuries midway through the 2020-21 season.

The Big Red do not expect to be short-handed again in 2021-22. They have 16 players on the roster with five newcomers; four freshman and one transfer. Additionally, they look to get two players back who did not play at all last season (Nailah Dillard) or played only non-con (Trinity Brady) due to injuries. Only Kate Cain departed the program after graduating and spending some time in a WNBA camp before heading to Europe to play pro ball.

Ashley Scoggin (Dallas, Ore.) returns to the backcourt after starting every game in her first year at Nebraska. She averaged 8.5 points and 2.3 assists while leading Nebraska with 43 three-pointers.

Bella Cravens (Laie, Hawaii) also returns to the starting five after averaging 6.4 points and a team-best 7.6 rebounds as one of the Big Ten’s most athletic post defenders.

Ruby Porter (Adelaide, Australia) also returns for her second season at Nebraska after making 11 starts a year ago. She averaged 4.7 points and 2.4 rebounds despite being limited by injuries.

Other returning letterwinners for Nebraska include Trinity Brady, Whitney Brown, MiCole Cayton, Annika Stewart and 2021 early enrollee Kendall Coley. Coley was also part of the 2020-21 signing class that includes Nebraska high school stars Alexis Markowski and Allison Weidner, and out-of-state players Tatiana Popa and Kendall Moriarity that was ranked among the top 25 in the nation.

Possible Starters

Nebraska Cornhuskers (2020-21 statistics)

14 - Bella Cravens - 6-3 - Jr. - F - 6.4 ppg, 7.6 rpg

34 - Isabelle Bourne - 6-2 - So. - F - 13.6 ppg, 7.5 rpg

0 - Ashley Scoggin - 5-7 - RSo. - G - 8.5 ppg, 2.1 rpg

1 - Jaz Shelley - 5-9 - So. - G - 4.0 ppg, 1.7 rpg

4 - Sam Haiby - 5-9 - Jr. - G - 16.8 ppg, 6.8 rpg

Head Coach: Amy Williams (Nebraska, 1998)/Sixth Season at Nebraska

Midland Warriors (2020-21 statistics)

32 - Sam Shepard - 6-0 - Sr. - G - 6.5 ppg, 2.2 rpg

34 - Erin Prusa - 6-1 - Jr. - P - 4.6 ppg, 2.7 rpg

0 - Karlee McKinney - 5-8 - Jr. - G - 13.7 ppg, 2.9 rpg

4 - Peyton Wingert - 5-11 - Sr. - G - 11.8 ppg, 6.0 rpg

10 - Lexi Kraft - 5-5 - Jr. - G - 5.8 ppg, 1.7 rpg

Head Coach: Shawn Gilbert (Nebraska-Kearney, 1991)/Ninth Season at Midland

Scouting the Midland Warriors

Coach Shawn Gilbert, a former member of the women’s basketball staff at Nebraska (2008-12), brings his ninth Midland team into tonight’s exhibition game, after the Warriors opened their regular season at the C3 Tip-Off Classic against Haskell Indian Nations (Oct. 29) and Presentation College (Oct. 30) in Hastings, Neb.

Last season, the Warriors posted a 15-11 overall record that included a 12-10 mark in the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC). In 2018-19, Gilbert led Midland to its first winning season (15-14) since going 16-13 in 2003-04.

Midland, which is located in Fremont, Neb., features three players from Fremont High School, including Sam and Emma Shepard, the younger sisters of former Nebraska 1,000-point scorer and current WNBA forward Jessica Shepard (Minnesota Lynx).

Sam Shepard, one of three seniors on the Warrior roster, played in 11 games with three starts last season before suffering an injury before the holiday break. Emma Shepard appeared in 22 games and averaged 7.4 points and 2.0 rebounds.

The Warriors return a pair of starters, led by Peyton Wingert. The 5-11 senior guard averaged 11.8 points and 6.0 rebounds while knocking down 44 three-pointers last season.

Lexi Kraft, a 5-5 junior guard out of Millard North High School, started all 26 games for the Warriors last season and averaged 5.8 points and 2.5 assists.

Other returning players who were significant contributors last season include Erin Prusa, a 6-1 junior post from Howells, Neb., who played in all 26 games and averaged 4.6 points and 2.7 rebounds, and Kennedy Darner, a 5-10 sophomore out of Millard West who averaged 5.6 points and knocked down 38 threes in 23 games.

The Warriors will be bolstered by graduate transfer Karlee McKinney, a 5-8 guard who earned honorable-mention All-GPAC recognition by averaging 13.7 points per game last season at Mount Marty in Yankton, S.D.

Nebraska vs. Midland Series History

The last time Nebraska met Midland in women’s basketball came during the 1979-80 season, when the Huskers defeated Midland 85-54 at the Devaney Center on Nov. 16, 1979. The all-time regular-season series is tied, 3-3.

The series with Midland dates back to the earliest days of women’s basketball as a varsity sport at Nebraska, including a 46-39 loss to the Warriors in Lincoln on Feb. 7, 1975 - prior to the Devaney Center being built. It was the eighth official women’s basketball game in Nebraska history. The Huskers also suffered a 56-54 loss to Midland in Fremont on Dec. 10, 1975, before getting a 64-60 win over the Warriors in Lincoln on Jan. 30, 1976.