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Nebraska WBB vs Drexel Preview

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The Huskers are in San Diego for the Dana on Mission Bay Holiday Tournament

Scott Bruhn

Nebraska Cornhuskers (5-0, 0-0 Big Ten) vs. Drexel Dragons (3-1, 0-0 CAA)

Friday, Nov. 26, 2021, 6 p.m. (CT)

Jenny Craig Pavilion - San Diego, California

Live Video: Huskers.com (free)

Live Radio: Huskers Radio Network (5:45 p.m.) Matt Coatney (PBP), Jeff Griesch (Analyst) Lincoln (105.3 FM), Huskers.com, Huskers App

We finally get to watch the Husker women without buying an extra BTNplus subscription! Drexel will be Nebraska’s first opponent this season that qualified for the 2021 NCAA Tournament. The Dragons won the Colonial Athletic Association tournament title last season to earn the CAA’s automatic bid, before falling 67-53 to Georgia in the NCAA first round in San Antonio. After facing the Dragons on Friday, the Huskers will turn around and play again on Saturday with their opponent being either Fresno State or the host team, San Diego. Like Nebraska, Fresno State was a WNIT qualifier in 2021.

Through five games, Nebraska was is in rare air when it comes to national statistical rankings. Through Nov. 21, the Huskers led the nation in scoring (95.6 ppg), scoring margin (45.6 ppg), defensive rebounds per game (36.4 rpg), assist-to-turnover ratio (1.90), assists (112), and free throw attempts (132). Nebraska also ranked second nationally in total rebounds (252), assists per game (22.4 apg) and free throws made (92), while ranking among the top-10 teams in the nation in field goal percentage defense (6th, .285), blocked shots (8th, 6.2 bpg), three-point field goal percentage (8th, .438), field goal percentage (9th, .507) and three-point field goals made (10th, 46).

Point guard Jaz Shelley has led Nebraska in rebounding in four consecutive games and owns 43 total rebounds in 115 minutes on the season. In 55 career games with 12 starts at Oregon, Shelley totaled 70 rebounds in 971 minutes. She also leads Nebraska with eight blocked shots through five games, surpassing her two-year total at Oregon (6)

Nebraska carries a collective 112-to-59 (1.90-to-1) assist-to-turnover ratio through five games and four Huskers are putting up extraordinary numbers early in the season. Sam Haiby leads the Huskers with a 19-to-3 assist-to-turnover ratio, while Jaz Shelley owns a 27-to-5 ratio. True freshman Allison Weidner has performed at a similar level with a 21-to-4 ratio, while Ruby Porter carries a 9-to-2 ratio. Haiby (1st, 6.3), Shelley (2nd, 5.4) and Weidner (3rd, 5.3) rank No. 1-2-3 in the Big Ten in assist-to-turnover, while Porter (4.5) would rank fifth but is just shy of the 2.0 assists per game requirement.

Nebraska Cornhuskers (5-0, 0-0 Big Ten)

14 - Bella Cravens - 6-3 - Jr. - F - 8.4 ppg, 6.0 rpg
34 - Isabelle Bourne - 6-2 - So. - F - 14.2 ppg, 5.0 rpg
0 - Ashley Scoggin - 5-7 - RSo. - G - 11.0 ppg, 1.6 rpg
1 - Jaz Shelley - 5-9 - So. - G - 11.2 ppg, 8.6 rpg
4 - Sam Haiby - 5-9 - Jr. - G - 9.8 ppg, 3.8 rpg

Off the Bench

40 - Alexis Markowski - 6-3 - Fr. - F/C - 9.6 ppg, 5.6 rpg
21 - Annika Stewart - 6-3 - Fr. - F - 7.2 ppg, 2.8 rpg
3 - Allison Weidner - 5-10 - Fr. - G - 7.0 ppg, 5.2 rpg
32 - Kendall Coley - 6-2 - Fr. - F/G - 6.6 ppg, 4.4 rpg
11 - Ruby Porter - 5-10 - Fr. - G - 4.8 ppg, 1.4 rpg
10 - Whitney Brown - 5-8 - Fr. - G - 4.3 ppg, 1.5 rpg
15 - Kendall Moriarty - 6-1 - Fr. - G - 4.0 ppg, 0.8 rpg
5 - MiCole Cayton - 5-9 - Gr. - G - 0.7 ppg, 2.0 rpg

Head Coach: Amy Williams (Nebraska, 1998) Sixth Season at Nebraska (77-75); 15th Season Overall (270-184)

Drexel Dragons (3-1, 0-0 Colonial)

3 - Tessa Brugler - 6-1 - Gr. - F - 16.0 ppg, 9.8 rpg
20 - Kate Connolly - 6-1 - Sr. - F - 6.5 ppg, 5.0 rpg
30 - Mariah Leonard - 5-10 - Gr. - F - 11.0 ppg, 9.0 rpg
1 - Keishana Washington - 5-7 - Sr. - G - 11.5 ppg, 1.8 rpg
12 - Hannah Nihill - 5-3 - Sr. - G - 12.0 ppg, 2.5 rpg

Off the Bench

11 - Tori Hyduke - 5-6 - Jr. - G - 5.5 ppg, 1.0 rpg
21 - Jasmine Valentine - 5-11 - So. - F - 1.3 ppg, 0.0 rpg
2 - Hetta Saatman - 6-2 - Jr. - F - 1.0 ppg, 1.3 rpg
10 - Brianne Borcky - 6-0 - Jr. - F - 0.5 ppg, 1.8 rpg
13 - Erin Sweeney - 5-10 - So. - G - 0.0 ppg, 0.0 rpg

Head Coach: Amy Mallon (Saint Joseph’s, 1993) Second Season at Drexel (17-10); Second Season Overall (17-10)

Souting Drexel

The 3-1 Dragons feature a senior-laden starting lineup. They don’t play their entire rotation - there have only been two bench players that have appeared in all four of Drexel’s games so far this season. The five starters average between 31 and 37 minutes per game. The Huskers should a depth advantage to go along with a size advantage.

Drexel returns its top five players from last year’s NCAA Tournament team, led by Hannah Nihill. The 5-3 fifth-year guard was the CAA Defensive Player of the Year and a first-team All-CAA and All-Tournament selection. She led the Dragons in scoring (16.2 ppg), assists (3.7 apg) and steals (2.8 spg) while ranking third on the team with 3.7 rebounds per game. Nihill was Drexel’s top three-point shooter, connecting on 46-of-125 (.368) of her long range attempts.

Washington, a 5-7 senior guard, is averaging 11.5 points, 4.3 assists and a team-best 1.8 steals. She has also hit a trio of three-pointers, but is just 3-for-18 from long range. Washington ranked second among the Dragons behind only Nihill in scoring (14.6 ppg), assists (2.5 apg), steals (1.1 spg) and three-pointers (36-115) last season. Washington was the CAA Tournament MVP after erupting for 35 points in a semifinal win over James Madison and 30 points in the championship game against Delaware.

Leonard, a 5-10 graduate student, is averaging 11.0 points and 9.0 rebounds early this season while hitting 58.8 percent (20-34) of her field goal attempts. Connolly, a 6-1 senior forward, has pitched in 6.5 points and 5.0 rebounds early this season, while adding 2.8 assists. Maura Hendrixson (6.6 ppg, 5.0 rpg) was a fixture in Drexel’s starting five last year, but the Dragons have replaced her with first-team All-Patriot League graduate student Tessa Brugler. The former Bucknell star is averaging team bests of 16.0 points and 9.8 rebounds through four games, while hitting 59 percent (23-39) of her shots from the field. Brugler also have 10 blocked shots already this season.