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Nebraska WBB vs Wake Forest (Big Ten/ACC Challenge) Preview

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In a clash between two 7-0 teams, something has to give...

Scott Bruhn

The good news: The Husker women are 7-0

The bad news: That record came vs the #261 strength of schedule so far in the country

More bad news: Wake Forest is also 7-0

Some good-ish news: Their record came vs the #175 strength of schedule

Even more bad news: Nebraska is the #77 RPI WBB team in the country. Wake Forest is #37, and the Huskers play them on the road.

Even more good-ish news: Nebraska owns a home win over Creighton, the #58 RPI team.

What am I trying to say with all of this?

I’m saying that the Husker women haven’t been tested much yet. They have done what they should against a bad slate of teams and stepped up when playing a good team. In addition to their gritty win vs Creighton, this game vs Wake Forest will give us a glimpse at how well the Huskers may compete once they reach the Big Ten portion of their schedule. This Husker team has potential but the game vs Wake could be their toughest test to date.

Nebraska Cornhuskers (7-0) at Wake Forest Demon Deacons (7-0)
Big Ten/ACC Challenge
Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021, 6 p.m. (CT)
LJVM Coliseum - Winston-Salem, N.C.
Live Video: Watch ESPN (Tom Werme, Tabitha Turner-Wilkins)
Live Radio: Huskers Radio Network (5:45 p.m.) Matt Coatney (PBP), Jeff Griesch (Analyst) Lincoln (107.3 FM), Omaha (105.9 FM), Huskers.com, Huskers App

Wednesday’s battle of unbeatens in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge will be the first-ever meeting between Nebraska and Wake Forest in women’s basketball. Sophomore transfer Jaz Shelley (Moe, Australia) continued an outstanding start to her Husker career by erupting for 46 points this weekend, earning Big Ten honor roll accolades while leading the Huskers in scoring (14.6 ppg), assists (4.6 apg), steals (11) and blocked shots (12). She also ranks second on the squad in rebounding (7.4 rpg).

Fellow Australian Isabelle Bourne ranks second among the Huskers in scoring with 11.4 points while adding 5.0 rebounds per game. The 6-2 forward from Canberra, Australia was an honorable-mention All-Big Ten choice as a sophomore last season.

Sam Haiby (Moorhead, Minn.) has played big in Nebraska’s toughest wins against Creighton and San Diego. The 2021 second-team All-Big Ten choice had 15 points and five assists in Saturday’s win over the Toreros. She also had 15 points, five rebounds, five assists and three steals in NU’s victory over in-state rival Creighton (Nov. 17).

Returning starters Ashley Scoggin (10.1 ppg, 16-32 3FG) and Bella Cravens (7.7 ppg, 8.4 rpg) continue to play major roles for NU at both ends of the court. The Big Red also features a deep bench, including 2021 Nebraska High School Player of the Year Alexis Markowski (8.6 ppg, 6.3 rpg), who was the Big Ten Freshman of the Week (Nov. 29).

Nebraska Cornhuskers (7-0, 0-0 Big Ten)
14 - Bella Cravens - 6-3 - Jr. - F - 7.7 ppg, 8.4 rpg
34 - Isabelle Bourne - 6-2 - So. - F - 11.4 ppg, 5.0 rpg
0 - Ashley Scoggin - 5-7 - RSo. - G - 10.1 ppg, 1.1 rpg
1 - Jaz Shelley - 5-9 - So. - G - 14.6 ppg, 7.4 rpg
4 - Sam Haiby - 5-9 - Jr. - G - 9.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg

Off the Bench
40 - Alexis Markowski - 6-3 - Fr. - F/C - 8.6 ppg, 6.3 rpg
21 - Annika Stewart - 6-3 - Fr. - F - 6.7 ppg, 2.4 rpg
3 - Allison Weidner - 5-10 - Fr. - G - 5.3 ppg, 4.4 rpg
32 - Kendall Coley - 6-2 - Fr. - F/G - 4.7 ppg, 3.4 rpg
11 - Ruby Porter - 5-10 - Fr. - G - 3.4 ppg, 1.1 rpg
15 - Kendall Moriarty - 6-1 - Fr. - G - 2.9 ppg, 0.6 rpg
10 - Whitney Brown - 5-8 - Fr. - G - 2.8 ppg, 1.2 rpg
5 - MiCole Cayton - 5-9 - Gr. - G - 1.6 ppg, 1.4 rpg

Head Coach: Amy Williams (Nebraska, 1998) Sixth Season at Nebraska (79-75); 15th Season Overall (272-184)

Wake Forest Demon Deacons (7-0, 0-0 ACC)
14 - Niyah Becker - 6-2 - Jr. - F - 6.6 ppg, 4.0 rpg
20 - Olivia Summiel - 6-2 - Jr. - F - 6.1 ppg, 8.3 rpg
23 - Christina Morra - 6-2 - Sr. - F - 8.3 ppg, 5.1 rpg
24 - Jewell Spear - 5-10 - So. - G - 19.4 ppg, 3.1 rpg
21 - Elise Williams - 5-9 - Fr. - G - 8.0 ppg, 5.3 rpg

Off the Bench
32 - Alexandria Scruggs - 5-10 - Jr. - G - 9.0 ppg, 2.6 rpg
25 - Demeara Hinds - 6-2 - So. - F - 4.1 ppg, 5.3 rpg
00 - Alyssa Andrews - 6-0 - Fr. - G - 4.0 ppg, 1.7 rpg
11 - Raegyn Conley - 6-0 - Fr. - G - 2.6 ppg, 0.8 rpg
2 - Kaia Harrison - 5-7 - Jr. - G - 2.0 ppg, 1.8 rpg
5 - Malaya Cowles - 6-3 - Fr. - G - 1.2 ppg, 2.2 rpg
3 - Mack Maier - 5-10 - Jr. - G - 0.8 ppg, 0.3 rpg

Head Coach: Jen Hoover (Wake Forest, 1991) 10th Season at Wake Forest (133-153); 11th Season Overall (153-166)

About the Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Wake Forest brings a 7-0 record into its Big Ten/ACC Challenge game against Nebraska on Wednesday in Winston-Salem, N.C. Last season, the Demon Deacons made their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1987-88, when current head coach Jen Hoover was a freshman on the court for Wake Forest. The 2020-21 Demon Deacons advanced to the Big Dance despite finishing with a losing record (12-13), after going 8-10 in the ACC. Close losses were normal for Wake Forest last season, with seven coming by single digits.

Dynamic sophomore Jewell Spear leads Wake Forest on the court. A 2021 ACC All-Freshman and ACC All-Tournament selection, Spear is the only Demon Deacon averaging double figures (19.4 ppg). The 5-10 guard from The Colony, Texas, also leads Wake from long range (18-48, .375) and at the free throw line (34-40, .850) while playing 32 minutes per game early this season.

Elise Williams, a 5-9 freshman guard has solidified the starting backcourt with 8.0 points, 5.3 rebounds and a team-best 2.9 assists per game. Williams also leads Wake with seven blocks. A trio of 6-2 forwards - Christina Morra (8.3 ppg, 5.1 rpg), Niyah Becker (6.6 ppg, 4.0 rpg) and Olivia Summiel (6.1 ppg, 8.3 rpg) make Wake hard to guard and harder to keep off the glass.

Although the Demon Deacons have hit just 42.7 percent of their field goal attempts, including just 29.9 percent from three, they own a plus-13.7 team rebound margin. They have allowed the opposition fewer than 30 rebounds per game, including less than eight offensive boards per contest. Wake has held all seven of its opponents to 55 points or less, surrendering an average of just 48.7 points per game. The Demon Deacons have averaged 69.9 points per game.