The tale of the first eight games of the Husker season can be summed up as “The Jaz Shelley Show”. The Oregon transfer Shelley has been a revelation - scoring, rebounding, blocking shots, dishing assists and probably sweeping the floors and prepping all the food in the concession stands. In game nine, the Huskers faced their first real chance to lose a game in the final moments. That’s when Sam Haiby emerged from the holding pattern she has been in. I don’t intend any disrespect toward Haiby, but as a returning second team All Big Ten player, she really hadn’t showed the same “try and stop me” attitude we saw last season.
Against Minnesota, we saw it. And the Gophers couldn’t.
Now Nebraska returns home to resume the non-conference schedule. The Indiana State Sycamore await.
Nebraska Cornhuskers (9-0, 1-0 Big Ten) vs. Indiana State Sycamores (3-5, 0-0 MVC)
Saturday, Dec. 11, 2021, 1 p.m. (CT)
Pinnacle Bank Arena - Lincoln, Nebraska
Live Video: B1G+ (Marko Jerkovic, Molly Robinson)
Live Radio: Huskers Radio Network (12:45 p.m.) Matt Coatney (PBP), Jeff Griesch (Analyst) Lincoln (107.3 FM), Omaha (105.9 FM), Huskers.com, Huskers App
A win over the Sycamores on Saturday would give the Huskers their first 10-game winning streak since reeling off 10 straight victories from Jan. 20 through Feb. 28, 2013. Nebraska’s early season success earned them a No. 4 spot in the first NET Rankings (Dec. 6). The Big Red slipped to No. 5 after the win at Minnesota, trailing only South Carolina, North Carolina, NC State and Texas.
The Huskers earned votes in both the Associated Press (Dec. 6) and USA Today Coaches (Dec. 7) top 25 rankings this week for the first time this season. Through games Dec. 6, Nebraska was one of just 13 remaining unbeaten teams in NCAA Division I women’s basketball and joined South Carolina as the only 9-0 teams.
The Huskers lead the nation in defensive rebounds per game (34.0 rpg) and rank No. 2 nationally in scoring margin (+30.8), while ranking among the nation’s top 10 in 13 statistical categories, including scoring offense (6th, 84.8 ppg). Sophomore transfer Jaz Shelley (Moe, Australia) continues the outstanding start to her Husker career by averaging team bests of 15.0 points, 4.8 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.7 blocks while hitting 30-of-54 threes (.556). The 5-9 point guard also ranks second among the Huskers with 6.9 rebounds.
Fun fact for the day: Sam Haiby (2.9) and Jaz Shelley (2.7) rank No. 1 and 2 in the Big Ten in assist-to-turnover ratio based on the NCAA and Big Ten minimum of 3.0 assists per game. However, Husker reserves Ruby Porter (4.3) and Allison Weidner (4.1) own better assist-to-turnover ratios than Haiby and Shelley.
Nebraska Cornhuskers (9-0, 1-0 Big Ten)
14 -Bella Cravens - 6-3 - Jr. - F - 8.8 ppg, 8.0 rpg
34 - Isabelle Bourne - 6-2 - So. - F - 11.0 ppg, 4.6 rpg
0 - Ashley Scoggin - 5-7 - RSo. - G - 9.3 ppg, 1.3 rpg
1 - Jaz Shelley - 5-9 - So. - G - 15.0 ppg, 6.9 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 - 7.6 ppg, 6.1 rpg
21 - Annika Stewart - 6-3 - Fr. - F - 5.8 ppg, 2.2 rpg
3 - Allison Weidner - 5-10 - Fr. - G - 5.0 ppg, 3.9 rpg
32 - Kendall Coley - 6-2 - Fr. - F/G - 4.6 ppg, 2.9 rpg
5 - MiCole Cayton - 5-9 - Gr. - G - 3.4 ppg, 1.1 rpg
11 - Ruby Porter - 5-10 - Fr. - G - 2.9 ppg, 1.0 rpg
15 - Kendall Moriarty - 6-1 - Fr. - G - 2.4 ppg, 0.4 rpg
10 - Whitney Brown - 5-8 - Fr. - G - 2.4 ppg, 1.0 rpg
Head Coach: Amy Williams (Nebraska, 1998) Sixth Season at Nebraska (81-75); 15th Season Overall (274-184)
Indiana State Sycamores (3-5, 0-0 Missouri Valley)
00 - Mya Glanton - 6-0 - RSo. - F - 8.0 ppg, 5.9 rpg
5 - Marie Hunter - 5-7 - Gr. - G - 9.1 ppg, 3.1 rpg
12 - Natalia Lalic - 5-11 - Sr. - G - 6.1 ppg, 2.3 rpg
24 - Tonysha Curry - 5-10 - Gr. - G - 3.6 ppg, 3.5 rpg
51 - Del’Janae Williams - 5-8 - Jr. - G - 13.8 ppg, 3.9 rpg
Off the Bench
1 - Arianna Smith - 6-2 - Fr. - F - 6.2 ppg, 3.3 rpg
23 - Anna McKendree - 5-7 - Jr. - G - 5.8 ppg, 1.3 rpg
44 - Caitlin Anderson - 5-6 - Jr. - G - 5.3 ppg, 2.1 rpg
4 - Essy Latu - 5-10 - Sr. - G/F - 2.6 ppg, 0.7 rpg
13 - Florence Tshimanga - 6-3 - Sr. - C - 0.3 ppg, 1.1 rpg
11 - Adrian Folks (Out) - 6-0 - Jr. - F - 14.6 ppg, 5.8 rpg
Head Coach: Chad Killinger (Franklin, 1997) First Season at Indiana State (3-5); Second Season Overall (9-7)
Close games have been the norm for the Sycamores with each of their last three games being decided by four points or less, including back-to-back one-point decisions at Chicago State (W, 59-58) and the one-point loss to Western Michigan.
Indiana State has a pair of close connections to the Nebraska coaching staff. Associate Head Coach Deidra Johnson was recruited to Oklahoma State as a player by Husker Head Coach Amy Williams. ISU assistant coach LaKale Malone was a long-time assistant at Illinois until moving to Indiana State for the start of 2021-22. She was an assistant at Nebraska for four seasons from 2003-04 to 2006-07. She also earned her master’s degree in educational administration from UNL.
The Sycamores have been competitive the past three games despite losing their leading scorer, Adrian Folks, to a torn ACL and MCL in a loss to Jacksonville at Georgia Southern’s Thanksgiving Tournament (Nov. 26). Folks was averaging 14.6 points and 5.8 rebounds through five games.
Junior guard Del’Janae Williams is the only Sycamore averaging double figures (13.8 ppg). She also leads Indiana State with 13 three-pointers while shooting 81.8 percent (27-33) from the free throw line. Williams is averaging team bests with 2.8 steals and 2.5 assists; however, she also is averaging 3.8 turnovers per game. Graduate student Marie Hunter has pitched in 9.1 points and more than two assists and two steals, but the 5-7 guard has not hit a three-pointer through eight games as a starter. Hunter has started 50 career games for the Sycamores and is closing in on 500 career points.
Indiana State is averaging 65 points while shooting 43.3 percent from the field, but just 28.3 percent from three-point range. The Sycamores are averaging 4.3 made threes per game. ISU is forcing 22.4 turnovers per game, but is committing 20.6 miscues per contest.
More fun facts:
Sam Haiby has scored in 91 of 94 games in her Husker career. She had scored at least two points in 53 consecutive games for Nebraska before being held scoreless without a field goal attempt against Drexel (Nov. 27). The last time she had been held scoreless also came at a Thanksgiving Tournament against USC at the South Point Shootout on Nov. 29, 2019. The Huskers won that game 67-54. She was also held scoreless in a 70-69 loss at Wisconsin on Jan. 27, 2018.
Nebraska enters the game against Indiana State with a combined nine-game victory margin of 277 points - the largest of any nine-game stretch in school history by six points, surpassing the 271-point combined victory margin in Games 3-11 of 2009-10. (Yes, THAT season.)
The Husker bench has outscored opponent reserves 298-144 (+17.1 ppg) through nine games, including a 217-98 edge (+23.8 ppg) in five games at Pinnacle Bank Arena. All 13 Huskers are averaging better than 9.0 points per 40 minutes, including four Huskers (Annika Stewart, 27.0 pp40; Isabelle Bourne, 22.0 pp40; Jaz Shelley, 21.9 pp40; Alexis Markowski 21.8 pp40) who are averaging better than 20 points per 40 minutes.
A two-time choice to the Big Ten Weekly Honor Roll (Nov. 22, Nov. 29) for her impressive performances early in the season, sophomore transfer Jaz Shelley has filled the stat sheet across all categories while leading the Huskers to a 9-0 start and a No. 5 NET ranking.
While baseball has its rare five-tool talents, Shelley, the 5-9 point guard from Moe (pronounced MO-ee), Australia is demonstrating her amazing skill level in all five major statistical categories in basketball. She is the only Big Ten player to rank among the conference’s top 20 in points (12th, 15.0), rebounds (11th, 6.9 rpg), assists (7th, 4.8 apg), blocks (2nd, 1.7 bpg) and steals (19th, 1.6 spg).