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Nebraska WBB vs Penn State Preview

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The Huskers could get Isabelle Bourne back on the court when they travel to Pennsylvania on Thursday

Scott Bruhn

Nebraska Cornhuskers (9-5, 7-4 Big Ten) at Penn State Lady Lions (6-7, 3-6 Big Ten) Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021, 5 p.m. (CT)
Bryce Jordan Center - University Park, Pa.
Live Video: B1G Network+
Live Radio: Husker Sports Network (4:45 p.m.) Matt Coatney (PBP), Jeff Griesch (Analyst) Lincoln (B107.3 FM & 1400 AM KLIN), Omaha (ESPN 590 AM), Huskers.com, Huskers App, TuneIn

After a week off, the Huskers will travel to Penn State. In good news, Isabelle Bourne is practicing again and could give Nebraska a 10th player in the rotation. For several games this season, the Huskers have been down to as few as seven available players (six scholarship).

A week ago, the Huskers finally won a game by double digits against the bottom-dwelling Badgers. It was not a pretty game, and Nebraska gave Wisconsin an opening for a comeback in the fourth quarter, but it was a game where five Huskers scored in double digits.

Sam Haiby leads Nebraska in scoring (17.8 ppg), assists (4.2 apg) and steals (1.2 spg) while ranking second on the team in rebounding (7.6 rpg). She has made four appearances on the Big Ten Weekly Honor Roll and owns three straight 20-plus scoring efforts. She also owns three double-doubles in the last five games.

Ruby Porter, a 5-10 freshman from Adelaide, Australia, stepped into the starting five in Bourne’s place and has averaged 8.3 points and 3.8 rebounds, including back-to-back double-figure scoring efforts in last week’s wins.

Freshman Annika Stewart also has stepped up in Bourne’s absence. The 6-3 forward from Minneapolis averaged 12.5 points and 4.5 rebounds in just 19 minutes per game in last week’s wins over Illinois and Wisconsin. Stewart buried 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 (Jan. 25).

Kate Cain leads the Big Ten with 3.3 blocks per game. She ranks sixth in Big Ten history with a Nebraska record 326 career blocks, including a Big Ten-best and school-record 101 blocks last season. Cain ranks No. 2 among active NCAA Division I players in career blocks. She added her third double-double of the year with 16 points, 10 rebounds and six blocks in the win over Wisconsin a week ago.

Scouting the Penn State Lady Lions

Penn State heads into Thursday’s game with momentum after back-to-back road wins at Illinois (Jan. 28) and Purdue (Jan. 31). The Lady Lions have won three straight road games in the Big Ten for the first time in the past seven seasons, starting with a 69-60 win at Minnesota (Jan. 10).

Although they have experienced success on the road, Penn State is 0-5 in the Big Ten at home.

The Lady Lions notched two wins last week despite playing without Kelly Jekot, their leading scorer (15.9 ppg) and second-leading rebounder (6.8 rpg). The 6-0 graduate transfer from Villanova suffered a season-ending injury in practice.

Another transfer, senior Niya Beverley stepped into the starting five in last week’s wins. A starter at Wisconsin last season, Beverley erupted for 14 points, seven assists and three steals in 38 minutes in Sunday’s 80-70 win at Purdue.

Sophomore guard Makenna Marisa is Penn State’s active scoring leader at 14.5 points per game, and has increased her production to 17.3 points over the past four contests. Marisa is also PSU’s top creator with 58 assists (4.5 apg) on the season. She is the only Lady Lion to start all 13 games this season, and is the only active PSU player averaging more than 30 minutes per contest.

Freshman Maddie Burke has also stepped into the starting lineup for each of the last three games. The 6-0 forward is a dangerous three-point threat, knocking down a team-best 26 threes (.356). Burke is averaging 8.5 points and 1.5 assists over the last four games while hitting 10-of-27 threes (.370).

As a team, Penn State has averaged a solid 74.6 points per game while shooting 42.7 percent from the field, including 33.1 percent from three-point range. The Lady Lions have hit 68.5 percent of their free throws. PSU carries a minus-0.8 rebound margin and a minus-0.7 turnover margin, while allowing 74.0 points per contest.

Nebraska Cornhuskers (9-5, 7-4 BIG TEN)

No. Player Ht. Yr. Pos. PPG RPG
14 Bella Cravens 6-3 Jr. F 6.7 8.1
31 Kate Cain 6-5 Gr./Sr.C 9.3 7.0
0 Ashley Scoggin 5-7 RSo. G 7.0 2.4
4 Sam Haiby 5-9 Jr. G 17.8 7.6
11 Ruby Porter 5-10 Fr. G 4.6 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 6.1 3.5
10 Whitney Brown 5-8 Fr. G 3.8 1.6
5 MiCole Cayton 5-9 Gr./RJr. G 1.5 0.5
32 Kendall Coley 6-2 Fr. F/G 0.0 0.0

Head Coach: Amy Williams (Nebraska, 1998) Fifth Season at Nebraska (68-67) 14th Season Overall (261-176)

Penn State Lady Lions (6-7, 3-6 BIG TEN)

No. Player Ht. Yr. Pos. PPG RPG
11 Anna Camden 6-3 So. G/F 6.8 3.6
15 Maddie Burke 6-0 Fr. F 7.3 2.5
1 Niya Beverley 5-7 Sr. G 5.7 2.7
20 Makenna Marisa 5-11 So. G 14.5 4.6
23 Shay Hagans 5-6 So. G 6.3 2.6

Off the Bench
25 Kelly Jekot (Out) 6-0 Gr/Sr.G 15.9 6.8
33 Johnasia Cash 6-2 Sr. F 14.4 8.9
10 Toya Sabel 5-10 Fr. G 6.5 2.9
0 Nyam Thornton 5-7 Fr. G 2.7 2.3
3 Nia Staples 5-8 Gr/Sr.G 2.0 0.5
4 Constance Thomas5-9 Fr. G 2.0 1.2
24 Nan Garcia 6-0 Fr. G 0.7 0.7

Head Coach: Carolyn Kieger (Marquette, 2006) Second Season at Penn State (13-30) Seventh Season Overall (112-94)