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Nebraska WBB to Take on UT Martin in First Round of WNIT

It’s the Huskers vs the Skyhawks in Memphis

Scott Bruhn

The women’s NIT starts tomorrow (Friday) and the Huskers drew a morning tipoff in their first round game vs the Skyhawks of UT Martin. Normally, this game would likely have been played in Lincoln as the Nebraska athletic department has been aggressive in bidding for WNIT games, but the pandemic caused a reduction from 64 to 32 teams and a format change. There are four eight-team regionals. Another change is that every team is guaranteed at least two games. Consolation play hasn’t been a part of previous WNIT tournaments (that I’m aware of).

Nebraska Cornhuskers (12-12, 9-10 Big Ten) vs. UT Martin Skyhawks (20-5, 17-2 Ohio Valley)
Friday, March 19, 2021, 11 a.m. (CT)
My Town Movers Fieldhouse - Collierville, Tenn.
Live Video: FloHoops (Greg Gaston, Eli Savoie, Tyler Springs)
Live Radio: Husker Sports Network (10:45 a.m.) Matt Coatney (PBP), Jeff Griesch (Analyst) Lincoln (B107.3 FM), Omaha (ESPN 590 AM),, Huskers App, TuneIn

The Huskers have been an inconsistent team this season, for a lot of reasons. One big one is that injuries required frequent shuffles in the starting lineup. Fortunately, Nebraska seems to be getting healthier [fingers crossed]. It showed in the Big Ten tournament as they beat a shorthanded Minnesota team that had gotten the best of Nebraska twice this season and then took eventual tournament champion Maryland to the wire before late free throws by the Terrapins secured a ten point win.

The strength of UT Martin seems to be in their frontcourt with three experienced forwards, all of whom were first team-all conference players. One of those forwards seems a bit like Issie Bourne in that she can move out to the wing and hit the three. Kate Cain and Bella Cravens will likely have a big role to play in the defensive game plan for Friday.

Scouting UT Martin

The UT Martin Skyhawks enter the Postseason WNIT after winning the Ohio Valley Conference regular-season title with a 17-2 league mark. The Skyhawks played three regular-season non-conference games, including two against current AP No. 8 Louisville (an 85-67 loss at Louisville Dec. 6, and a 96-61 loss a month later). UT Martin defeated Southern Conference regular-season champion Samford, 75-67 in Birmingham (Dec. 8). UT Martin suffered an 83-75 loss to Belmont in the OVC Tournament Championship game (March 6).

Coach Kevin McMillan has led UT Martin to historic success in his 12 seasons on the sideline. The four-time Ohio Valley Conference Coach of the Year (2010, 2015, 2016, 2021), McMillan led the Skyhawks to four straight league titles and four straight NCAA Tournament appearances from 2011 to 2014. This will be UT Martin’s fourth trip to the WNIT under McMillan (2015, 2016, 2018, 2021) after the 2020 WNIT was canceled.

Senior Chelsey Perry was named the OVC Player of the Year after averaging 23.8 points and 7.5 rebounds per game during the regular season. The 6-2 forward missed six regular season games and was only available off the bench during UT Martin’s appearances in the OVC Tournament. WBCA honorable-mention All-American in 2020, Perry was also on the preseason Naismith Award Watch List for 2021. Perry owns 1,888 points and 745 rebounds in her four-year career.

Sophomore Dasia Young adds explosiveness and consistency for the Skyhawks. The 5-11 forward joined Perry as a first-team All-OVC choice, averaging 12.7 points and 6.3 rebounds as the only UT Martin player to start all 25 games.

Senior Maddie Waldrop adds length and steady play, averaging 9.8 points and 6.3 rebounds. A first-team All-OVC selection in 2020, Waldrop shoots 50 percent from the field and can stretch defenses to three-point range (19-58), while also hitting better than 70 percent of her free throws. Waldrop owns 1,056 points and 800 rebounds in her career.

As a team, UT Martin is shooting 46.8 percent from the field and 38 percent (159-418) from three-point range while connecting on 75.2 percent of its free throws. The Skyhawks own a plus-0.8 rebound margin and a plus-0.9 team turnover margin.

Nebraska Cornhuskers (12-12, 9-10 BIG TEN)

No. Player Ht. Yr. Pos. PPG RPG
14 Bella Cravens 6-3 Jr. F 6.2 7.2
34 Isabelle Bourne 6-2 So. F 13.9 7.8
31 Kate Cain 6-5 Gr./Sr.C 10.5 6.5
0 Ashley Scoggin 5-7 RSo. G 8.5 2.2
4 Sam Haiby 5-9 Jr. G 17.3 6.9

Off the Bench
21 Annika Stewart 6-3 Fr. F 6.1 2.9
11 Ruby Porter 5-10 Fr. G 4.7 2.2
10 Whitney Brown 5-8 Fr. G 3.0 1.3
32 Kendall Coley 6-2 Fr. F/G 2.0 1.0
5 MiCole Cayton 5-9 Gr./RJr. G 1.8 0.7
2 Trinity Brady 5-11 So. G 8.5 5.0

Head Coach: Amy Williams (Nebraska, 1998) Fifth Season at Nebraska (71-74) 14th Season Overall (264-183)

UT Martin Skyhawks (20-5, 17-2 Ohio Valley)

No. Player Ht. Yr. Pos. PPG RPG
11 Dasia Young 5-11 So. F 12.7 6.3
20 Chelsey Perry 6-2 Sr. F 22.5 7.1
21 Maddie Waldrop 6-2 Sr. F 9.8 6.3
5 Seygan Robins 5-8 RSo.G 7.9 2.3
35 Paige Pipkin 5-10 RJr. G 7.5 2.8

Off the Bench
22 Damiah Griffin 6-0 RJr. F 4.3 2.0
13 Demi Burdick 6-2 Sr. F 3.7 3.5
31 Kyannah Grant 5-7 Jr. G 3.4 1.1
14 Zaire Hicks 5-7 RJr. G 3.3 0.9
2 Sade’ Hudson 5-8 Jr. G 3.1 1.5
23 Hayley Harrison 5-10 RFr.G/F 2.5 1.1
10 Raegan Johnson 6-2 So. F 1.3 0.4
44 Haley Nichols 6-0 Fr. F 0.4 0.1

Head Coach: Kevin McMillan (Rhodes College, 1989) 12th Season at UT Martin (238-137) 12th Season Overall (238-137)