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Nebraska WBB to Take on Colorado in Round Two of the WNIT

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Hello old friends, it’s nice to see you again?

Nebraska Digital Media (Jessica Nichols)

Both Nebraska and Colorado secured wins against their first round opponents yesterday, setting up a clash between former conference foes. Colorado leads the all-time series with Nebraska 41-28. However, Nebraska went 11-4 in the last 15 meetings as Big 12 Conference rivals from Jan. 4, 2004 to March 2, 2011. Colorado won both meetings with Nebraska in their final season together in the conference (2011).

Based on what I see on paper, I expect this to be a low-scoring defensive cage match. Of course, yesterday I thought that Nebraska’s posts would be the key to the game, but it was the guards that broke things open. So, my analysis is worth exactly as much as you paid to read it.

Nebraska Cornhuskers (13-12, 9-10 Big Ten) vs. Colorado Buffaloes (11-10, 8-8 Pac-12)
Saturday, March 20, 2021, 5 p.m. (CT)
My Town Movers Fieldhouse - Collierville, Tenn.
Live Video: FloHoops
Live Radio: Husker Sports Network (4:45 p.m.) Matt Coatney (PBP), Jeff Griesch (Analyst) Lincoln (1400 AM-KLIN), Omaha (CD 105.9 FM), Huskers.com, Huskers App

Nebraska played a very up-and-down game vs UT Martin yesterday. The Skyhawks sold out to stop Sam Haiby and made the bet that the Huskers couldn’t replace her production. They were wrong as Ashley Scoggin, Whitney Brown and Micole Cayton all stepped up to score in double figures. The first half was uncomfortable for Husker fans as Nebraska trailed by as much as six points and only took a three point lead into the half. A 13-0 run to start the third quarter put the pressure on UTM and the Huskers increased their lead to as much as 29 before cruising in the final minutes.

I expect Colorado to commit resources to stopping Haiby today too but I also expect them to to have athletes that can still close out on the rest of Nebraska’s guards. UTM had five players enter the transfer portal between their conference tournament and the WNIT, including two (possibly three, I can’t remember for sure) starters. The shorthanded Skyhawks didn’t have the depth to hang with Nebraska once the Huskers got in gear. Colorado will be a bigger challenge. Nebraska will need to get rolling earlier today if they want to move on to the third round.

Scouting Colorado

The factoid about the 2021 Buffaloes that should turn your head?

The overall #1 seed in the women’s NCAA tournament, Stanford is 25-2. One of those losses came at the hands of Colorado. Since then, the Buffs have lost one of their starters to a season-ending injury but have continued to maintain a really strong defense, which keeps them in most games even if their offense is off kilter (sounds a bit like Nebraska...)

Fifth-year coach JR Payne brings a balanced Colorado offense and a strong defense into the WNIT. The Buffaloes (11-10, 8-8 Pac-12) have scored an average of 64.6 points while shooting 41.7 percent from the field, 32.4 percent from three-point range and 64.5 percent at the free throw line.

Defensively, the Buffs have held opponents to just 60.5 points, while limiting them to 39.6 percent shooting, 30.6 percent from three-point range and 67.9 percent at the line.

Mya Hollingshed, a 6-3 senior, leads CU in scoring (16.4 ppg), rebounding (8.2 rpg) and blocks (25) on the season. She had 10 points and seven boards in yesterday’s win over Louisiana. Hollingshed is the only Buff to start all 21 games this season.

Frida Formann adds 11.9 points as a dangerous three-point shooter. The 5-11 freshman from Denmark has hit 55 threes while shooting nearly 40 percent from beyond the arc. Formann scored 14 points and hit 4-of-9 threes in CU’s WNIT opening-round win over Louisiana.

Peanut Tuitele, a 6-1 junior forward, notched a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds to lead Colorado in the win over Louisiana. Tuitele (7.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg) has made 20 starts.

Lesila Finau (5.2 ppg, 3.4), who had eight points and six assists against the Ragin Cajuns, and Tayanna Jones (4.0 ppg, 2.3 rpg) rounds out CU’s starting five.

Nebraska Cornhuskers (13-12, 9-10 BIG TEN)

No. Player Ht. Yr. Pos. PPG RPG
14 Bella Cravens 6-3 Jr. F 6.3 7.5
34 Isabelle Bourne 6-2 So. F 13.8 7.8
31 Kate Cain 6-5 Gr./Sr.C 10.2 6.4
0 Ashley Scoggin 5-7 RSo. G 8.7 2.2
4 Sam Haiby 5-9 Jr. G 16.7 6.8

Off the Bench
21 Annika Stewart 6-3 Fr. F 6.2 3.0
11 Ruby Porter 5-10 Fr. G 4.7 2.2
10 Whitney Brown 5-8 Fr. G 3.3 1.4
5 MiCole Cayton 5-9 Gr./RJr. G 2.5 0.8
32 Kendall Coley 6-2 Fr. F/G 2.1 0.9
2 Trinity Brady (out) 5-11 So. G 8.5 5.0

Head Coach: Amy Williams (Nebraska, 1998) Fifth Season at Nebraska (72-74) 14th Season Overall (265-183)

Colorado Buffaloes (11-10, 8-8 PAC-12)

No. Player Ht. Yr. Pos. PPG RPG
21 Mya Hollingshed 6-3 Sr. F 16.4 8.2
33 Peanut Tuitele 6-1 Jr. F 7.5 4.5
1 Tayanna Jones 6-3 Jr. G 4.0 2.3
3 Frida Formann 5-11 Fr. G 11.9 3.0
4 Lesila Finau 5-9 Jr. G 5.2 3.4

Off the Bench
24 Aubrey Knight 6-0 Jr. G 5.6 5.1
45 Charlotte Whittaker 6-3 So. F 4.4 2.0
13 Kylee Blacksten 6-3 Fr. G 2.2 1.6
11 Zuzanna Kulinska 5-10 So. G 2.2 1.0
32 Alyssa Lafontaine 6-0 Fr. G 1.9 0.6
2 Madison Buford 5-9 So. G 1.2 0.5
25 Annika Jank 6-1 Sr. F 0.4 1.3
14 Raanee Smith 6-2 So. G/F 0.0 0.7
0 Jaylyn Sherrod (out) 5-7 So. G 10.4 3.4

Head Coach: JR Payne (Saint Mary’s, 1999) Fifth Season at Colorado (71-74) Ninth Season Overall (172-187)