The 2021-22 Husker women finished with a 24-9 record and in the top half of the conference. They were selected for the NCAA tournament one of the top 10 scoring teams in the country. They are ranked #22 in both preseason polls.
Who’s returning? Who left? Who joined the locker room?
We’ll run down the roster and expectations for the women in 2022-23.
- Sam Haiby
Senior Sam Haiby (5’9” guard) was expected to lead the Huskers onto the court and continue to be that clutch, shot-clock-winding-down presence she has been throughout her career. Unfortunately, she suffered a knee injury in practice that was initially reported as season-ending. Fortunately, when she went in for surgery, the damage was not as severe as expected. There are no guarantees but there are some who are cautiously optimistic she could return this season. She averaged 11 ppg and pulled down 4.5 rpg.
- Jaz Shelley (13.1 ppg; 6.3 rpg)
- Issie Bourne (11.1 ppg; 4.5 rpg)
- Trinity Brady - injured in 2021-22
All three juniors on the roster have starting experience with Jaz Shelley (5’9” guard) bursting onto the Big Ten scene last season after transferring from Oregon. Shelley was sensational and led the Huskers in scoring, assists, blocks, and steals while ranking second on the team in rebounds. She was a second team All-B1G selection and named to the All-B1G defensive team.
Issie Bourne (6’2” forward) is a versatile and high-IQ player whose international experience brought her to Nebraska already fairly polished. She has mostly played in the middle, but injuries have forced her out to wing at times, where she was equally good. She has been a starter since joining the program and a multi-year team captain. She was a Big Ten honorable mention selection.
Trinity Brady (5’11” guard) is a very physical player on both offense and defense. She has battled injuries a lot throughout her career but gives Nebraska a bulldog who isn’t afraid to take on anyone. If she stays healthy, she is going to frustrate the other team’s best guard or wing all season long.
- Allison Weidner (7.2 ppg; 3.7 rpg)
- Alexis Markowski (12.8 ppg; 8 rpg)
- Annika Stewart (5.1 ppg; 2.1 rpg)
- Maddie Krull (6.8 ppg; 4.0 rpg USD)
- Kendall Coley (2.4 ppg; 1.7 rpg)
- Kendall Moriarty (1.5 ppg; 0.4 rpg)
- Nailah Dillard (injured 2021-22)
Whew! That is a lot of sophomores.
Allison Weidner (5’10” guard) is a true sophomore (in her second year) and moved into a starting role as a freshman after Ashley Scoggin was dismissed mid-season. Weidner is a never-give-up-on-a-play type of player and probably leads the team in hitting the floor. She is okay as a perimter shooter, but like Haiby, makes most of her hay by penetrating and getting to the rim.
Alexis Markowski (6’3” C/F) is the reigning Big Ten freshman of the year (also a true sophomore) and was a second team All-B1G selction. She is tabbed as a preseason first-teamer. She is very good and is only getting better, which should terrify other teams. It is not only her physical skill that makes her a good player, but she is constantly learning. You might see her make a mistake during a game, but she doesn’t repeat it. She also believes she is the best player on the floor and won’t back down from anyone.
Annika Steward (6’3” forward) is a deadeye three point shooter and can score in volumes. I’m pretty sure she ranks high in the nation in points per minute played. She has been a bit of a liabilty on defense, but has shown improvement. If she continues to improve in that area, she can be a high impact player. She has at least one B1G Player of the Week accolade to her name.
Maddie Krull (5’9” guard) transferred from South Dakota after helping (part time starter I believe) the Coyotes to a Sweet Sixteen (and barely missed the Elite Eight in a three point loss to Michigan). Why would she leave such a successful program? USD graduated just about everyone from that high-performing team and she is an Omaha native. Amy Williams put out the call and Krull will now push for starting time in Lincoln.
Kendall Coley (6’2” guard/forward) is in her third season at Nebraska after early enrolling and getting on the court for the Huskers when she should have been finishing her high school career. Coley is a very good defender but is inconsistent on offense. Last season, she moved inside at times and looked comfortable in that role too.
Kendall Moriarty is another true sophomore and another tall guard (6’1”) to give defensive fits to anyone who challenges her. Like Coley, she needs to be more consistent on offense to earn more playing time, but she has shown great play in streaks.
Nailah Dillard (5’9” G/F) is a complete unknown to me even though she has been on the Husker roster for the past two seasons. She is working on a graduate degree and played her first season at Texas Tech and started two games. She has been hounded by poor injury luck with hip and knee injuries preventing her from taking the court at Nebraska. She is a wild card (and a good one) if she is healthy.
- Callin Hake
- Maggie Mendelson
Hake (5’8” guard) was the #64 ranked recruit in the nation (prepgirlshoops). She has the versatility Amy Williams looks for in playing multiple positions on the perimeter and having the defensive chops needed to see the court early as a Husker.
Mendelson is a much-prized recruit at 6’5” and the only young woman to play on both the U.S. National U18 team on both basketball and volleyball. She was ranked as the #2 volleyball recruit and #32 basketball recruit in the nation. An athlete of her caliber does not grow on trees and it will be interesting to see where her career leads her (assuming she eventually has to make a choice between sports).
No Huskers graduated, but three players exited via the transfer portal. Ruby Porter (5’10” guard) returned home to Australia and Bella Cravens (6’3” forward) went in search of a starting role elsewhere (she ended up at TCU) after losing her spot to Alexis Markowski. Cravens was a very good defender and rebounder and brought a lot of athleticism and attitude to her game.
MiCole Cayton (5’9” guard) also looked for playing time elsewhere (now at Minnesota) for her sixth season. She was a suffocating defender but didn’t find the basket consistently.
Another player, Ashley Scoggin (now at UNLV) was dismissed from the program mid-season with no explanation. Scoggin was a starter and deadeye three point shooter. She was replaced in the lineup by Allison Weidner the finish the season.
The Husker women are looking to break into a top-4 finish in the conference and have the arsenal to achieve that goal. Iowa, Maryland, Indian, and Michigan all have some very good returning pieces and are part of the preseason Top-25 polls (along with the Huskers).
Anything less than an NCAA tournament bid and at least one tourney win would be a disappointment - assuming everyone remains healthy. That is my expectation, but I believe the ladies may have higher goals than me.
Regardless, it will be a fun team to watch if they can continue their high-flying scoring and lockdown defense on demand.
Go Big Red!