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Nebraska WBB at Penn State Preview

The Huskers follow the polar vortex to the east coast

NCAA Womens Basketball: Nebraska at Minnesota Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Nebraska Cornhuskers (13-5, 5-2 Big Ten) at Penn State Lady Lions (12-5, 3-3 Big Ten)
Sunday, Jan. 21, 2024, Noon (CT)
Bryce Jordan Center - University Park, Pa.
Live Video: B1G+
Live Radio: Huskers Radio Network (11:30 a.m.) Matt Coatney (PBP), Jeff Griesch (Analyst) B107.3 FM (Lincoln), 590 AM (Omaha), Huskers.com, Huskers App
Live Stats: Huskers.com

Nebraska is coming off one of its best defensive efforts of the season in a 62-43 win over Michigan in Lincoln on Wednesday night. The Huskers held the Wolverines to just 32.6 percent (15-46) shooting, while out-rebounding Michigan 46-28 and winning the turnover battle 18-15.

Five-time Big Ten Freshman-of-the-Week Natalie Potts notched her third double-double of the season with game highs of 13 points and 10 rebounds against Michigan. The 6-2 forward from O’Fallon, Mo., leads all league freshmen in scoring (11.3 ppg) and rebounding (6.0 rpg).

Alexis Markowski owns a Big Ten-best 11 double-doubles this season; she has 32 career double-doubles. Her next double-double will move her into a tie for fourth on Nebraska’s career list with Emily Cady (2012 to 2015). Markowski leads the Big Ten with 10.1 rebounds per game, including 11.4 in league action. She has scored in double figures in all 18 games this season, including five 20-point performances.

Nebraska Cornhuskers (13-5, 5-2 Big Ten - NCAA NET 29)

22 - Natalie Potts - 6-2 - Fr. - F/G - 11.3 ppg, 6.0 rpg

40 - Alexis Markowski - 6-3 - Jr. - C/F - 16.8 ppg, 10.1 rpg

0 - Darian White - 5-6 - Gr. - G - 8.3 ppg, 4.7 rpg

1 - Jaz Shelley - 5-9 - Gr. - G - 12.1 ppg, 4.1 rpg

42 - Maddie Krull - 5-9 - Gr. - G - 2.9 ppg, 2.1 rpg

Off the Bench

14 - Callin Hake - 5-9 - So. - G - 6.8 ppg, 2.8 rpg

2 - Logan Nissley - 6-0 - Fr. - G - 6.1 ppg, 1.8 rpg

12 - Jessica Petrie - 6-2 - Fr. - F - 4.1 ppg, 2.1 rpg

21 - Annika Stewart - 6-3 - Sr. - F - 3.1 ppg, 1.8 rpg

32 - Kendall Coley - 6-2 - Jr. - F - 2.7 ppg, 2.1 rpg

15 - Kendall Moriarty - 6-1 - Jr. - G - 2.3 ppg, 1.1 rpg

Head Coach: Amy Williams (Nebraska, 1998) Eighth Season at Nebraska (127-104); 17th Season Overall (320-213)

Penn State Lady Lions (12-5, 3-3 Big Ten - NCAA NET 31)

1 - Ali Brigham - 6-4 - Sr. - F - 10.4 ppg, 6.1 rpg

2 - Tay Valladay - 5-6 - Gr. - G - 12.5 ppg, 2.5 rpg

4 - Shay Ciezki - 5-7 - So. - G - 14.6 ppg, 2.8 rpg

5 - Leilani Kapinus - 5-10 - RJr. - G - 10.1 ppg, 5.9 rpg

20 - Makenna Marisa - 5-11 - Sr. - G - 15.2 ppg, 3.3 rpg

Off the Bench

0 - Ashley Owusu - 6-0 - Gr. - G - 18.5 ppg, 5.0 rpg

12 - Jayla Oden - 5-8 - Jr. - G - 6.5 ppg, 2.1 rpg

3 - Moriah Murray - 5-8 - RFr. - G - 6.1 ppg, 1.5 rpg

10 - Chanaya Pinto - 6-1 - Gr. - F - 6.1 ppg, 3.5 rpg

22 - Alli Campbell - 6-0 - RJr. - G - 3.9 ppg, 2.1 rpg

14 - Kylie Lavelle - 6-2 - So. - F - 3.8 ppg, 3.0 rpg

7 - Grace Hall - 6-2 - RSo. - F - 2.7 ppg, 2.2 rpg

Head Coach: Carolyn Kieger (Marquette, 2006) Fifth Season at Penn State (53-78); 10th Season Overall (152-143)

Scouting The Penn State Lady Lions

Coach Carolyn Kieger brings her most talented Penn State team into Sunday’s game with Nebraska, after the Lady Lions pulled to .500 (3-3) in the Big Ten with a Thursday night win over Purdue. PSU is ranked No. 31 in the NET rankings and carries a 12-5 overall record.

Penn State features an experienced lineup with returning starters Makenna Marisa, Leilani Kapinus, Shay Ciezki and Ali Brigham, while adding Virginia graduate transfer Tay Valladay, who was recruited to Marquette originally by Kieger, to the starting five.

Perhaps even more importantly, 2021 and 2022 All-American and 2021 Ann Meyers-Drysdale Award winner Ashley Owusu made her Penn State debut with 18 points, five rebounds and five assists off the bench against Rutgers (Jan. 14) and added 19 points and five boards in a win over Purdue (Jan. 18). The 6-0 graduate guard who spent three seasons at Maryland, before helping Virginia Tech win the 2023 ACC title and advance to the NCAA Final Four last season, will be playing against Nebraska in her third uniform. She was injured in the Hokies’ win over the Huskers last season in Blacksburg (Dec. 1, 2022). Owusu owns 1,409 career points, 406 rebounds and 470 assists.

The Lady Lions are also getting consistent production and three-point shooting from Illinois transfer Jayla Oden (6.5 ppg, 2.1 rpg), Drexel transfer Moriah Murray (6.1 ppg, 1.5) and returning part-time starter Chanaya Pinto (6.1 ppg, 3.5 rpg), who transferred into the program from Oregon prior to 2022-23 after being named the 2021 NJCAA Player of the Year at Northwest Florida State.

Overall, PSU’s 13-player roster features nine Division I transfers.

Penn State owns one of the most explosive offenses in the Big Ten, averaging 87.2 points per game while hitting 50.9 percent of its field goals and a blistering 41.5 percent of its threes. PSU has nine players shooting better than 36 percent from long range. The Lady Lions have hit 74.1 percent of their free throws and own a plus-3.5 rebound margin and a plus-3.7 turnover margin.

Penn State is 0-5 against current NCAA NET Top 30 teams but 12-0 against everybody else, including top-100 wins over Kansas (47), Oklahoma State (53), Purdue (79) and St. John’s (86).

Nebraska vs. Penn State Series History

Nebraska leads the all-time series with Penn State, 11-8, including an 80-51 victory over the Lady Lions in Lincoln last season (Jan. 11, 2023). The Huskers have won three of the last four meetings and 10 of the last 13 overall with PSU. However, Penn State has won three of the last four contests at the Bryce Jordan Center in University Park.

Husker Numbers to Watch

  • Alexis Markowski (768) is 10 rebounds from catching Nebraska Athletic Hall of Famer and retired jersey honoree Maurtice Ivy at No. 9 on NU’s career rebound list (778). Markowski is 12 shy of Kate Cain (780) at No. 8 on the same list.
  • Jaz Shelley is 2 three-pointers away from becoming the fourth Husker to hit 200 threes.
  • Darian White is 4 rebounds away from 700 in her career.