Nebraska Cornhuskers (11-9, 9-8 Big Ten)
at Minnesota Golden Gophers (7-11, 6-10 Big Ten)
Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021, 6 p.m. (CT)
Williams Arena – Minneapolis, Minnesota
Live Video: B1G Network+
Live Radio: Husker Sports Network (5:45 p.m.)
Matt Coatney (PBP), Jeff Griesch (Analyst)
Lincoln (B107.3 FM & 1400 AM KLIN), Omaha (ESPN 590 AM), Huskers.com, Huskers App, TuneIn
Huskers Aim for 10th Big Ten Win at Minnesota
• The Nebraska women’s basketball team shoots for its 10th Big Ten Conference win of the season while trying to gain a season split against Minnesota when the Huskers travel to Minneapolis on Wednesday. Tip-off between the Huskers (11-9, 9-8 Big Ten) and the Golden Gophers (7-11, 6-10 Big Ten) is set for 6 p.m. (CT) at Williams Arena.
• A live video stream will be provided to BTN Plus subscribers, while fans can also follow Nebraska with the Husker Sports Network call of Matt Coatney and Jeff Griesch across the radio network stations, the Huskers App and Huskers.com.
• Nebraska heads to Minnesota after going 2-0 last week capped by an 87-72 home win over Penn State on Sunday. The win over the Lady Lions followed a 71-64 win at No. 24 Northwestern to complete a season sweep of the Wildcats. It was NU’s Big Ten-best fourth win over an AP Top 25 team (at game time) this season. The Huskers also own a win over current No. 25 Rutgers (Jan. 3).
• The Huskers were led last week by College Sports Madness National Player of the Week Isabelle Bourne, who averaged 21.5 points, 14.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 2.0 blocks. Bourne, who was also named the Big Ten Player of the Week by the conference on Monday, is averaging 14.4 points and a team-best 8.2 rebounds. She owns three straight double-doubles and five on the season. She missed Nebraska’s 76-71 loss to Minnesota (Jan. 19) with an ankle injury.
• Bourne led five Huskers in double figures against Penn State, including 18 points from first-team All-Big Ten contender Sam Haiby. The 5-9 guard from Moorhead, Minn., had 18 points on a career-best 4-of-5 three-point shooting against the Lady Lions. Haiby is the only player in the Big Ten to rank among the top 12 in the conference in scoring (16.9 ppg, 12th), rebounding (7.2 rpg, 12th) and assists (4.5 apg, 9th).
• Fellow Minnesotan Annika Stewart (Minneapolis) added 10 points against PSU in just seven minutes off the bench. The 6-3 freshman out of Wayzata High School scored all 10 in a 12-2 Husker surge to close the first half. She is averaging 6.1 points and 3.1 rebounds.
• A third Minnesotan, freshman Kendall Coley added career highs with three points, two rebounds and a block against Penn State. Coley, who was supposed to be a high school senior at St. Louis Park in 2021, graduated in January and joined the Huskers in time for the first game against the Golden Gophers. Although she was not cleared to play and not in uniform, she was on the Husker bench.
• Kate Cain rounded out the Huskers in double figures with 11 points, five rebounds and five blocks against Penn State. The 6-5 center from Middletown, N.Y., became Nebraska’s 34th 1,000-point scorer in the win at No. 24 Northwestern (Feb. 17). She went 7-for-7 from the floor and 8-for-8 at the free throw line in the win over the Wildcats. Cain is also Nebraska’s career record holder with 343 blocks, which ranks No. 6 in Big Ten history and No. 2 among active NCAA Division I players. Cain is one of 15 candidates for the Naismith National Defensive Player of the Year.
Big Ten Wins vs. AP Top 25*
Team – Wins – (Games vs. Top 25)
Nebraska – 5 (9)
#8 Maryland – 5 (7)
#11 Indiana – 3 (7)
#12 Michigan – 3 (5)
#15 Ohio State – 3 (5)
(RV) Iowa – 2 (9)
(RV) Northwestern – 2 (5)
Wisconsin – 1 (10)
#25 Rutgers – 1 (2)
Illinois – 0 (8)
Minnesota – 0 (7)
Purdue – 0 (7)
Michigan State – 0 (5)
*AP rank at any point in 2020-21
Scouting The Minnesota Golden Gophers
• Head coach Lindsay Whalen’s Minnesota team has fought hard during the heart of the Big Ten. Over the last nine games, starting with a 76-71 win at Nebraska (Jan. 19), the Golden Gophers have gone 5-4 and enter the week at 7-11 overall and 6-10 in the conference.
• Minnesota was handcuffed by an extremely limited roster at the start of fall practice and again at the start of the season due to complications caused by COVID-19 protocols. Only three Gophers – Jasmine Powell, Kadi Sissoko and Klarke Sconiers – have played in all 18 contests.
• Powell and Sissoko are the only Gophers to start all 18 games. Powell, a 5-6 sophomore from Detroit, is averaging 14.9 points and team bests with 5.4 assists and 1.4 steals. Powell has been slowed recently by a foot injury, but scored 15 points and dished out five assists in the win at Nebraska. She was a 2020 Big Ten All-Freshman and an honorable-mention All-Big Ten selection.
• Sissoko, a redshirt sophomore from Paris, France who transferred from Syracuse, is averaging 12.9 points and a team-best 6.7 rebounds. She had eight points, nine boards and three assists in the first meeting with the Big Red.
• Sophomore Sara Scalia has been in and out of the Gopher lineup while battling injuries. She missed Minnesota’s first two contests before starting the next four games. The 2020 Big Ten All-Freshman and honorable-mention all-conference choice had 14 points, seven rebounds and six assists in Minnesota’s win in Lincoln. She hit four threes at NU and is Minnesota’s leader with 41 makes on the season despite missing four games. She did not play in Minnesota’s 94-62 loss at No. 9 Maryland on Saturday.
• Alexia Smith, a 5-8 freshman, started in Scalia’s place at Maryland and managed two points and three rebounds in 37 minutes. Smith is averaging 4.3 points and 2.3 boards on the year. She had five points and three rebounds in 21 minutes off the bench against Nebraska.
• Former Husker Kayla Mershon has started four straight games in place of Klarke Sconiers at center. Mershon, a 6-3 junior who owns five starts in 14 games, had two points at Maryland but scored six points and grabbed five rebounds in 25 minutes off the bench in the win over Nebraska.
• Sconiers, a 6-2 sophomore, is the third Gopher to play in all 18 games and has made 13 starts. She is averaging 5.7 points and 4.4 rebounds, including 10 points in the win at Nebraska.
• Redshirt senior Gadiva Hubbard is averaging 10.8 points and 3.5 rebounds, after earning honorable-mention All-Big Ten accolades in 2020. She buried five three-pointers, including huge hits in the fourth quarter, to finish with a team-high 18 points in the win at Nebraska. Hubbard, who has played in 13 games with 11 starts, started at Maryland just days after coming off the bench for just 16 minutes in a loss at Rutgers (Feb. 17). She did not play at all in Minnesota’s wins over Purdue (Jan. 28), Illinois (Feb. 10) and Wisconsin (Feb. 14), or in losses to Iowa (Jan. 31) and at Ohio State (Feb. 7).
• Laura Bagwell Katalinich, a 6-0 graduate transfer from Cornell, has averaged 5.9 points and 3.2 rebounds for the Gophers. She was a first-team All-Ivy League selection as a junior in 2018-19.
• Caroline Strande (4.3 ppg, 2.1 rpg), early enrollee Katie Borowicz (3.4 ppg, 1.3 rpg) and redshirt freshman Grace Cumming (1.8 ppg, 2.4 rpg) supply Minnesota with more depth.
• As a team, Minnesota is averaging 69.2 points while allowing 80.3 points per game. The Gophers carry a minus-1.5 rebound margin and a minus-2.5 turnover margin, while shooting 39.9 percent from the field and 32.6 percent from three-point range. Opponents are shooting 46.9 percent, including 37.7 percent against the Gophers. The opposition also has hit 78.1 percent of its free throws.
Nebraska vs. Minnesota Series History
• Nebraska leads the all-time series with Minnesota 14-11, but the Gophers claimed a 76-71 win in Lincoln (Jan. 19). The Huskers also dropped a 67-61 decision at Minnesota (Jan. 30, 2020) in the last meeting between the two schools at Williams Arena.
• In the first meeting this season in Lincoln, Minnesota connected on 15-of-32 three-point attempts, including 5-of-9 shooting from Gadiva Hubbard, 4-of-10 from Sara Scalia and 3-of-8 from Jasmine Powell.
• Nebraska owns a 9-6 edge as Big Ten foes.
• Nebraska is 11-4 all-time against Minnesota in Lincoln. The Huskers are 2-7 against Minnesota in Minneapolis and 1-0 against the Gophers in the Big Ten Tournament (March 7, 2014).
• Although women’s basketball was not a full varsity sport at Nebraska until 1975-76, a women’s team from Nebraska suffered its first defeat at Minnesota in 1904 after going unbeaten between 1897 and 1903. Two weeks after the first meeting with Minnesota, Nebraska beat the same team in Lincoln.
• Minnesota’s Laura Coenen scored 42 points for the Gophers in a 90-79 win over the Huskers on Nov. 30, 1984. That effort is tied for the most points by any opponent in a game against the Huskers.
Nebraska Knocks Off Five Top 25 Foes in 2020-21
• Nebraska’s win at No. 24 Northwestern (Feb. 17) gave the Huskers their fourth win over an AP Top 25 team at game time – the most wins against ranked foes of any team in the Big Ten. The Huskers also own a win over current No. 25 Rutgers (Jan. 3).
• The Huskers’ win over No. 15 Ohio State (Jan. 16) marked the third time this season that Nebraska played an AP No. 15 team that also entered the game unbeaten (Northwestern, 4-0; Michigan, 7-0; Ohio State, 7-0).
• Nebraska is 5-4 against AP Top 25 teams (ranked at any point this season) including 4-3 against AP Top 25 teams at game time, including wins over No. 15 Northwestern, No. 15 Ohio State, at No. 23 Michigan State and at No. 24 Northwestern, and losses at No. 15 Indiana, at No. 15 Michigan and to No. 9 Maryland.
• Nebraska, which is somehow No. 75 in the NET rankings, rates among the top 20 teams nationally in the NET with two wins over NET 1-25 (Quad 1) teams (Rutgers, Ohio State) and in the top 25 in the NET with three wins over NET 26-50 (Quad 2) teams (Northwestern-2, Michigan State).