The Nebraska women’s basketball team officially tipped off practice for the 2020-21 season with an afternoon workout at the Hendricks Training Complex in Lincoln on Wednesday, Oct. 14.
The Huskers will have six weeks to prepare for the expected start of the regular-season schedule. Nebraska’s opening date has not been announced.
Nebraska’s 12-player roster for the 2020-21 campaign is led by 6-5 senior center Kate Cain. NU’s career blocked shot leader is coming off a junior season in which she set the school single-season mark with 101 blocks. Cain, who earned her bachelor’s degree in management from Nebraska in just three years in May of 2020, was recently projected as a WNBA middle second-round pick by DraftSite.com. She was one of four Big Ten players projected in the top three rounds.
Cain (Middletown, N.Y.) is a two-time Big Ten All-Defensive selection and an honorable-mention All-Big Ten choice in 2020. She is also a two-time Big Ten Distinguished Scholar and could be a contender for CoSIDA Academic All-America accolades in 2021.
Cain will be joined as a returning starter by junior Sam Haiby. The 5-9 guard from Moorhead, Minn., ranked second among the Huskers in scoring (10.0 ppg) and assists (3.3 apg) while leading Nebraska in steals (1.5 spg) in 2019-20.
The Huskers also will be bolstered by the return of sophomore Isabelle Bourne. The 6-2 forward from Canberra, Australia played in all 30 games a year ago, averaging 5.9 points and 4.4 rebounds per game. Bourne, who has been a regular in the Australian National Team program for several years, joins Cain and newcomers Bella Cravens and Annika Stewart in the front court.
Stewart adds more size at 6-3 while also being able to stretch the floor. The freshman out of Wayzata High School in Minneapolis, Minn., averaged 20.0 points and 8.1 rebounds while hitting 41.5 percent (39-94) of her three-pointers and 89.5 percent (51-57) of her free throws as a senior in 2019-20. The first-team Minnesota Class 4A All-State selection was ranked as the No. 35 post player in the nation by ESPN in 2020.
Cravens, a 6-3 junior transfer from Laie, Hawaii, averaged 10.4 points and a Big Sky Conference-leading 8.5 rebounds per game last season at Eastern Washington. Cravens was also one of the top shot-blockers in the Big Sky the past two seasons, totaling 96 blocks in 60 games. She was an honorable-mention All-Big Sky choice as a sophomore in 2019-20.
Another member of the Australian National Team program, freshman Ruby Porter will be one of five newcomers in a revamped Husker backcourt alongside Haiby this season. Porter, a 5-10 guard from Adelaide, was a member of the Australian U17 National Team that competed at the 2018 World Championships, while also being a key player on the Australian U18 3×3 National Team that won the Asia Cup in the summer of 2019.
Junior college transfer Ashley Scoggin adds a dangerous three-point threat. Scoggin hit nearly 40 percent of her threes and 95 percent of her free throws last season as a redshirt freshman at Salt Lake City Community College. The 5-7 guard from Dallas, Ore., averaged 10.0 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.1 assists in helping the Bruins to the NJCAA Region 18 title.
Texas Tech transfer Nailah Dillard and California transfer MiCole Cayton could also contribute to the backcourt as newcomers, along with freshman Whitney Brown. The 5-8 guard was a two-time All-Nebraska performer at Grand Island Northwest High School. As a senior, Brown averaged 17.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 2.0 steals.
Makenzie Helms and Trinity Brady return to the Big Red backcourt as sophomores in 2020-21. Helms produced a strong offseason and earned Nebraska’s Lifter-of-the-Year Award for women’s basketball. The 5-8 guard from East Haven, Conn., appeared in 13 games in 2019-20 after recovering from leg injuries early in the season. She contributed in each of Nebraska’s final seven games of 2019-20 and was the No. 27 point guard in the nation according to ESPN in 2019. Brady also battled injuries as a true freshman.
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