Nebraska Cornhuskers (10-9, 8-8 Big Ten)
vs. Penn State Lady Lions (8-10, 5-9 Big Ten)
Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021, 2 p.m. (CT)
Pinnacle Bank Arena – Lincoln, Nebraska
Live Video: B1G Network+
Live Radio: Husker Sports Network (1:45 p.m.)
Matt Coatney (PBP), Jeff Griesch (Analyst)
Lincoln (B107.3 FM), Omaha (ESPN 590 AM), Huskers.com, Huskers App, TuneIn
Huskers Shoot for Split in Rematch with Penn State
The Nebraska women’s basketball team takes aim at a second straight win when the Huskers battle Penn State on Sunday in Lincoln. Tip-off between the Huskers (10-9, 8-8 Big Ten) and the Lady Lions (8-10, 5-9 Big Ten) is set for 2 p.m. (CT) at Pinnacle Bank 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 is coming off its Big Ten-best fourth win over an AP Top 25 team (at game time) with its 71-64 victory at No. 24 Northwestern on Wednesday in Evanston. The Huskers trailed by 14 points in the second quarter and overcame a minus-24 turnover margin to complete a season sweep of the defending Big Ten co-champion Wildcats.
The Huskers also will be looking to gain a season split of the series with Penn State, after suffering an 85-74 loss at State College on Feb. 4.
Kate Cain led Nebraska with 21 points, seven rebounds and five blocks in the first meeting at Penn State. The 6-5 center from Middletown, N.Y., is coming off a career-high-tying 22-point effort in the win at No. 24 Northwestern, when she also became the 34th 1,000-point scorer in Husker women’s basketball history. Cain 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 338 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.
Isabelle Bourne, who did not start in the first meeting at Penn State while making her way back from an ankle injury, added a huge game with 21 points and a career-high 17 rebounds at Northwestern. Bourne has posted back-to-back double-doubles against Maryland and Northwestern since returning to the starting lineup against Iowa (Feb. 11). She is averaging 13.9 points and a team-leading 8.0 rebounds per game on the season.
Sam Haiby is making a strong case for first-team All-Big Ten honors. She is the only player to rank among the top 12 in the conference in scoring (16.8 ppg, 12th), rebounding (7.1 rpg, 12th) and assists (4.4 apg, 9th). The 5-9 junior from Moorhead, Minn., owns seven 20-point efforts and three double-doubles this season. She had 10 points, eight rebounds and five assists at Penn State.
Big Ten Best – Wins Over AP Top 25 Teams*
1. Nebraska – 4 (4-3)
2. Maryland – 3 (3-2)
Ohio State – 3 (3-1)
4. Indiana – 2 (2-3)
5. Michigan – (1-2)
Northwestern – 1 (1-2)
Rutgers – 1 (1-1)
Wisconsin – 1 (1-6)
9. Illinois – 0 (0-7)
Penn State – 0 (0-6)
Minnesota – 0 (0-4)
Michigan State – 0 (0-5)
Purdue – 0 (0-6)
Iowa – 0 (0-6)
*Associated Press rankings at game time
Scouting the Penn State Lady Lions
Penn State comes into Sunday’s game trying to snap a three-game losing streak that began with a 90-65 loss at No. 15 Indiana (Feb. 10). The Lady Lions added a 78-65 loss at Michigan State (Feb. 13), before falling 96-78 on the road at Iowa on Thursday, in a game PSU led 52-41 at the half.
Although the Lady Lions are 8-10 overall and 5-9 in the Big Ten, they feature a high-scoring offense that includes explosive post player Johnasia Cash. In Nebraska’s 85-74 loss at Penn State (Feb. 3), Cash came off the bench with 27 points and 19 rebounds in just 24 minutes, before adding 18 points and four steals in just 16 minutes as a starter in a 98-74 win at Wisconsin (Feb. 7). Cash was named the Big Ten Player of the Week (Feb. 8) following those two performances.
The 6-2 senior transfer from SMU has averaged 14.6 points and 9.1 rebounds per game in just 23.2 minutes per contest on the season while starting 14-of-18 games for the Lady Lions.
Sophomore guard Makenna Marisa has added 13.8 points per game, 4.8 rebounds and a team-leading 4.6 assists as the only PSU player to start all 18 games. She had 17 points, seven rebounds and five assists in the first meeting with Nebraska.
Wisconsin senior Niya Beverley stepped into the starting five in late January. The 5-7 guard is a lockdown defender who has added 7.6 points, 2.9 rebounds and 3.0 assists for the Lady Lions over the last 14 games with nine starts. She had five points and three assists in 39 minutes in the first meeting.
Sophomore Anna Camden has started 17 games for the Lady Lions and is averaging 8.6 points and 3.3 rebounds. Camden is the tallest of the PSU contributors at 6-3, and has produced double figures in four straight games (15.0 ppg) since getting just five points in 13 minutes while battling foul trouble against Nebraska. She had 18 points and seven rebounds at Iowa Thursday.
Fellow sophomore Shay Hagans rounds out the projected starting five. Hagans has made 13 starts, including 10 points, five rebounds and three steals in the win over Nebraska. Hagans is averaging 7.0 points and 3.0 rebounds while leading Penn State with 32 steals.
Freshman Maddie Burke started in place of Johnasia Cash in Penn State’s first meeting with the Huskers. The 6-0 Burke had 13 points and eight rebounds while sinking a trio of three-pointers against NU. She is averaging 8.7 points and 3.5 rebounds but went scoreless in 24 minutes off the bench in the loss at Michigan State (Feb. 13). Immediately after the win over Nebraska, Burke had 15 points off the bench in a win over Wisconsin and 13 in the loss to No. 15 Indiana. She added 20 at Iowa.
The Lady Lions have fought into the mix into the middle of the Big Ten pack despite playing without Kelly Jekot, their leading scorer (15.9 ppg) and second-leading rebounder (6.8 rpg) through nine games. The 6-0 graduate transfer from Villanova suffered a season-ending injury in practice following the win at Minnesota (Jan. 10). PSU is 4-5 with and without Jekot.
Freshman Tova Sabel has also contributed off the bench. The 5-10 guard has played in all 18 games and is shooting .444 (16-36) from three-point range while averaging 5.5 points and 2.5 rebounds.
As a team, Penn State has averaged a strong 75.6 points per game while shooting 42.6 percent from the field, including 34.1 percent from three-point range. Penn State hit 14-of-38 threes at Iowa. The Lady Lions have hit 69.5 percent of their free throws. PSU carries a minus-0.7 rebound margin but a plus-0.2 turnover margin, while allowing 76.3 points per contest.
Nebraska vs. Penn State Series History
Nebraska owns an 8-7 edge in the series with Penn State, including 7-2 in the last nine games.
However, Penn State beat the Huskers 85-74 win in University Park (Feb. 3). Johnasia Cash led four Lady Lions in double figures with 27 points and 19 rebounds, while Makenna Marisa added 17 points, seven boards and five assists. Maddie Burke contributed 13 points and eight boards, and Shay Hagans pitched in 10 points and five rebounds. PSU 9-of-30 three-pointers and connected on 26-of-32 free throws, while out-rebounding NU, 50-41, and winning the turnover battle, 12-9.
Despite the 11-point loss, Nebraska led 71-70 with three minutes left, before Penn State closed on a 15-4 surge. NU went 1-for-7 with two turnovers in the final 3:05.
The Huskers ran to a 75-58 win over PSU in Lincoln last season (Feb. 13, 2020). The only returning starters from that game are Penn State’s Makenna Marisa (15 points) and NU’s Sam Haiby (10 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists) and Kate Cain (6 points, 8 rebounds, 6 blocks).
NU owns a 5-2 edge over PSU in Lincoln, including five straight wins at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
Penn State leads the series 4-3 at the Bryce Jordan Center.
The Huskers’ first-ever Big Ten win came at Penn State on Dec. 30, 2011 (71-63).
Penn State defeated Nebraska 82-67 in the Huskers’ final regular-season conference home game at the Bob Devaney Sports Center on March 3, 2013. Big Ten Player-of-the-Year Maggie Lucas hit a Devaney Center-record eight threes and PSU clinched the Big Ten regular-season title with the win.
Penn State won the first meeting between the two teams 102-66 in State College on Jan. 2, 1993.
Penn State is 1-0 against Nebraska on neutral courts (83-64, Dec. 30, 2002, San Diego).