Nebraska Cornhuskers (7-4, 5-3 Big Ten)
vs. Minnesota Golden Gophers (2-7, 1-6 Big Ten)
Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2021, 3 p.m. (CT)
Pinnacle Bank Arena – Lincoln, Nebraska
Live Video: B1G Network (Larry Punteney, Brenda VanLengen)
Live Radio: Husker Sports Network (2:45 p.m.)
Matt Coatney (PBP), Jeff Griesch (Analyst)
Lincoln (B107.3 FM), Omaha (ESPN 590 AM), Huskers.com, Huskers App, TuneIn
Huskers Ready for Tuesday Matinee with Minnesota
The Nebraska women’s basketball team hopes to keep building momentum as the Huskers play host to Minnesota on Tuesday afternoon in Lincoln. Tip-off between the Big Red (7-4, 5-3 Big Ten) and Golden Gophers (2-7, 1-6 Big Ten) at Pinnacle Bank Arena is set for 3 p.m. (CT).
The Big Ten Network will provide a live telecast with Larry Punteney and Brenda VanLengen on the call. Live radio will also be available through the Husker Sports Network with Matt Coatney and Jeff Griesch calling the action across the network stations, the Huskers App and on Huskers.com.
Nebraska is coming off back-to-back wins over AP Top 25 foes, following an impressive 63-55 victory over previously unbeaten and then-No. 15 Ohio State on Saturday at Pinnacle Bank Arena. It followed a 68-64 road win at then-No. 23 Michigan State on Jan. 10.
Nebraska’s Kate Cain produced the most dominant performance of her Husker career against the Buckeyes to earn Big Ten Player-of-the-Week honors (Jan. 18). The 6-5 center from Middletown, N.Y., matched her career high with 22 points to go with 12 rebounds and nine blocks. Cain just missed her second career triple-double, and her nine blocks tied the second-best total in NU history, trailing only her 11 blocks as a freshman in a triple-double effort against Florida Atlantic.
Cain, a three-time Lisa Leslie Award candidate and a two-time Big Ten All-Defensive pick, ranks No. 2 nationally in career blocks (314) among active Division I players and No. 6 in Big Ten history as Nebraska’s school record holder. Her 3.1 blocks per game rank third this season in the NCAA and lead the Big Ten.
Sam Haiby added her second consecutive double-double with 11 points and a career-high 10 assists against the Buckeyes to go along with eight rebounds. The 5-9 guard from Moorhead, Minn., contributed a double-double with 11 points and a career-high 12 rebounds in the win at No. 23 Michigan State and leads Nebraska in scoring (16.2 ppg), assists (4.4 apg) and steals (1.3 spg) on the season, while ranking second on the squad in rebounding (7.8 rpg).
Over the last three games – all against AP Top 25 opponents – Haiby is averaging 16.3 points, 9.7 rebounds and 5.7 assists.
Nebraska’s win over No. 15 Ohio State came despite the absence of sophomore Isabelle Bourne. The 6-2 forward from Canberra, Australia led the Huskers with a game-high 18 points to go along with seven rebounds in the win at No. 23 Michigan State and is averaging 14.0 points and 7.3 rebounds. She missed the Ohio State game after suffering an ankle injury at Michigan State.
Nebraska’s team defensive efforts have been outstanding in recent weeks. The Huskers are 4-1 over the last five contests – all against NET top-36 opponents that entered the game averaging better than 80 points per game. None of the opponents (Northwestern, Rutgers, Michigan, Ohio State, Michigan State) scored 65 points against Nebraska and the group averaged just 59.2 points.
The Huskers held each of the five foes to their lowest point totals of the year. The Big Red limited Ohio State to just 55 points – 35 points below its season average of 90 entering the contest.
Junior Bella Cravens has been a force as a starter in Big Ten play. The 6-3 forward from Laie, Hawaii, ranks second in the Big Ten in conference play-only with 9.8 rebounds per game to go with 7.3 points per game. She had a career-high-tying 16 rebounds in the win over Illinois. She added 14 huge boards in the win over No. 15 Ohio State. She grabbed 13 boards in the win over Rutgers and had nine points, nine rebounds and three blocks in the win at No. 23 Michigan State.
Ashley Scoggin has stepped into a major role in her first year as a Husker. The 22-year-old redshirt sophomore has started all 11 games and is averaging 7.5 points while leading NU with 16 made three-pointers (.390). She posted career highs of 16 points against Purdue and Idaho State.
True Freshmen Whitney Brown and Ruby Porter came up big for the Huskers against No. 15 Ohio State. Porter made her first career start in place of Isabelle Bourne and hit a key three-pointer while adding a career-high five rebounds. Brown, a walk-on from Grand Island, erupted for a career-high 14 points on 4-of-8 three-point shooting in a career-high 28 minutes.
Scouting The Minnesota Golden Gophers
Head coach Lindsay Whalen’s Minnesota team has struggled early in 2020-21. The Golden Gophers are 2-7 overall with a 72-68 win over Eastern Illinois in their season opener on Dec. 2, before getting an 88-83 overtime win over Wisconsin on Jan. 3.
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. However, the Gophers have had 13 players see action this season, including four who have played in all nine games.
Jasmine Powell is the only Gopher to start all nine games. The 5-6 sophomore from Detroit leads Minnesota with 17.3 points, 6.0 assists and 1.7 steals this season while ranking second on the squad with 5.2 rebounds. She also leads Minnesota in field goals made, three-pointers made (24) and free throws made (32), but is also averaging nearly five turnovers per contest. Powell was a member of the Big Ten All-Freshman Team and an honorable-mention All-Big Ten choice last season.
Kadi Sissoko has joined Powell in the starting five for eight games, while averaging 12.4 points and a team-best 6.6 rebounds. The redshirt sophomore from Paris, France, who transferred from Syracuse, is tied with Klarke Sconiers, who has also made eight starts, for the team lead with six blocks on the season. Sconiers, a 6-2 center from Queens, N.Y., is averaging 6.0 points and 5.1 rebounds while leading the team in field goal percentage (.529).
Minnesota’s most experienced player is redshirt senior Gadiva Hubbard, who is averaging 10.1 points and 3.1 rebounds while ranking second on the team in assists and steals. Hubbard, who was an honorable-mention All-Big Ten pick in 2020, owns 1,163 career points.
Sophomore Sara Scalia has been in and out of the Gopher lineup early in the season. She missed Minnesota’s first two contests before starting the next four games. The Big Ten All-Freshman and honorable-mention all-conference choice came off the bench to score a season-high 18 points and play 35 minutes in a loss at Iowa before missing the loss to Penn State (Jan. 10). She played a season-high 36 minutes and scored 14 points in last Sunday’s loss to Maryland.
Laura Bagwell Katalinich, a 6-0 graduate transfer from Cornell, has averaged 7.0 points and made a start for the Gophers. She was a first-team All-Ivy League selection as a junior in 2018-19.
Alexia Smith, Grace Cumming, Erin Hedman and former Husker Kayla Mershon have all started at least one game for the Gophers. Mershon is averaging 4.4 points and 4.0 rebounds over five games.
Minnesota has recently been bolstered by the addition of early enrollee Katie Borowicz. The mid-year graduate of Roseau High School in Minnesota, was the No. 98 player and No. 19 point guard in the 2021 class according to ESPN. As a junior, she averaged 31.3 points, 6.8 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 6.2 steals and scored more than 2,000 points in her five-year high school career. She has come off the bench in each of Minnesota’s last two games.
As a team, Minnesota is averaging 67.9 points but surrendering 81.9 points per game. The Gophers carry a minus-1.2 rebound margin and a minus-2.3 turnover margin, while shooting just 37.9 percent from the field and 29.5 percent from three-point range. Opponents are shooting 47.3 percent, including 39.5 percent against the Gophers. The opposition also has hit 79 percent of its free throws.
Nebraska vs. Minnesota Series History
Nebraska leads the all-time series with Minnesota 14-10, including back-to-back wins over top-25 Gopher teams in their last two visits to Lincoln. However, the Huskers dropped a 67-61 decision at Minnesota (Jan. 30, 2020) in the last meeting between the schools, snapping a three-game Husker winning streak in the series.
Kate Cain led Nebraska with 19 points, 15 rebounds and six blocks in last season’s win in Lincoln.
Nebraska owns a 9-5 edge as Big Ten foes.
Nebraska is 11-3 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 Schedule Notes
Nebraska’s win over No. 15 Ohio State (Jan. 16) marked the third time this season that Nebraska has played an AP No. 15 team that also entered the game unbeaten (Northwestern, 4-0; Michigan, 7-0; Ohio State, 7-0).
Overall, Ohio State was the fifth Nebraska opponent in 11 games this season to enter the contest unbeaten, joining ORU (0-0), Idaho State (1-0), No. 15 Northwestern (4-0), No. 15 Michigan (7-0) and No. 15 Ohio State (7-0).
Nebraska’s non-conference win over Idaho State is holding strong. The preseason favorite to win the Big Sky, the Bengals are 10-1 with their only loss at Nebraska (64-51). Two days after losing at Nebraska, Idaho State rolled to a 65-50 win at Kansas State. The Bengals have opened Big Sky play at 8-0 with sweeps of Northern Colorado, Weber State, Northern Arizona and Sacramento State. Idaho State has won seven of its 10 games by double digits and all 10 wins are by at least two possessions.
NU is 6-0 at home this season and owns an eight-game winning streak at Pinnacle Bank Arena that began with a 75-58 win over Penn State on Feb. 13, 2020. (Last loss, Indiana, 57-53, Feb. 9, 2020).