The Nebraska women’s basketball team will play a marquee opponent on its home court at Pinnacle Bank Arena, when the Big Red battle the Duke Blue Devils in the B1G/ACC Challenge in December.
The clash between the Huskers and Blue Devils on Wednesday, Dec. 4, marks the first announcement of a game in Nebraska’s upcoming 2019-20 season schedule. It will also be the third overall meeting between Nebraska and Duke in history, with the most recent coming as part of the B1G/ACC Challenge on Dec. 3, 2014, at Pinnacle Bank Arena. The Huskers won that challenge match-up, 60-54. Duke won the first meeting in the 2013 NCAA Sweet Sixteen in Norfolk, Va., with a hard-fought 53-45 victory.
Both Nebraska and Duke have rich postseason traditions. The Huskers have made 14 NCAA Tournament appearances since 1988, including six since 2010 with their most recent appearance in 2018. The Blue Devils have earned 24 all-time NCAA Tournament bids, including eight since 2010 with their most recent trip to the Big Dance in 2018.
The Huskers and Blue Devils are both poised to be teams on the rise in 2019-20. Last year, Duke finished with a 15-15 overall record that included a 6-10 ACC mark. The Huskers went 14-16 overall and 9-9 in the Big Ten.
Nebraska returns all but one player from its 2019-20 roster, including four freshmen who combined for 893 points last season. It was the most points scored by a Husker freshman class since 1981-82, while the quartet (Leigha Brown, Sam Haiby, Kayla Mershon, Ashtyn Veerbeek) played the third-most minutes (2,222) of any freshman class in Nebraska women’s basketball history.
The Huskers also return two-time All-Big Ten guard Hannah Whitish. The senior from Barneveld, Wis., needs just 34 points to become the 33rd 1,000-point scorer in Nebraska history. Fellow senior and three-year starter Nicea Eliely will add more experience for the Big Red, along with seniors Grace Mitchell and Kristian Hudson and juniors Taylor Kissinger and Kate Cain. Kissinger (Minden, Neb.) finished fourth in the nation by knocking down 45.6 percent (62-136) of her three-point attempts last season.
Incoming freshmen Isabelle Bourne, Trinity Brady and Makenzie Helms are also set to help the Huskers in 2019-20.
The Blue Devils return a trio of double-digit scorers from a year ago, led by first-team All-ACC guard Haley Gorecki. The 6-0 senior-to-be averaged team bests of 17.2 points, 7.1 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 2.6 steals per game for Duke last season. She will be joined by fellow senior Leaonna Odom (13.1 ppg, 6.4 rpg) and sophomore Miela Goodchild (10.9 ppg), who earned All-ACC Freshman honors in 2018-19.
Goodchild, who will be a teammate of Husker freshman Isabelle Bourne on the Australian National Team at the FIBA Under-19 World Cup this July in Bangkok, Thailand, shot a solid 44.5 percent (73-164) from three-point range for the Blue Devils a year ago to rank sixth in NCAA Division I in that category to finish just two spots behind Nebraska’s Taylor Kissinger in the national rankings.
Nebraska’s B1G/ACC Challenge game with Duke is the first announced game on the Huskers’ 2019-20. More non-conference game dates will be announced soon as contracts are finalized. Visit Huskers.com for the most current schedule information on Nebraska women’s basketball. For 2019-20 season ticket information, call 1-800-8-BIG-RED.