The Nebraska women’s basketball team closes the 2018 calendar year with its first Big Ten Conference road game of the season when the Huskers battle the defending conference champion Ohio State Buckeyes on New Year’s Eve in Columbus, Ohio.
• Tip off between Nebraska (6-6, 1-0 Big Ten) and the Buckeyes (4-6, 0-1 Big Ten) on Monday is set for Noon (CT) at Value City Arena. Live radio coverage (beginning at 11:45 a.m.) can be heard in Lincoln on B107.3 FM, in Omaha on ESPN 590 AM and across the state on Husker Sports Network stations. Free live audio can also be found at Huskers.com, the Huskers App and TuneIn.
• Live television coverage will be provided by BTN with Chris Vosters and Christy Winters Scott on the call. It will be Nebraska’s second straight appearance on BTN following a network appearance in a Big Ten home win over Michigan in Lincoln on Friday night.
• Nebraska extended its home winning streak to five games by surging to a 70-56 come-from-behind win over the Wolverines at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Nicea Eliely and Sam Haiby fueled a huge fourth-quarter rally for the Big Red, which trailed 43-37 at the end of three quarters. Eliely scored all of her game-high 14 points in the final period, while Haiby added 10 points in the quarter. Nebraska outscored Michigan 33-13 over the final 10 minutes.
• Nebraska improved to 5-1 at home with the win over Michigan, but the young Huskers who feature four freshmen and two sophomores among their active nine-player rotation heading to Ohio State, are 0-5 in true road games this season. Ohio State is 4-1 at home.
• The Huskers have also lost five straight games in the series with the Buckeyes, including double-digit losses to OSU in Columbus (96-70, Feb. 18, 2016; 95-75, Jan. 29, 2017). The Huskers did not play at Ohio State in 2017-18, but did suffer a 73-61 loss to the then-No. 12 Buckeyes in last year’s Big Ten opener in Lincoln (Dec. 28, 2017).
• Ohio State, which won the Big Ten regular-season and tournament titles last year, lost all five starters including All-American Kelsey Mitchell from a team that finished 28-7 overall and 13-3 in the Big Ten in 2017-18. Three of Ohio State’s starters are graduate transfers from other Division I schools, along with senior returner Makayla Waterman. The Buckeyes also feature one of the Big Ten’s best freshmen in Dorka Juhasz, who is averaging team bests of 11.3 points and 8.3 rebounds.
• Nebraska also features several of the conference’s best freshmen, including Sam Haiby (11.1 ppg), Leigha Brown (8.8 ppg) and Ashtyn Veerbeek (8.3 ppg, 6.3 rpg).
• Nebraska’s Haiby, who has not started a game, and Ohio State’s Juhasz, who has started all 10 contests for OSU, are the only freshmen in the Big Ten leading their teams in scoring on the season.
Nebraska Cornhuskers (6-6, 1-0 Big Ten)
24 – Maddie Simon – 6-2 – Sr. – F – 8.3 ppg, 4.1 rpg
31 – Kate Cain – 6-5 – So. – C – 8.8 ppg, 6.9 rpg
3 – Hannah Whitish – 5-9 – Jr. – G – 8.0 ppg, 2.7 rpg
5 – Nicea Eliely – 6-1 – Jr. – G – 8.5 ppg, 4.8 rpg
33 – Taylor Kissinger – 6-1 – So. – G – 10.1 ppg, 4.3 rpg
Off the Bench
4 – Sam Haiby – 5-9 – Fr. – G – 11.1 ppg, 3.5 rpg
32 – Leigha Brown – 6-1 – Fr. – F – 8.8 ppg, 2.3 rpg
13 – Ashtyn Veerbeek – 6-2 – Fr. – F – 8.3 ppg, 6.3 rpg
44 – Kayla Mershon – 6-3 – Fr. – F – 2.5 ppg, 2.3 rpg
14 – Grace Mitchell – 6-2 – Jr. – F – 1.4 ppg, 1.5 rpg
11(out) – Kristian Hudson – 5-5 – Sr. – G – 2.4 ppg, 1.6 rpg
Head Coach: Amy Williams (Nebraska, 1998)
Third Season at Nebraska (34-39); 12th Season Overall (227-148)
Ohio State Buckeyes (4-6, 0-1 Big Ten)
14 – Dorka Juhasz – 6-4 – Fr. – F – 11.3 ppg, 8.3 rpg
24 – Makayla Waterman – 6-2 – Sr. – F – 7.2 ppg, 5.8 rpg
10 – Carly Santoro – 5-10 – Sr. – G – 9.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg
1 – Carmen Grande – 5-8 – Sr. – G – 6.7 ppg, 3.1 rpg
15 – Adreana Miller – 5-11 – Sr. – G – 5.0 ppg, 2.2 rpg
Off the Bench
32 – Aaliyah Patty – 6-3 – Fr. – F – 6.3 ppg, 3.8 rpg
33 – Jensen Caretti – 6-1 – So. – G – 4.4 ppg, 1.4 rpg
23 – Najah Queenland – 5-10 – Sr. – G – 4.4 ppg, 3.1 rpg
3 – Janai Crooms – 5-10 – Fr. – G – 3.8 ppg, 2.1 rpg
Head Coach: Kevin McGuff (St. Joseph’s College, 1992)
Sixth Season at Ohio State (127-57); 17th Season Overall (382-156)
Scouting the Ohio State Buckeyes
• Ohio State enters Monday’s game on a three-game losing streak after suffering a 60-42 loss at Purdue in the Big Ten opener on Friday afternoon.
• The Buckeyes trailed the Boilermakers 42-35 at the end of three quarters before being outscored 18-7 in the fourth at Mackey Arena.
• Carmen Grande, a graduate transfer point guard to Ohio State from Ball State, led the Buckeyes with 11 points and six assists. For the season, Grande is averaging 6.7 points and 5.0 assists in a team-high 32.5 minutes per game. Grande is shooting just 24.7 percent (21-85) from the field, including 10-for-29 (.345) from three-point range. She is just 11-for-56 (.196) on two-point shots this season. She has knocked down 88.2 percent (15-17) of her free throws. Grande is the only Buckeye with a positive assist-to-turnover ratio (50-34) this season.
• The only relatively significant returning piece to Ohio State’s Big Ten championship team from a year ago, senior Makayla Waterman has produced 7.2 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. The 6-2 forward also leads the Buckeyes with 1.7 blocks per game, but is shooting just 34.7 percent (26-75) from the field, including just 2-for-14 (.143) from three-point range. She averaged 3.5 and 3.9 rebounds in 18.2 minutes per game last season. Waterman opened Big Ten play with six points at Purdue.
• Dorka Juhasz is one of three freshmen on the Ohio State roster. A 6-4 forward from Pecs, Hungary, Juhasz leads Ohio State with 11.3 points and 8.3 rebounds per game as one of the Big Ten’s most productive freshmen. Juhasz is shooting 41.9 percent (44-105) from the field, but is just 4-for-25 (.160) from three-point range while hitting 65.6 percent (21-32) of her free throws. She managed just two points in OSU’s Big Ten-opening loss at Purdue on Friday.
• Carly Santoro, a 5-10 graduate transfer guard from Bowling Green, ranks second on the team in scoring with 9.5 points and third in rebounding with 5.5 boards per contest. She also ranks second on the squad in assists (2.0) and steals (1.2). Santoro is shooting just 37.8 percent (31-82) from the field, including 11-for-41 (.268) from three, while hitting just 22-of-41 free throws (.537). Santoro managed six points at Purdue in the Big Ten opener.
• Adreana Miller, a 5-11 graduate transfer guard from LaSalle, rounds out OSU’s probable starting five. Miller is averaging 5.0 points and 2.2 rebounds in 18.7 minutes per game. She is shooting just 25.9 percent (15-58) from the field, but has been OSU’s most productive three-point shooter by knocking down 11-of-30 long-range attempts (.367). She is just 4-for-28 (.143) this season on two-point attempts. Miller was scoreless at Purdue, going 0-for-5 from the field.
• Graduate transfer Najah Queenland, a 5-10 guard from Pacific, led Ohio State off the bench with seven points at Purdue. She is averaging 4.4 points and 3.1 rebounds while shooting a team-best 53.1 percent (17-32) from the field.
• Freshmen Aaliyah Patty (6.3 ppg, 3.8 rpg) and Janai Crooms (3.8 ppg, 2.1 rpg) have seen significant playing time off the bench. Patty had four points and a team-high eight rebounds in the Big Ten opener at Purdue, while Crooms added two points and four rebounds.
• Buckeye sophomore Jensen Caretti has managed 4.4 points per game, including four at Purdue.
• For the season, Ohio State is shooting a dismal 37 percent from the field, including just 27.6 percent (50-181) from three-point range. The Buckeyes have also hit just 60.8 percent of their free throws. They do own a plus-2.2 rebound margin, but a minus-1.5 team turnover margin.
Nebraska vs. Ohio State Series History
• Ohio State leads the all-time series with Nebraska 9-7, including five straight victories over the Huskers – all by double figures.
• Prior to Ohio State’s five-game series win streak, Nebraska reeled off five straight series wins – all by at least eight points – capped by a 67-59 victory over the Buckeyes in Columbus on Feb. 20, 2014.
• Nebraska and Ohio State met five times before the Huskers joined the Big Ten, with the Buckeyes owning a 3-2 edge as non-conference opponents. NU won the first-ever meeting between the two teams, a 63-54 Husker win in Columbus on Dec. 2, 1990. The Huskers also defeated OSU 60-55 at the Devaney Center in Lincoln on Dec. 12, 2003, in the second meeting.
• NU dropped four straight games to Ohio State, including three in Columbus, capped by an 82-68 loss at Value City Arena on Jan. 19, 2012 – the first meeting between the two teams as Big Ten foes.
• Ohio State owns a 6-5 edge against Nebraska as Big Ten foes, including a 73-61 win in the only meeting between the two teams last season in Lincoln.
• Monday’s game will be the lone regular-season meeting between NU and OSU in 2018-19.
• Nebraska is 3-5 all-time against Ohio State in Columbus.
• Nebraska’s bench outscored the opposition 149-53 over the final four non-conference games, including a season-high 45 points at Arkansas. NU’s bench posted a season-best bench scoring differential (+37) in its last non-conference home game by outscoring Denver, 40-3.
• The Husker bench has outscored opponents in each of NU’s 12 games this year, including double-digit advantages in nine games.
• Nebraska’s bench has scored 40 or more points four times, including 45 at Arkansas, 42 points against San Jose State, 41 points against Drake and 40 against Denver.
• Overall, Nebraska’s bench has outscored opposition benches 394-170 (32.8-14.2 ppg) for a plus-18.6 margin.
• In Nebraska’s Big Ten-opening win over Michigan (Dec. 28), the Husker bench outscored the Wolverine bench 28-10, including 14-0 in the fourth quarter.
• Nebraska’s 34 points in the fourth quarter against San Jose State tied for the most in any quarter in school history. It joined 34 in the second quarter at Iowa and 34 in the fourth quarter against Florida Atlantic in games last season.
• The Huskers added 33 points in the fourth quarter in the win over Michigan (Dec. 28), outscoring the Wolverines 33-13 in the period.
• NU’s 62 points in the second half against San Jose State tied for the fifth-most points scored in any half by the Huskers in school history.
• Freshman Sam Haiby led Nebraska with 13 points in a season-opening loss to Drake (Nov. 7). Haiby is the first Husker freshman to lead NU in scoring in an opener since Kelsey Griffin’s 18 in a loss to South Dakota State (Nov. 19, 2005).
• Haiby has been Nebraska’s scoring leader in five of 12 games this season and has produced double figures a team-best seven times.
• Nicea Eliely leads Nebraska’s active roster with 67 career starts as a Husker. Hannah Whitish (60) is the only other Husker with as many as 50 starts at Nebraska.
Freshmen Contributing Early for Huskers
• Nebraska has received production early and often from its 2018-19 freshman class. The four-player class, which was ranked among the top 20 recruiting classes in the nation by ESPN last season, features Sam Haiby (1 1.1 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 2.8 apg), Leigha Brown (8.8 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 1.2 apg) Ashtyn Veerbeek (8.3 ppg, 6.3 rpg) and Kayla Mershon (2.5 ppg, 2.3 rpg).
• Haiby, a 5-9 guard from Moorhead, Minn., leads Nebraska with 11.1 points per game off the bench. She has led the Huskers in scoring in five games, including against nationally ranked Drake (13) and Miami (14), while also scoring a career-high 20 points at Washington State and adding 17 points at Creighton. She also had 16 points to lead the Huskers at Arkansas (Dec. 18). She owns seven double-figure scoring efforts overall, including 12 points at No. 5 Louisville (Nov. 29) and 12 more in Nebraska’s Big Ten-opening win over Michigan (Dec. 28).
• Haiby also ranks second among the Huskers in assists (2.8 apg).
• Leigha Brown ranks second among the freshmen in scoring with 8.8 points per game after opening Big Ten play with 11 points and a career-high five rebounds in the win over Michigan (Dec. 28). She set a career high with 18 points in the win over San Jose State (Dec. 8), before adding 17 points and a career-high five assists in the win over Denver (Dec. 15). The 6-1 wing from Auburn, Indiana owns four double-figure scoring efforts and has led the Big Red in scoring twice this season. Brown has committed a total of just six turnovers over the past 10 games.
• Ashtyn Veerbeek ranks third among the Husker freshmen in scoring with 8.3 points per game, while leading the group and ranking second on the team with 6.3 rebounds. Veerbeek produced her first career double-double with career highs of 14 points and 14 rebounds in a win over San Jose State (Dec. 8). She matched her career high with 14 points in just 14 minutes in the win over Denver (Dec. 15). She added 14 points for the third straight game at Arkansas (Dec. 18) for her fourth double-digit scoring effort in the last eight contests. She ranks second among the Huskers with 11 blocks.
• Kayla Mershon has pitched in 2.5 points and 2.3 rebounds per game for the Huskers, including a career-high seven rebounds in the win over Kansas (Dec. 5). The 6-3 forward from Chanhassen, Minn., also has dished out 10 assists and has committed a team-best four turnovers through 12 games. She has an assist-to-turnover ratio of 10-to-4 (2.5-to-1) while adding six steals and four blocks.
• The freshmen have combined for 39.8 percent (369-of-926) of Nebraska’s points in just 34.2 percent of the team’s total minutes (839-of-2,450) on the season. They also have accounted for just 27.6 percent (53-of-192) of Nebraska’s turnovers.
• Nebraska’s four freshmen are combining to average 30.8 points and 14.5 rebounds per game, while NU’s two sophomores (Kate Cain, Taylor Kissinger) have combined to average 18.9 points and 11.2 boards per contest. Nebraska’s six underclassmen have combined for 64.4 percent of NU’s scoring and 59.6 percent of the team’s rebounding through 12 games.
• Sophomore Kate Cain owns the longest streak of consecutive starts by a Husker with 43.
• Junior Nicea Eliely owns Nebraska’s second-longest streak of starts with 38, while senior Maddie Simon has started 36 consecutive games.
• Kate Cain has at least two rebounds in every game of her Nebraska career (44), and she has blocked at least one shot in 42 of 44 games (no blocks in 2018 NCAA Tournament vs. Arizona State and no blocks at Creighton, Dec. 2, 2018).
• Sophomore Taylor Kissinger is 14-for-14 at the free throw line to open the season and owns the longest active free throw streak by a Husker. Kissinger also hit eight consecutive three-pointers over a three-game stretch earlier this season.
• Kissinger has knocked down at least two three-pointers in five consecutive games.
• Nicea Eliely has hit nine consecutive two-point field goal attempts over the last three games. During that same span, Eliely is shooting 78.6 percent (11-14) overall, including 2-of-5 from three-point range. She is also 8-for-10 at the free throw line during that stretch.
• Junior Grace Mitchell had appeared in 13 consecutive games off the bench, including the first 11 contests this season, before missing the Big Ten opener against Michigan (Dec. 28) with a foot injury. Mitchell is listed as day-to-day with the injury.
• The Huskers have knocked down at least one three in 324 straight games dating back to a loss at UTEP on Dec. 20, 2008. Nebraska has hit at least two three-pointers in 203 consecutive games.