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Huskers shoot for sweep of Fighting Illini Monday

(WOWT)
Published: Jan. 23, 2021 at 2:57 PM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) -The Nebraska women’s basketball team completes its regular-season series with Illinois on Monday, when the Huskers (7-5, 5-4 Big Ten) travel to Urbana-Champaign to take on the Fighting Illini (2-7, 0-6 Big Ten). Tip-off at the State Farm Center is set for 7 p.m. (CT).

The Big Ten Network will provide a live telecast with Chris Vosters and Meghan McKeown 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 opened Big Ten play with a hard-fought 78-72 win over Illinois in Lincoln on Dec. 10. Sam Haiby scored a career-high 33 points and added nine rebounds and four assists in the victory. Isabelle Bourne contributed 21 points and eight rebounds of her own, as those efforts helped the Huskers offset an Illini roster that featured five players who scored in double figures (Jada Peebles-16, Eva Rubin-13, Solape Amusan-13, J-Naya Ephraim-11, Aaliyah Nye-10).

Haiby, a 5-9 guard from Moorhead, Minn., has continued to put up strong numbers, leading the Huskers in scoring (16.9 ppg), rebounding (8.2 rpg), assists (4.3 apg) and steals (1.3 spg). She had her third straight double-double with 25 points and 12 rebounds in a loss to Minnesota (Jan. 19). Haiby is pushing for All-Big Ten honors and is a three-time Big Ten Weekly Honor Roll selection this season.

Bourne was big for Nebraska through the first 10 games, averaging 14.0 points and 7.3 rebounds before suffering an ankle injury in the closing seconds of the win at No. 23 Michigan State (Jan. 10). Bourne did not play in the victory over No. 15 Ohio State (Jan. 16) or the loss to Minnesota.

Since the first meeting, Nebraska has fought hard to go 4-4 against Big Ten foes with three wins over top-25 teams (Northwestern, Michigan State, Ohio State).

Illinois has lost six straight starting with the loss at Nebraska, including four losses to top-25 Big Ten foes (Indiana, Ohio State, Michigan, Northwestern) and a loss to Iowa. The Illini also had games against Michigan (Dec. 14), Southern Illinois (Dec. 22) and Michigan State (Jan. 14) postponed.

Nebraska’s Kate Cain earned Big Ten Player-of-the-Week honors (Jan. 18) after producing 22 points, 12 rebounds and nine blocks in the upset of Ohio State. The 6-5 center from Middletown, N.Y., leads the Big Ten and ranks third nationally with 3.2 blocks per game. Her 318 career blocks rank sixth in Big Ten history and second among active Division I players. She is a three-time Lisa Leslie Award candidate and a two-time Big Ten All-Defensive selection.

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 9.6 rebounds per game to go with 7.1 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 12 games, averaging 8.2 points while leading NU with 20 made threes (.385). She posted career highs of 16 points against Minnesota, Purdue and Idaho State.

True freshman Ruby Porter has started the past two games in place of Isabelle Bourne. Porter has averaged 5.0 points and 4.5 rebounds as a starter, while fellow freshman Whitney Brown has added 9.5 points and 3.0 rebounds off the bench the past two contests. 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 as the game’s second-leading scorer in the win over No. 15 Ohio State (Jan. 16).

Annika Stewart has been the most productive Husker freshman so far this season, averaging 5.0 points and 3.3 rebounds. She owns three double-figure scoring efforts, including a career-high 15 points in just nine minutes in the win over Idaho State (Dec. 6).

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