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Huskers return to Big Ten Road; Play at Penn State

The Nebraska women's basketball team gets ready to play Illinois at home.
The Nebraska women's basketball team gets ready to play Illinois at home.(KOLN)
Published: Feb. 2, 2021 at 5:02 PM CST
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) -The Nebraska women’s basketball team takes aim at its third straight Big Ten road win when the Huskers travel to University Park to face Penn State on Thursday. Tip-off between the Big Red (9-5, 7-4 Big Ten) and the Lady Lions (6-7, 3-6 Big Ten) at the Bryce Jordan Center is set for 5 p.m. (CT).

Live video will provided to subscribers of Big Ten Network Plus 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 on Huskers.com.

Nebraska hopes to be fresh after a week off from competition, following an 84-68 run past Wisconsin in Lincoln on Thursday, Jan. 28. It marked NU’s fourth win in the last five games, beginning with a road win at No. 23 Michigan State (Jan. 10). The Huskers added an upset of No. 15 Ohio State (Jan. 16), before notching a road win at Illinois (Jan. 25).

Sam Haiby continues to rise as a star in the Big Ten. The 5-9 junior guard from Moorhead, Minn., averaged 23.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists in last week’s wins. She leads Nebraska in scoring (17.8 ppg), assists (4.2 apg) and steals (1.2 spg) while ranking second on the team in rebounding (7.6 rpg). She has made four appearances on the Big Ten Weekly Honor Roll and owns three straight 20-plus scoring efforts. She also owns three double-doubles in the last five games.

The Big Red have surged despite the absence of Isabelle Bourne (14.0 ppg, 7.3 rpg) over the past four games. Bourne, a 6-2 sophomore from Canberra, Australia, has been out since suffering an ankle sprain in the closing seconds of the win at Michigan State (Jan. 10). She returned to practice this week and could be available at Penn State.

Ruby Porter, a 5-10 freshman from Adelaide, Australia, stepped into the starting five in Bourne’s place and has averaged 8.3 points and 3.8 rebounds, including back-to-back double-figure scoring efforts in last week’s wins.

Freshman Annika Stewart also has stepped up in Bourne’s absence. The 6-3 forward from Minneapolis averaged 12.5 points and 4.5 rebounds in just 19 minutes per game in last week’s wins over Illinois and Wisconsin. Stewart buried back-to-back threes in a one-minute span midway through the fourth quarter to shoot Nebraska to the lead for good against the Illini (Jan. 25).

Kate Cain joined the list for another national award on Jan. 26 when she was included among 15 players on the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year Watch List. Cain, a 6-5 center from Middletown, N.Y., leads the Big Ten with 3.3 blocks per game. She ranks sixth in Big Ten history with a Nebraska record 326 career blocks, including a Big Ten-best and school-record 101 blocks last season. A three-time Lisa Leslie Award candidate, Cain nearly produced a triple-double with 22 points, 12 rebounds and nine blocks in NU’s upset of No. 15 Ohio State (Jan. 16). A two-time Big Ten All-Defensive pick (2018, 2020), Cain ranks No. 2 among active NCAA Division I players in career blocks. She added her third double-double of the year with 16 points, 10 rebounds and six blocks in the win over Wisconsin.

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