The Nebraska women’s basketball team will work to get back on the winning track when the Huskers play host to Penn State on Thursday night in Lincoln. Tip-off between the Huskers (15-9, 5-8 Big Ten) and the Lady Lions (7-17, 1-12 Big Ten) is set for 7 p.m. (CT) at Pinnacle Bank Arena. The game will be broadcast on KBBN 95.3 FM with coverage on the Huskers Sports Network beginning at 6:45.
Nebraska will be trying to snap a four-game losing streak after a 57-53 loss to No. 18 Indiana on Sunday. The Huskers rallied from a 25-point first-half deficit to tie the game twice in the fourth quarter against the Hoosiers, before falling in the closing seconds. It marked the second time in Nebraska’s last three home games that they rallied from 20-point deficits (also Purdue, Jan. 22) to tie the game or take the lead in the fourth quarter before falling.
Kate Cain continues to rewrite the Nebraska record book for blocked shots. The 6-5 center from Middletown, N.Y., has smashed the Husker career mark with 259 blocks in 86 games. The previous record, which stood for 38 years, was 238 blocks in 136 games by Janet Smith (1979-82).
Cain had five blocks in the second half against Indiana to push her Nebraska junior season record total to 80 – the second-best season total in school history, trailing only her 100 blocks as a freshman in 2017-18. Cain, who leads the Big Ten with 3.3 blocks per game, is averaging 4.7 blocks over the past seven games. Her 80 total blocks rank third nationally this season.
• Sophomore Leigha Brown continues to be a leading contender for Big Ten Sixth Player of the Year. Brown leads the Huskers with 13.5 points per game – the top scoring average of any non-starter in the Big Ten.
Scouting the Penn State Lady Lions
• Penn State comes to Lincoln with a 7-17 overall record in Coach Carolyn Kieger’s first season leading the Lady Lions after replacing 12-year PSU head coach Coquese Washington.
• Last season, Penn State finished 12-18 overall and 5-13 in the Big Ten. Kieger led Marquette to a 27-8 record and a trip to the second round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament.
• Penn State is trying to snap a nine-game losing streak dating back to an 86-73 win over Michigan State in State College on Jan. 9. Most recently, the Lady Lions suffered a 70-66 loss to Illinois at the Bryce Jordan Center on Sunday.
• While Penn State has found wins difficult to come by, the Lady Lions feature several explosive guards, led by Kamaria McDaniel. The 5-10 junior leads the Big Ten in scoring this season with 19.9 points per game. She also leads Penn State with 3.0 assists per contest, while adding 3.9 rebounds.
• Senior guard Siyeh Frazier has added 12.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.2 assists and a team-leading 2.3 steals per game, which ranks third in the Big Ten. Frazier is Penn State’s top three-point shooter by percentage (.383), while McDaniel leads the Lady Lions with 36 threes on the season.
• Makenna Marisa, a 5-11 freshman, rounds out Penn State’s starting backcourt. Marisa is averaging 9.2 points and 4.7 rebounds while ranking second on the team with 2.5 assists per game. Marisa has hit 28 threes, and ranks second on the team with 35 steals on the year.
• Alisia Smith, a 6-3 junior forward from Lansing, Mich., has been Penn State’s most productive player inside. Smith is averaging 6.7 points and a team-best 5.5 rebounds. Smith has started 15 games on the year including six in the Big Ten, but has recently given way to freshman Anna Camden in the starting five. Camden, a 6-3 forward, is averaging 4.8 points and 2.1 rebounds.
• Lauren Ebo, a 6-4 sophomore forward, is contributing 6.1 points and 5.3 rebounds. Neither Smith nor Ebo have hit a three-point shot this season. Camden provides a much different look than Smith or Ebo because of her 36.4 percent success from long range. Camden is tied with Makenna Marisa for second on the team with 28 threes this season.
• Shay Hagans, a 5-6 freshman guard, has been a major contributor off the bench with 5.0 points and 2.7 assists while playing in all 24 games with nine starts.
• Freshman guard Mya Bembry has also played in all 24 games with two starts, averaging 1.8 points and 2.7 rebounds on the year. Hagans (9-40) and Bembry (1-15) are a combined 10-for-55 from three-point range.
• Bexley Wallace, a 6-3 sophomore forward, provides added depth inside for the Lady Lions. She has managed 1.7 points and 1.4 rebounds. She has not played since making her only start of the year in a loss to Northwestern (Feb. 2).
• As a team, Penn State is shooting just 39.6 percent from the field for the season, including 31 percent from three-point range while averaging 5.0 made threes per game. PSU is a solid 73.1 percent at the free throw line, including 74.9 percent in Big Ten play. The Lady Lions own a plus-0.4 rebound margin on the year, but a minus-3.5 deficit on the glass in Big Ten play. Penn State also carries a negative-3.0 turnover margin on the year, including minus-3.9 in Big Ten action.
Nebraska vs. Penn State Series History
• Nebraska leads the all-time series with Penn State, 7-6, including six wins in the last seven meetings with the Lady Lions.
• Nebraska owns a 4-2 edge against Penn State in Lincoln, including four consecutive wins at Pinnacle Bank Arena by the Huskers. NU won the last meeting with the Lady Lions in Lincoln, 59-51, on Feb. 22, 2018.
• Nebraska is 3-3 all-time at Penn State with its last victory at the Bryce Jordan Center coming in a 79-74 win on March 2, 2019.
• The Huskers’ first-ever Big Ten win came at Penn State on Dec. 30, 2011 (71-63).
• Penn State defeated Nebraska 82-67 in the Huskers’ final regular-season conference home game at the Bob Devaney Sports Center on March 3, 2013. In that game, Big Ten Player-of-the-Year Maggie Lucas hit a Devaney Center-record eight three-pointers against the Huskers. Penn State clinched the Big Ten regular-season title with the win. That Nebraska team advanced to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen.
• Penn State won the first meeting between the two teams 102-66 in State College on Jan. 2, 1993.
• Penn State is 1-0 against Nebraska on neutral courts, including an 83-64 win over the Huskers in the Surf-N-Slam championship game in San Diego on Dec. 30, 2002.