The Nebraska women’s basketball team opens its stay at the 2020 Big Ten Tournament by taking on Michigan Thursday in Indianapolis. Tip-off between the No. 10 seed Huskers (17-12, 7-11 Big Ten) and the No. 7 seed Wolverines (19-10, 10-8 Big Ten) is set for 5:30 p.m. (CT) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. It will be the fifth game of the tournament and the opening game of the second day’s evening session. Both Nebraska and Michigan earned first-round byes in the 14-team tournament.
Sophomore Leigha Brown (Auburn, Ind.) leads the Huskers to her home state after earning Big Ten Sixth Player-of-the-Year honors from both the conference coaches and media. Nebraska’s leading scorer at 14.2 points per game, Brown was also an honorable-mention All-Big Ten selection. She closed the regular season by earning a spot on the Big Ten Weekly Honor Roll after scoring 22 points at No. 22 Indiana in Bloomington on Feb. 27.
Brown, who was a finalist for Indiana High School Player-of-the-Year honors as a senior at DeKalb High School in 2017-18, leads all Big Ten reserves and ranks 12th in the conference overall in scoring. No other non-starter in the Big Ten ranks among the league’s top 25 in scoring.
Kate Cain joined Brown as an honorable-mention All-Big Ten choice while claiming a spot on the Big Ten All-Defensive Team from both the coaches and league media. Cain, a 6-5 junior from Middletown, N.Y., leads the Big Ten with 98 blocks this season. Her 277 career blocks rank in the top 10 in Big Ten history and are a Nebraska school record. She needs two more blocks to match her Nebraska single-season record set with 100 in 2017-18, when she also earned Big Ten All-Defensive honors.
Cain, who is averaging 9.2 points and 7.4 rebounds per game on the season, led the Big Ten in both blocks (3.6 bpg) and defensive rebounds (6.7 drpg) during regular-season conference play.
In the only meeting between Nebraska and Michigan this season, the Huskers won 74-71. Husker senior Hannah Whitish scored a game-high 20 points by knocking down a season-high six threes. She also had a game-high five assists. Sam Haiby added 18 points and a trio of threes, while Nicea Eliely pitched in 11 points and three threes of her own. Nebraska went 12-for-24 from long range against Michigan, while the Wolverines answered with 8-for-14 three-point shooting. Hailey Brown led Michigan with 17 points, Naz Hillmon had 15 and Akienreh Johnson contributed 13 points and a game-high eight rebounds.
Today’s game will be broadcast on KBBN 95.3 FM. Coverage on the Huskers Sports Network begins at 5:15 p.m.