Nebraska Cornhuskers (18-14, 8-10 Big Ten)
at Kansas Jayhawks (21-11, 9-9 Big 12)
Postseason WNIT Third Round
Thursday, March 23, 2023, 6:30 p.m. (CT)
Allen Fieldhouse – Lawrence, Kansas
Live Video: ESPN+ (Josh Klingler & Wayne Simien)
Live Radio: Huskers Radio Network (6 p.m.)
Matt Coatney (PBP), Jeff Griesch (Analyst)
Lincoln (107.3 FM & 1400 AM), Omaha (590 AM), Huskers.com, Huskers App
Huskers Set for Rematch with Kansas in WNIT Super 16
The Nebraska women’s basketball team continues 2023 postseason play when the Huskers travel to Lawrence to clash with Kansas in the WNIT Super 16 on Thursday.
Tip-off between the Huskers (18-14, 8-10 Big Ten) and the Jayhawks (21-11, 9-9 Big 12) is set for 6:30 p.m. (CT) at Allen Fieldhouse.
A live video stream of the game will be provided to subscribers of ESPN+ with Josh Klingler and Wayne Simien on the call. Nebraska fans can listen across the Huskers Radio Network, including 107.3 FM and 1400 AM in Lincoln, 590 AM in Omaha, the Huskers App and Huskers.com, as Matt Coatney and Jeff Griesch call the action. Pregame starts at 6 p.m. (CT).
The Huskers advanced to the WNIT third round with a 77-57 victory over Northern Iowa in front of 6,478 fans at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln on Sunday. Isabelle Bourne led four Huskers in double figures with her second straight double-double – notching 17 points and 11 rebounds. Jaz Shelley added 16 points, eight boards and seven assists.
Kansas powered its way to a 75-47 win over border rival Missouri in front of 3,682 fans at Allen Fieldhouse on Monday. Zakiyah Franklin led five Jayhawk starters in double figures with 21 points, while Wyvette Mayberry added 16 points and seven assists.
KU entered the WNIT ranked No. 37 in the NCAA NET rankings while Nebraska was No. 43, as Thursday’s match-up will feature the No. 2 and No. 3 NET teams in the tournament, trailing only No. 19 Oregon.
The Huskers defeated the then-AP No. 20 Jayhawks, 85-79 in triple-overtime at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Dec. 21, 2022, snapping KU’s 10-game season-opening winning streak.
Nebraska is making its 23rd overall postseason tournament appearance, including its seventh in the Postseason WNIT, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2023.
The Huskers earned their third straight postseason bid, including a trip to the 2022 NCAA Tournament and an appearance in the 2021 WNIT. Nebraska was also postseason eligible in 2020 before COVID-19 led to the cancellation of all postseason play.
Over the past 20 seasons dating back to 2003-04, Nebraska has made 16 postseason appearances and has been postseason eligible 17 times, including nine NCAA bids and seven trips to the WNIT.
Scouting the Kansas Jayhawks
Kansas Coach Brandon Schneider has guided the Jayhawks to their second straight 20-win season and second consecutive postseason appearance in 2022-23. KU is 21-11 following a second-round WNIT win over Missouri (75-47) at Allen Fieldhouse on Monday. Last season, KU closed 21-10, including an NCAA Tournament first-round win over No. 9 seed Georgia Tech at Stanford.
No. 20 Kansas came to Lincoln with a 10-0 record before suffering an 85-79 triple-overtime loss to the Huskers on Dec. 21, 2022. KU closed the regular season 9-11, beginning with the loss to the Big Red and ending with a first-round Big 12 Tournament loss to TCU, which effectively kept the Jayhawks out of the NCAA Tournament despite a No. 37 NCAA NET ranking. KU was 9-9 in the Big 12.
KU features an experienced starting five led by 6-6 senior center Taiyanna Jackson. The Lisa Leslie Midseason Top 10 contender has averaged 15.0 points, 12.5 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per game. A first-team All-Big 12 choice, Jackson earned her second straight spot on the Big 12 All-Defensive Team. She was also one of 10 semifinalists for the Naismith National Defensive Player of the Year award. Jackson owns 15 double-doubles this season. She had 18 points and a season-high 21 rebounds in the first meeting with Nebraska. She grabbed 21 boards on two other occasions this season (Oklahoma State, Feb. 26; TCU, March 9).
Zakiyah Franklin leads the Jayhawks on the perimeter. The 5-8 senior guard from Lakeland, Fla., is averaging a team-high 15.9 points while shooting a team-best 48.9 percent (43-88) from three-point range. She also leads KU with 3.3 assists per game and has hit 85.8 percent (91-106) of her free throws. The first-team All-Big 12 guard led Kansas with 27 points in the first meeting with Nebraska.
Holly Kersgieter, a 5-11 senior guard from Sand Springs, Okla., has added 13.8 points and 6.1 rebounds. An honorable-mention All-Big 12 pick, Kersgieter is KU’s most active three-point shooter, hitting 58-of-183 (.317) on the season. She has scored in double figures in 23 of her 29 games, including a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds at Nebraska.
Wyvette Mayberry has added 11.8 points in her first season on the court at Kansas after transferring from Tulsa. As a sophomore at Tulsa, she earned second-team All-American Athletic Conference honors by averaging 14.1 points per game while shooting 43 percent from three-point range. She was also a member of the All-AAC Freshman Team in 2020-21 after averaging 12.3 points per contest. Mayberry owns 19 double-digit efforts as a Jayhawk, but had just two points in 37 minutes at Nebraska.
Chandler Prater, a 5-11 junior guard from Kansas City, Mo., rounds out KU’s probable starting five by averaging 9.6 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. Prater has hit 32.5 percent of her three-pointers and 80 percent of her free throws. She also ranks second among the Jayhawks with 2.6 assists per game, while adding 1.6 steals per contest. Prater had seven points and 10 rebounds in the first meeting with NU, but went just 2-for-16 from the field.
Ioanna Chatzileonti was KU’s most reliable reserve early in the season. The 6-3 junior forward averaged 7.1 points and 5.9 rebounds over 10 games, including 10 points and seven rebounds at Nebraska. However, she has not played since a KU loss at Oklahoma (Jan. 14), missing 16 straight games with a foot injury. In the game with Missouri, KU’s bench did not score and took just one shot.
Sanna Strom, a 6-0 sophomore from Sweden, Mia Vuksic, a 6-0 junior guard from Croatia, Zsofia Telegdy, a 6-3 freshman from Hungary, and Nadira Eltayeb, a 6-4 junior from Tacoma, Wash., have provided depth for Kansas throughout the season..
Kansas has averaged a strong 73.2 points on offense while allowing 63.5 points per game. KU is shooting 43.8 percent, including 32.3 percent from three-point range and 75.7 percent at the free throw line. Defensively, they have held opponents to just 37.3 percent shooting, including 31.3 percent from long range. KU owns a dominant plus-7.0 rebound margin but a minus-1.0 turnover margin.
Nebraska Cornhuskers (18-14, 8-10 Big Ten)
34 – Isabelle Bourne – 6-2 – Jr. – F – 12.4 ppg, 6.7 rpg
40 – Alexis Markowski – 6-3 – So. – C/F – 12.2 ppg, 9.9 rpg
1 – Jaz Shelley – 5-9 – Jr. – G – 14.6 ppg, 4.8 rpg
4 – Sam Haiby – 5-9 – Gr. – G – 10.8 ppg, 5.0 rpg
42 – Maddie Krull – 5-9 – So. – G – 6.2 ppg, 2.0 rpg
Off the Bench
21 – Annika Stewart – 6-3 – So. – F – 5.3 ppg, 2.9 rpg
14 – Callin Hake – 5-9 – Fr. – G – 4.4 ppg, 1.3 rpg
15 – Kendall Moriarty – 6-1 – So. – G – 3.2 ppg, 1.7 rpg
44 – Maggie Mendelson – 6-5 – Fr. – F/C – 2.0 ppg, 2.1 rpg
32 – Kendall Coley – 6-2 – So. – F/G – 1.6 ppg, 1.1 rpg
2 – Trinity Brady (Out) – 5-11 – Jr. – G – 2.6 ppg, 1.9 rpg
3 – Allison Weidner (Out) – 5-10 – So. – G – 10.2 ppg, 6.2 rpg
Head Coach: Amy Williams (Nebraska, 1998)
Seventh Season at Nebraska (114-98); 16th Season Overall (307-207)
Kansas Jayhawks (21-11, 0-0 Big 12)
1 – Taiyanna Jackson – 6-6 – Sr. – C – 15.0 ppg, 12.5 rpg
0 – Wyvette Mayberry – 5-7 – Jr. – G – 11.8 ppg, 2.9 rpg
13 – Holly Kersgieter – 5-11 – Sr. – G – 13.8 ppg, 6.1 rpg
14 – Zakiyah Franklin – 5-8 – Sr. – G – 15.9 ppg, 3.3 rpg
24 – Chandler Prater – 5-11 – Jr. – G – 9.6 ppg, 5.5 rpg
Off the Bench
10 – Ioanna Chatzileonti (injured) – 6-3 – Jr. – F – 7.1 ppg, 5.9 rpg
4 – Mia Vuksic – 6-0 – Jr. – G – 3.1 ppg, 0.7 rpg
11 – Sanna Strom – 6-0 – So. – G – 2.7 ppg, 1.8 rpg
23 – Zsofia Telegdy – 6-3 – Fr. – F – 1.4 ppg, 1.8 rpg
33 – Nadira Eltayeb – 6-4 – Jr. – C – 1.3 ppg, 2.3 rpg
12 – Katrine Jessen – 6-4 – Jr. – F – 0.4 ppg, 1.3 rpg
Head Coach: Brandon Schneider (Wayland Baptist, 1995)
Eighth Season at Kansas (103-136); 25th Season Overall (504-274)
– Starting lineups based on previous game
Nebraska vs. Kansas Series History
The most frequent opponent in Nebraska women’s basketball history, Kansas owns a 50-34 lead in the all-time series with the Huskers.
Although the series is decidedly in KU’s favor, Nebraska has dominated the results since Coach Amy Williams‘ senior season as a guard for the Huskers in 1997-98. Beginning with an 84-69 win over the Jayhawks at the Devaney Center in Lincoln on Feb. 11, 1998, Nebraska has gone 24-10 against Kansas in the last 34 meetings, including 15-1 in Lincoln.
Before Nebraska’s 1998 win, KU won 40 of the first 50 meetings between the two schools.
In the last meeting, the Huskers handed an unbeaten KU team its first loss of the season for the third consecutive time, when Nebraska outlasted the Jayhawks 85-79 in triple-overtime at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Dec. 21, 2022. Jaz Shelley led four Huskers in double figures with 24 points, six rebounds and six assists, while Alexis Markowski added a double-double with 18 points and 10 boards. Sam Haiby came off the bench with 12 points and five rebounds in her first significant action of the season, while Isabelle Bourne contributed 10 points. The Huskers won despite starting guard Allison Weidner suffering a season-ending knee injury early in the fourth quarter. Maggie Mendelson provided a major lift for the Huskers with nine points and nine rebounds in 17 minutes off the bench.
Nebraska and Kansas have played four times since the Huskers exited the Big 12 Conference for the Big Ten at the start of the 2011-12 season. The Jayhawks defeated a depleted Nebraska team 57-49 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Little Rock, Ark., on March 18, 2012.
Nebraska owns a 10-game home winning streak in the series, beginning with a 59-48 victory over the Jayhawks at the Devaney Center on Feb. 7, 2004. During the stretch, KU has only played the Huskers within single digits three times – a 67-58 Husker win on Jan. 21, 2009, NU’s 58-52 victory on Dec. 5, 2018, and this season’s triple-overtime thriller.
Nebraska is 22-14 all-time against Kansas in Lincoln, with the first 34 meetings at the Bob Devaney Sports Center.
Nebraska WNIT Attendance
The Huskers advanced to the WNIT Super 16 with a 77-57 win over Northern Iowa in front of 6,478 fans at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Sunday – the largest crowd in the tournament’s first two rounds.
Kansas moved to the third round with a 75-47 win over Missouri in front of 3,682 fans on Monday night – the third-largest crowd in the WNIT’s second round. The Jayhawks entered the tournament with the highest NCAA NET ranking in Nebraska’s 16-team bracket, and were considered one of the first four teams out of the 68-team NCAA Tournament field.
Nebraska’s Sunday crowd at Pinnacle Bank Arena not only led all WNIT second-round sites, it also topped the crowds of eight NCAA second-round host sites, including Tennessee and Toledo (Knoxville, Tenn.), Texas and Louisville (Austin, Texas), Ohio State and North Carolina (Columbus, Ohio), Stanford and Ole Miss (Stanford, Calif.), Notre Dame and Mississippi State (South Bend, Ind.), UCLA and Oklahoma (Los Angeles, Calif.), Villanova and Florida Gulf Coast (Villanova, Pa.) and Duke and Colorado (Durham, N.C.).
Nebraska’s crowd for the win over the Panthers overwhelmed all four WNIT second-round sites in the Northeast bracket combined, which managed just 4,263 fans (Syracuse, Harvard, Rhode Island, Columbia). It also out-classed all four sites in the Southeast, which combined for 4,721 fans (Clemson, Wake Forest, Memphis, Green Bay). The Huskers came up just short of out-drawing the entire WNIT West region as well, as Oregon (2,591), Kansas State (2,350), Washington (1,455) and San Diego (509) combined for 6,905 fans.
In Nebraska’s Midwest region, Texas Tech (4,412) was the only other school to attract more than 4,000 fans in the second round, while Kansas (3,682) and Arkansas (3,017) each drew more than 3,000, giving the Midwest the top-four attendance sites in the tournament so far.
Nebraska also drew 4,116 fans for its first-round WNIT home win over Missouri State (March 16) despite selling tickets for less than 48 hours. Texas Tech notched the largest first-round crowd with 4,159.
Four Huskers Earn All-Big Ten Honors
Jaz Shelley claimed first-team All-Big Ten honors from the coaches to headline a group of four Huskers who earned all-conference accolades when the league announced its women’s basketball regular-season awards on B1G Today on the Big Ten Network, Tuesday, Feb. 28. Shelley, a 5-9 guard from Moe, Australia (pronounced MO-ee), led Nebraska with 14.6 points, 6.2 assists and 1.7 steals while adding 4.8 rebounds per game in her second season with the Big Red. She also led the Huskers and ranked among Big Ten leaders with 78 three-pointers on the season. Shelley has scored in double figures 22 times, including eight games with 20 or more points. She scored a career-high 37 points at Minnesota (Feb. 15), after scoring 32 to go with eight assists in a win over Mississippi State (Nov. 26). She also put up 31 points in a win over Wisconsin.
In Big Ten play, Shelley was even better, ranking 10th in the league in scoring (15.2 ppg), 25th in rebounding (5.5 rpg), fourth in assists (5.9 apg), 16th in steals (1.7 spg), third in three-pointers made per game (2.6) and fourth in free throw percentage (.881). Shelley is the first Husker to earn first-team All-Big Ten honors under Head Coach Amy Williams. Shelley added second-team all-conference accolades from the Big Ten media. She was also an Academic All-District choice by the College Sports Communicators in 2023.
Alexis Markowski added second-team All-Big Ten honors from league coaches and media for the second straight year. The 6-3 center out of Lincoln Pius X High School ranks second in the Big Ten in double-doubles (15) and rebounding (9.9 rpg), while ranking third among the Huskers with 12.2 points per game. She owns a team-high 23 double-figure scoring efforts, including a trio of 20-point games. Markowski’s 15 double-doubles are tied for the third-most by a Husker in a season in school history. With 318 rebounds through 32 games, Markowski became just the eighth Husker in history to produce a 300-rebound campaign, joining Janet Smith (2), Jordan Hooper (2), Emily Cady (2), Carol Garey (2), Karen Jennings, Kelsey Griffin and Nafeesah Brown. Markowski, who was on the Naismith Trophy Preseason Watch List, was one of the final 10 contenders for the Lisa Leslie Award presented to the nation’s top center.
Isabelle Bourne added honorable-mention All-Big Ten recognition from league coaches and media for the third consecutive season. The three-time Husker captain ranked among the top 25 scorers (24th) in Big Ten play with 12.9 points per game, while ranking 15th in the league in rebounding (6.1 rpg). The 6-2 forward from Canberra, Australia, also ranked ninth in the conference in field goal percentage (.512) in league games. A Big Ten Distinguished Scholar in 2021, Bourne is also a two-time Academic All-Big Ten selection who earned Academic All-District honors from the College Sports Communicators in 2023. The three-time Tom Osborne Citizenship Team member was also Nebraska’s Big Ten Sportsmanship Award winner in 2023. She has produced double figures 20 times, including back-to-back WNIT double-doubles. She owns three 20-point efforts on the year.
Sam Haiby joined Bourne as a three-time All-Big Ten award winner by claiming honorable-mention recognition from the conference media for the second straight season. The 5-9 guard from Moorhead, Minn., battled back from early season injury to average 10.8 points, 5.0 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.5 steals through 22 games. Haiby, who was a second-team All-Big Ten choice in 2020-21, missed 10 of Nebraska’s first 11 games this season while recovering from a leg injury that was originally thought to have ended her fifth season as a Husker before it started. She has since set the school record for career games played (139), while ranking 12th in school history in career points (1,618), tied for 15th in rebounds (642) and sixth in assists (477).
Haiby suffered a lower leg injury early in the second quarter of Nebraska’s win over Northern Iowa on Sunday and did not return to the game.
Huskers Face Historic Strength of Schedule
Nebraska’s game against No. 25 Illinois (Feb. 22) was its 12th this season against an AP Top 25 team at game time, setting a new Husker standard for strength of schedule.
The Big Red tied the previous Nebraska record with its 11th game against an AP Top 25 team when the Huskers faced No. 7 Iowa (Feb. 18). The game against the Hawkeyes marked just the second time in school history that Nebraska had ever faced 11 AP Top 25 opponents in a season, joining the 2000-01 Huskers.
Since joining the Big Ten (2011-12), the Huskers had not played more than eight games in a season vs. AP Top 25 foes prior to 2022-23.
Nebraska’s game with Iowa was its fifth against an AP Top 10 team this season. The Huskers have never faced more than five AP Top 10 teams in the same season. In fact, Nebraska played six games against teams that entered the NCAA Tournament ranked in the AP top seven nationally, including No. 2 Indiana (1), No. 3 Iowa (2), No. 4 Virginia Tech (1) and No. 7 Maryland (2).
The Huskers will be playing their 20th game against an NCAA NET Top 64 team, including 5-Indiana (1), 6-Iowa (2), 9-Virginia Tech (1), 14-Maryland (2), 16-Ohio State (1); 18-Creighton (1); 26-Michigan (2); 37-Kansas (2); 39-Mississippi State (1); 41-Illinois (2); 45-Michigan State (2); 49-Purdue (1), 52-Drake (1), 62-Northern Iowa (1).
As a comparison, Kansas will be playing its 16th game against a NET Top 64 foe.
Nebraska’s Big Ten road wins at No. 25 Illinois (90-57, +33, Feb. 22) and at No. 20 Maryland (90-67, +23, Dec. 4) represent the largest road victory margins in school history against AP Top 25 teams.
Nebraska owns six wins (6-11) over current NCAA NET Top 50 teams, while the Huskers will be playing their 22nd game against a NET Top 100 team when they face Kansas (NET 37). NU owns nine top-100 wins. Twelve of NU’s 14 losses came against teams ranked in the NET Top 55.
Nebraska’s game with Kansas will be NU’s 19th this season against a 20-win team. As a comparison, KU has played 13 games against 20-win teams in 2022-23.
Nebraska will be playing its 21st game of the season against an NCAA or WNIT postseason team when the Huskers face Kansas. NU also played two games against Michigan State, which was postseason eligible but chose not to participate in the WNIT. KU will be playing its 22nd game against NCAA (13) and WNIT (9) teams. None of KU’s postseason foes are alive in the NCAA Tournament, while four Husker opponents (Iowa, Maryland, Ohio State, Virginia Tech) advanced to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen.
Husker Numbers to Watch
Isabelle Bourne (642) needs one rebound to move in front of teammate Sam Haiby in sole possession of 15th place on Nebraska’s all-time rebounding list. Bourne is 17 rebounds away from matching Charlie Rogers (1997-2000) in 14th with 659.
Alexis Markowski (318) needs one rebound to match Karen Jennings (319, 1991-92) in fifth on Nebraska’s single-season rebound list. Markowski needs nine boards to catch Emily Cady (327, 2014-15) on that list. Markowski is just the eighth Husker to record a 300-rebound season, joining Janet Smith (2), Jordan Hooper (2), Emily Cady (2), Carol Garey (2), Karen Jennings, Kelsey Griffin and Nafeesah Brown.
Jaz Shelley (78) needs two three-pointers to match former Husker All-American Jordan Hooper (80, 2013-14) in eighth on Nebraska’s single-season three-point list. Shelley, who hit 82 threes last season, would also join Hooper (81, 2012-13) and Kiera Hardy (85, 2004-05; 81, 2005-06) as the only Huskers in history to hit 80 three-pointers in two separate seasons for Nebraska.
Jaz Shelley (197) needs three assists to become the second Husker in history to achieve a 200-assist season, joining Rachel Theriot (234, 2013-14).
Alexis Markowski (21) needs one more double-double to move into a tie for seventh on the Nebraska career double-doubles list, joining Janet Smith (22, 1979-82).
Alexis Markowski’s 15 double-doubles this season are tied for the third most by a Husker in a season in school history, and her next double-double would move her into second with Nafeesah Brown at 16 (1993-94). Kelsey Griffin owns the Nebraska season record with 20 (2009-10).
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