Amy Williams had to do a double take while looking at the box score from one of Drake’s games this season.
“It’s tough enough when you’re playing teams that have 10 different players who can score in a ball game. But 10 different players hit a 3 in one of their games this year,” Williams said Friday as she met with the media ahead of the Huskers’ home game with Drake on Sunday. “They have very balanced scoring, every player on their roster can shoot it from the perimeter. They’re really good in transition. They have great balance. I think those are some of the challenges that we’re preparing for.”
The game Williams is talking about is Drake’s 83-66 win over Idaho, where 10 different Bulldogs cashed in at least one 3 in the game.
Drake comes to Lincoln with a 7-2 record and is riding a six-game winning streak. There could be quite a few points scored on Sunday. The Bulldogs’ offense is scoring 83.2 points per game, which is 10th in the country. Nebraska’s offense is 7th in the nation, averaging 84.1 points.
Williams said that Drake, along with San Diego and Creighton, teams Nebraska played early in the season in November, will be one of the deeper opponents the undefeated Huskers have played this season. The Bulldogs boast four players who are averaging double-digit scoring. Nebraska has two, with Jaz Shelley (15.2) and Isabelle Bourne (10.7).
“Both of those teams (San Diego and Creighton) also played 10 kids double-figure minutes and really had some dangerous weapons coming in off the bench, and anybody can go for 20,” Williams said. “But that all balances out to multiple people scoring a double-figures average. So I think we’ve played a few teams similar to that, but Drake, I think their balanced attack, their depth is most definitely something that makes them good and dangerous and successful.”
Tip for the game between Nebraska and Drake is slated for noon. Later in the afternoon, at 5 p.m., the Husker men’s team hosts Kansas State.
More news and notes:
>> Jaz Shelley was given a shoutout by the Big Ten Network. While Shelley is leading the team in scoring and assists, the shoutout was for her defense:
These @B1Gwbball stars get it done on the defensive end. 🔒🚫
— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) December 14, 2021
Despite Shelley’s 5-foot-9 height, the Moe, Australia, native also has the most steals (16) and blocks (15) on the team while averaging 6.5 rebounds, which is second on the squad.
Williams said Shelley is playing with confidence. And confidence, among other things on and off the court, helps a player become an elite defender.
“Her approach to the game, she’s very cerebral, so she’s able to lock into defensive game plans and stay tuned in to that,” Williams said of her sharpshooter-turned-defensive-menace. “So that’s been a positive for us, and I think that’s one of the reasons why she’s been able to get deflections and do the things we need her to do.”
>> It will be eight days between games for the Huskers. Williams said the long layoff was a good thing for the team as it gave the players a chance to work on themselves a bit, rather than prepare for an opponent.
“We had a day where we really just went individually one-on-one with our players, or a couple coaches and one player, and just really spent some time in the gym working on skills that we felt like that particular individual could benefit the most from,” Williams said. “Then, kind of as a whole, we really spent a lot of time talking about how we could take the next step forward defensively.”