On Tuesday, the Nebraska women’s basketball team will play both its first road game of the year and its first game against another top-25 team.
The No. 22 Huskers will stay in the state to do so, taking on No. 21 Creighton.
This is the first time that the in-state rivals will play each other while both are ranked. The two have matched up 47 times dating back to the 1974-75 season, including every year since 1983. The last time either team was ranked going into this matchup was in December of 2014, when the No. 12 Huskers beat Creighton at D.J. Sokol Arena.
That was also the last time the Huskers beat the Bluejays on the road, having lost the past three games in Omaha. Last year, they snapped a five-game losing streak to Creighton, winning 67-62 at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Sam Haiby led Nebraska with 15 points, followed by Alexis Markowski’s 11 points off the bench.
Both teams, unranked at the time and coming off 2020-21 seasons in which they were at or below .500, found success following that early-season matchup. The Huskers recorded eight more wins to cap off a 12-0 start and finished the year 24-9. The Bluejays got the last laugh, finishing 23-10 but reaching the Elite Eight in the NCAA Tournament while Nebraska was knocked out in the first round. Creighton beat Iowa during that run, a team Nebraska lost to three times last year.
The two teams also had different starts to this year, despite both being 2-0. Nebraska has taken care of its business, beating Nebraska-Omaha by 64 and Houston Christian by 31. However, Creighton opened with tougher competition, winning two road games against No. 23 South Dakota State and South Dakota. The latter made the Sweet 16 last year and received preseason top 25 votes.
In the Bluejays’ first two games, guards Lauren Jensen and Morgan Maly have been the players to watch. Jensen had 30 points in the team’s opening win, while Maly had 21 and 10 rebounds in the 23-point victory over South Dakota. The juniors were two of the team’s three double-digit scorers last year, along with junior Emma Ronsiek.
Ronsiek has been less productive to start, opening with performances of six and four points. She was one of 20 players named to the Katrina McClain watch list in the preseason, an award given to the top Division I power forward in the country.
Nebraska’s top players have had some inconsistencies to start the year, too. Jaz Shelley and Alexis Markowski both have produced a double-digit scoring outing this year, but Shelley had five points on 2-for-7 shooting in the opener and Markowski scored eight against Houston Christian while going 2-for-9 from the field.
When the Huskers and Bluejays take the court on Tuesday, they’ll look much different than they did even a year ago. Multiple contributors from that matchup won’t be on the court, due to a combination of injury, graduation and transfers. Players like Markowski and Maly are no longer coming off the bench.
This game could be another close one, and both come into it looking to continue their positive momentum.
“It’s a positive sign always to start the season off with two wins,” Husker guard Jaz Shelley said after the team’s win Friday. “There’s a lot of stuff we have to go back and work on before we have Creighton on Tuesday, but we’re feeling pretty confident.”