Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

Nebraska Women Have a Little Fun at Husker Hoops’ Opening Night

October 01, 2021

The Nebraska women’s basketball team is looking to bounce back after last season ended with a .500 record (13-13) and a second-round WNIT appearance. Friday night was the first step.

Head coach Amy Williams and her team took to the Pinnacle Bank Arena court for Husker hoops’ opening night. It was a fun atmosphere as the women kicked off the event with introductions that were accompanied by personalized songs on the stage that rapper G-Herbo would later perform on.

After some words from Williams at center court, the Huskers scrimmaged for about 10-15 minutes. The Huskers were divided into red and white teams. The red squad included Sam Haiby, Ashley Scoggin, Alexis Markowski, Kendall Moriarty and Isabelle Bourne. The white included MiCole Cayton, Allison Weidner, Ruby Porter, Annika Stewart and Bella Cravens.

Nothing got too serious in the light scrimmage, but a couple players who stood out in the brief action were Haiby and Stewart.

Haiby, a junior who earned second-team All-Big Ten honors last season, scored seven points and connected on a 3-pointer for the red. On one possession, she got penetration into the lane and dished off an assist to Addison Markowski—the pride of Lincoln Pius X High School and two-time Class A state champ—for an and-1. Haiby, who averaged a team-high 16.8 points, 4.4 assists and 1.2 steals per game last season, later connected on a 3 to tie the game at 6 and gave her team an 8-6 edge with a steal and layup on the next possession.

As for Stewart, a 6-foot-3 freshman from Minneapolis, she scored six points on a couple 3s for the white squad. If Stewart can consistently knock down triples during the season like she did Friday, that will put stress on opposing defenses and create more space for her teammates near the rim.

The red team was led by Haiby’s seven points while both Coley and Markowski both had three. Bourne had two points. Stewart’s six paced the white team while Cayton had five, Cravens four and Porter two.

After the men were finished scrimmaging, the women took part in a 3-point contest. In the final, Stewart took on Scoggin. Scoggin, a sophomore from Dallas, Oregon, edged out the sharpshooting freshman by winning 32-30.

The Nebraska women will host Midland University in an exhibition at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Nov. 1. The Huskers open their season Nov. 9 at home against Maine.

Top 3 intros:

MiCole Cayton — Whatever that dance was, her teammates and the crowd lost it when it when happened. Cayton’s teammates absolutely went berserk in a show of support. Fans seemed to love it, too.

Nailah Dillard — Whether you love it hate it, it’s an undeniable fact that Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” gets large groups of people going. It’s the ultimate sing-along song, and that had to be what Dillard was going for during when she was deciding which song to walk out to—and it worked. The crowd at PBA ate it up.

Isabelle Bourne — There are three Australians on the team, and Bourne is one of them. She came out to the song “Down Under” by Men At Work. Fitting.

Ruby Porter — Ruby, one of the three Ausies, had her continent’s flag draped over her shoulders. Nice move.

Seen:

— After Cayton forced a turnover in the backcourt with strong man-to-man defense, she turned to her bench and playfully flexed her muscles to her teammates and coaches.

— A PBA staffer was shooting T-shirts to the crowd. The T-shirt gun was very powerful and almost shot the cargo into the PBA rafters and lights. Fans had to have their heads on a swivel.

— Rapper G-Herbo, the entertainment for the night, grabbed a couple basketballs and tossed them out to the crowd. The UNL students enjoyed that very much. He later signed one of those balls and gave it to a young fan.

— Three kids playing basketball against each other on the opposite end of the PBA court while G-Herbo was performing.

— The women’s and men’s team joined G-Herbo, who was wearing a Husker jersey with the number 150, and his crew on stage for the performance. It was quite the seen inside PBA as the concert rocked until about 10 p.m.

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