Nebraska Cornhuskers guard Sam Haiby (4) shoots during their basketball game against Creighton.
Photo Credit: Eric Francis

Nebraska Women Get Set To Take On Indiana State

December 10, 2021

Home sweet home.

For the first time since Nov. 20, the Nebraska women’s basketball team will play inside the friendly confines of Pinnacle Bank Arena. The Huskers will host Missouri Valley Conference opponent Indiana State on Saturday at 1 p.m. The Sycamores come to Lincoln with a record of 3-5.

Nebraska is looking to improve to 10-0 for the first time since 2013 and held the No. 4 spot in the first NET rankings that came out last Monday. Head coach Amy Williams said Indiana State is an athletic team that will throw different defensive looks the Huskers’ way.

“It’s going to take extra preparation when you’re right smack in the middle of dead week and getting prepared for finals week,” she said, “there’s always some added and extra challenges that go along with that. So we’ll have to be sharp and ready to go.”

Nebraska is sixth in the nation in scoring per game at 84.8 and fifth in 3-point shooting, making 40.3% of its 3s. Indiana State is scoring 65 points per game, which ranks 185th in the nation, while shooting just 28.3%, which ranks 236th overall.

Adrian Folks is one of the Sycamores’ top players as she’s averaging a team-best 14.6 points with 5.8 rebounds, but the 6-footer hasn’t played since Nov. 26 and is out for the season with a torn ACL and MCL. With Folks out, the Husker defense’s focus could be trained on Del’Janae Williams, a 5-8 guard from Detroit who’s averaging 13.8 points and a team-high 2.3 assists and 2.8 steals per game. Williams, who made the MVC All-Freshman team in 2019-20, has a 26-point outing under her belt this season in a win over Georgia Southern, where she went 4-of-6 from behind the arc.

Outside of Williams and Folks, no one is averaging double-digit scoring for the Sycamores. Marie Hunter is averaging 9.1 points while Mya Glanton is pouring in eight points per contest.

A couple members of Indiana State’s coaching staff have Husker connections as assistant LaKale Malone was an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for former Husker head coach Connie Yori from 2003-07. Deidra Johnson, the Sycamores’ associate head coach, was recruited to Oklahoma State as a player by Williams, who spent four seasons as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator on the Oklahoma State staff.

“I know they’ll be motivated and excited. One of my former players is on their coaching staff, so I can’t let one of my former players have any type of bragging rights,” Williams joked. “We’re excited to welcome them to Lincoln, but we know they’ll bring a challenge our way for sure.”

Nebraska has been on a roll to start the season, earning a holiday tournament championship in San Diego while also blowing out Wake Forest in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. The Huskers are coming off a gritty and tough win on the road over conference foe Minnesota. Sam Haiby, a native of Moorhead, Minnesota, played a big part in that win by scoring 10 of her 13 points in the fourth quarter.

Haiby is averaging nine points, 4.4 assists, four rebounds and is shooting 80% at the free-throw line. She’s part of a three-guard lineup that includes Jaz Shelley and Ashley Scoggin.

Shelley, a transfer from Oregon, is playing lights out to start her Husker career. She ranks among the top-15 players in the Big Ten in scoring (12th, 15.0 ppg), rebounding (11th, 6.9 rpg), assists (7th, 4.8 apg), blocked shots (2nd, 1.7 bpg) and assist-to-turnover ratio (2nd, 2.7). Shelley is shooting 55% (30-of-54) from 3-point range, which is tied for fourth-best nationally and first in the conference with Ohio State’s Taylor Mikesell. Scoggin, a former transfer from Salt Lake City Community College, is shooting 47% from 3 while averaging 9.3 points per game.

Will the Huskers get the 3-ball to fall against Indiana State? The Sycamores are holding opponents to 28% shooting from behind the arc. Nebraska, of course, will try to get in the paint as much as it can on Saturday. Isabelle Bourne and Bella Cravens could be big pieces to that.

Bourne is averaging 11 points and 4.6 rebounds per game while Cravens, a native of Hawaii, is averaging 8.8 points, eight rebounds and is shooting a team-best 61% from the floor, with most of her shots coming in the paint.

Indiana State is the first contest of a three-game homestand against non-conference opponents. After the Sycamores, the Huskers will host Drake (6-2) on Sunday, Dec. 19 and then Wyoming (3-4) on Wednesday, Dec. 22.

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