#34 Nebraska Women's Basketball 2018-2019 Preview

Nebraska Cornhuskers
Overall Rank: #34
Conference Rank: #5 Big Ten
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During Coach Amy Williams’ first season at Nebraska in 2016-2017, the team won just seven games and only three in Big Ten play. In year two, the Cornhuskers boosted that win total to 21 and made the NCAA Tournament. That quick turnaround has many in Lincoln hoping for bigger and better things this season. And with the top five scorers back, a talent recruiting class and the addition of graduate transfer Kristian Hudson, there are plenty of reasons for the high expectations.
2017-18 Record: 21-11, 11-5
2017-18 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Amy Williams
Coach Record: 28-33 at Nebraska, 221-142 overall
Key Departed Players (starters in bold)
Jasmine Cincore, Guard, 6.3 ppg
Janay Morton, Guard, 6.0 ppg
Emily Wood, Guard, 3.9 ppg
Bria Stallworth, Guard, 3.4 ppg
Rachel Blackburn, Forward, 1.5 ppg
Darrien Washington, Forward, 1.3 ppg
Key Returning Players (starters in bold)
Hannah Whitish, Junior, Guard, 12.6 ppg
Maddie Simon, Senior, Forward, 10.1 ppg
Kate Cain, Sophomore, Center, 9.9 ppg
Nicea Eliely, Junior, Guard, 8.2 ppg
Taylor Kissinger, Sophomore, Guard/Forward, 10.0 ppg
Grace Mitchell, Junior, Guard/Forward, 2.0 ppg
Key New Players
Leigha Brown, Freshman, Forward
Sam Haiby, Freshman, Guard
Kristian Hudson, Senior, Guard, Grad Transfer from Florida International
Kayla Mershon, Freshman, Forward
Ashtyn Veerbeek, Freshman, Forward
Hannah Whitish and Nicea Eilely are back on the perimeter. Whitish led the team with 12.6 points per game and connected on 38.0 percent of her 192 attempts from beyond the arc. Whitish also runs the point and dished out 4.7 assists per game and committed just 2.4 turnovers. With Whitish running the show, Nebraska’s offense will be very dangerous. The addition of Hudson, a transfer from FIU, and freshman point guard Sam Haiby gives the Cornhuskers plenty of depth on the perimeter. Maddie Simon and Kate Cain are back to start in the frontcourt. Simon averaged 10.1 points and 5.3 rebounds, while Cain added 9.9 points and a team high 7.0 rebounds and 3.1 blocks. Cain is just a sophomore and she has already proven to be very dangerous in the paint on both ends of the floor. Taylor Kissinger, a 6-1 wing, is another sophomore who had a very good freshman campaign. She averaged 10.0 points and 4.1 rebounds while mostly coming in off the bench. Ashtyn Verbeek is the team’s top recruit and fellow freshman forward Kayla Mershon should also add some decent depth to the frontcourt. Even with the top five scorers returning, this is a relatively young team and they do need to take smarter shots if they want to compete for a Big Ten title.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 68.8 (96th in nation, 8th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 63.6 (135, 4)
Field-Goal Percentage: 41.9 (101, 10)
Field-Goal Defense: 37.1 (39, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.8 (49, 3)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 35.0 (62, 8)
Free-Throw Percentage: 64.1 (315, 14)
Rebound Margin: 2.4 (114, 7)
Assists Per Game: 15.9 (40, 5)
Turnovers Per Game: 14.8 (115, 6)
Madness 2018 Women’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#62 Ashtyn Veerbeek
#130 Sam Haiby
#141 Kayla Mershon