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Huskers Open B1G Home Stand With Boilermakers

Photo Credit: NU Athletic Communications Photo Credit: NU Athletic Communications

The Nebraska women’s basketball team opens an important two-game home stand this week by battling Purdue on Wednesday night at Pinnacle Bank Arena.

Tip-off between the Big Red (13-7, 5-4) and the Boilermakers (9-11, 2-7 Big Ten) in Lincoln is set for 7 p.m. (CT) with tickets available now at or by calling 1-800-8-BIG-RED. 

Live statewide television coverage will be provided by Nebraska Public Media on NPM World with Ana Bellinghausen and Kara Graham on the call, while a live video stream will be available to B1G+ subscribers.

Fans also can listen across the Huskers Radio Network, including B107.3 FM in Lincoln and 590 AM in Omaha, the Huskers App and with Matt Coatney and Jeff Griesch calling the action. Pregame starts at 6:30 p.m. (CT). 

Nebraska is coming off a 92-73 road loss at No. 5 Iowa on Saturday. Jaz Shelley led the Huskers with 19 points and five assists, while Alexis Markowski produced her 13th double-double of the year with 15 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. Caitlin Clark led Iowa with 38 points. She hit 7-of-9 three-pointers to close her game after Nebraska took a 31-27 lead with 1:54 left in the first half.

Nebraska is 9-2 inside Pinnacle Bank Arena this season with its only losses to No. 22 Creighton (Nov. 19) and No. 14 Indiana (Jan. 7). The Boilermakers also have been a strong 8-3 on their home court at Mackey Arena with their only losses to co-Big Ten leaders Iowa, Indiana and Ohio State, but Purdue is just 1-8 away from home, including 1-6 in true road games.

Alexis Markowski owns a Big Ten-best 13 double-doubles, including seven in league play. The 6-3 center from Lincoln ranks fourth on Nebraska’s career list with 34 - just two behind 1993 Wade Trophy winner Karen Jennings. Markowski leads the Big Ten with 10.6 rebounds per game, including 12.2 in league action. She also ranks sixth in scoring (16.7 ppg). A two-time Lisa Leslie Award candidate, Markowski has scored in double figures in all 20 games this season.

First-team All-Big Ten guard Jaz Shelley has added 12.5 points, 4.2 rebounds and team bests of 5.3 assists and 1.8 steals. She owns two double-doubles this season, including 13 points and 11 assists in a win over Maryland (Dec. 31). The 5-9 guard from Moe (pronounced MOE-ee), Australia, is the first Husker in history to record multiple career triple-doubles after getting 19 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists in a win over UNCW (Dec. 5). 

Five-time Big Ten Freshman-of-the-Week Natalie Potts notched her third double-double of the season with game highs of 13 points and 10 rebounds against Michigan (Jan. 17) in Nebraska’s last home game. The 6-2 forward from O’Fallon, Mo., who is averaging 10.6 points and 5.6 rebounds, leads a collection of six of the Big Ten’s best freshmen in the game with Purdue. 

Logan Nissley (5.9 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 1.8 apg) and Jessica Petrie (4.2 ppg, 2.0 rpg) join one of the most productive freshman classes in the Big Ten. NU’s freshmen have combined for 411 points and 188 rebounds. Purdue features starter Mary Ashley Stevenson (9.4 ppg, 5.4 rpg) and top players off the bench Rashunda Jones (9.7 ppg, 2.5 rpg) and Sophie Swanson (5.7 ppg, 1.2 rpg) among its top three freshmen, who have combined for 417 points and 162 rebounds.

Nebraska Cornhuskers (13-7, 5-4 Big Ten)
vs. Purdue Boilermakers (9-11, 2-7 Big Ten)
Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2024, 7 p.m. (CT)
Pinnacle Bank Arena - Lincoln, Nebraska
Tickets: / 1-800-8-BIG-RED
Television: NPM World
Live Video Stream: B1G+
Live Radio: Huskers Radio Network (6:30 p.m.)
Matt Coatney (PBP), Jeff Griesch (Analyst)
B107.3 FM (Lincoln), 590 AM (Omaha),, Huskers App
Halftime: Steve Max: Master of Simon Sez
Live Stats:

Nebraska Cornhuskers (13-7, 5-4 Big Ten - NCAA NET 27)
22 - Natalie Potts - 6-2 - Fr. - F/G - 10.6 ppg, 5.6 rpg
40 - Alexis Markowski - 6-3 - Jr. - C/F - 16.7 ppg, 10.6 rpg
0 - Darian White - 5-6 - Gr. - G - 8.4 ppg, 4.5 rpg
1 - Jaz Shelley - 5-9 - Gr. - G - 12.5 ppg, 4.2 rpg
42 - Maddie Krull - 5-9 - Gr. - G - 2.6 ppg, 2.1 rpg
Off the Bench
14 - Callin Hake - 5-9 - So. - G - 7.0 ppg, 2.9 rpg
2 - Logan Nissley - 6-0 - Fr. - G - 5.9 ppg, 1.9 rpg
12 - Jessica Petrie - 6-2 - Fr. - F - 4.2 ppg, 2.0 rpg
21 - Annika Stewart - 6-3 - Sr. - F - 3.2 ppg, 1.6 rpg
32 - Kendall Coley - 6-2 - Jr. - F - 2.7 ppg, 2.2 rpg
15 - Kendall Moriarty - 6-1 - Jr. - G - 2.7 ppg, 1.1 rpg
Head Coach: Amy Williams (Nebraska, 1998)
Eighth Season at Nebraska (127-106); 17th Season Overall (320-215)

Purdue Boilermakers (9-11, 2-7 Big Ten - NET 78)
20 - Mary Ashley Stevenson - 6-2 - Fr. - F - 9.4 ppg, 5.4 rpg
34 - Caitlyn Harper - 6-2 - Gr. - F - 10.8 ppg, 4.1 rpg
10 - Jeanae Terry - 5-11 - 5th - G - 5.7 ppg, 7.1 rpg
23 - Abbey Ellis - 5-6 - 5th - G - 13.8 ppg, 3.4 rpg
33 - Madison Layden - 6-1 - Sr. - G - 10.3 ppg, 3.1 rpg
Off the Bench
2 - Rashunda Jones - 5-8 - Fr. - G - 9.7 ppg, 2.5 rpg
31 - Sophie Swanson - 5-10 - Fr. - G - 5.7 ppg, 1.2 rpg
3 - Jayla Smith - 6-0 - Jr. - G - 3.7 ppg, 1.6 rpg
15 - Mila Reynolds - 6-3 - So. - F - 2.1 ppg, 0.9 rpg
11 - McKenna Layden - 5-10 - Gr. - G - 1.4 ppg, 1.4 rpg
21 - Emily Monson - 6-1 - Fr. - G - 1.0 ppg, 0.8 rpg
32 - Alaina Harper - 6-3 - So. - F - 0.8 ppg, 0.9 rpg
Head Coach: Katie Gearlds (Purdue, 2007)
Third Season at Purdue (45-37); 11th Season Overall (273-81)

Scouting The Purdue Boilermakers

Third-year head coach Katie Gearlds led Purdue to NCAA First Four last season, finishing with a 19-11 overall record that included a 9-8 Big Ten mark. This season, Purdue worked its way to a 6-3 start, but has gone just 3-8 since with six consecutive Big Ten losses since a 77-76 win over Rutgers in West Lafayette, Ind. (Jan. 2). 

Purdue is 8-3 at home this year with their only losses coming to top-15 Iowa (96-71), Indiana (74-68) and Ohio State (71-68) squads. The Boilermakers are 1-8 away from Mackey Arena. 

Fifth-year guard Abbey Ellis, who was a Cal Poly transfer prior to 2021-22, leads an experienced Purdue backcourt with 13.8 points and 3.4 rebounds. The 5-6 Australian ranks second among the Boilermakers with 66 two-point field goals and leads the team with 55 free throws.

Fifth-year point guard Jeanae Terry, who started her career at Illinois, has joined Ellis and senior guard Madison Layden in Purdue’s starting backcourt for all 20 games. The 5-11 Terry averages 5.7 points and team bests of 7.1 rebounds and 5.8 assists while leading the team in steals with 31. Layden, a 6-1 guard, has added 10.3 points and leads Purdue in three-point shooting at 47.8 percent (43-90).

Caitlyn Harper, a graduate transfer from Cal Baptist in her second season on the court at Purdue, also has started all 20 games, averaging 10.8 points and 4.1 rebounds. The 6-2 forward is shooting a team-best 54.1 percent from the field, including 30.6 percent (15-49) from three-point range, while hitting 87.5 percent (28-32) of her free throws.

Purdue also features two of the Big Ten’s top freshmen in starter Mary Ashley Stevenson and key reserve Rashunda Jones. Stevenson, a 6-2 forward, is averaging 9.4 points and 5.4 rebounds. Jones, a 5-8 guard, has added 9.7 points and 2.5 rebounds while playing more minutes than any other Boiler reserve.

A third freshman, Sophie Swanson, has contributed 5.7 points with consistent three-point shooting (.395) over 13 games. Swanson, who spent the early part of the season completing her recovery from an ACL injury, is averaging nearly 10 minutes per game.

Junior Jayla Smith returns as a significant contributor from a year ago (7.8 ppg, 2.1 rpg), but her production has slipped to 3.7 ppg and 1.6 rpg in about five fewer minutes per game.

Purdue has missed the mid-range production of 2022-23 graduate guard Lasha Petree, who averaged a team-best 14.7 points per game last year. She led the Boilers with 111 two-point baskets last season and also ranked second on the team with 77 made free throws. 

As a team, Purdue is averaging 68.7 points while allowing 68.9 points per game The Boilermakers have hit just 42.2 percent of their shots from the field, but have hit a strong 34.1 percent of their threes. They are also a solid 77.6 percent at the free throw line. Defensively, Purdue opponents are hitting 42.6 percent from the field, including a sizzling 35.5 percent from three and 77.4 percent at the free throw line. Purdue is basically even with the opposition on the boards and in the turnover department.

Nebraska vs. Purdue Series History

Purdue leads the all-time series with Nebraska, 10-8, but the Huskers have won back-to-back games in the series, including a 71-64 victory at Mackey Arena last season (Jan. 18, 2023). Alexis Markowski led Nebraska with 19 points and 10 rebounds, while Maddie Krull pumped in 15 points despite coming off the bench while battling illness. Sam Haiby closed the game strong with 14 points, while Callin Hake and Kendall Moriarty each contributed eight big points off the bench. Australians Jaz Shelley and Isabelle Bourne combined for just seven points and one field goal, while Abbey Ellis led Purdue with 20 points on 4-of-7 three-point shooting. Caitlyn Harper contributed 15 points, while Jayla Smith put three Boilers in double figures with 11 points, seven rebounds and four assists.

Nebraska snapped a three-game series losing streak to Purdue with an 81-66 win in Lincoln (Jan. 30, 2022). Alexis Markowski led four Huskers in double figures with 23 points and seven rebounds. Nebraska hit 11-of-20 threes against Purdue, including a 3-for-3 shooting night from Markowski.

Jayla Smith led Purdue in Lincoln with 16 points in 21 minutes off the bench, including a 4-for-4 effort from three-point range. Cassidy Hardin added 11 points, including a trio of three-pointers, as Purdue sank 10-of-31 threes.

In the first-ever meeting between the two schools in women’s basketball, Nebraska fought its way to an epic 93-89 triple-overtime win at Mackey Arena (Feb. 2, 2012). Later that same season, Purdue defeated the Huskers 74-70 in double-overtime in the Big Ten Championship Game in Indianapolis.

The third game between the schools also went overtime, a 69-66 loss for the Huskers in Lincoln on Jan. 5, 2013. None of the other 14 games in the series have gone overtime.

After winning the series opener in 2011-12, Nebraska suffered five straight losses to Purdue. Since 2014-15, Nebraska owns a 7-5 edge in the series.

Markowski Climbing Husker Double-Double List

Nebraska’s Alexis Markowski is producing double-doubles at one of the top rates in the nation through 20 games in 2023-24. The 6-3 junior center from Lincoln, Neb., has recorded a Big Ten-leading 13 double-doubles on the year, including seven through the first nine Big Ten Conference games for the Big Red.

Markowski, who earned her second appearance on the Lisa Leslie Award Watch List, leads the Big Ten in rebounding at 10.6 boards per game, including 12.2 in conference play. She also ranks sixth in the league in scoring at 16.7 points per game.

With her next double-double, Markowski will move into a tie for fifth on Nebraska’s single-season double-double chart alongside Jordan Hooper (2012 & 2014) and Emily Cady (2014), who both notched 14 double-doubles. Last season, Markowski recorded 15 double-doubles in 33 games.

Markowski owns 34 career double-doubles, putting her just two behind 1993 Nebraska Wade Trophy winner Karen Jennings (36). First-team All-Americans Kelsey Griffin (2010) and Jordan Hooper (2014) share the Husker school record with 40 career double-doubles. Griffin owns the Nebraska single-season school record with 20 double-doubles in 2009-10.

Markowski has scored in double figures in all 20 games this season, including five 20-point performances.

The 2022 Big Ten Freshman of the Year, Markowski earned her second straight appearance on the Lisa Leslie Award Watch List this year. Last season, as the only sophomore on the list, she advanced to the Midseason Top 10 for the award.

Markowski enters the Purdue game with 798 rebounds in 86 career games. She needs six rebounds to catch two-time WNBA All-Star Anna DeForge (Indiana Fever, Detroit Shock) at No. 7 on the Nebraska career list with 804.  

Potts Claims Five Big Ten Freshman Awards
Two-time Missouri MaxPreps High School Player of the Year Natalie Potts has made an instant impact on Nebraska’s lineup. The 6-2 forward from O’Fallon, Mo., has claimed five of the first 11 Big Ten Freshman-of-the-Week awards with the most recent coming on Jan. 15.

In addition to her conference honors, Potts was named the No. 14 impact freshman in the nation by ESPN on Dec. 22. She ranks among the top Big Ten freshmen in scoring (10.6 ppg) and rebounding (5.6 rpg) while also leading the Huskers with 13 blocks through the first 20 games of her career. 

Potts leads Big Ten freshmen in rebounding (5.6 rpg), field goal percentage (.556) and free throw percentage (.841), while ranking second in scoring (10.6 ppg).

Potts scored at least eight points in each of NU’s first seven Big Ten games, including five games in double figures, before being held to three points at Penn State (Jan. 21). She produced her third career double-double with game highs of 13 points and 10 rebounds in a win over Michigan (Jan. 17). She ranks third among the Huskers in scoring (10.1 ppg) and second in rebounding (5.4 rpg) in league play.

She posted her second double-double with 17 points and a career-high 13 rebounds in NU’s win over Maryland (Dec. 31), including 13 points and 12 boards in the second half. 

Potts scored 16 in a win at Wisconsin (Jan. 4) when she got all 16 in the second half. 

She opened Big Ten play with 10 points, five rebounds and two blocks in the win over NCAA NET No. 8 Michigan State (Dec. 9). 

Potts produced 10 points and six rebounds at Minnesota (Jan. 14).

She had 11 points, eight rebounds and two blocks in 21 minutes in a win over UNCW (Dec. 5). 

Potts won her second Big Ten Freshman award (Nov. 22) after averaging 14.0 points in two games at the St. Pete Showcase. She opened the week with a career-high 22 points on 9-of-10 shooting from the field, including a three-pointer, in a 75-61 win over Lamar.

She opened another strong week by notching her first double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds in a win over Florida Atlantic (Nov. 29). She followed with 13 points, four rebounds, two assists and a steal in a win over Georgia Tech (Dec. 2).

Potts averaged 12.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 1.0 block to earn her first Big Ten Freshman-of-the-Week award (Nov. 13).

In Nebraska’s 71-52 road win at Wyoming, Potts was a catalyst at both ends of the court, erupting for 15 points on 6-of-7 shooting, while adding two steals and a blocked shot. Potts was a menace defensively, creating easy offensive opportunities with deflections at the front of Nebraska’s press to help turn an early Husker deficit into a double-digit road victory over the Cowgirls.

In her regular-season collegiate debut, Potts had 10 points, five rebounds, an assist, two steals and a block while hitting 5-of-7 shots from the field in a 90-42 win over Northwestern State (Nov. 6).

She backed up her opening-week efforts by averaging 11.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.0 blocks in her second week. Potts capped the week with 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting against No. 22 Creighton (Nov. 19), after getting seven points and career highs of 11 rebounds and three blocks in a win over Alcorn State (Nov. 14).

Through 20 games, Potts has hit 75-of-111 (.676) two-point field goal attempts and 37-of-44 (.841) free throws.

Husker Numbers to Watch

• Alexis Markowski (798) is two rebounds away from No. 800 in her career and six rebounds from catching two-time WNBA All-Star Anna DeForge (1995-98) at No. 7 on Nebraska’s career rebounding list with 804. 

• Jaz Shelley and Darian White both played in their 140th career games as college guards when the Huskers played Iowa on Saturday. White owns 140 career collegiate starts (120, Montana State; 20, Nebraska).

• Jaz Shelley (471) needs six assists to catch Sam Haiby in sixth (477, 2019-23) on Nebraska’s career assist chart.

• Maddie Krull made her 100th collegiate start (60, South Dakota; 40, Nebraska) at Iowa (Jan. 27).

Nebraska Notables

• Two-time All-Big Ten center Alexis Markowski (Lincoln, Neb.) was the Big Ten’s top rebounder with 322 rebounds in 2022-23. She was the only Big Ten player to average a double-double (12.4 ppg, 10.2 rpg) during regular-season conference play.

• Alexis Markowski ranks No. 4 on Nebraska’s career double-doubles list (34) after notching her 13th double-double of the season with 15 points and 11 rebounds at No. 5 Iowa (Jan. 27). The Husker record for career double-doubles is 40 by first-team All-Americans Kelsey Griffin (2006-10) and Jordan Hooper (2011-14). Nebraska’s 1993 Wade Trophy winner Karen Jennings (1990-93) ranks third at NU with 36 career double-doubles.

•  Jaz Shelley (563) and Darian White (516) both own 500 assists in their college careers. Only five previous Huskers in history had totaled 500 collegiate assists (Lindsey Moore, Meggan Yedsena, Rachel Theriot, Jina Johansen, Nicole Kubik). 

• Darian White is 116 points away from 2,000 in her college career.

• Darian White has scored in double figures 104 times in her college career (97, Montana State; 7, Nebraska). She scored a season-high 16 points against TCU (Nov. 25).

• Callin Hake is proving herself as one of the Big Ten’s most improved players from a year ago. The 5-8 sophomore from Victoria, Minn., already owns more points (+6), assists (+26), free throws made (+17), rebounds (+18), steals (+7) and blocks (+1) than all of last season in 36 fewer minutes. She is also shooting 44.8 percent (26-58) from three-point range while averaging 7.2 points per game compared to 4.3 points per game last season.

Husker Trio Earns Endowed Scholarships

• Nebraska Athletics will announce the recipients of three endowed scholarships for women’s basketball at its next three home games at Pinnacle Bank Arena.

• The first scholarship announcement will come on Wednesday, Jan. 31 when Nebraska takes on Purdue, as the Huskers present the first Stephanie Bolli #34 Women’s Basketball Scholarship to sophomore guard Allison Weidner.

• Bolli was a four-time women’s basketball letterwinner (1985-88) as a 5-10 forward from Burwell, Neb. She served as a senior captain on Nebraska’s 1988 Big Eight championship team that advanced to the school’s first NCAA Tournament. Bolli was also a two-time Academic All-American, including Nebraska’s first College Sports Communicators First-Team Academic All-American for women’s basketball in 1988. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Nebraska in 1989.

• Preference for the awarding of the Stephanie Bolli #34 Women’s Basketball Scholarship is given to a graduate of a Nebraska high school outside the Lincoln and Omaha metro areas who displays a Nebraska work ethic, prioritizes team goals over personal goals, and meets or exceeds current Academic All-Big Ten standards/demonstrates a high level of academic achievement.

• Another new endowed scholarship will be presented at Nebraska’s game with Iowa on Feb. 11, with the inaugural announcement of the Stone Family Women’s Basketball Scholarship. The scholarship, which is being presented by Joe and Chris Stone to Darian White, requires high character and values, along with grit and an outstanding work ethic.

• The Huskers will announce the winner of their first endowed scholarship for women’s basketball at the home game against Rutgers on Saturday, Feb. 3. The Latimer Family Women’s Basketball Scholarship will be presented to Maddie Krull after generous donations from Gary and Janet Latimer. It will be the third time the Latimer Family Women’s Basketball Scholarship has been awarded, after presenting its inaugural scholarship to Isabelle Bourne in 2021-22 and 2022-23.

• The Latimer Family Women’s Basketball Scholarship is presented to a Husker who demonstrates a high level of academic and athletic achievement, effective leadership skills, integrity and a commitment to excellence in all endeavors.

Husker Nuggets
• Natalie Potts earned her conference-leading fifth Big Ten Freshman-of-the-Week award on Jan. 15. No other league freshman has won more than two awards. Potts won the first weekly honor Nov. 13, before adding awards Nov. 27, Dec. 11, Jan. 8 and Jan. 15. Potts ranks among the top Big Ten freshmen in scoring (10.6 ppg) and rebounding (5.6 rpg). 

• Alexis Markowski has been named to the Big Ten Weekly Honor Roll six times in 11 weeks in 2023-24, including Jan. 15. She also earned a spot on the St. Pete Showcase All-Tournament Team (Nov. 25). She leads the Big Ten in rebounding (10.6 rpg) while ranking sixth in scoring (16.8 ppg).

• The Huskers had seven players produce double figures in points against UNCW, which is believed to be the first time that has been accomplished in school history. It is the second time this season the Huskers have had six players score in double figures in a game (Northwestern State, Nov. 6).

• Three Huskers (Alexis Markowski, Natalie Potts, Jaz Shelley) recorded double-doubles in the win over Maryland (Dec. 31), which is the first time a Husker trio notched doubles in the same game since Jordan Hooper (23 points, 11 rebounds), Emily Cady (15 points, 11 rebounds) and Rachel Theriot (10 points, 12 assists) did it in an NCAA first-round win over Fresno State in Los Angeles on March 22, 2014.
• The Huskers have hit at least one three in 484 straight games dating back to a loss at UTEP on Dec. 20, 2008. Nebraska has hit at least two threes in 363 consecutive games.

• Nebraska has hit 10 or more threes 35 times in the last 92 games, including eight times in 2023-24. The Huskers hit a season-high 16 threes against UNCW (Dec. 5), and sank 12 triples vs. Southern (Dec. 17). NU hit 10 threes vs. Northwestern State (Nov. 6), Florida Atlantic (Nov. 29), Georgia Tech (Dec. 2), Michigan State (Dec. 9), Maryland (Dec. 31) at Iowa (Jan. 27).

• Through the first 20 seasons with the three-point shot in women’s basketball (1988-2007), Nebraska hit 10 threes in a game just six times (591 games).