Lincoln - Taylor Kissinger led five Huskers in double figures with 18 points, as Nebraska displayed a prolific offense for 40 minutes in a 96-71 women's basketball win over visiting Denver on Saturday at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
Nebraska notched its third consecutive win to complete a three-game home stand and improve to 5-5 on the year, while Denver slipped to 7-4 on the season.
Kissinger, a 6-1 sophomore from Minden, Neb., knocked down four three-pointers to lead the Huskers from long range, while freshman Leigha Brown came off the bench to add 18 points and a career-high five assists.
Fellow freshman Ashtyn Veerbeek added 14 big points off the bench along with five rebounds. Sophomore center Kate Cain also contributed 14 points on 7-of-9 shooting while pitching in five rebounds and a pair of blocks. Junior wing and Colorado native Nicea Eliely scored a season-high 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting to go along with five rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Nebraska also got a solid all-around effort from freshman guard Sam Haiby, who scored seven points along with career highs of six rebounds and eight assists. Haiby's eight assists came without a turnover. As a team, the Huskers put together their best passing game of the season with 27 assists on 34 made baskets while committing just 11 turnovers against the Pioneers.
The impressive team effort by the Big Red offset one of the top individual performances by an opponent in Husker history. Denver point guard Samantha Romanowski erupted for a career-high 33 points on a building record 8-for-8 three-point shooting. Overall, Romanowski went 12-for-18 from the field while playing more than 39 minutes in the game.
Romanowski, who was averaging just 8.5 points per game coming into the contest, helped Denver hit 10-of-24 threes on the day, but the rest of the Pioneers were just 2-for-16.
While Romanowski went off, the Huskers silenced DU's leading scorer Lauren Loven, who came into the game averaging 17 points per contest. Loven got just two points on a pair of free throws.
Madison Nelson also played 39 minutes for the Pioneers and produced 19 points, including a pair of threes, while Courtney Smith pitched in 10 points and seven rebounds before fouling out.
Nebraska hit 50.7 percent (34-67) of its shots for the game on the way to outscoring Denver in each of the four quarters. The Huskers hit just 28 percent (7-25) of their threes but knocked down 77.8 percent (21-27) of their free throws. Nebraska won the rebound battle 39-36 and the turnover war 16-11. Most importantly, the Huskers outscored the Pioneers 23-0 in points off turnovers, and dominated Denver 52-14 in the paint. The Big Red bench also outscored the Denver reserves 40-3.
The Huskers held Denver to 39 percent (23-59) shooting, and the Pioneers hit just 57.7 percent (15-26) of their free throws in a tightly but consistently called game that featured 43 combined fouls.
Nebraska used the highest scoring first quarter in school history to jump our to a 31-19 lead. The Husker bench played a huge role in the first-quarter outburst as Veerbeek (8), Brown (6) and Haiby combined for 16 of the 31 points in the quarter. Haiby capped the quarter with her end-to-end layup to beat the buzzer in the final four seconds.
Kissinger added six points on a pair of first-quarter threes, while Eliely pitched in five points despite early foul trouble. Cain contributed four points in the opening period.
The Huskers continued to extend the lead throughout the second quarter, building their biggest first-half margin at 52-35 on Haiby's bucket with 34 seconds left in the quarter. Denver scored in the final seconds to make the halftime margin in Nebraska's favor, 52-37.
Veerbeek led the Big Red with 12 points and three rebounds in nine first-half minutes, while Kissinger contributed 11 points on a trio of threes. Brown put three Huskers in double figures in the half with 10 points.
In the half, Nebraska hit 50 percent (16-32) of its shots, but just 4-of-13 threes. The Huskers were also a strong 16-of-19 (.842) at the line, while forcing all kinds of foul trouble on the Pioneers.
Romanowski led all scorers with 15 first-half points on 4-of-4 shooting from three-point range, but the Huskers also forced five turnovers by Romanowski in the half, outscoring the Pioneers 10-0 in points off turnovers Nelson pitched in 10 points in the half for the Pioneers, including 2-for-2 three-point shooting.
Nebraska held Denver to 12-of-30 shooting (.400) in the half, including 6-of-11 (.545) three-point shooting, but hit just 7-of-14 free throws. The Huskers outworked Denver 20-16 on the boards and won the first-half turnover battle 8-6.
The Huskers complete their non-conference season Tuesday, when they travel to Arkansas. Tip-off between Nebraska and the Razorbacks from Bud Walton Arena in Fayetteville is set for 7 p.m. (CT) with live radio coverage by the Husker Sports Network. A live video stream will be available through SEC Network plus.
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - For the second year in a row, the Nebraska volleyball team won a five-set thriller in the NCAA Semifinals, this time rallying from an 0-2 hole for a dramatic come-from-behind victory over Illinois Thursday Night at the Target Center. With the win, the Huskers advanced to Saturday's NCAA Final, where Nebraska will take on Stanford in an attempt to win back-to-back national titles.
Nebraska (29-6) lost the first two sets, 25-22 and 25-16, and set three was tied at 23 before Mikaele Foecke delivered consecutive kills to send the match to the fourth set. The Huskers then won set four, 25-20, to send it to a decisive fifth set. The fifth set was tied at 11 before Nebraska scored the final four points, with Foecke closing out the match with her 19th kill on match point.
Foecke and Lexi Sun each had 19 kills to lead Nebraska, and each player produced a double-double with Sun recording 12 digs and Foecke tallying 11 digs. Nicklin Hames also had a double-double with 46 assists and 19 digs, while running a Husker offense that hit .251 for the match. Jazz Sweet had nine kills on only 20 swings and Lauren Stivrins produced eight kills on 16 error-free swings for a match-high .500 attack percentage. Kenzie Maloney led Nebraska with 20 digs, while Megan Miller had 19 digs. Maloney also added a career-high 10 assists to post her first career double-double. The Huskers had nine more kills than Illinois and out-dug the Illini, but Illinois out-blocked Nebraska and served up nine aces.
Jacqueline Quade had a match-high 28 kills for Illinois (32-4), the most by a Husker opposing player this season. Beth Prince added 10 kills for an Illinois offense that hit .237. Morgan O'Brien had a match-high 27 digs, while Quade added 10 digs to produce a double-double.
Set 1: The Huskers had kills on their first three swings to take a 4-1 lead. Foecke had a block with Schwarzenbach and back-to-back kills to keep the Huskers up three, 7-4. But Illinois answered with a 3-0 run to tie the score at 7-7. Illinois tied the set at 9-9 and 10-10, but Hames dumped a kill after each point to not allow Illinois to go in front. Sun blasted a pair of kills and served an ace to give NU a 14-11 lead, but the Illini wouldn't go away, scoring three in a row to tie the set once again. Sweet and Schwarzenbach blocked an Illinois attack to give the Huskers a 15-14 advantage at the media timeout. Illinois took its first lead at 16-15 after a kill and ace by Quade on consecutive rallies, and Ali Bastianelli and Ashlyn Fleming added kills to take the Illini to an 18-16 lead. Foecke and Sun answered with kills for the Huskers out of a timeout, and the score was tied once again, 18-18. Hames dumped her third kill of the set, and Nebraska regained a 19-18 lead. After an Illinois timeout, Foecke served the Huskers' second ace of the set to make it 20-18. Illinois scored the next two to tie it 20-20, and the Illini went back in front, 22-21, on Quade's eighth kill. A pair of Husker hitting errors gave Illinois set point at 24-21. The Huskers fought off one point before the Illini won 25-22 on Quade's ninth kill. There were nine ties and three lead changes in the opening set.
Set 2: Illinois setter Jordyn Poulter served a 6-0 run to begin the set for the Illini, including three aces, and Nebraska used both of its timeouts during the run. The Illini led 12-4 after kills by Megan Cooney and Quade and a block by Bastianelli. Stivrins, Sun and Foecke strung together four straight kills for the Big Red to trim the deficit to 13-9, but Illinois went right back to Quade for two more kills and a 16-9 lead. Illinois led 19-12 when Sweet had three kills in a row to pull the Huskers within 19-15. The Huskers could get no closer than four, however, as Illinois scored a 6-1 run to win the set, 25-16.
Set 3: Stivrins had three early kills and Nebraska led 7-5 after an ace by Foecke. With the score tied 9-9, the Huskers scored four straight points after Illinois made its first service error of the match, and Sun added an ace that was followed by an Illinois error and a Sweet kill to make it 13-9. After Illinois pulled within one at 14-13, the Huskers put together another 4-0 run, this one with two kills by Foecke and one each by Sweet and Hames. Foecke and Sun added kills to make it a six-point lead at 20-14, but a Husker service error followed by a receiving error on Illinois' next serve made it 20-16, and the Huskers took a timeout. Nebraska led 21-16 when Illinois went on a 5-0 run to tie the score at 21-21. Foecke earned an important sideout for the Huskers with her 13th kill, but Nebraska's 10th service error knotted the score at 22-22. Illinois took a 23-22 lead, but Schwarzenbach and Foecke terminated for set point for the Huskers at 24-23. An Illinois net violation gave the Huskers the 25-23 win to extend the match.
Set 4: The Huskers trailed 5-3 before rallying to take a 7-5 lead on a 5-0 run served by Miller. A kill by Sun made it 9-6 Huskers, but Illinois scored the next three to tie it at 9-9. Illinois gained a 12-11 lead, but the Huskers clawed their way to a 15-14 lead at the media timeout, aided by kills from Sun and Schwarzenbach. An ace serve by Miller following an Illinois serve into the net put NU ahead 17-15. After Illinois tied the set at 17-17, Stivrins and Foecke blocked a Quade attack, and Stivrins and Sun took the Huskers to a 20-18 lead with back-to-back kills. The Illini hit wide after a timeout, but Poulter and Fleming had kills to cut to the Huskers' lead to 21-20. But once again an Illinois service error was followed by a Nebraska ace - this one from Hames - and NU led 23-20. After Illinois' second timeout, Sweet gained set point for the Huskers with her seventh kill, and Sun found the corner to force a fifth set after the 25-20 Husker win.
Set 5: The teams went back and forth early on with Illinois committing three service errors but siding out each time the Huskers served the next rally. Foecke blasted a kill for a 6-5 Husker lead, but Beth Prince answered for Illinois. The Illini won a joust at the net to go ahead 7-6, but Stivrins sided out for the Huskers with her eighth kill. Sun put NU up 8-7 at the crossover. Foecke struck a kill out of the back row to make it 9-7, and another kill by Sun had the Huskers up 10-8. A kill by Quade and an ace by Fleming tied the score at 10-10, and the Huskers took a timeout. Capri Davis sided out for the Huskers, but Quade answered. Sweet came right back with her ninth kill, and the Huskers won a challenge call that Foecke's shot deflected off an Illinois fingertip before going out, making the score 13-11. Maloney served an ace for match point at 14-11, and Foecke closed out match on the next rally with a kill.
Nebraska Post-Match Notes
- With the win, Nebraska (29-6) advanced to the NCAA Final for the ninth time in program history (third-most in NCAA history). The Huskers have made back-to-back NCAA Finals for only the second time in school history (2005 & 2006) and are playing for the national title for the third time in the past four seasons.
- The Huskers will go for their sixth national title and second in a row on Saturday. Nebraska has never won back-to-back national championships.
- NU rallied from an 0-2 deficit for the first time ever in an NCAA Semifinal or Final. The Huskers had been 0-4 in NCAA Semifinals when losing the first two sets and 0-3 in NCAA Finals when losing the first two sets.
- The Huskers became the first team to rally from an 0-2 deficit in an NCAA Semifinal or Final since Penn State came back to defeat Texas in the 2009 NCAA Final. The last time a team rallied from an 0-2 hole in an NCAA Semifinal match was in 2008, when Stanford defeated Texas.
- Nebraska set a school record with its 11th consecutive NCAA Tournament victory. The 11-match postseason winning streak ranks sixth in NCAA history.
- Nebraska improved its all-time NCAA Tournament record to 113-31. The Huskers’ 113 victories and .785 winning percentage in the postseason rank second in NCAA history to Stanford (124-31).
- Nebraska improved to 9-6 all-time in NCAA Semifinal matches, including a 6-3 record under John Cook. Cook moved to 72-14 overall in NCAA Tournament play as Nebraska’s head coach and 80-18 in his career, including his seven seasons at Wisconsin.
- John Cook has taken a Husker team to the NCAA Final for the sixth time in his 19 seasons at Nebraska, winning four national championships. Cook’s six finals appearances rank fifth among all coaches in NCAA history.
- Cook improved to 8-1 against Big Ten teams in the NCAA Tournament at Nebraska.
- The Huskers extended their winning streak to 13 matches with the win over third-ranked Illinois. Nebraska is 7-0 against ranked opponents during its win streak, including 3-0 vs. top-10 foes.
- Illinois won five of the final six rallies in set one to hand Nebraska its first set loss of the NCAA Tournament, 25-22. The Huskers had won all 12 sets in the postseason and 22 straight sets dating back to Nov. 16.
- Nebraska was held to 16 points in the second set, its third-fewest points in a set this season.
- NU fell behind 0-2 for just the third time this season. The previous two times both occurred in the first six matches of the year. The Huskers are 2-1 when losing the first two sets of a match, with both wins coming over top-15 opponents (Creighton and Illinois).
- Nebraska’s two seniors who have been with the program all four years – Mikaela Foecke and Kenzie Maloney – improved to 21-1 in their NCAA Tournament careers. The duo has won more postseason matches than any other players in Husker history.
- Foecke and Maloney each played their 22nd NCAA Tournament match on Thursday, setting a school record for the most postseason matches by any player in program history. The duo have also each played 77 career sets in their NCAA Tournament careers, the most by any player in Nebraska history.
- Foecke and Maloney are a combined 52-2 all-time in the months of November and December.
- Foecke had 19 kills in the match, giving her 102 career kills in the NCAA Semifinals/Finals. She became just the 10th player in NCAA history to have 100 kills in NCAA Semifinals/Finals matches.
- Foecke also had two aces, giving her eight in her career in NCAA Semifinals/Finals matches, which ties for the 10th-most in NCAA history. Her two aces also moved her up to seventh on Nebraska’s all-time list.
- Maloney had a team-high 20 digs against Illinois to give her 519 digs this season. She became just the fourth Husker to have 500 digs in a season, and her 519 digs rank fifth in school history.
- Maloney also had a career-best 10 assists to post the first double-double of her career.
- Nicklin Hames produced her 24th double-double of the season, extending her school record.
- Hames also tied her career high with five kills.
- Illinois’ Jacqueline Quade had 28 kills, the most by Husker opponent on the season. She had at least 22 kills in all three matches against Nebraska in 2018.
- Illinois had nine aces in the match, the most the Huskers allowed in 2018. Nebraska had been aced only five times in its first four NCAA Tournament matches combined.
Freshmen Contributing Early for Huskers• Nebraska has received production early and often from its 2018-19 freshman class. The four-player class, which was ranked among the top 20 recruiting classes in the nation by ESPN last season, features Sam Haiby (10.9 ppg, 3.1 rpg), Ashtyn Veerbeek (7.7 ppg, 7.0 rpg), Leigha Brown (7.7 ppg, 2.1 rpg) and Kayla Mershon (2.2 ppg, 2.0 rpg).
• Haiby, a 5-9 guard from Moorhead, Minn., leads Nebraska with 10.9 points per game off the bench. She has led the Huskers in scoring in four games, including against nationally ranked Drake (13) and Miami (14), while also scoring a career-high 20 points at Washington State and adding 17 points at Creighton. She owns five double-figure scoring efforts overall, including 12 points at No. 5 Louisville (Nov. 29).
• Haiby also ranks third among the Huskers in assists (2.4 apg).
• Ashtyn Veerbeek is tied with Leigha Brown for second among the Husker freshmen in scoring with 7.7 points per game, while leading the group and ranking second on the team with 7.0 rebounds. Veerbeek produced her first career double-double with career highs of 14 points and 14 rebounds in a win over San Jose State (Dec. 8). She also ranks second among the Huskers with 12 blocks.
• Leigha Brown set a career high with 18 points in the win over San Jose State (Dec. 8). Brown, who has led the Huskers twice in scoring early in the season, is averaging 7.7 points per game. The 6-1 wing from Auburn, Indiana leads the freshmen with seven three-pointers and has committed a total of just four turnovers over the past eight games.
• Kayla Mershon has pitched in 2.2 points and 2.0 rebounds per game for the Huskers, including a career-high seven rebounds in the win over Kansas (Dec. 5). The 6-3 forward from Chanhassen, Minn., also has dished out five assists and has committed a team-best two turnovers through nine games.
• The freshmen have combined for 37.6 percent (256-of-680) of Nebraska’s points in just 32.8 percent of the team’s total minutes (607-of-1,850) on the season. They also have accounted for just 26.5 percent (40-of-151) of Nebraska’s turnovers.
• Nebraska’s four freshmen are combining to average 28.4 points and 14.2 rebounds per game, while NU’s two sophomores (Kate Cain, Taylor Kissinger) have combined to average 18.4 points and 11.7 boards per contest. Nebraska’s six underclassmen have combined for 62.1 percent of NU’s scoring and 58.4 percent of the team’s rebounding through nine games.
LINCOLN, Neb. - Nebraska volleyball student-athletes Mikaela Foecke and Lauren Stivrins were named AVCA First-Team All-Americans, and Kenzie Maloney was selected to the AVCA All-America Third Team, the American Volleyball Coaches Association announced on Wednesday.
Foecke, a senior outside hitter from West Point, Iowa, earned her second-career All-America honor after earning second-team accolades last year. Stivrins, a sophomore middle blocker from Scottsdale, Arizona, and Maloney, a senior libero from Louisville, Kentucky, were both honored for the first time. Freshman setter Nicklin Hames received honorable mention.
It marks only the second time since 2006 that the Huskers have had two AVCA first-team All-Americans. The Huskers' three AVCA All-America selections improved their nation-leading total to 90 all-time. A nation-leading total of 45 players have combined for the Huskers' 90 awards.
Foecke leads the Huskers with 3.80 kills per set and is averaging 2.69 digs per set and has 43 service aces this season. Her current kills per set average is Nebraska’s best since 2013 (Kelsey Robinson, 4.45). The Husker co-captain was a unanimous All-Big Ten selection for the second straight season. She has 21 aces in her NCAA Tournament career, the second-highest total in Nebraska history. Only Jordan Larson (36) has more. Foecke had the third and fourth double-doubles of her NCAA Tournament career at the Minneapolis Regional last weekend, and she was named the most valuable player. She ranks third on Nebraska’s career kills list with 1,638, and her 132 career aces are eighth-most in school history. The two-time NCAA Championship Most Outstanding Player also has 263 career kills all-time in the NCAA Tournament, second-most in school history behind only Sarah Pavan (304).
Stivrins was a two-time Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week and was also the Big Ten Player of the Week once this season. The 6-4 middle blocker is averaging 2.33 kills per set on a team-best .409 hitting percentage, which ranks sixth in the nation. It is NU's highest individual hitting percentage since 2007 (Tracy Stalls, .473). An All-Big Ten selection for the first time as well this season, Stivrins added serving to her repertoire and has 25 aces. Stivrins was named to the Minneapolis All-Regional team last weekend after 11 kills on .526 hitting in the regional final win over Oregon. She had 13 kills with a career-high 10 blocks in a 3-2 win over Penn State on Nov. 2.
Maloney, the Husker co-captain, is averaging a team-best 4.06 digs per set and has played an instrumental role in leading the Huskers to a nation-leading .136 opponent hitting percentage this season. The Louisville, Kentucky native ranks fifth in NU career history in digs with 1,369. Maloney posted a career-high 25 digs twice this season, and she was named the most valuable player of the Husker Invite and the best libero at the Ameritas Players Challenge. Maloney's 36 service aces are the third-most on the team this year. She and Foecke are the only Huskers in school history to play in four NCAA Semifinals, and they will each play in their 22nd NCAA Tournament match on Thursday, the most postseason matches played by any player in program history.
Hames earned honorable mention after recording a school-record 23 double-doubles this season, averaging 10.46 assists and 3.33 digs per set. Her 39 service aces are second-most on the team. Hames was an All-Big Ten Freshman Team member and a two-time Big Ten Freshman of the Week.
The Division I TeamSnap/AVCA National Player of the Year will be announced on December 14 at the AVCA All-America/Players of the Year Banquet.
The Huskers are in Minneapolis getting set to take on No. 3 Illinois in an NCAA Semifinal match on Thursday at 8 p.m. on ESPN, WatchESPN.com and the Husker Sports Network.
Nebraska outside hitter Mikaela Foecke has been selected as the 2018 Senior CLASS Award winner in NCAA Division I women’s volleyball. The award, chosen by a nationwide vote of Division I volleyball coaches, national volleyball media and fans, is given annually to the most outstanding senior student-athlete in Division I volleyball. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence: classroom, community, character and competition.
An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities. Foecke is the fourth Senior CLASS Award winner from Nebraska and the second Husker to win for volleyball after Gina Mancuso took home the award in 2012.
“When I came to the University of Nebraska in 2015, my goals were to not only help Nebraska volleyball win games and championships, but also to become a better student, person and teammate,” said Foecke, who led the Huskers to their fourth consecutive Final Four this season after capturing NCAA national titles as both a freshman and junior. “These past four years have gone by so quickly, and it hasn’t really set in yet that my college career is coming to an end. But when I look back, I am so proud of all that we have accomplished. To win two national championships and two Big Ten championships has been incredible, but what I will really take most from my time at Nebraska is the relationships I have built with my teammates, the coaches, the staff, and of course our amazing fans. Whichever path I take after graduation, I know that the experience of being a student-athlete at Nebraska will have prepared me well for life both on and off the volleyball court.”
Already receiving her fourth-straight first-team AVCA All-North Region honor this season, Foecke will go down as one of the greatest players in one of the top volleyball programs in the country. A two-time NCAA Championship Most Outstanding Player, Foecke has earned AVCA All-America honors in each of her first three seasons with the potential for a fourth honor this week, and has earned Big Ten conference honors all four years as well, including unanimous first-team honors as both a junior and senior. Foecke currently ranks third on Nebraska’s career kills list with 1,638, and her 132 career aces are eighth-most in school history. She also has 263 career kills all-time in the NCAA Tournament, second-most in school history behind only Sarah Pavan (304).
Also a standout in the classroom, Foecke has received multiple Academic All-Big Ten honors in her career for both court volleyball and beach volleyball. Majoring in animal science, she carries a 3.649 GPA is a five-time member of the Nebraska Scholar-Athlete Honor Roll and has received Nebraska’s High Honors (Silver) Academic Medallion twice.
“Mikaela is part of the most decorated senior class in the history of Nebraska volleyball,” said Head Coach John Cook, a two-time AVCA Division I National Coach of the Year. “She and Kenzie Maloney are the only two Nebraska players ever who will have played at four NCAA Final Fours, and she has been the most outstanding player two of the three times we have been there, which is incredible. What separates Mikaela is her dedication to being great in everything she does. She is a phenomenal student with aspirations of being a veterinarian someday. Mikaela has also developed outstanding leadership skills during her time at Nebraska, and there’s no question that she and Kenzie are the biggest reason this young team has made it to the NCAA Semifinals for a fourth time. Mikaela will leave a huge lasting legacy on Nebraska volleyball when her career comes to an end.”
A team captain and its representative on the Nebraska Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, Foecke has shown exemplary character throughout her Husker career. A three-time Tom Osborne Citizenship Team member and a Diversity & Inclusion Summit leader, Foecke has also remained committed to community outreach, helping the Husker volleyball program earn the Nebraska’s Life Skills Award through her work with events and organizations such as One Shirt One Body, Uplifting Athletes, People’s City Mission, Husker Heroes, Make-a-Wish and more.
“On behalf of everyone associated with the Senior CLASS Award, we are honored to recognize Mikaela Foecke as this year’s winner for women’s volleyball,” said Erik Miner, executive director for the Senior CLASS Award. “Not only is Mikaela one of the best players to ever wear a Husker uniform, she’s also an incredibly well-rounded student-athlete who excels in every area. We offer our sincere congratulations to Mikaela, her team and the entire university.”
For more information, visit seniorCLASSaward.com.
First-Team Senior CLASS Award All-AmericansAli Bastianelli, Illinois
Santita Ebangwese, Syracuse
Mikaela Foecke, Nebraska
Jordyn Poulter, Illinois
Samantha Seliger-Swenson, Minnesota
Second-Team Senior CLASS Award All-AmericansTami Alade, Stanford
Lauren Bruns, Dayton
Taryn Kloth, Creighton
Haley Libs, Northern Kentucky
Courtney Pence, Illinois State
• The sixth-ranked Nebraska volleyball team will make its program-record fourth straight trip to the NCAA Semifinals when they take on No. 3 Illinois on Thursday at 8 p.m. at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The match will be televised on ESPN and will be streamed online at WatchESPN.com. Paul Sunderland, Karch Kiraly and Holly Rowe will have the call.
Nebraska’s History in the NCAA Semifinals
Huskers’ Senior Class Most Decorated in School History
About the Huskers
Foecke, Maloney Captain Young Husker Squad
Stivrins, Sweet Stepping Up in Sophomore Seasons
Sun Shining for Huskers
Young Huskers Making Instant Impact
Smith Makes Return to Huskers
Huskers Played School-Record 19 Home Matches
Huskers Record 250th Consecutive Regular-Season Sellout
Huskers Ranked No. 6 in AVCA Coaches Poll
Cook Adds to Legacy; Joins AVCA Hall of Fame
Husker Fans Set Attendance Standard Once Again
Foecke Named Senior CLASS Award Finalist
All five starters scored in double figures as No. 24/25 Nebraska used a balanced and efficient offensive attack to cruise to a 94-75 victory over Creighton Saturday evening in front of 15,950 fans at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
Nebraska scored 47 points in each half while putting up the third-highest point total in its 52 all-time meetings with Creighton. The Huskers, who led by as many as 22, were up 13 at the half and Creighton never got closer than nine in the second half. Nebraska, which improved to 8-2 with the win, earned its 17th consecutive home win, as the Huskers have won each of their six home games this season by at least 15 points.
James Palmer Jr. paced the Husker offense with 30 points, his second career 30-point effort. Palmer hit 9-of-12 shots from the field, including a career-high six 3-pointers, and he was a perfect 6-of-6 from the line. Thomas Allen added a career-high 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting, while Isaiah Roby chipped in 15 points and grabbed a game-high eight rebounds. Glynn Watson Jr. added 13 points and a game-high five assists, while Isaac Copeland scored 11 points.
Nebraska shot 53.3 percent from the field, hitting 32 of its 60 shots for its third-most efficient performance of the season. That included knocking down 14-of-27 3-pointers for a season-high 51.9 percent from behind the arc. NU also outrebounded Creighton by four.
Creighton (6-3) was led by Mitch Ballock, who had a career-high-tying 23 points. Ballock was 7-of-10 from beyond the arc – including hitting each of his first six attempts – but the Huskers held him scoreless over the final 14:13. Davion Mintz (15) and Ty-Shon Alexander (10) were also in double figures for the Bluejays, but Nebraska limited Alexander to just one 3-pointer after the sophomore had hit multiple 3-pointers in every game this season.
Palmer got the Huskers going early, as he connected on his first three 3-pointers before Allen and Roby keyed an early 7-0 run, combining for all seven points as Nebraska built a 16-9 lead.
The Huskers led 18-10 when Palmer picked up his second foul, but the Huskers built the lead with the All-American candidate on the bench. NU went on a 19-4 surge, building a 21-point lead at 37-16 after a Nana Akenten 3-pointer with 7:18 left in the first half.
Nebraska led 47-26 after a Watson jumper, but the Bluejays made a run, outscoring the Huskers 8-0 to pull within 13 at the break.
Behind the shooting of Ballock, Creighton continued to chip away, pulling to within 51-42 after his sixth 3-pointer of the evening, but a pair of Roby free throws and Palmer’s 3-pointer pushed the lead back to 55-42 with 16:35 left.
Nebraska continued to extend the lead and led 77-60 before the visitors made one last run, Creighton ran off seven straight points to cut the deficit to 10 on 3-pointer from Mintz, but the answered once again. Creighton was within 81-70 before Isaac Copeland’s 3-pointer started a 13-2 run capped by Palmer’s sixth 3-pointer with 1:22 remaining.
The Huskers take a break for finals before traveling to Sioux Falls, S.D. for a matchup with Oklahoma State on Sunday, Dec. 16. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. and will be carried by the Husker Sports Network and televised on BTN.
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - The sixth-ranked Nebraska volleyball team stifled one of the nation's top offenses to earn a seventh straight trip to the NCAA Regional Finals with a 3-0 (25-17, 25-20, 25-23) sweep of No. 10 Kentucky on Friday at Minnesota's Maturi Pavilion.
The Huskers won their 11th straight match to improve to 27-6 on the season and will face the winner of No. 2 Minnesota and No. 14 Oregon on Saturday at 5 p.m. The match will be broadcast on ESPNU, WatchESPN.com and Husker Sports Network radio affiliates.
Nebraska out-hit Kentucky .239 to .165, holding the Wildcats to a season-low hitting percentage. It marked the 13th time this season Nebraska has held an opponent to a season-low hitting percentage. Kentucky entered the match hitting .304 this season, the fourth-best mark in the nation, but Nebraska blocked the Wildcats eight times.
Mikaela Foecke had 14 kills and 10 digs while hitting .303, and Lexi Sun had 13 kills and seven digs. Lauren Stivrins added eight kills. Four different Huskers had at least three blocks, led by Callie Schwarzenbach's five and Jazz Sweet's four. Both players also had four kills. Foecke and Stivrins both tallied three blocks.
Nicklin Hames had 38 assists and 11 digs for her 22nd double-double of the season, which ties Jordan Larson for NU's most in a single season in the rally-scoring era.
Nebraska had two more aces (4-2) and four fewer service errors (5-9) than the Wildcats (26-5), who had their 23-match win streak snapped. The Huskers had a 55-49 edge in digs, with Kenzie Maloney, Megan Miller and Hames all posting 11 digs.
Three different Wildcats had seven kills.
Set 1: Sun had two early kills and an ace, as the Huskers rallied from down 3-1 to take an 11-7 lead, while Kentucky committed three service errors and three attacking errors. Two kills by Alli Stumler brought Kentucky within two, but Stivrins and Foecke terminated back-to-back kills to restore a four-point lead, 13-9. A back-row kill by Foecke and a Kentucky miscue made it 15-10 Huskers. After the Wildcats cut it to three, they committed another service error and Stivrins and Foecke stuffed an attack for an 18-13 lead, forcing Kentucky's second timeout. Maloney came out of the timeout with an ace to make it 19-13. Stivrins and Sun tacked on three more kills and combined for a block, and the Huskers increased the lead to 24-15 after an 8-2 spurt. Nebraska won 25-17, holding Kentucky to .100 hitting. Sun had four kills and no errors to lead the Big Red.
Set 2: The Huskers picked up where they left off in set one, taking a 6-1 lead courtesy of two blocks by Sweet, one with Schwarzenbach and one with Stivrins. Foecke blasted three more kills and put the Huskers up 8-2. The Huskers used a timeout after Kentucky pulled within 9-5 via back-to-back blocks. Stivrins immediately earned sideout for the Huskers, and a tough serve by Hayley Densberger forced a Kentucky hitting error to make it 11-5 Huskers. Nebraska led 14-7 after kills by Sun and Sweet, but Kentucky responded with a 3-0 run out of a timeout to get within four, 14-10. The teams traded six sideouts before Avery Skinner and Caitlyn Cooper terminated for Kentucky to get the Wildcats within 17-15. Stivrins ended the Wildcats' 3-0 run with back-to-back slide kills to make it 19-15. Kentucky got back within two at 21-19 but then committed a service error. Sweet found the floor for a kill, and Foecke and Schwarzenbach blocked Wildcat attacks for the final two Husker points to give them a 25-20 win and a 2-0 lead in the match.
Set 3: Nebraska fell behind 4-1 but rallied to tie the set at 6-6 with back-to-back kills by Stivrins and Sun. The Wildcats then went on a 5-0 run to take an 11-6 lead, however. A pair of kills by Sun brought NU within three, 12-9, but Kentucky had an answer once again, scoring the next three points for a 15-9 lead. The lead went to seven before Foecke killed consecutive rallies and Miller served an ace to cut it to four, 18-14. After Kentucky got sideout, Stivrins struck for two more kills and Kentucky hit long to get the Huskers within 19-17. Kentucky went back ahead by four, 22-18, but Sun's 13th kill and a block by Sweet and Schwarzenbach cut the deficit back to two, 22-20. Nebraska trailed 23-20 when Sweet connected for kills from both the left and right sides to cut it to one, 23-22, and Foecke terminated to tie the set at 23-23, the first tie since 6-6. Nebraska earned match point at 24-23 after winning a challenge that Kentucky committed a net violation, and Foecke finished the match off with her match-high 14th kill.
- Nebraska improved to 27-6 overall and won its 11th straight match.
- The Huskers advanced to an NCAA Regional Final for the seventh straight season and for the 28th time in the Huskers’ 37 all-time NCAA Tournament appearances.
- Nebraska has made 16 NCAA Regional Final appearances in John Cook's 19 years at Nebraska, more than any other school in that span.
- NU will play the winner of No. 2 Minnesota and No. 14 Oregon on Saturday at 5 p.m. (CT) for a chance to reach a fourth straight final four. The Huskers have never been to four consecutive NCAA Semifinals.
- John Cook is 70-14 in the NCAA Tournament at Nebraska. Including his seven seasons at Wisconsin, Cook is 78-18 in the postseason.
- Nebraska won its ninth consecutive NCAA Tournament match to improve to 111-31 (.782) all-time in the postseason, the second-best win percentage behind only Stanford (.796).
- Nebraska’s two seniors who have been with the program all four years - Mikaela Foecke and Kenzie Maloney – are 19-1 in their NCAA Tournament careers. The duo is a combined 50-2 all-time in the months of November and December.
- Foecke had the third double-double of her NCAA Tournament career with 14 kills and 10 digs. The others were in the 2017 NCAA Semifinal (Penn State) and Championship (Florida).
- NU held Kentucky to a season-low .165 hitting percentage, the 13th time this season Nebraska has held a team to its lowest hitting percentage of the season. Kentucky came into the match hitting .305, which ranked fourth nationally.
- The Huskers have now held 26 of their 33 opponents under .200 hitting this year, and 13 have hit below .100.
- Freshman setter Nicklin Hames had her 22nd double-double of the season with 38 assists and 11 digs. That ties Jordan Larson for the single-season school record for double-doubles in the rally-scoring era.
The No. 24/25 Nebraska men’s basketball team led by double-digits with 10 minutes to play Wednesday night at Minnesota, but the Huskers could not hold the lead down the stretch in an 85-78 loss to the Golden Gophers at Williams Arena.
Nebraska (7-2, 1-1) led for much of the game and was on top 67-56 midway through the second half. But the Husker offense went cold from there and Minnesota’s offense caught fire, as the Gophers (7-2, 1-1) outscored Nebraska 29-11 over the game’s final 10 minutes. During that stretch, Nebraska was just 3-of-12 from the field, while Minnesota was 9-of-16.
The Gophers used a 9-0 run to turn a five-point deficit into a 77-73 lead with 2:26 remaining, and the Huskers were never able to get closer than two the rest of the way. Minnesota won by shooting 51.8 percent from the field – including 57.1 percent in the second half – becoming the first Husker opponent in 35 games to shoot better than 50 percent.
Amir Coffey paced the Gopher offense with a career-high 32 points, including 18 in the second half. Jordan Murphy had a double-double with 18 points and 13 rebounds, with 12 of his points coming in the second half.
Nebraska shot 45.9 percent on the game, but the Huskers hit only 38 percent of their shots in the second half. It was a balanced night offensively for the Big Red as six Huskers finished with at least nine points. Isaac Copeland had 17 points and Isaiah Roby added 15 points, but both players fouled out down the stretch. Glynn Watson Jr. had 14 points and James Palmer Jr. rounded out Nebraska’s double-figure scorers with 11 points, but he was held scoreless in the second half while missing all seven of his shots. Thomas Allen Jr. and Brady Heiman scored nine points apiece.
Things started out well as Nebraska scored on five of its first six possessions to start the game. A pair of 6-0 runs gave Nebraska a 12-4 lead and forced a Minnesota timeout less than three minutes into the contest. The timeout did not slow down NU’s offense, as the Huskers stretched the lead to 19-10 three minutes later.
The Huskers’ offensive efficiency kept Minnesota at bay, as Nebraska maintained its nine-point advantage when Allen knocked down a 3-pointer to make it 28-19 with 9:19 left in the first half.
But following Allen’s three, Nebraska’s offense hit a lull over the next five minutes, allowing Minnesota to go on a 15-4 run to take a 36-32 lead. Coffey scored 11 straight Gopher points during the run, while Heiman accounted for all four Husker points.
Heiman then delivered a key offensive rebound that sparked a half-ending run for the Huskers. Heiman’s rebound led to a pair of Palmer free throws, snapping NU’s nearly four-minute scoring drought. Palmer went to the line after he drew a foul on Coffey, which forced Coffey to the bench for the final 4:11 of the half with three fouls.
With Coffey on the bench, Nebraska closed the half on a 10-3 run, turning a two-point deficit into a five-point halftime lead. Palmer (six points) and Heiman (four points) combined to score all 10 points during the run, while Nebraska held Minnesota without a field goal for the final 2:57 of the half. Palmer led the Huskers with 11 first-half points, and Nebraska forced eight first-half turnovers which led to a 15-3 Husker advantage in points off turnovers.
After closing the first half on a 10-3 run, Nebraska opened the second half on a 7-1 spurt to build its first double-digit lead at 51-40 two minutes into the period. The Huskers extended the lead to 13 one minute later on a pair of Watson free throws.
Nebraska continued to lead by double digits until the Gophers went on a 6-0 run during a three-minute Husker scoring drought, trimming the lead to 58-50 with 13 minutes remaining. Roby ended the run with a pair of free throws before the teams began trading baskets.
The Huskers led 67-56 at the 10-minute mark following a Nana Akenten 3-pointer. But Nebraska’s offense went cold from there, as the Huskers hit only three field goals and scored just 11 points over the final 10 minutes.
A three-minute scoring drought allowed Minnesota to trim the lead to four before Watson nailed a jumper to put the Huskers on top 71-65 with 4:57 to play. The Huskers then went nearly three more minutes without scoring, but Minnesota was not able to cut into the deficit until a game-changing run.
Trailing by five, Dupree McBrayer hit a 3-pointer and Minnesota knocked down four consecutive free throws to take their first lead of the second half at 74-73. Coffey then capped a 9-0 Gopher run in a span of just 1:49 to give Minnesota a 77-73 lead with 2:24 to play.
Watson snapped the run with a driving basket to pull the Huskers within two but Minnesota scored four of the next five points to build a five-point lead. Copeland responded with a driving layup that brought it back to a one-possession game at 81-78 with 43.8 seconds left. But Nebraska missed a pair of late 3-pointers and Minnesota hit all four of its free throws in the final minute to seal the win.
Nebraska returns to action on Saturday, when the Huskers host Creighton at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Tipoff between the Huskers and Bluejays is set for 5 p.m. and the game will be televised on the Big Ten Network.
Lincoln - Taylor Kissinger notched her second career double-double with 11 points and a career-best 11 rebounds, helping Nebraska to one of the top-five team rebounding totals in school history on its way to a 58-52 women's basketball win over Kansas on Wednesday night at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
The Huskers, who grabbed 64 total rebounds to tie for the fourth-highest total in school history, handed the Jayhawks (6-1) their first loss of the season for the second straight year, while Nebraska improved to 3-5.
Kissinger, a 6-1 sophomore from Minden, Neb., knocked down 3-of-4 three-pointers and dished out a pair of assists while adding a steal to help the Huskers register their second straight home win of the season.
Junior guard Hannah Whitish matched Kissinger with a team-high 11 points, including a pair of three-pointers, while contributing three assists.
Freshmen Ashtyn Veerbeek, Sam Haiby, Kayla Mershon and Leigha Brown also played major roles in the win. Veerbeek pulled down a career-high 11 rebounds to help Nebraska dominate the glass, while adding seven points and a career-high three blocks.
Mershon added a career-high seven rebounds while pitching in two points and an assist, and Haiby finished with eight points, five rebounds, three assists and a steal for the Big Red. Brown rounded out the first-year contributors with four points, two boards and a steal.
In the game, all 10 Huskers scored at least one point and grabbed at least one rebound in a true team effort, including five points, a season-high matching eight rebounds and a career-high four blocked shots for Nicea Eliely. Kate Cain added four points, six rebounds and three blocks, while Maddie Simon managed five points and three boards.
"Our goal coming into tonight's game was to be the hardest working team out on the court. That was our number one objective, and I think our rebounding total and margin and 24 offensive rebounds showed that we were tonight," Nebraska Coach Amy Williams said. "That will continue to be our focus and that is the challenge for us as we move forward this season."
The contributions across the board helped Nebraska overcome 22 turnovers and a minus-11 turnover margin against the Jayhawks, who converted NU's miscues into 19 points. Despite being out-rebounded 64-43, KU also outscored Nebraska 16-12 in second-chance points.
As a team, the Huskers hit 21-of-64 shots from the field (.328), including 6-of-17 (.353) from behind the arc. Nebraska was a season-worst 10-for-18 (.556) at the free throw line.
But Nebraska provided one of its best defensive efforts of the season, holding Kansas to just 25.3 percent (19-75) shooting from the floor, including a dismal 8-for-37 (.216) from three-point range. KU hit just 6-of-11 free throws.
Kylee Kopatich led Kansas with 14 points, including 4-of-9 three-point shooting, while Mariane De Carvalho added 11 points off the bench with a trio of three-pointers to help KU shoot its way back into the game.
The Huskers took their biggest lead of the night at 38-24 with just under five minutes left in the third quarter. Three straight baskets by Cain, Kissinger and Veerbeek capped a 25-5 Big Red surge that traced to the five-minute mark in the second quarter after the beaks in blue had built a 19-13 edge.
But late three-pointers in the third quarter by Kopatich and De Carvalho trimmed Nebraska's margin to 41-34 heading to the fourth. Kansas got another three from De Carvalho to open the final period and after a free throw from Brianna Osorio, Kansas trailed just 41-38 with 8:34 left. Another De Carvalho three just over a minute later kept the margin at three points (44-41), but KU could not get any closer the rest of the way.
Nebraska used a big finish to the second quarter to take a 28-21 lead to halftime. The Huskers closed the half on a 15-2 surge over the last 4:44, including a pair of three-pointers by Kissinger and the final three of the half from Whitish.
Prior to Nebraska's big run at the end of the half, Kansas built its biggest lead of the half of 19-13. The Huskers took the lead to the half despite losing the first-half turnover battle 15-7, as KU scored 10 of its 21 first-half points off NU's miscues.
Nebraska hit 4-of-10 first-half threes, while the Jayhawks went just 2-for-13 from long range in the half. KU also hit just 8-of-37 field goals (.216) in the half, while going just 3-of-7 at the free throw line. NU hit just 9-of-28 field goals (.321), but did connect on 6-of-8 free throws, all in a 1:45 span in the second quarter during Nebraska's rally.
Although Nebraska lost the first-half turnover battle, the Huskers dominated the boards, 31-21, including 12 offensive rebounds.
Kissinger led the Huskers with nine points on 3-of-3 three-point shooting in the half, while also matching Eliely for the team lead with five rebounds. Nine Huskers scored in the half, with Haiby being the only other Husker to hit more than one first-half field goal, going 2-for-4 for four points in the half.
Jessica Washington led KU with six first-half points but went just 2-for-10 from the field, while Kopatich and Christalah Lyons each pitched in five points. Lyons finished with nine points and a game-high five assists on the night.
Nebraska continues its three-game home stand on Saturday when the Huskers take on San Jose State. Tip-off between the Big Red and the Spartans is set for Noon (CT) with tickets available now at Huskers.com.