B1G Game 1: Gophers Host Nebraska (12-6-21)

Ignatius L Hoops

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GEMS ADD SHINE TO THE HUSKERS

Lindsay Whalen
wanted to play more up tempo. Well, opportunity continues to knock when Nebraska (8-0), another high scoring, undefeated, ball movement team, runs into Williams Arena to face the Gophers (6-4) on Monday night. Like North Carolina, the Huskers non-conference schedule has been …uh… mundane. However, they’ve made the most of it. This includes last night’s convincing road rout of their ACC/B1G competitor, Wake Forest (86-60). “Go Big Red” fever is rising.

The excitement in Nebraska starts with Jaz Shelley. After two seasons repping the Oregon Ducks, Shelley opted to join fellow Australians, Isabelle Bourne and Ruby Porter in Lincoln, Nebraska. This down under trio were teammates on the Australian Gems 2019 U19 team that won a silver medal in the world championship. The former Gems have provided the Huskers a backbone that was missing in recent years.

Jaz Shelley, the 5’9” guard, leads the team in points/game (15.8), assists (32), steals (11) and blocks (12). And she is second in rebounding with 7.3/game. To top it off, the Aussie is deadly from behind the arc hitting 27-45 (.600). Shelley splits time running the point with quintessential Husker, Sam Haiby.

Sam Haiby, the 5’9” guard, was last season’s leading scorer (16.8 ppg). This season she’s the fourth (8.4 ppg) behind Shelley, Bourne and Scoggin. While playing off the ball has yet to unlock a reserve of points for the former Morehead star. It has certainly provided opportunity for Shelley.

When Haiby missed the NC Central game with a lower leg injury, Shelley posted a triple double with 14 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. In the next game, versus Drexel, Haiby returned to action and went scoreless in 28 minutes going a perfect 0-0 from the field. Shelley, meanwhile, dropped 30 in 31 minutes of play including 6-7 from three. And against Wake Forest, Haiby, limited by foul trouble, scored 5 points in 15 minutes. Shelley, stepped into the breach with 18 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists. The guard has been changed; but I assume the Shelley/Haiby dynamic has not reached its final stage.

Joining Shelley and Haiby in the starting lineup are:

Bella Cravens: the 6’3” forward is in her second year with the Huskers after transferring from Eastern Washington. She is making people, at least me, forget about Kate Cain’s departure. Cravens is averaging 8 points and 8 rebounds a game in 22 minutes

Ashley Scoggin is a 5’7” sophomore three-point shooter. Scoggin, 18-37 from behind the arc, is averaging 9.6 points/game.

Isabelle Bourne is the other Gem in the starting five. Last season, the 6’2” Bourne was Nebraska’s second leading scorer with 13.6 ppg. This season she’s averaging 11.1 ppg. The drop is largely due to reduced minutes because of the blow out wins. Obviously, Nebraska head coach Amy Williams is watching the minutes. Among the starters, Shelley is playing the most time with 26.3/game and Bourne the least with 19.3. The Huskers should be relatively fresh for the B1G opener.

Limiting starters minutes means more time for the bench. Just like there’s a trio of Aussies, there’s also a trio of Minnesotans. Joining Haiby in Lincoln are 6’3” forward Annika Stewart and 6’2” F/G Kendall Coley. Williams is trying to make them into multi threat players. It remains a work in progress.

The most notable bench player has been, Lincoln native, Alexis Markowski. The 6’3” freshman is averaging 7.9 points and 6.1 rebounds per game. There is also 5’9” guard Mi’Cole Cayton whom we mainly recognize from the injury report. She came off the bench to score 12 second quarter points against Wake Forest.

Thus far, the returns are good. More important to Nebraska fans, the teams seems capable of breaking out of the doldrums. Last season, Nebraska finished ninth, (9-10 in the Big Ten) which was one rung above Minnesota (7-11) and good enough to advance to the post season WNIT. Once there, they defeated UT Martin 72-46 before falling to Colorado 71-75. Thus far, the Gems are agleam.

PREVIOUS MEETINGS:

Minnesota and Nebraska met three times last season. The Gophers won the first two and dropped the third. Early in the conference season, Minnesota traveled to Lincoln and walked away 76-71 winners. The return match in Williams Arena went just as well with the Gophers posting a 73-61 victory. But then the Huskers won the Big Ten Tournament show down 72-61.

In the first game, Jasmine Powell had 15 points and 5 assists. Powell did not play in the second game because of an injury. And in the third game, Powell was joined on the bench by the injured Sarah Scalia and Kadi Sissoko. Gadiva Hubbard led Minnesota in scoring in all three games with 18, 14 and 12. She was 8-13 from three in the two wins; but 0-5 in the loss.

NEBRASKA RECORD (8-0):

Wins:
Maine 108-50, Prairie View A&M 102-47, Alabama A&M 88-33, Creighton 67-62, NC Central 113-58, (N) Drexel 65-53, (N) San Diego 64-.56, @Wake Forest 86-60.

INJURIES:

Guard Nailah Dillard will miss the season with a knee injury.


Jaz Shelley Last Six Games:

TeamPtsRebAsstMinFoul
Alabama A&T8126182
Creighton493322
NC Central141010201
Drexel3072312
San Diego1623331
Wake Forest1866321


Isabell Bourne Last Six Games:

TeamPtsRebAsstMinFoul
Alabama A&M2363203
Creighton570264
NC Central1331151
Drexel750200
San Diego252204
Wake Forest953213


Probable Starters:

HGTPOSYRPLAYERMINAVGREB
5’9”GSoJaz Shelley26.315.07.3
6’2”FSoIsabelle Bourne19.311.15.0
5’7”GSoAshley Scoggins21.99.61.1
5’9”GJrSam Haiby23.18.43.7
6’3”FJrBella Cravens22.38.18.0


Others:

HGTPOSYRPLAYERMINAVGREB
6’3”FFrAnnika Stewart9.06.52.5
5’10”GFrAllison Weidner14.65.44.0
6’3”C/FFrAlexis Markowski14.47.96.1
6’2”F/GFrKendall Coley15.13.33.3
5’10”GFrRuby Porter14.33.31.1
 


MRJ

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Honestly, my biggest issue with Gopher women's basketball is that they try to play too damn fast. No need to try and speed up the game and take bad shots. Settle down, run the offense and get the best shot available. If they do that, I think they can be successful. There's enough athleticism and physicality to make it work imo. But sometimes they try way too hard to force things that aren't there offensively. Need to rectify that before the program can take a step forward.

Defensively, keep the ball in front of you and block-out. Those are the biggest issues I saw from the North Carolina game.
 

GringaGopher

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Don't forget to add that you think we have a poor coach to your list of issues. I will disagree with you on that point but definitely agree on the need to improve rebounding, most aspects of their D and running their half court set consistently. I was pleasantly surprised with Alanna Micheaux and she could be a real difference maker for this team. Go Gophers !
 

MRJ

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Don't forget to add that you think we have a poor coach to your list of issues. I will disagree with you on that point but definitely agree on the need to improve rebounding, most aspects of their D and running their half court set consistently. I was pleasantly surprised with Alanna Micheaux and she could be a real difference maker for this team. Go Gophers !
I think she hasn't done a good job and to date, she hasn't. That isn't disputable. Her record speaks for itself. If you can't handle her being criticized for that, I'm sorry. It comes with being a head coach of a power-five, Division I program. So I suggest you get over it.

I would like to add however that my overall point is that she hasn't done a good job TO DATE. That could change. But for right now, the numbers and lack of accomplishments of the program under her direction really aren't even debatable. I'm rooting for her to put together a really strong program, but she hasn't come close to doing so yet.
 
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GringaGopher

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I have nothing to " get over ". Many of us wish she had a better W/L record. You still have not answered my ? about why you watch a team with such a poor coach ? I am an admitted " homer " and cheer for all MN teams. I have noticed over the past 6 plus years on GH that some posters seem to post many more negative posts than they do positive and this behavior is extreme on the mens FB/BB forums. I enjoy this forum because many of those posters don't show up the women forums. Glad you are rooting for Whalen to put together a strong program as am I . She has the highest ranked recruited team in program history and no doubt she will need to show significant improvement with these upcoming teams.
 

Ignatius L Hoops

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Some notes from Hail Varsity:

The Huskers hold the advantage over the Gophers in several key statistics coming into the game. Nebraska’s offense has done well this season and ranks fourth nationally at 86.6 points per game while Minnesota’s comes in tied for 137th at 68.
[...]
The Huskers are one of the top 3-point shooting teams in the country, too, as they’re making 42.4% of their shots behind the arc. The Gophers are shooting 34.9% from 3, or 65th in the country.

Of players who have attempted 10 or more 3s this season, Nebraska has five shooting 40% or better. Kendall Coley—a dynamic player, both offensively and defensively—is matching Shelley’s 60% and has gone 6-of-10 from deep this season. Ashley Scoggin will come into the game as a 48% (18-of-37) 3-point shooter while Annika Stewart will be at 42% (6-of-14) and MiCole Cayton 40% (4-of-10).

Cayton, a grad transfer from California who has battled injuries, is coming off a great performance off the bench for the Huskers in the win over Wake Forest. She scored all 12 of her points in the second quarter against the Demon Deacons and helped Nebraska turn a 19-15 first-quarter lead into 43-30 edge at halftime.

Nebraska’s offense has been one of the more efficient ones this season. The Huskers are shooting 49.1% from the field this season, which tops Minnesota’s 39.3%. Nebraska’s most efficient player so far this season is its best rebounder and one of the best defenders in Bella Cravens. The 6-3 Cravens is averaging 8 points and 8.1 rebounds per game while shooting a team-best 61% (25-of-41) from the field.
 

MRJ

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I have nothing to " get over ". Many of us wish she had a better W/L record. You still have not answered my ? about why you watch a team with such a poor coach ? I am an admitted " homer " and cheer for all MN teams. I have noticed over the past 6 plus years on GH that some posters seem to post many more negative posts than they do positive and this behavior is extreme on the mens FB/BB forums. I enjoy this forum because many of those posters don't show up the women forums. Glad you are rooting for Whalen to put together a strong program as am I . She has the highest ranked recruited team in program history and no doubt she will need to show significant improvement with these upcoming teams.
I did answer your question, you just missed it. She still has a chance to become a good coach. And just to be clear, I don't answer to you. Like I said, the proof is in the pudding. Hopefully, both she and the program will turn a corner sometime soon.
 

Lynx

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I’m unable to use my two tix for tonight’s game. If someone can use them and would like them transferred to you please DM me. 🙂 (hope this is okay to include here - if not I won’t post similar again)
 



MNGirlsHoops

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I have nothing to " get over ". Many of us wish she had a better W/L record. You still have not answered my ? about why you watch a team with such a poor coach ? I am an admitted " homer " and cheer for all MN teams. I have noticed over the past 6 plus years on GH that some posters seem to post many more negative posts than they do positive and this behavior is extreme on the mens FB/BB forums. I enjoy this forum because many of those posters don't show up the women forums. Glad you are rooting for Whalen to put together a strong program as am I . She has the highest ranked recruited team in program history and no doubt she will need to show significant improvement with these upcoming teams.
A poor coach is to strong for somebody in their 4th year of coaching ever at any level. The challenge she does have is adapting to todays game, which is a more open style of play in a 3 ball era..
I want to caution that this incoming class is not Paige Bueckers and Azzi Fudd at least not right away. Braun will replace Deja/Hubbard, and Battle will mix in with Smith/Katie and the other guards . Braun is the most polished with Battle right there as well.. But the other two 2022s are nice HS players, they will struggle as freshman in a couple areas - both get 90% of their points from layups, their outside shooting will need to evolve. Heyer is a little more polished in that space, but Holloway is more athletic defensively.
Keep those rankings in check until you see how the kid makes the transition to the college game, especially power 5 level. Every kids weakness gets exposed at the next level, its how do they work on or overcome those weaknesses
What I focus on (because all kids can play at this level) is will our chemistry improve, does each kid fit as that is a resounding YES. Great kids and great families.
 


whalenfan

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BTN just reported Powell is out tonight, looks like she had a boot on her foot
 




Frink

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Giving up penetration way too easily and the help defense isn't there either. Mershon just got caught watching the ball and gave up a back door cut. Absolutely no excuse for that with an experienced player.
 

Katogopher

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Giving up penetration way too easily and the help defense isn't there either. Mershon just got caught watching the ball and gave up a back door cut. Absolutely no excuse for that with an experienced player.
They have MANY experienced players and yet same breakdowns occur every game. At this pace Nebraska is going to score 100 points. I know Powell is out but this is bordering on embarrassing
 


Chico Gopher

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Wow. Suddenly a 17-6 run to end the half and the Gophers are right back in it at halftime. Hopefully, it's impossible for them to struggle as badly as they did over the first 12 minutes or so.
 

whalenfan

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Defense was much better the last 8 or so minutes, gave up some offensive boards but overall much better play. Need Kadi and Rose to stay out of foul trouble.
 

Frink

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I thought Scalia might be getting a little tired having to do so much ball handling but she really stepped up the last couple minutes.
 

Katogopher

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Thought they might have pulled it out but a little discombobulated in the 2 minutes. Tonights team was closer to the one I thought they would be going into the season. Too many times in the past 2 games have I seen the opponent run by Scalia on a fast breaks.
 

Frink

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Damn. Game was right there for the taking and we missed three looks at threes and let Haiby get to the basket.

Don't know what to say about that foul call on Helgren...
 

gopherdudepart2

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Bummer they lost. Got a little confused and out of sorts at the end of the game. Too bad Powell got hurt otherwise I think we see the Gophers win this game. Can't let them walk in and score, need some hard fouls if they tge opponent are going to walk in like that.
 

Aesop70

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That was disgraceful. This was not a moral victory. This game could have been won with more disciplined defense (less easy layups for NE), less sloppy offense (passing to tightly guarded players and turning the ball over at the top of the key leading to easy buckets for NE) -- basically less ball watching. These things have nothing to with recruit talent. They have everything to do with discipline. Which is all about coaching.
 


Ignatius L Hoops

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We have dead periods like the start of the game and we have brain dead periods like the start of the second half (when we seemed to forget Nebraska was on the court). But I don't recall anything like what happened with 8:17 remaining when Sissoko was dribbling at the top of the arc and her team mates were statutes staring off into...space? Whalen at least used a timeout.

Sissoko was terrific tonight and Scalia had her moments especially considering she spent much of the time playing the point. Nebraska's drive and dish seemed to baffle us and we totally forgot that Haiby will go coast to coast when given the chance.

Still...late in the game we have a four point lead and the ball and fell flat.
 


Gophers112233

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Refs MISSED A pretty clear as day over and back on Nebraska at the 1:45 mark of the 4th quarter.. also missed on a bit earlier on too.. not blaming this on the refs... but ONE was standing right there.. and missed it..

Sissoko and Scalia tried... not sure why Bailey went back in when we went up 4.. she goes in and POOOF went our lead... would have played Mershon she played much better defense..

also as soon as Bailey checked in.. who did Nebraska attack.. Bailey..
 

EaganGopher22

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I noticed in the last game that Powell had some kind of ankle support and assumed that was taking away from her game. Evidently, it got a lot worse. I figured losing Borowicz earlier for the season was going to haunt us at some point when either Powell or Scalia got nicked up.
 

MOGopher

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That was disgraceful. This was not a moral victory. This game could have been won with more disciplined defense (less easy layups for NE), less sloppy offense (passing to tightly guarded players and turning the ball over at the top of the key leading to easy buckets for NE) -- basically less ball watching. These things have nothing to with recruit talent. They have everything to do with discipline. Which is all about coaching.
These results have a lot to do with coaching. Not enough motion in the offense which leads contested shots late in the shot clock or turnovers. The defense .. ugh. Either these coaches are not teaching help defense or players are not understanding rotational defensive concepts. Scalia continues to get beat on a consistent basis. Smith cannot defend in post with her size. You might want to consider zone defense at this point with all these layups.
 

Ignatius L Hoops

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Minutes Played (starters bolded):
Sconiers didn't even get a look tonight

37 Scalia
33 Hubbard
(2 points)
30 Sissoko
27 Winters

18 Micheaux (8 points, 4 rebounds and 3 fouls)
17 Smith
12 Helgren (0 shots, 4 rebounds and 2 turnovers)
11 Mershon
6 LBK
6 Strande
 




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