After two consecutive home games, Minnesota women’s basketball is back on the road as it visits Nebraska (7-4, 5-3 B1G) Tuesday at 3 p.m.
THE OPENING TIP-OFF
• Jasmine Powell leads the Gophers with a scoring average of 17.3 points per game this season. She has scored at least 11 points in each of the last 11 games dating to last season. In addition to her scoring prowess, which ranks 13th in the Big Ten, Powell is third in the conference and 15th nationally with her 6.0 assists per game. She also ranks third in the Big Ten by playing 35.07 minutes per game and making 2.67 3-pointers per contest.
• In the season opener, Kadi Sissoko scored 24 points in her first game at Minnesota to tie a school record for points a Gophers debut (Kenisha Bell vs. VCU, 11/15/16). Owner of two double-doubles in her last four games, Sissoko is second in the Big Ten in offensive rebounds per game (3.56) and is the team’s top rebounder (6.6).
• Sara Scalia had been picking up her play over her last three games. After missing the first two games of the season, she averaged 8.0 points over her first three contests and was shooting 23.5 percent from the floor (8-34) and 20 percent on 3-pointers (4-20). However, she has averaged 14.3 points over the last three contests, including a season-high 18 points at Iowa on Jan. 6, while shooting 37.8 percent on field goals (14-37) and 34.6 percent on 3’s (9-26). She missed the Jan. 10 contest with Penn State but came back with 14 points Thursday vs. Maryland.
• Tuesday’s game marks the first game for Minnesota junior Kayla Mershon against her old team. The 6’3 forward from Minnetonka, Minn., joined the Gophers this spring after playing two seasons at Nebraska. Mershon played in all 60 games with 15 starts in her two seasons with the Huskers. She averaged 2.4 points and 2.8 rebounds in 14.6 minutes of action per contest while shooting 35.8 percent from the floor and 30.0 percent on 3-pointers. She’s played in five games with one start this year for Minnesota, averaging 4.4 points and 4.0 rebounds.
• The Gophers have three players averaging double figures in Big Ten play with Powell leading the way at 16.1 points per game. Scalia is behind her at 11.2, while Sissoko is averaging 10.9 points per game and a team-best 6.0 rebounds per contest in league play.
• The Gophers are 1-2 on the road this season with a win at Wisconsin and losses to Northwestern and Iowa. Sissoko is nearly averaging a double-double away from home with team highs of 16.7 points and 9.7 rebounds per game. In fact, her two double-doubles this season both came on the road with 16 points and 10 rebounds against the Badgers and 20 points and 10 rebounds vs. the Hawkeyes. Also averaging double figures for Minnesota on the road are Powell (14.7), Scalia (11.7) and Gadiva Hubbard (11.0).
• Minnesota and Nebraska meet for the 25th time on Tuesday. The Huskers hold a 14-10 edge in the series.
• Since Nebraska joined the Big Ten prior to the 2011-12 season, it has a 9-5 lead over Minnesota.
• In Lincoln, the Gophers are 3-11 all-time and have lost two straight at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Minnesota is looking for its first road win in the series since a 79-69, overtime win on Feb. 4, 2017.
• Nebraska has two Minnesotans on its roster: junior Sam Haiby from Moorhead (Moorhead HS) and freshman Annika Stewart from Minneapolis (Wayzata HS).
• Minnesota junior Kayla Mershon spent her first two seasons at Nebraska. Mershon played in all 60 games with 15 starts for the Huskers, averaging 2.4 points and 2.8 rebounds in 14.6 minutes of action per contest while shooting 35.8 percent from the floor and 30.0 percent on 3-pointers.
• The Cornhuskers are 7-4 on the season and 5-3 in the Big Ten. They opened the season by winning their first three games, but then lost three in a row. Since then, Nebraska has won four of its last five games including upsets of then-No. 16/15 Northwestern, then-No. 23/24 Michigan State and No. 15/15 Ohio State.
• Nebraska has two players averaging double figures with Haiby leading the way at 16.2 points per game, while Isabelle Bourne is right behind her at 14.0. Bella Cravens is averaging a team-best 8.2 rebounds per contest. Kate Cain leads the Big Ten and ranks ninth nationally with 3.09 blocks per game.
• As a team, the Huskers lead the conference and rank 15th in the country with 5.9 blocks per game, while they are also tops in the league and eighth in the country with 32.2 defensive rebounds per contest.
WHALEN WANTS MORE
Gopher head coach Lindsay Whalen says they took some positive things from Thursday’s loss to #9 Maryland, but she wants more from her team:
(info and photos courtesy of Gopher Sports)