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Huskers Sweep Big Ten Awards

Nebraska sophomore Hannah Whitish was named the Big Ten Player of the Week, while freshman Kate Cain added her third Big Ten Freshman-of-the-Week award in the season's first five weeks, when the conference announced its honors on Monday.

Whitish, a 5-9 point guard from Barneveld, Wis., earned the first conference player-of-the-week award of her career and the first by any current Husker after producing the best week of her young career. She averaged 29.0 points, 5.5 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 2.5 steals to lead the Big Red to a pair of unlikely road wins at Kansas and Drake.

In the win at Kansas on Wednesday, Whitish scored 25 of her career-high 29 points in the second half to carry the Huskers to a 66-49 victory over the Jayhawks. The win snapped KU's seven-game home winning streak at Allen Fieldhouse, as the Huskers handed the Jayhawks their first loss of the season. Whitish helped the Big Red rally from a 13-point first-half deficit by hitting her final seven field goal attempts of the game, including four three-pointers. She also sank eight straight free throws in the final 1:29 to seal the win. In the second half, she personally outscored Kansas, 25-13, the largest margin by an individual over any team in a Division I half so far this season.

Nebraska's win over Kansas snapped a 14-game losing streak for the Huskers in true road games dating back to Jan. 24, 2016 at Michigan.

She followed up her performance in Lawrence by matching her career high with 29 more points to go along with six rebounds, six assists, two steals and her first blocked shot of the season in 42 minutes of an 89-85 double-overtime victory at Drake. With Whitish leading the charge, the Huskers handed the Bulldogs just their second loss (both in multiple overtime periods) in the last 24 games at the Knapp Center.

Whitish tied her career high with five three-pointers to rally the Huskers from a nine-point third-quarter deficit. She also sank all eight of her free throws in the game to seal Nebraska's second straight road win. It marked the first time since the start of the 2014-15 season that the Huskers had posted back-to-back wins in true road non-conference games.

Whitish increased her season averages to 12.7 points, 4.5 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 1.6 steals per game. Her 2.6-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio also ranks among the best in the Big Ten and nationally.

While Whitish carried the Huskers offensively, Cain continued to anchor Nebraska's outstanding defensive efforts in their road wins. The 6-5 center from Middletown, N.Y., continued her early assault on the Husker record books by blocking nine shots in the two wins. She pushed her season total to 34, moving her into sole possession of third place on Nebraska's single-season freshman block chart in just 10 games. With 3.4 blocks per game, Cain ranks No. 3 nationally among all Division I players and is on pace to reach 100 total blocks for the season. Nebraska's overall season record is 78 by Olympic bronze medalist Danielle Page (78) as a senior in 2007-08.

With Cain on the floor at Kansas, the Jayhawks managed just 23 points in three quarters, including just four points in the fourth quarter when KU went without a field goal. The four fourth-quarter points matched the fewest points scored in any period against the Huskers since the advent of the quarter system in women's college basketball. It also marked the first time the Big Red had held an opponent without a field goal in any single quarter. The 13 points allowed by the Big Red in the second half were the fewest ever allowed by a Nebraska team in any half away from home.

Cain added five points on 2-of-3 shooting against the Jayhawks, while grabbing a game-high nine rebounds and rejecting five shots.

On Saturday at Drake, Cain was bigger at both ends of the court. She continued her block barrage with four and contributed a steal, while notching her third double-double of the season with career highs of 19 points and 14 rebounds. Cain hit 9-of-15 shots from the field, as Nebraska held Drake to its lowest point total in regulation (69) at home in the last 17 games at the Knapp Center dating back to Nov. 27, 2016.

Cain, who has won back-to-back Big Ten Freshman-of-the-Week awards, is averaging 10.9 points and 7.3 rebounds per game, while shooting a team-best 59 percent from the field.

Cain and Whitish will try to lead the 7-3 Huskers to their fourth consecutive victory when they travel to San Jose State on Sunday. Tip-off between Nebraska and the Spartans is set for 2 p.m. (CT).


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Creighton takes down Husker men 75-65

Lincoln – Isaac Copeland had a team-high 20 points, but Marcus Foster’s 3-pointer with 47 seconds left give host Creighton the margin it needed in a 75-65 win over Nebraska at the CenturyLink Center.

Nebraska was within 66-63 after a James Palmer jumper with 1:04 remaining, but Foster’s long 3-pointer from the wing pushed the margin to 69-63, and Creighton sealed the win by going 6-of-6 from the line in the final 30 seconds.

The Huskers, who were without Glynn Watson, who had fouled out earlier after picking up a phantom fifth foul with 2:47 left after Nebraska was within 60-57. NU was able to keep it close before Foster’s 3-pointer started a game-ending 9-2 run for the Bluejays.

Copeland, who had 20 points, 11 rebounds, two blocks and two steals, was one of three to finish in double figures. James Palmer Jr. had 16 points, while Isaiah Roby had 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting after playing just two minutes because of foul trouble.

Foster’s 19-point effort led five Creighton players in double figures, as the Bluejays shot 50 percent from the field and out-rebounded the Huskers, 43-33.

In the first half, a strong effort from Copeland and a strong defensive effort gave the Huskers a 33-28 lead into the locker room. Nebraska’s defense held Creighton to its lowest-scoring half of the season, as the Bluejays shot just 41 percent from the field, including 2-of-15 from 3-point range, in the opening 20 minutes.

Nebraska used some strong 3-point shooting early, as the Huskers hit a trio of 3-pointers, including two by Palmer, in the first five minutes as part of 11-4 run to take a 11-7 lead at the first media timeout.

NU had a chance to extend the lead heading into that timeout, but the initial call of a block that would have given Jordy Tshimanga a basket and a chance to extend a six-point lead was changed into a charge, giving Tshimanga a second foul instead of two fouls on Creighton’s Toby Hegner.

Nebraska, was battled foul trouble for most of the first half, got Glynn Watson going midway through the first half, as the junior guard keyed a 6-0 run that pushed the lead to 25-19 after a Roby slam. The Huskers eventually pushed the lead to seven after a Copeland jumper with 3:53 left in the half. Creighton pulled to within 31-28, but Watson’s basket pushed the lead back to five at the break.

The Huskers built an eight-point lead at 36-28 after a Copeland 3-pointer in the opening minutes of the second half, but the Bluejays went on a 15-4 spurt to regain the lead at 43-40 on a Davion Mintz basket. Foster, who scored 17 of his 19 points in the second half, and Mitchell Ballock keyed the Bluejay rally.

Nebraska quickly answered, as a Roby 3-pointer knotted the score at 43 and the score was tied at 47 after a Palmer basket before Creighton scored eight of the next 10 points to stretch the margin to 56-49 after a Martin Krampelj basket. The Huskers would not go away, as a basket from Copeland and a 3-pointer from Roby made it a one-point game at 55-54 with 4:42 left, setting the stage for the finish.

The Huskers are off for final exams before returning to the court next Saturday as they host No. 2 Kansas. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. from a sold out Pinnacle Bank Arena and the game will be on the Husker Sports Network and televised by FS1.


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Husker Women Collar Bulldogs in 2OT, 89-84

Des Moines, Iowa - Hannah Whitish tied her career high with 29 points for the second consecutive game, and the Nebraska women's basketball team won a double-overtime thriller, 89-84 over Drake at the Knapp Center on Saturday afternoon.

With the victory, Nebraska improved to 7-3 overall with its third consecutive victory and third straight win away from home. The Huskers handed the Bulldogs, who advanced to the 2017 NCAA Tournament, just their second home loss in their last 24 games at the Knapp Center. The defending Missouri Valley Conference champion Bulldogs slipped to 5-5 on the season.

 

Nebraska completes a three-game non-conference road swing by taking on San Jose State on Sunday, Dec. 17. Tip-off between the Huskers and Spartans is set for 2 p.m. (CT).

 


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Nebraska volleyball headed back to the final four

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The No. 5 Nebraska volleyball team earned a third straight trip to the NCAA Semifinals with a 3-1 (25-19, 25-22, 25-27, 25-22) win on the home court of fourth-seeded Kentucky in the NCAA Lexington Regional Final on Saturday.

Playing in front of a crowd of 4,464 at Memorial Coliseum, the Huskers handed the host Wildcats (29-4) their second home loss of the season. Nebraska (30-4) improved to 5-0 against AVCA top-10 teams this season and reached 30 wins for the third straight season and 11th time in head coach John Cook’s 18 seasons at Nebraska.

The Huskers will make their third straight Final Four appearance for the first time in program history. Nebraska will play in the Final Four next Thursday at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri. The Huskers will play the winner of tonight’s regional final between Penn State and Michigan State. Thursday’s NCAA Semifinals are at 6 and 8:30 p.m. The NCAA Championship is set for Saturday at 8 p.m. Tickets can be purchased now at NCAA.com/tickets.

Four Huskers finished in double-digit kills, led by Mikaela Foecke with 18 kills and eight digs on .375 hitting. Annika Albrecht had 14 kills and 11 digs. Briana Holman had 11 kills and six blocks, and Jazz Sweet had 11 kills and four blocks, including a key solo block late in the fourth set.

Kelly Hunter had 46 assists and 11 digs and guided the Huskers to a .271 hitting percentage. Kenzie Maloney had a team-high 13 digs and served two aces, as Nebraska won the serving battle by a significant margin with five aces and eight errors compared to one ace and 12 errors for Kentucky.

Leah Edmond led the Wildcats with 20 kills.


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Huskers Face Colorado at Lexington Regional

The fifth-seeded Nebraska volleyball team will face Colorado at 1 p.m. (CT) on Friday in the Lexington Regional at Kentucky’s Memorial Coliseum. The match will be streamed online at ESPN3.com. Friday’s start time may be delayed if the 11 a.m. match - No. 4 Kentucky vs. No. 13 BYU - goes long. The winners of Friday’s matches will meet in Saturday’s regional final at 3 p.m. (CT). That match will be televised on ESPNU and streamed on ESPN3.com.

The Big Ten champion Huskers are making their 23rd regional appearance in the last 24 years and are aiming for a third straight final four appearance, which would be a first in program history. Nebraska is no stranger to Lexington, as the Huskers won an NCAA Regional there in 2015 to advance to the final four, where the Huskers ultimately won the national title in Omaha. In that regional - which Kentucky was not part of - NU swept BYU in the regional semifinal and beat Washington 3-1 in the final.

The Husker matches this weekend will be on Husker Sports Network radio affiliates, including 107.3 FM in Lincoln and AM 590 in Omaha. A live audio stream will be provided at Huskers.com and on the official Huskers app. John Baylor is in his 24th season doing play-by-play for the Husker volleyball program. Lauren Cook, a former All-America setter for the Huskers, will provide color commentary.

About the Huskers
• The Huskers, ranked fifth in the AVCA Coaches Poll and seeded fifth in the NCAA Tournament, enter the week at 28-4 overall and are riding a 15-match win streak, their longest of the season.
• The Huskers were co-Big Ten Champions with Penn State, as both teams finished 19-1. Nebraska beat Penn State in the only match-up between the teams this season and earned the Big Ten’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Since joining the conference in 2011, the Huskers have now claimed three Big Ten titles (2011, 2016 and 2017).
• Nebraska dropped just 11 sets in Big Ten play this season, its fewest since joining the conference in 2011.
• Nebraska has reached at least 25 wins in a season for the 17th time in head coach John Cook’s 18-year tenure at Nebraska.
• Nebraska finished with a perfect 17-0 home record, its first perfect record at home since 2010. The Huskers have won a nation-leading 30 straight matches at home.
• The Huskers are making their 33rd regional appearance in their 36th all-time NCAA Tournament appearance. Only Stanford equals that nation-leading mark.
• Nebraska ranks second in NCAA Division I history in all-time NCAA Tournament wins (104), trailing only Stanford (117).
• Nebraska has been to the NCAA Semifinals each of the past two years, winning the NCAA Championship in 2015 and falling in the semifinals in 2016. The Husker volleyball program has never had three straight final four appearances.
• The Huskers swept their first two NCAA Tournament matches - Stony Brook and Washington State - and trailed for only one rally the entire weekend.
• The Huskers allowed a total of 80 points combined in the two matches, which was the fewest points allowed by any team in the NCAA Tournament in the first weekend. Stanford allowed 81, while Colorado and BYU allowed 101 and 104, respectively. Colorado and BYU are in the Huskers’ regional this weekend.
• Of the six teams that didn’t lose a set in the NCAA Tournament in the first two rounds, three (Nebraska, Colorado, BYU) are in the Lexington Regional.
• Nebraska has not allowed an NCAA Tournament foe to reach 20 points in a set. Only Stanford has held its opponents under 20 in every set.
• Nebraska ranks sixth in the nation in opponent hitting percentage (.149). The Huskers are 14th in hitting percentage (.285).
• Nebraska ranks 22nd nationally in kills per set (14.22).
• Kelly Hunter, the Big Ten Setter of the Year and AVCA North Region Player of the Year, is putting up 10.79 assists per set and 2.62 digs per set. The only NCAA Division I setter who has set her team to both a national and conference championship (twice), Hunter ranks third in school history with 3,960 career assists at NU.
• Mikaela Foecke leads the team with 3.46 kills per set and adds 2.27 digs per set in her first season as a six-rotation player. Foecke was a unanimous All-Big Ten selection this year.
• Annika Albrecht provides 3.03 kills per set and 2.73 digs per set. Albrecht has 135 career service aces, which ranks sixth in NU career history. Albrecht was also named to the All-Big Ten team.
• Senior middle blocker Briana Holman averages 2.42 kills and 1.13 blocks per set with a team-best .352 hitting percentage.
• Jazz Sweet adds 2.20 kills per set as the right-side hitter, while Lauren Stivrins chips in 2.13 kills and 1.00 blocks per set at middle blocker. Both Sweet and Stivrins were named to the Big Ten All-Freshman Team.
• Nebraska head coach John Cook has moved to fifth all-time in NCAA Division I career win percentage at .829, passing former Stanford coach John Dunning.

Coaches
• John Cook, Nebraska: 18th year at Nebraska (527-69); 25th year overall (688-142)
• Jesse Mahoney, Colorado: 2nd year at Colorado (38-25); 6th year overall (126-66)
• Craig Skinner, Kentucky: 13th year at Kentucky (301-112)
• Heather Olmstead, BYU: 3rd year at BYU (87-10)

Series History
• The Huskers and Buffaloes will be meeting for the first time officially since 2010, when both schools were still members of the Big 12. The teams did play a spring exhibition match in Ogallala, Nebraska in 2016, which Nebraska won 3-0. The Huskers are 49-7 all-time against Colorado and have won the last four meetings.
• Nebraska is 7-2 all-time against Kentucky. The teams last met on Sept. 8, 2012, a 3-1 Husker win. NU has won the last six meetings, as Kentucky’s last win came on Oct. 7, 1983.
• Nebraska is 8-3 all-time against BYU. If the teams were to play in the regional final on Saturday, it would be the third regional meeting between the teams in the last four years. BYU swept NU in a regional final in 2014, while the Huskers returned the favor in a regional semifinal in 2015.

Scouting Colorado
• Colorado has had one of the best turnarounds in Division I, going from 14-16 last year in Jesse Mahoney’s first year as head coach to 24-9 this season. The Buffaloes improved their Pac-12 record from 6-14 last year to 12-8 this year.
• The Buffaloes swept James Madison and then upset 12th-seeded Baylor to advance to regionals.
• Alexa Smith leads Colorado with 3.99 kills per set and 2.83 digs per set. Smith was a first-team All-Pac-12 selection.
• Frankie Shebby contributes 3.52 kills and 2.52 digs per set.
• Middle blocker Naghede Abu averages 1.22 blocks per set to go with 2.12 kills per set on .350 hitting.
• Colorado ranks third in the Pac-12 in opponent hitting (.194), and setter Brynna Deluzio leads all Pac-12 players in total assists with 1,388 (11.10 per set).
• Former Husker assistant coach Lee Maes is an associate head coach on Colorado’s staff. Maes worked under John Cook from 2005-07.

Scouting Kentucky
• Kentucky enters the weekend with a 28-3 overall record, and the Wildcats finished 17-1 in the SEC this season.
• Kentucky is seeded fourth in the NCAA Tournament and is ranked sixth in the AVCA Poll.
• The Wildcats have won nine straight matches and survived a scare against Western Kentucky in the second round, coming back from down 0-2 to win in five sets.
• Leah Edmond averages 4.53 kills per set on .318 hitting for the Wildcats. Edmond was the AVCA Southeast Region Player of the Year.
• Kentucky ranks third nationally in hitting percentage (.321).
• Kentucky is coached by former Husker assistant Craig Skinner, who coached under John Cook from 2000-04.

Scouting BYU
• BYU enters the week at 30-2 and won the West Coast Conference with a 17-1 record.
• The Cougars rank 11th in the nation in blocks per set at 2.92. Cosy Burnett (1.33 per set) and Kennedy Redding (1.27 per set) are the team leaders in that category.
• Veronica Jones-Perry ranks fifth in the nation with 4.82 kills per set. She also has a team-high 41 service aces.
• BYU is riding a nine-match win streak entering its match against Kentucky. The Cougars’ only losses this season are to San Diego (3-1) and Baylor (3-2).

Hunter Guides Young Husker Squad
• All-America setter Kelly Hunter is in her senior season after leading NU to a national championship and a Big Ten championship the past two seasons as team captain and starting setter.
• Hunter was a second-team AVCA All-American in 2016 and an All-Big Ten setter, becoming the first Husker setter since Lauren Cook in 2012 to make the All-Big Ten team. She was named the Big Ten Setter of the Year this season and repeated on the All-Big Ten team as a unanimous selection.
• Hunter was also named the AVCA North Region Player of the Year by the head coaches in the region.
• Hunter ranks third in school history with 3,960 career assists at NU. With 40 more, she will become just the second player in school history to reach 4,000 career assists at Nebraska (Fiona Nepo, 4,824).
• Hunter was named the Big Ten Setter of the Week on Sept. 11 after a double-double of 31 assists and 14 digs against UCLA on Sept. 9.
• She added another honor on Sept. 25 after averaging 12.33 assists in sweeps at Penn State and Rutgers. She has eight career weekly Big Ten awards.
• For the season, Hunter is averaging 10.79 assists per set and 2.65 digs per set. She has a team-best 13 double-doubles.

Albrecht Steps Up as Senior Captain
• Senior outside hitter Annika Albrecht was named a team captain along with Kelly Hunter prior to the season and has stepped into her new role as a six-rotation hitter for the Huskers. She received All-Big Ten honors this year for the first time in her career, as well as AVCA All-North Region accolades.
• Albrecht provides 3.03 kills and 2.73 digs per set along with 30 service aces. She is sixth in school history in career aces with 135.
• The North Aurora, Illinois native made national headlines this season when she tallied a career-high 19 kills on .400 hitting in a 3-0 sweep at Penn State on Sept. 22. For her performance, Albrecht was named the Big Ten Player of the Week, Sports Imports/AVCA Player of the Week and the espnW Player of the Week. The honors were all the first of her career.

Foecke Excelling in Six-Rotation Role
• Junior outside hitter Mikaela Foecke is averaging 3.46 kills per set to lead the Huskers. She was a unanimous All-Big Ten selection this year and repeated as an AVCA All-North Region honoree for the third time.
• Foecke worked hard to become a six-rotation player entering her junior season and has been effective in that role, adding 2.27 digs per set. Foecke has seven double-doubles this season and leads the team in aces with 35.
• Foecke was named Big Ten Player of the Week on Oct. 30 after 14 kills, five digs and three blocks at Michigan State and 13 kills, nine digs and five blocks at Michigan.
• Foecke was a unanimous preseason All-Big Ten selection and was one of just two players to earn a unanimous selection (Minnesota setter Samantha Seliger-Swenson).
• Foecke was the NCAA Championship Most Outstanding Player in 2015 - becoming just the third freshman to earn the honor - after 19 kills on .385 hitting in the championship win against Texas. The other freshmen to win the award were Deja McClendon (Penn State, 2010) and Kerri Walsh (Stanford, 1996).

Holman Leads Husker Middle Blockers
• Senior Briana Holman guides a relatively young group of Husker middle blockers, as she teams with redshirt freshman Lauren Stivrins and is backed up by true freshman Chesney McClellan.
• Holman is averaging 2.42 kills and a team-high 1.13 blocks per set for the Huskers while hitting a team-best .352.
• Holman was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 5 and the MVP of the Ameritas Players Challenge after a dominating display over three matches with 25 kills and 18 blocks on .525 hitting.
• Holman earned AVCA All-Region honors for the fourth time in her career this season and received All-Big Ten honorable mention for a second straight year.
• Holman was a first-team AVCA All-American at LSU in 2014 with 3.94 kills and 1.47 blocks per set. She was a two-time All-SEC performer for the Tigers and represented the U.S. Collegiate National Team at the World University Games in South Korea in July 2015.

Huskers Turn to Freshmen for Instant Impact
• With five true freshmen and two redshirt freshmen on the roster, the Huskers needed some new talent to step up in a big way in 2017, and that has happened. All seven have seen playing time this season.
• Redshirt freshman middle blocker Lauren Stivrins is averaging 2.13 kills per set and 1.00 blocks per set.
• Freshman outside hitter Jazz Sweet is fourth on the team in kills at 2.20 per set and is hitting .274. Sweet had an outstanding debut with 14 kills on .375 hitting against Oregon and 16 kills on .323 hitting at Florida. Both Sweet and Stivrins were All-Big Ten Freshman honorees.
• Redshirt freshman setter Hunter Atherton has made two starts and played in 18 matches and has 137 set assists, 46 digs and 11 service aces.
• Freshman outside hitter Anezka Szabo, who plays the same right-side hitter position as Sweet, tallied 10 kills on .400 hitting against Saint Mary’s and has played in 14 matches.
• Freshman defensive specialist Hayley Densberger has earned a reputation as one of the Huskers’ best servers and has eight aces and 34 digs in 26 matches played.
• Freshman middle blocker Chesney McClellan has played in four matches and started the Rutgers match on Sept. 23, producing seven kills and four blocks on .462 hitting.
• Freshman outside hitter Sami Slaughter has played in six matches and had four kills in limited action against Rutgers on Nov. 12.

Huskers Ranked No. 5 in AVCA Coaches Poll
• Nebraska is ranked No. 5 in the latest AVCA Coaches Poll for the third straight week.
• The Huskers have been ranked No. 1 in 98 all-time polls, the most in NCAA history.
• The Huskers have been ranked in the top 10 a total of 469 times, which is also the most in NCAA history.
• Nebraska has appeared in all 524 AVCA Coaches Polls since it was established in 1982. Nebraska and Stanford are the only two programs to be ranked in every poll all-time.

Hunter, Townsend Earn CoSIDA Academic All-District Honors
• Senior setter Kelly Hunter received CoSIDA Academic All-District first-team honors in November, while Sydney Townsend was a second-team honoree. Hunter advanced to the national ballot for CoSIDA Academic All-America honors.
• Hunter, a Papillion-La Vista South graduate, carries a 3.45 cumulative GPA and is a graduate student in the Master of Business Administration program. Hunter received her bachelor’s degree in management/marketing last year.
• Townsend, a Lincoln Pius X graduate, carries a 3.83 GPA majoring in biochemistry. Townsend was the NCAA Elite 90 Award winner last year at the final four and is a two-time Big Ten Distinguished Scholar and a four-time academic All-Big Ten selection.

Cook Adds to Legacy; Will Join AVCA Hall of Fame in December
• Nebraska head coach John Cook is in his 18th season as the Nebraska volleyball head coach in 2017. He has led the Huskers to three national championships, seven final fours, 12 conference championships and 15 top-10 final rankings since 2000. Cook has 688 career wins and is one of the all-time winningest coaches in NCAA history.
• Since taking over the program in 2000, Cook has led the Huskers to a nation-leading .884 win percentage in that time (527-69).
• Under Cook, the Huskers have achieved 49 AVCA All-Americans and 19 CoSIDA Academic All-Americans, both among the best in the nation. He is a two-time AVCA National Coach of the Year, earning the prestigious honor in 2000 and 2005, and a seven-time conference coach of the year, including Big Ten Coach of the Year in 2016 and 2017, his first and second Big Ten honors with the Huskers in their Big Ten era (2011-present).
• Cook was named the AVCA North Region Coach of the Year in 2016, his fifth career regional coaching honor and fourth while at Nebraska.
• Cook is one of only four active coaches - and one of six all-time - to be a two-time AVCA National Coach of the Year and was honored in 2008 by USA Volleyball, receiving its All-Time Great Coach Award.
• Cook will be inducted into the AVCA Hall of Fame in December in Kansas City, Missouri. Cook will join former Husker volleyball coach Terry Pettit in the hall.

Husker Fans Set Attendance Standard Once Again
• Nebraska fans led the nation in attendance for a fourth straight season in 2016 as their 8,210 average per match established a new NCAA attendance record, topping its 2015 average of 8,206.
• The Huskers’ total attendance of 155,986 in 19 home matches also set a school record.
• In 2013, the Huskers led the nation in attendance (8,175) for the first time since 1992, ending Hawaii’s 21-year reign as the national leader.
• The Huskers repeated as attendance champions in 2014 with 8,083 fans per match, which included a school-record 8,585 fans at the Oct. 3 win against Penn State.
• Nebraska has ranked in the top three nationally in attendance every season since 1990 (27 straight seasons).
• The Huskers have sold out every regular-season match since 2001, a streak of 236 consecutive matches, the longest sellout streak in the history of NCAA women’s athletics.
• The Devaney Center has hosted three of the four largest regular-season crowds in NCAA history and six of the 10 largest.
• In 2017, Nebraska averaged 8,202 fans per match and is on pace to once again lead the nation in attendance for the fifth straight year.

Huskers Get Depth From Former Husker Women’s Basketball Player Allie Havers
• The Huskers gained some depth at middle blocker when former Husker women’s basketball player Allie Havers joined the team in the spring.
• Havers, a 6-5 native of Mattawan, Michigan, has one season of eligibility to play volleyball, a sport she excelled at in high school. Havers was a first-team Class A all-state player in Michigan in 2012 and a finalist for Michigan’s Miss Volleyball in 2013.
• On the Nebraska women’s basketball team, Havers closed her career having played in 125 games with 50 starts. She ranked among the top 50 career scorers (720 points) and top 25 career rebounders (541) in Husker history.
• Havers had a shining moment in the NCAA Tournament first-round match against Stony Brook. She entered the match late in the third set and pounded the first two kills of her career to bring the crowd to a standing ovation.

Cook’s Coaching Tree Continues to Grow
• Nebraska head coach John Cook’s assistant coaches have a great track record of moving on to become head coaches.
• After the 2016 season, Nebraska assistants Chris Tamas and Dani Busboom Kelly both accepted high-level Division I head coaching jobs. Busboom Kelly became the head coach at Louisville, while Tamas accepted the head coaching job at Big Ten foe Illinois. Tamas has his Fighting Illini squad in the Sweet 16 in his first year, while Busboom Kelly made the NCAA Tournament with Louisville and was named the AVCA East Region Coach of the Year.
• Seven assistants under Cook have become head coaches following their time on Cook’s Nebraska staff: Craig Skinner (Kentucky), Lee Maes (Virginia), Lizzy Stemke (Georgia), Dan Conners (UC Davis), Dan Meske (Augustana, Associate Head Coach at Louisville), Busboom Kelly and Tamas.
• In the last seven years, five of Cook’s Husker assistants have become head coaches.

New Players, New Coaches
• Not only are six of the 15 Husker players new to the program, so are the two Husker assistant coaches. Former Husker and U.S. Olympic libero Kayla Banwarth, and former Long Beach State men’s associate head coach Tyler Hildebrand are on the Husker bench this year.
• Hildebrand joined the Nebraska coaching staff as an assistant in February of 2017. Hildebrand came to Nebraska after five seasons on the coaching staff of the Long Beach State men’s volleyball program, including two seasons as associate head coach. In 2017, he was the AVCA Division I-II Men’s National Assistant Coach of the Year. A former All-American at Long Beach State, Hildebrand was the top assistant there from 2013-15 after a decorated playing career on the U.S. Men’s National Team. He is a former setter who coordinated both the offense and the blocking defense at Long Beach State at one point in his career.
• Banwarth joined the Nebraska volleyball coaching staff as an assistant in January of 2017. Banwarth completed an illustrious playing career for the Huskers in 2010 before embarking on a professional playing career that saw her win an Olympic bronze medal with the U.S. National Team, as well as an FIVB World Championship. Banwarth is relatively new to the coaching profession after finishing her professional career with the U.S. National Team at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. A U.S. National Team libero since 2011, Banwarth spent two years as a volunteer assistant coach for the Pepperdine men’s volleyball team.


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Whitish Shoots Huskers to Road Win at Kansas

Lawrence, Kan. — Hannah Whitish scored 25 of her career-high 29 points in the second half and Nebraska played suffocating defense to flip Kansas 30 points on the scoreboard, as the Husker women's basketball team rolled to a 66-49 win at historic Allen Fieldhouse on Wednesday night.

The victory was Nebraska's first true road win since defeating Michigan in Ann Arbor on Jan. 24, 2016, as the Huskers improved to 6-3 overall while handing the Jayhawks their first loss of the season, snapping KU's seven-game home winning streak.

Whitish, who opened the game 0-for-6 from the field, hit all six of her second-half shot attempts and a three-pointer near the end of the first half to help the Huskers rally from a 13-point second-quarter deficit.

For the game, Whitish hit 7-of-13 from the field including 4-of-9 from beyond the arc after starting 0-for-5 from beyond the arc. Whitish also hit 11-of-14 from the charity stripe, and added four assists, five rebounds and three steals on the night. Whitish made eight consecutive free throws in the closing minutes to help the Huskers win going away.

While Whitish carried the offense, Nebraska's team defense was at its best in the fourth quarter, holding the homestanding Jayhawks to just four points - all free throws - forcing KU to go 0-for-14 from the floor in the final period. Nebraska held KU to just 13 points in the second half tying for the fourth-fewest points by an opponent in the second half in school history.

Nebraska led 12-7 early on the strength of terrific defense until freshman center Kate Cain picked up her second foul with less than one minute left in the opening quarter. The Big Red led 12-10 at the end of the first, but Cain did not play in the second quarter and Kansas took advantage without Cain at the rim.

The Jayhawks surged to their biggest lead at 33-20 after a three-pointer by Austin Richardson with 2:35 left in first half.

Whitish, who was held scoreless for the first 17:41 in the game, hit a free throw with 2:19 left. Kansas native Emily Wood then hit a three for the Big Red with 1:16 remaining, before Whitish knocked down her first field goal with her own three-pointer with 24 seconds left to trim KU's margin to 34-27.

Christalah Lyons, who led KU with 12 points on the night, hit a pair of free throws with five seconds left, to send the Jayhawks to the locker room with a 36-27 lead.

But Whitish carried the confidence from her made three at the end of the half into the start of the third quarter, burying another three just 15 seconds into the half to pull Nebraska within 36-30.

Five straight points from Whitish, including a three with 1:46 left in the quarter gave Nebraska its first lead of the half at 43-41, but KU responded with four straight points to regain the lead.

Cain tied the score with her basket with 41 seconds left, before Bria Stallworth hit a free throw with 3.4 seconds left to send the Big Red to the fourth quarter with a 46-45 lead.

Lyons hit a free throw to tie the score at 46 with 8:55 left, but Whitish dominated the last nine minutes of the game. She hit another three and added a jumper to give Nebraska a 51-46 lead, before Nicea Eliely got a layup with five minutes left to give the Huskers a 53-46 edge.

Another two by Whitish and a three-pointer by Wood with 3:05 left gave Nebraska a 58-46 advantage, before Kylee Kopatich ended a 7:14 scoreless drought for KU with one free throw. Kopatich finished with 10 points, but went just 3-of-12 from the field.

Whitish then sealed the win with eight free throws in the final 1:31, and a Nebraska defense sparked by tenacious ball-hawking by Jasmine Cincore and the shot-blocking of Cain shut out the Jayhawks from the field.

Whitish was the only Husker to produce double figures, but she was far from the Nebraska's lone contributor. Eliely added seven points, three assists and a steal, while Wood pitched in six points, two rebounds and an assist off the bench. Maddie Simon added six points, seven rebounds and two huge steals, while Cain contributed five points, a game-high nine rebounds and a game-high five blocked shots.

Cincore added five points, four assists, two steals and a block while being a disruptive force on the defensive end, especially in the fourth quarter. In all, nine Huskers found the scoring column while 10 Huskers had at least one rebound.

As a team, Nebraska hit 37 percent (20-54) from the field, including 32 percent (8-25), and 18-of-28 free throws (.643). The Big Red held KU to just 28.6 percent (16-56) from the field, including just 4-of-19 three pointers. The Jayhawks were 0-for-9 from long range in the second half. Kansas also hit 13-of-23 free throws (.565).

Nebraska won the turnover battle, 16-9, and outscored the Jayhawks 18-5 in points off turnovers. The Big Red lost the rebounding battle, 42-40, but outscored KU, 8-5 in second-chance points.

In a defense-heavy first half, the Huskers shot just 27.3 percent on 9-of-33 shooting from the field while Kansas shot 12-of-25 (48 percent), including 8-for-11 (.727) in the second quarter alone. The Jayhawks were also 3-of-5 in the quarter from long range.

In the second half, Nebraska outscored Kansas, 39-13.

The Huskers continue road action on Saturday when they travel to Drake. Tip-off with the defending Missouri Valley Conference champion Bulldogs at the Knapp Center in Des Moines is set for 2 p.m.


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Frost Named National Coach of the Year

Nebraska head coach Scott Frost was announced as the winner of the 2017 Home Depot Coach of the Year Award on Wednesday. He will be presented with the award on Thursday at the Home Depot College Football Awards show in Atlanta, which will air live on ESPN at 6 p.m. (Central).

Frost was selected as the winner after leading Central Florida to a 12-0 record and an American Athletic Conference championship as the only undefeated FBS team in 2017. He accepted the Nebraska coaching job on Dec. 2, but will coach the 10th-ranked Knights in the Peach Bowl on Jan. 1 against No. 7 Auburn.

In its 24-year history, the 42-year old Frost is the fourth-youngest coach to win the Home Depot Coach of the Year Award. Frost is also one of five coaches to earn the honor in either their first or second year as a collegiate head coach, a group that includes Nebraska’s Frank Solich, the 1999 winner.

Frost compiled an 18-7 record in two seasons at UCF after inheriting an 0-12 team. According to ESPN, UCF is the only team in FBS history to go from a winless regular season to an undefeated one in a span of just two seasons.

In 2017, UCF matched its highest win total in program history while posting the first perfect regular season in the history of the American Athletic Conference. The Knights also achieved the highest in-season ranking in program history (No. 10) and established a school record with a 12-game winning streak. UCF won its 12 games by an average of more than 24 points per game and picked up three victories over teams currently ranked in the AP poll.

With Frost calling the plays, UCF boasted one of the nation’s top offenses, as the Knights led the country in scoring (49.4 points per game) and ranked fifth in total offense (540.4 yards per game). Sophomore quarterback McKenzie Milton was honored as the 2017 American Athletic Conference Player of the Year, while a league-record 16 Knights earned All-AAC accolades.

The Home Depot Coach of the Year award is the latest in a slew of coaching honors for Frost, the unanimous winner of the 2017 American Athletic Conference Coach of the Year. He is also a 2017 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Finalist and was the Region 1 American Football Coaches Association Coach of the Year. Frost is also a semifinalist for the George Munger Award for the second straight season. He joins Alabama’s Nick Saban and Wisconsin’s Paul Chryst as the only two coaches to be a semifinalist for the Munger Award in both 2016 and 2017.


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Indians edge Northwest Kansas Tech 55-52

The McCook Community College concluded the pre-Christmas part of the home schedule Tuesday night picking up a 55-52 win over Northwest Kansas Tech at the Peter and Dolores Graff Events Center

“We did a good job staying the course, we really struggled offensively but we defended from the field,” Coach Brandon Lenhart said.

Defensively the Indians held the team from Goodland to a season-low 52 points. The 10-win Mavericks had been averaging 86.3 points per game and shooting 48.9 percent from the field for the season.

MCC held NKT to 36 percent shooting in the first half, and clamped down even more in the second half limiting the Mavericks to seven of 21 shots while forcing 22 turnovers for the game.

“We just kept at it on defense and did a good job of getting consecutive stops and were able to enough offense at critical times and sealed it with a few key free throws and defending down the stretch” Lenhart.

Isaiah Richardson (Queensland, Australia) hit a 3-pointer at the 1:22 mark to give MCC 53-48 lead and after NKT cut it to 53-52 with 30.9 seconds left Toni Kumanovic (Zagreb, Croatia) sank a two free throws with 12.3 seconds left to seal the game. The Mavericks were not able to get off a potential game-tying shot.

Chinedu Okonkwo (Nigeria) led MCC with 17 point and eight rebounds. Richardson had nine points.

The Mavericks edged MCC rebounding 39-34.

“Northwest Kansas did a good with their one-three-one zone, we haven’t seen a whole lot of that and struggled, they threw a lot of stuff at us, but we’ll get better,” Lenhart said.

The Indians were also without the services of point-guard D’Von Moore who sat out the game with an ankle injury, but should be ready to go for MCC’s final two games of the 2017 portion of the schedule this weekend.

Northwest Kansas falls to 10-5 while MCC improves to 9-2 and will round out the pre-Christmas schedule this weekend at La Junta against Otero Friday and at Lamar County Community College Saturday

The Indians return home Jan. 7 for a 3 p.m. contest against conference foe Southeast Community College.


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Four Huskers Make All-Region Team; Hunter Named Player of the Year

Four members of the Nebraska volleyball team earned selections to the American Volleyball Coaches Association All-North Region team on Tuesday, and Nebraska setter Kelly Hunter was named the AVCA North Region Player of the Year.

The four Huskers - Hunter, Annika Albrecht, Mikaela Foecke and Briana Holman - are now eligible for AVCA All-America awards, which will be announced next week. Foecke, Holman and Hunter are repeat all-region honorees, while Albrecht is a first-time all-region team member.

Hunter, a native of Papillion, Nebraska, has set NU to an NCAA title and two Big Ten titles over the last three seasons and was voted the best player in the region by the head coaches. After missing the first two matches of the 2017 season with an injury, Hunter returned to lead the Huskers to 28 wins in the last 30 matches with 10.79 assists and 2.65 digs per set. Hunter has a team-high 13 double-doubles this season and has climbed to third in career assists at NU with 3,960. An AVCA second-team All-American in 2016, Hunter added two Big Ten Setter of the Week awards this season to bring her career total to eight. A three-year team captain, Hunter is the Huskers' first-ever Big Ten Setter of the Year since the award was established in 2012. She was also a CoSIDA Academic All-District selection and a Senior CLASS Award candidate earlier this season. Hunter achieved her third career all-region selection.

Holman, a middle blocker from DeSoto, Texas, earned her fourth career AVCA All-Region accolade and second as a Husker. Holman, who also received All-Big Ten honorable mention this season, leads the Huskers in the middle with 2.42 kills and a team-high 1.13 blocks per set with a team-best .352 hitting percentage. A first-team AVCA All-American in 2014 at LSU, Holman was the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week on Sept. 5 and the MVP of the Ameritas Players Challenge.

Foecke, a three-time all-region honoree who this year earned her first-career All-Big Ten selection, has produced all over the court for the Huskers in her first season as a full-time six-rotation player. Foecke leads NU in kills with 3.46 per set and adds 2.27 digs per set. She has notched seven double-doubles and leads the team in service aces with 35. Foecke was the Big Ten Player of the Week on Oct. 30 and, along with Hunter, was one of 10 Big Ten players to earn a unanimous selection to the All-Big Ten team. Foecke has sparked Nebraska's current 15-match win streak, posting double-digit kills in 10 of the 15 wins.

Albrecht, a Husker co-captain from North Aurora, Illinois, has had a breakout season as a six-rotation outside hitter to earn her first AVCA All-Region honor and first All-Big Ten honor. Albrecht is one of the Huskers' most versatile weapons with 3.03 kills and 2.73 digs per set along with 30 service aces. In her Husker career, she ranks sixth in school history with 135 career aces. Albrecht has played in every set since stepping foot on the Husker campus in 2014, a total of 473 entering this weekend. Albrecht was the AVCA Player of the Week, espnW Player of the Week and Big Ten Player of the Week on Sept. 26 after a career-high 19 kills in a sweep at Penn State.

Wichita State head coach Chris Lamb was named the coach of the year, while Minnesota's Stephanie Samedy was named the freshman of the year.

NORTH REGION

First Name Last Name School Pos. Year
Symone Abbott Northwestern OH Sr.
Annika Albrecht Nebraska OH Sr.
Autumn Bailey**** Michigan State OH RS-Sr.
Mikaela Foecke*** Nebraska OH Jr.
Alyssa Garvelink** Michigan State MB Sr.
Alexis Hart** Minnesota OH So.
Briana Holman**** Nebraska MB Sr.
Kelly Hunter*** Nebraska S Sr.
Abbie Lehman**** Wichita State MB Sr.
Rachel Minarick** Michigan State S Sr.
Courtney Pence Illinois State L Jr.
Stephanie Samedy Minnesota RS Fr.
Samantha Seliger-Swenson*** Minnesota S Jr.
Carly Skjodt Michigan OH Jr.

HONORABLE MENTION

First Name Last Name School Pos. Year
Tabitha Brown Wichita State OH Jr.
Emily Hiebert Wichita State S Sr.
Jaelyn Keene Illinois State MB Sr.
Claire Kieffer-Wright Michigan MB Sr.
Molly Lohman Minnesota MB Sr.
Holly Toliver Michigan State RS Sr.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Player of the Year: Kelly Hunter, Nebraska, S

Freshman of the Year: Stephanie Samedy, Minnesota, RS

Coach of the Year: Chris Lamb, Wichita State


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Huskers Return Home to Face No. 14 Minnesota

Nebraska returns home for the Big Ten home opener Tuesday night, as the Huskers welcome No. 14 Minnesota to Pinnacle Bank Arena.

 

Tipoff is set for shortly after 8 p.m., and a limited number of 300 Level tickets are available beginning at $10 by visiting the NU Ticket office online at Huskers.com/Tickets, calling 800-8-BIGRED or at the Pinnacle Bank Arena ticket office 90 minutes before tipoff.

Tuesday's game will be televised nationally on BTN with Kevin Kugler and Shon Morris on the call. The game is also available on BTN.com, BTN2Go and Fox Sports Go app.

Fans can follow all of the action across the state of Nebraska on the IMG Husker Sports Network with Kent Pavelka and Jake Muhleisen on the call. The game will also be available on Huskers.com, on the Huskers app, on TuneIn Radio and on the TuneIn Radio app. The radio broadcast begins one hour prior to tipoff.

Tuesday is the first Stripe the Vault Night at Pinnacle Bank Arena, as adidas will provide extra large shirts on every seat at PBA for fans. For fans who want to wear their own shirt, they can check what color their section is by visiting: https://go.unl.edu/stripethevault.

The Huskers (6-3, 0-1 Big Ten) look to bounce back after falling to a red-hot Michigan State team in their Big Ten opener. Nebraska was unable to get untracked offensively against the No. 3 Spartans, shooting just 27.4 percent from the field. James Palmer Jr. was the only Husker to finish in double figures, as he finished with 15 points.

Palmer, in his first year at NU after spending two seasons at Miami, has become one of the conference's top newcomers. He is second among all Big Ten newcomers in scoring at 14.3 points per game, while ranking second on the Huskers in steals (1.4 spg) and third in assists (2.7 apg).

The Huskers will face their second ranked opponent in three days, as the No. 14 Golden Gophers are 8-1 on the season following an 89-67 win over Rutgers on Sunday. Nate Mason led four Minnesota players in double figures with 26 points and seven assists, while the Golden Gophers held Rutgers to 32 percent shooting.

Minnesota, which returned four starters from an NCAA Tournament team, leads the Big Ten in scoring at 89.4 points per game and are led by junior forward Jordan Murphy, who leads the Big Ten in both scoring (21.4 ppg) and rebounding (12.9 rpg).


 

 


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Longnecker