The women’s Nebraska basketball team opens the Big Ten regular season against the strong 10-2 Penn State Lady Lions at the Bryce Jordan Center in University Park, PA. Tip off is set for 6pm Central time on Friday December 30, as the Huskers have moved up one spot to 23rd in the AP poll and travel to Pennsylvania take on the 16th ranked Lady Lions. The Husker Sports Radio Network will pick up coverage on the game on channel 93.3 FM in Omaha and 107.3 FM in Lincoln and free live Internet radio coverage will be broadcast at Huskers.com with the play by play called my Matt Coatney.
The Big Ten opener for both teams looks to be very evenly matched and will turn out robe a great game. Both teams are coming off winter break and the Huskers have played only one game in the last 12 days, winning against the South Dakota State Jackrabbits on December 21st. Starting sophomore Jordan Hooper scored 30 points and nabbed 11 rebounds against the Jackrabbits which won her her second Big Ten Player of the Week award on the season. That was her second straight double-double bringing her season total to five, and she ranks second in the Big Ten in scoring and rebounding.
The Penn State Lady Lions was picked in the preseason to win the Big Ten title, but since has lost to two games to Delaware and Texas Tech, both of which are ranked and unbeaten. The Lady Lions remain ranked with the non conference losses and look very similar to the Huskers on the court. Junior point guard Alex Bentley leads Penn State averaging 15 points and nearly six assists a game. Her favorite target is sophomore Maggie Lucas who averages 19.3 points a game while grabbing 4.5 rebounds a game. The duo is eerily similar to Hooper and Moore of Nebraska, and the Lions have another player, Zhaque Gray, who averages over ten points a game.
On paper, these two teams are almost identical. They rank second and third in the Big Ten in both points per game and scoring margin with Nebraska at 77.4 points per game with a 20.9 margin and Penn State at 77 points per game and a 19.3 margin. Penn State is ranked second in the Big Ten in field goal percentage at 45 percent, while the Huskers lagged to eighth in this area. With a plus nine rebounding margin, Nebraska will win the rebounding battle in this game, and they are also first in the Big Ten with eleven steals a game. These factors will be the difference in the game, leading to turnovers and easy buckets for Hooper, Cady and the Huskers.
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