For most freshmen in Nebraska athletics, the first year is for the athlete to get eased into the collegiate level of athletics, and start to develop as a Division I athlete. However, there are those, including this week’s winner, that are thrown right into the action and not only perform, but perform at a high level. 

The DN Freshman Athlete of the Week is men’s basketball guard Bryce McGowens. 

The Nebraska men’s basketball team kick-started its 2021-2022 season with two non-conference games against Western Illinois and Sam Houston State. The Huskers finished the pair of games going 1-1, falling to Western Illinois 75-74 and defeating Sam Houston State 74-65. 

In his first two regular-season games at the collegiate level, McGowens ruled the court with authority tallying up a total of 54 points across the two games. McGowens also finished the week with 11 rebounds, a steal, an assist and a block. 

McGowens made an immediate impact during the first four minutes of the Western Illinois game, scoring Nebraska’s first four points of the season. Despite the eventual loss, the five-star recruit went on to finish the game with 25 points, six rebounds and a steal. 

McGowens picked up right where he left off in the next game against Sam Houston State. Just as the first minute came to end, McGowens landed a 3-pointer, scoring the game’s first points. This would be the start of another commanding night by the freshman as he finished with 29 points, five rebounds, an assist and a block in the 74-65 win. 

McGowens’ 29 point surge has him tied for second in school history for the highest-scoring game by a freshman. McGowens also joined Dave Hoppen as the only Nebraska freshman to post multiple 25-point performances in school history.

First honorable mention: Volleyball libero Lexi Rodriguez

The Nebraska volleyball team competed in a pair of conference matches between Maryland and Indiana. As a team, the Huskers defeated Maryland 3-0 and Indiana 3-1. 

In both wins, Rodriguez had 22 digs, which gave her a grand total of 44 across the week. This is Rodriguez’s second highest weekly dig count on the season. Her best week came in the first week of September, where she finished with 46 digs across three matches. 

Along with Rodriguez’s 22 digs in each match, the Sterling, Illinois native finished the week with 11 assists and four service aces. In the win over Maryland, Rodriguez had five set assists and a service ace. In the win over Indiana, she had six set assists and three service aces. 

The last match marked Rodriguez’s best performance at the service line on the season along with being her third multi service ace match. 

Second honorable mention: Women’s basketball center Alexis Markowski

The Nebraska women’s basketball team commenced its 2021-2022 season with three straight home games against Maine, Prairie View A&M and Alabama A&M. 

As a team, the Huskers went 3-0, blowing out Maine 108-50, taking down Prairie View A&M 102-47 and defeating Alabama A&M 88-33. 

Across the three games, Markowski finished her first week of college basketball with 29 points, 19 rebounds and a block. 

Starting in her collegiate debut, Markowski finished the win over Maine with eight points and seven rebounds. Then in the win over Prairie View A&M, Markowski had her highest scoring game on the week, dropping 14 points along with six rebounds. Finally in the win over Alabama A&M, Markowski wrapped up the game with seven points, six rebounds and a block.