The Nebraska women’s basketball team will complete a two-game road trip when it takes on Purdue on Thursday night. This will be the first of two matchups between the Huskers and Boilermakers this season.
The Huskers (9-11, 4-5 Big Ten) will try to bounce back from back-to-back losses against Northwestern and Wisconsin. In its last two contests against the Wildcats and Badgers, Nebraska lost by a total of five points.
The road has not been kind to the Huskers this year. Nebraska has a 2-7 record away from Pinnacle Bank Arena. Both of the road wins have come against Big Ten opponents — Ohio State and Illinois.
Purdue will come into the game with a 15-7 overall record and a 6-3 mark in the Big Ten, but is coming off a 72-58 loss at No. 17 Iowa on Sunday. The Boilermakers have enjoyed success at Mackey Arena this season. Purdue is 11-1 on its home floor this season with the only loss coming from Dec. 16 to No. 25 South Carolina in double overtime.
Indiana-native freshman forward Leigha Brown has been the leading scorer for Nebraska this season, averaging 10.1 points per game. Freshman guard Sam Haiby’s 9.5 points per game make the Huskers the only team in the Big Ten whose top two scorers haven’t started a game.
Brown and Haiby are just a part of a Nebraska bench that is the most productive in the conference. Those two, plus freshman forward Ashtyn Veerbeek, who averages 7.8 points per game, make up a large portion of the Huskers 30.2 bench points per game, helping Nebraska to have the highest-scoring bench in the Big Ten.
Nebraska’s starters are led by sophomore guard Taylor Kissinger who has scored 9.4 points per game. She is shooting 48 percent from three-point range which ranks sixth in the NCAA.
While Nebraska’s leading scorers are young bench players, Purdue sees a majority of its offensive production from veteran starters. Junior guard Dominique Oden averages 15.5 points per game in this season to help lead the Boilermakers. In her most recent game on Sunday, Oden passed 1,200 points for her career, becoming just the 25th Purdue player in program history to do so.
Junior forward Ae’Rianna Harris averages 13.1 points per game and leads the team by shooting 49 percent from the field. Harris also averages a team-high nine rebounds per game, and if she isn’t making shots, she’s blocking them.
Harris ranks second in the NCAA with 70 blocks this season.
Rounding out Purdue’s offensive weapons is sophomore guard Karissa McLaughlin. She’s tied with Oden as the team’s top scorer as both have scored 341 points in 22 games. The difference between the two is McLaughlin scores more from beyond the arc. The sophomore has scored 57 three-pointers this season — 22 more than any other player on the team.
Seeing so much production from its starters means the bench has not been as strong for Purdue. In Big Ten play, the Boilermaker’s bench is scoring just 4.9 points per game, making its play-style much different to that of the Huskers.
Tip-off between Nebraska and Purdue is set for 7 p.m. CST on Thursday, Jan. 31. The game will air on BTN.