Nebraska’s Jaz Shelley (1) celebrates a basket during the game against Michigan at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022, in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Editor’s note: This preview was written before Nebraska women’s basketball’s game against Ohio State on Feb. 10. All statistics are accurate as of 3:00 p.m. on Feb. 10. 

The Nebraska women’s basketball team has found itself in a peculiar situation for the second half of this week. 

After clashing with Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio on Feb. 10, the Huskers then travel to Champaign, Illinois to face off against Illinois on Saturday, Feb. 12. 

The main reason for this scheduling of matchups is because Nebraska was originally set to take on the Fighting Illini back in mid-January. The postponement of the matchup was the second of two for Nebraska following COVID-19 issues in the Husker program. 

Regardless, Nebraska enters Saturday’s matchup with much proven both offensively and defensively. 

As of Feb. 10, Nebraska is No. 11 nationally in scoring offense with an average of 78.8 points per game. In scoring defense, the Huskers are now No. 129 nationally, holding opponents to 61.1 points per game.

Taking over the top spot as Nebraska’s lead scorer is freshman center Alexis Markowski, who averages 12.3 points per game. The No. 2 spot in scoring for Nebraska is sophomore guard Jaz Shelley, who averages 11.8 points per game. Shelley also continues to stay atop the team lead in rebounds, assists, steals and blocks per game. 

Junior guard Sam Haiby is Nebraska’s third-leading scorer, averaging 10.7 points per game. Sophomore forward Isabelle Bourne is fourth, averaging 9.9 points per game. Rounding out the top five, sophomore guard Ashley Scoggin averages 8.8 points per game.

While the Huskers have been dominating throughout the season, Illinois has been struggling. 

The Fighting Illini have a 6-13 regular season record and a 1-7 conference record. The only Big Ten win that Illinois has on the season was a win over Wisconsin back in early January. After battling the Badgers for a majority of the game, the Fighting Illini took a 38-37 third quarter lead and turned it into a 68-47 victory. 

On the season, Illinois is currently No. 168 nationally in scoring offense, averaging 65.1 points per game. But while its scoring offense has been middle of the pack, Illinois’s scoring defense is No. 322 nationally, giving up an average of 72.6 points per game. 

Leading Illinois in scoring is sophomore guard Aaliyah Nye, who’s the only player on the Fighting Illini averaging double-digit points per game with 11.1. Along with scoring, Nye also leads the team in 3-pointers made, shooting 46-of-126.

Junior guard De’Myla Brown is Illinois’s second-leading scorer, averaging 9.5 points per game. Brown also leads the team in steals, averaging 1.5 per game. Freshman guard Adalia McKenzie is third for the Fighting Illini, averaging 8.9 points per game. 

Junior guard Jada Peebles is fourth, averaging 7.6 points per game. The last player in the starting five is freshman guard Jayla Oden who averages 7.1 points per game. Another notable player for Illinois is sophomore forward Kendall Bostic, a Michigan State transfer, who leads the team in rebounds with 11.7 per game. Bostic ranks No. 9 nationally in rebounds per game, and Nebraska will need to key in on limiting her opportunities on the boards. 

The last time Nebraska and Illinois faced off, the Huskers escaped the Fighting Illini in a 57-53 win last season. In terms of Saturday’s matchup, it’ll be the only regular season clash between these two teams. Tip-off for Saturday’s game will be at 2 p.m., and the game can be viewed on Big Ten Plus or listened to on Husker Radio Network.