2019-20 Big Ten Women’s Basketball preview and predictions

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COLUMBUS, OH – DECEMBER 31: Nebraska Cornhuskers head coach Amy Williams yelling during the game against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Value City Arena in Columbus, Ohio on December 31, 2018. (Photo by Jason Mowry/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Nebraska Cornhuskers

2018-19 Record / Finish:

  • 14-16 (9-9 B1G, T-6th in standings)
  • Lost to Purdue in second round of Big Ten Tournament

2018-19 Leaders:

  • Hannah Whitish (10.1 ppg, 4.3 apg), returns as a senior
  • Sam Haiby (10.0 ppg, 3.0 apg), returns as a sophomore

Key Additions:

  • Freshman guard Makenzie Helms from Connecticut
  • Freshman guard Trinity Brady from Indiana

Despite an up-and-down season a year ago for Nebraska, they finished the regular season strong winning three of five, including a victory over Michigan State, ranked #24 in the country at the time, and the two losses coming to Big Ten leaders Iowa and Maryland. Nebraska saw balanced scoring throughout the roster, with eight of last season’s players averaging over 6.8 points per game. Fortunately, the program returns seven of those, so chemistry should be a strength of this year’s team.

Nebraska also welcomes three freshmen to the roster, highlighted by Makenzie Helms — the 2019 Connecticut Gatorade Player of the Year and 27th-ranked point guard in the country. She averaged 26.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 6.6 assists per game during her senior season.

“[Helms] has incredible court vision and creates offense for her teammates with tempo and passing ability,” said Head Coach Amy Williams. “Combining that with her confident scoring mentality…  Makenzie is a great fit for the versatility we like in our system.”

Helms joins Trinity Brady, who split her high school playing time in Indiana and Tennessee. Per Prospects Nation, Brady is ranked as the 106th player in her class. Coach Amy Williams has spoken highly about her work ethic, high basketball IQ and “coachability.” The final newcomer to Lincoln this season is Isabelle Bourne, a 6’2” forward from Australia. With her national team, Bourne won silver at the FIBA U19 World Cup this past summer.

Before the Huskers get their conference schedule underway by welcoming Iowa to Pinnacle Bank Arena on December 28, they will face USC in late November at the South Point Shootout in Las Vegas. The Trojans will challenge the Huskers early in the season, as they brought in the nation’s fifth-ranked freshman class this offseason.

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