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WBB 2017-18 Preview; Mid-Season Update & Epilogue!

Red Don

Water Boy
5 Year Member
OK, There's not much in the news about the WBB program lately (its getting to be Football Season don't ya know) so lets talk a little about what we Do know. :nod:

We know the 2017-18 WBB roster will include five new faces this season (at least players that did not see the floor last year). That is, if you include Rachel Blackburn, who sat out the year to recuperate from surgery; Bria Stallworth and Janay Morton who practiced but had to sit the year out because of transfer rules, And highly-regarded incoming freshmen, Kate Cain and Taylor Kissinger (the 20th ranked incoming class in WBB by some accounts).

I expect a vastly better season this year than last (only seven, count-'em, seven wins last year, not including the squeaker win in the Exhibition game) despite the necessity of having to replace productivity from the departing Jessica Shepard (18.6 ppg & 9.8 rpg). It will be difficult to replace Shepard's contributions; But, the task will be a lot easier by the eligibility of Stallworth (13.1 points, 2.4 rebounds, 3.8 assists pg during her freshman year at UMass) and Morton (13.5 points, 3.4 rebounds, 2.9 assists pg as a Jr at Eastern Michigan).

I think we can also expect Year-over-Year improvement in the games of (now) Sophmores, Nicea Eliely, Hannah Whitish, and Grace Mitchell; as well as continuing maturity from Juniors Maddie Simon, Darrien Washington, and Seniors Jasmine Cincore & Emily Wood. Lets add in that despite being over-matched all season, five of the 22 losses last year were by 10 points or less. Last season, the team was characterized by 'Grit; No Quit,' in face of the disappointing losses. There is also the distinct prospect of better Team Chemistry and coordination this year as the team gains familiarity with new Coach Amy Williams and her Assistants.

There are several challenging games in the non-con (Clemsen, Creighton, Drake, Kansas, etc.) that should tell us a little more about where the season is headed.

Lastly, lets add to the above the four commitments so far for 2018-19; three- 4* and one-3* recruits (see the separate thread) and the prospects for a resurgence in the fortunes of the Husker WBB program may not be so improbable after all.
 

Sandhills Husker

Red Shirt
5 Year Member
Red Don, I always appreciate your positivism. But we're not gonna be very good this year. Senior and junior classes are terrible. Only healthy and legitimate post is a true freshmen. The best talent is with the transfers and freshmen (plus Nicea), but they will be very inexperienced. The league is down a bit which may help a little, but we won't be doubling last year's win total.
 

Red Don

Water Boy
5 Year Member
Thanks for the encouragement (and Restraint :wink:) SH. (Sometimes I get a little 'carried-away.') I'm not close to the program, geographically or in insight, and fan boards are my main information (thank goodness for BTN+ so a distant fan can at least watch the games :Bow:). I like to post things here I happen to see, if only to keep the forum relevant.

I think we both believe the program is moving in the right direction (it would be hard not too). One big question, maybe the biggest, is the unknown recruiting ability of new Coach Amy Williams and her staff at the P-5 level. The biggest take-away I get, as Ackos mentioned, it seems that we are beginning to get a better feel for her recruiting acumen by the incoming players.

I know it would be difficult to, say, double the number of last seasons wins with the current roster. That would make 14-15 wins, close to 'winning season' territory and probably too much to hope for; but, hey why not shoot for the moon? (Next Year, Maybe. :))
 

mjohnson

Husker Fan
15 Year Member
Thanks Red Don for your preview, your time and effort in putting together these are much appreciated. Keep up the good work. Hopefully the HUSKER ladies surprise us all.
 

rw120555

Junior Varsity
15 Year Member
I was really disappointed with Nebraska's fall from prominence. For a while there it looked like they were going to join the upper echelon. Hope they can come back.
 

CrnhskrBob

Husker Immortal
15 Year Member
Let's hope for an improvement this season. Hopefully, they surprise us all. In any case, we are all behind the Ladies. :)

GBR!
 

Red Don

Water Boy
5 Year Member
Let's hope for an improvement this season. Hopefully, they surprise us all. In any case, we are all behind the Ladies. :)
GBR!
See Sam Below! :wink:

NU women's basketball: A primer for the 2017-18 season, where big jump in wins is possible
Double up. If I was going to pick a reasonable goal for the Nebraska women’s basketball team in Year 2 of the Amy Williams Era, doubling its win total from seven to 14 — despite losing leading scorer and rebounder Jessica Shepard — seems like a good place to start.

What (Coach Amy) wants to do on offense — push pace, shoot 3s, pass, share the wealth — is on-trend, right out of the Golden State Warriors playbook, so to speak. The Huskers will eventually be a fun, aggressive offense and defense, much like South Dakota became when Williams was there.
http://www.omaha.com/huskers/blogs/women-s-basketball-a-primer-for-the---season/article_b9590fb6-c4b5-11e7-a6b4-b7373990bbd6.html
 
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Red Don

Water Boy
5 Year Member
Mid-Season Update!

So, Mid-Season seems like a good time to Update the Season Preview; Before the start of B1G Conference Play (and Before we get trounced by Juggernaut No. 12 Ohio State). The initial objective this year was to see How Soon the WBB team could Match the (dismal) number of wins (7) for All of last season. The Ultimate Target (per Sam McKewon's article linked above) to DOUBLE the number of wins last season. After the end of the non-conference schedule, the Husker Ladies have already blown through the seven number of wins last season. ending the OOC schedule with a 9-4 Record

OCC schedule resulted in losses to Creighton, Buffalo, and subsequent loss to Clemson by one point in the annual B1G/ACC Challenge. There were notable wins over well-regarded Arkansas, Kansas and Drake; But the final OOC game was a loss to highly ranked Washington State; more indicative of the competition level we're likely to see the rest of the year in B1G conference play.

Jeff Sagarin Ratings @ 12/28/17
upload_2017-12-28_12-22-2.png

Taking the rose-colored glasses off, I see only six, maybe seven, wins in conference play. We start off by playing Ranked Ohio State @ PBA, followed by Minnesota at their house. Plus, we play two of the conference's tougher teams, Iowa and Maryland, twice each. BUT, entering conference play @ 9-4, Six conference wins would put us at over 0.500 for the season; an almost unbelievable accomplishment from the depths of last season.
Putting the rose-colored glasses back on :Koolaid2: that goal now seems possible and IS reachable.

The team is developing at a phenomenal pace; The chemistry is light-years ahead of last season, and everyone on the team is having a lot of fun (Kate Cain getting knocked to the floor by, not one, but two, Florida Atlantic Players, And getting up Laughing!). Virtually everyone on the team, newcomers and upperclassmen alike, have stepped up their game a notch, or two, this season. Good Teams make Each individual player better. If everyone can get, and stay, healthy we might pick off a higher ranked team or two. It's not likely we will break-even in conference play this year, but you never know; If everyone gets 'ON' at the same time, we can hang with any team in the league.

Maybe the best news of all, there is, by some accounts, a top 20 class of incoming recruits; Coach Amy Williams' second consecutive top 20 recruiting class, putting to rest initial fears that Amy Williams and her staff would not be able to recruit at the P5 level.

Recruits are beginning to take notice of the fun the team is having, the stellar facilities, and even better fan support/crowds at our games!
 
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huskermike

Cyber Traveler
10 Year Member
Well, so far we took on the two toughest conference opponents at this point and we're hitting .500. OSU won but didn't trounce us (we played a heck of a tough game against them, gladly) and we beat Minney at their house. Pretty good start to conference play. I see good things ahead. Let's keep it up ladies. :Shout:
 

Red Don

Water Boy
5 Year Member
Lady Huskers are sitting at #5 in the Conference Standings so far.


Happily, we've only played Ohio State so far (we could be at 0-4 if our early schedule had also included Rutgers, Maryland and Iowa). But being at 2 or 3-1 after the first few games of conference play is quite a confidence builder for our young team showing we 'Can Win' even when we get to the tougher portion of the conference schedule. :nod:
 
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