The Nebraska women’s basketball team now has a 17-year-old player on its team.
Two-sport Husker athlete Maggie Mendelson arrived in Lincoln last weekend. She’ll play both basketball and volleyball at Nebraska, and in time, that should pay off for both programs.
Mendelson has played for the U.S. youth national team in both sports. She’s the No. 4 national recruit in volleyball and No. 32 in basketball.
Mendelson graduated from high school one full year early, reclassifying to the 2022 recruiting class.
The 6-foot-5 center from Ogden, Utah, will spend most of her first month in Lincoln with the basketball team. While Mendelson only recently turned 17, Nebraska basketball coach Amy Williams says she doesn’t look out of place.
“She absolutely belongs,” Williams said. “She has the right mentality and approach. She’s a special athlete, and it’s really exciting to have her around.”
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In just a few sessions on the court, Mendelson has shown she’s eager to learn.
“She’s very locked in,” Williams said. “If you correct something one time, she’s going to do it the right way. Just really bouncy, and an incredible athlete. I’m still trying to wrap my mind around the fact that she just had her 17th birthday in April. She’s pretty special.”
During her final high school basketball season, Mendelson averaged 17.5 points and 9.1 rebounds per game.
Mendelson will still do some volleyball training leading up to a tryout with the U.S. youth national team in July in Tulsa, Oklahoma. After that, she’ll be with the volleyball team through the end of the season in December.
Summer practice begins: The Huskers began summer practice Monday. The team started with a smaller group but will be welcoming players back as the summer proceeds. Freshman Callin Hake from Minnesota graduated Friday and will report to Lincoln this weekend.
Jaz Shelley and Isabelle Bourne went home to Australia and will join the team in a few weeks.
Sam Haiby had offseason shoulder surgery. She’s doing some workouts but hasn’t been cleared for shooting drills yet.
Nebraska is expected to have all five starters from the end of last season back — Allison Weidner, Alexis Markowski, Shelley, Bourne and Haiby.
Guards Trinity Brady and Nailah Dillard are both practicing after missing all of last season with injuries.
During the eight weeks of summer practice, each player has set some priorities — three-point shooting for some, and strength and conditioning for others.
Markowski had a strong start to her college career, earning Big Ten freshman of the year honors.
But Markowski has set out this offseason to improve her shooting percentage after converting 49% of chances last season.
“She wants to be able to finish a little bit better,” Williams said. “Everybody knows she’s been relentless about trying to pursue her own rebound if she misses. We’re not going to want to lose that, but I think she feels like if she could finish at a little higher clip inside that would improve her game. She’s been working hard on footwork and conditioning level and quite a few things that will benefit her.”
* Nebraska is working to complete a nonconference schedule that will include road games against Creighton and Drake. The Huskers will probably have a road game as part of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge as well.
* There has been a change to the format for the NCAA women’s tournament for 2023. Now for the regional week, games will be held at two sites instead of four, with eight teams competing at each site. In 2023 the sites are Greenville, South Carolina, and Seattle. The first and second rounds will still be hosted by the top-16 seeds.