Jessica Shepard captured her seventh Big Ten Freshman-of-the-Week award of the season, while sophomore Natalie Romeo claimed her second spot on the Big Ten Player-of-the-Week Honor Roll this seen when the conference office announced its weekly awards on Monday.
Shepard, a 6-4 forward from Fremont, Neb., averaged 25.5 points and 9.0 rebounds in a pair of Husker victories. She opened the week with 29 points and 10 rebounds to notch her seventh double-double of the year in an 83-78 win at Penn State on Wednesday. Shepard hit 10-of-12 shots from the field and 9-of-10 free throws against the Lady Lions.
She added her ninth 20-point scoring performance of the season with 22 points and eight rebounds in Nebraska 65-54 win over Rutgers on Saturday at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Shepard scored 20 of Nebraska’s 41 points through three quarters of play against the Scarlet Knights.
For the season, Shepard ranks fourth in the Big Ten in scoring (20.0 ppg) and rebounding (9.1 rpg) and is one of only two conference freshmen ranked among the league’s top 30 scorers. The only other freshman to rank among the Big Ten’s top 20 rebounders is teammate Rachel Blackburn (T19th, 5.9 rpg).
In Big Ten play, Shepard is averaging 21.0 points and 11.2 rebounds per game.
Earlier on Monday, Shepard was named the College Sports Madness Big Ten Player of the Week for the third time this season. She also claimed the honor on Nov. 23 and Dec. 21.
Romeo, a 5-7 guard from Martinez, Calif., arguably produced a better week than Shepard, averaging 25.5 points, 2.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.0 steal while playing the full 40 minutes in both Husker wins.
Romeo erupted for a career-high 32 points at Penn State while setting a school record with eight three-pointers. She added five more threes to finish with 19 points in the win over Rutgers. She scored 13 points in the fourth quarter alone against the Scarlet Knights, including three consecutive threes midway through the fourth quarter that turned a 46-43 Nebraska deficit into a 52-48 Husker lead.
For the season, Romeo is averaging 15.6 points and 3.6 assists per game, while leading the Big Ten with 3.4 threes per game, including a Big Ten-best 4.2 threes per conference game.
The Big Ten Player of the Week was given to Indiana sophomore guard Tyra Buss, who averaged 20.5 points and 6.0 assists in helping the Hoosiers split a pair of games. Ohio State sophomore Kelsey Mitchell (27.5 ppg) and Minnesota’s Rachel Banham (25.5 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 3.5 apg) joined Romeo on the honor roll.
Romeo, who earned a spot on the Big Ten Player-of-the-Week Honor in the season’s opening week, has been Nebraska’s Big Ten Player-of-the-Week nominee five times this season.