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Logan Nissley Battles Through Injury in Earning Key Role For Huskers as Freshman

by Mar 22, 2024Nebraska Womens Basketball

Nebraska Cornhusker guard Logan Nissley (2) gives a recognition for the assist against the Northwestern Wildcats in the second quarter during a college basketball game Tuesday, February 20, 2024, in Lincoln, Neb. Photo by John S. Peterson.
Photo Credit: John Peterson

Amy Williams couldn’t hold back tears when asked about freshman guard Logan Nissley. 

It was an emotional moment overall, of course. The head coach and her Husker team were minutes removed from an overtime loss to Iowa in the Big Ten championship game. Nissley made big plays against Caitlin Clark and the Hawkeyes, just as she had done in the team’s upset win a month earlier. 

This moment was more than a reaction to a result, or any singular performance, though. 

“What Logan did was special,” Williams said. “What people don’t know is what she’s fighting through to be out here on this court, fighting with her teammates.”

From an outside perspective, this fight wouldn’t be clear. Nissley entered the program as a top-100 recruit, earning praise as one of the best shooters the coach had seen. She had struggles early, sure, hitting just one of eight 3-point attempts in her Husker debut. But no one had much doubt that the triples would start falling.

“The girls were like trying to be there for her and encourage her, and say, ‘Hey, keep shooting, Logan,’” the coach said in Minneapolis, recalling a story she’s told before. “She said, ‘Oh, I will.’”

Rather, the problem is one that started for Nissley in high school and hasn’t quite gone away. The North Dakota native said she had a stress fracture in her left foot going into her junior year. She then had surgery on both feet in the summer. 

“I had a broken bone in each foot,” Nissley said, “So that’s kind of coming back a little bit.” 

She played both basketball and volleyball in high school, and the injuries never kept her off the court for an entire season. Nissley also hasn’t missed a game for the Huskers this year. The pain does pop up, though, and she said she was feeling it after starting four games in four days at the conference tournament.

You wouldn’t be able to tell that by her championship game performance, where she had her best performance of the tournament with 13 points and five assists in 34 minutes. However, Nissley played under 20 minutes in each of the previous three games and the coaching staff knew she wasn’t always able to go 100% in shootarounds.

That comfortability with the staff has been key to her ability to manage the injury. 

“The mental toughness of it all has probably been the biggest thing and just not feeling like I’m letting people down when I do need to take a break, or just kind of letting myself be in pain instead of trying to hide it,” she said. “My coaches are super supportive. My teammates are super supportive… They’ve been really willing to put in that extra 10% for me.” 

The start of the season and the days following the Big Ten tournament were the hardest mentally. The former was difficult as she wasn’t sure how teammates and coaches would react to her struggles. After the conference tourney run, she wasn’t able to recover as quickly as she wanted to.  

Nissley said she plans to have surgery again in the offseason, and that her feet issues hopefully will go away after that. In the meantime, she’s put together a season that earned her a spot in the starting lineup and a spot on the Big Ten all-freshman team, now averaging 6.7 points per game on 39% shooting from three.

She’s had to put an emphasis on her basketball IQ in making up for shortcomings in speed, especially on the defensive end. She’ll rely on positioning in order to still be able to make plays on the ball. 

In the upset win over Iowa in February, she put up 15 points and seven rebounds. She was key in the comeback effort, nailing a deep contested three late and drawing a foul on Clark on another attempt to cut the deficit to two.

Nissley calls those moments “surreal,” saying they’ve yet to sink in. But her success has brought her even more confidence. 

“It kind of makes me proud of myself,” she said. “I don’t like to say that a lot, it sounds cringey and stuff like that. But definitely it shows me what I’m capable of and the fact that I can do all this stuff and accomplish that like going through what I am. It just gives me a lot of hope for years to come.”

Frustrations remain as the injuries have yet to completely go away. But she’s grateful to be playing, and she’s been able to turn some of her attention off the court — where she prioritizes her faith and relationships with friends and family. 

“Being able to kind of separate life and basketball I think is a big thing for me right now,” Nissley said.

She’s excited to finish the season with the friends she’s made on the team as Nebraska goes into the NCAA Tournament. The closeness of the group is the reason for their success, whether that manifests in their connectivity on the defensive end or the fact that every player on the roster is trusted to make key shots throughout a game.

Nissley’s success is evidence of that bond. If the pain in her feet pops up, or even if she just has a cold shooting stretch, her teammates are right there for her. She believes that what makes the Huskers so dangerous.

“We wouldn’t want to play us at the end of the season,” Nissley said. “We’re just playing so well. We’re playing so connected. Everybody’s confident, we are confident in everybody, off the bench, on the floor, everything like that.”

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