Q&A with Kate Cain

Honors & Awards

  • Naismith Defensive Player of the Year Watch List (1 of 15, 2021)
  • Lisa Leslie Award Preseason Watch List (2019, 2020, 2021)
  • All-Big Ten (Honorable Mention, 2020, 2021)
  • Big Ten All-Defensive Team (2018, 2020, 2021)
  • Big Ten All-Freshman Team (2018)
  • Big Ten Player of the Week (Jan. 18, 2021)
  • Four-Time Big Ten Freshman of the Week
    (Nov. 13, Dec. 4, Dec. 11, Dec. 26, 2017)
  • Nebraska Career Block Record (352)
  • Nebraska Season Block Record (101, 2020)
  • Nebraska Freshman Block Record (100, 2018)
  • Nebraska Sophomore Block Record (79, 2019)
  • Nebraska Single Game Block Record (11 vs. Florida Atlantic, Dec. 19, 2017)
  • First Points-Rebounds-Blocks Triple-Double in School History
    (vs. Florida Atlantic, Dec. 19, 2017; 22 points, 14 rebounds, 11 blocks)
  • Nebraska Conference Tournament Record for Blocks (7 vs. Michigan, March 2, 2018)
  • Nebraska Conference Tournament Record for Blocks (9, 2 games, 2018)
  • Nebraska 1,000-Point Club (28th, 1,085 Career Points)
  • Nebraska Defensive Player of the Year (2021)
  • Kathy Branchaud Nebraska Most Improved Rebounder Award (2019)
  • Big Ten Distinguished Scholar (2019, 2020, 2021)
  • Academic All-Big Ten (2019, 2020, 2021)
  • Nebraska Scholar-Athlete Honor Roll (Fall 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020; Spring 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021)
  • Tom Osborne Citizenship Team (2018, 2019, 2020, 2021)
  • First-Team All-New York (USA Today, 2017)
  • No. 82 Player in the Nation (ESPN, 2016)
  • No. 10 Post in the Nation (ESPN, 2016)

Feature Story - Huskers. Together. (Kate Cain, 2020)

Senior (2020-21)
A three-time Lisa Leslie Award candidate, Kate Cain was 1 of 15 players named to the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year Watch List (Jan. 26). A three-time Big Ten All-Defensive choice, Cain also claimed her second straight honorable-mention All-Big Ten award in 2020-21. Prior to her senior season, she was projected as a second-round pick in the WNBA Draft. 

Cain owns Nebraska career (352) and season (101) block records and climbed to No. 6 in Big Ten history while ranking No. 2 nationally among all active Division I players. Her 352 career blocks were 114 more than Nebraska's previous career leader in that category, Janet Smith (238, 1979-82).

She started all 26 games for the Huskers in 2020-21, extending her streak to 117 consecutive starts. Cain finished the season averaging 10.2 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per contest. Over the final nine games of the season, she went 24-of-26 from the free throw line. She finished with career-best field goal (.575) and free throw (.741) percentages on the season. Her 35 assists on the season tied her career best, while her 24 turnovers in 26 games were by a far a career low.

At the Big Ten Tournament, Cain averaged 12.0 points and 8.5 rebounds, including 16 points and seven boards in a win over Minnesota (March 10), before getting eight points and 11 rebounds in a narrow loss to No. 7 Maryland in the tournament quarterfinals (March 11). She closed her career with 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting against Colorado in the round of 16 in the Postseason WNIT.

Cain was just the ninth player in Nebraska history to achieve the combined career milestones of 1,000 points and 750 rebounds. Her 1,085 points ranked 28th in school history, while her 780 rebounds ranked eighth.

She produced arguably the best game of her career with 22 points, 12 rebounds and nine blocks in a 63-55 win over No. 15 Ohio State (Jan. 16). She was named the Big Ten Player of the Week for the first time in her career on Jan. 18, 2021.

She tied her career high with 22 points on a perfect shooting night in a win at No. 24 Northwestern (Feb. 17). Cain's basket on the game's first possession also made her the 34th 1,000-point scorer in Nebraska women's basketball history. 
Cain also had 21 points, seven rebounds and five blocks at Penn State (Feb. 4). She had her 15th career double-double and third this season with 16 points, 10 rebounds and six blocks in a win over Wisconsin (Jan. 28). She opened the year with 14 points, 11 boards and six blocks in a win over ORU (Dec. 4).

Cain owns 54 double-figure scoring efforts, including 13 in 2020-21. She had 20 double-figure rebounding games, including six in 2020-21, and one double-digit block game in her career. Cain recorded three or more blocks in 58 games, including 21 games with five or more blocks. She produced 15 career double-doubles, including three as a senior.

Junior (2019-20)
The greatest shot-blocker in Nebraska history, Cain produced a season-record 101 blocks in 2019-20. She led the Big Ten and ranked third in the NCAA with 3.4 blocks per game, while adding 9.3 points and a team-best 7.2 rebounds.

Cain earned a spot on the Big Ten All-Defensive Team for the second time in her career in 2020. She was also an honorable-mention All-Big Ten selection. In Big Ten regular-season play, Cain led the conference in both blocks (3.6 bpg) and defensive rebounds (6.7 drpg). She finished her junior season with 280 career blocks, which moved her into the top 10 on the Big Ten Conference's all-time list.

She notched five double-doubles in 2019-20, including season highs of 19 points and 15 rebounds to go with six blocks in a win over No. 24 Minnesota (Jan. 4). It followed 10 points and 14 rebounds at Michigan State (Dec. 31), after she opened Big Ten play with 16 points and 12 rebounds in a win over Iowa (Dec. 28). She added 14 points, 13 rebounds and eight blocks against Ohio State (Feb. 2), before going for 12 points, 12 boards, seven blocks and a career-high four steals at No. 19 Northwestern (Feb. 16). She owns 12 career double-doubles.

Cain had 15 points, eight rebounds and four blocks against ORU (Dec. 14), and added 13 points and eight boards vs. Manhattan (Dec. 22). 

Cain had 18 points, seven rebounds and three blocks vs. Creighton (Nov. 24). She added 13 points, nine boards and two blocks at Ohio State (Feb. 19). In a win over Duke (Dec. 4), she had 12 points, five rebounds and five blocks. 

She opened the South Point Shootout with 10 points, five rebounds and her 200th career block in a win over USC (Nov. 29). She had eight blocks along with 10 points and seven boards in NU’s win over Alabama A&M (Nov. 6).

Sophomore (2018-19)
Cain set the Husker sophomore record with 79 blocks, while ranking second in the Big Ten and 13th nationally with 2.6 blocks per game.  

Cain, who joined Nicea Eliely as the only Huskers to start all 30 games, averaged 7.5 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 23 minutes per game. Over the final eight games, Cain averaged 8.6 points while hitting 61 percent (30-49) of her shots from the field and 71.4 percent (10-14) of her free throws.

Her best performance of the year came with 16 points and a season-high 17 rebounds in a win over San Jose State (Dec. 8). She hit 8-of-9 shots from the field in her second double-double of the season. She followed with 14 points on 7-of-9 shooting in a win over Denver (Dec. 15).

She set her season high with 16 points in a win over USC Upstate (Nov. 11) and notched her first double-double of the year with 10 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks at Washington State (Nov. 16). Cain had 14 points and seven rebounds at Wisconsin (Jan. 27). She had 12 points at Michigan (Feb. 7) and 10 against No. 12 Iowa (Feb. 25), Creighton (Dec. 2) and against Purdue in the Big Ten Tournament (March 7). 

She posted a season-high seven blocked shots against No. 24 Michigan State (Feb. 17).

Freshman (2017-18)
Cain made an instant impact by averaging 9.9 points and team bests of 7.0 rebounds and 3.1 blocks in 2017-18. She led the Big Ten and ranked among the top eight players nationally with a then-school-record 100 blocks to help the Huskers lead the Big Ten in both field goal percentage defense and three-point field goal percentage defense.

Cain started NU's last 31 games while playing in all 32 contests. Her performance earned her spots on the Big Ten All-Defensive Team and the Big Ten All-Freshman Team. She was the only freshman or sophomore to make the five-player conference all-defensive unit.

The four-time Big Ten Freshman of the Week produced a school-record performance against Florida Atlantic (Dec. 19) with 22 points, 14 rebounds and a school-record 11 blocks for the first points-rebounds-blocks triple-double in Nebraska history.

In the Big Ten Tournament, she notched a school conference-tournament record seven rejections to help the Huskers power past No. 24 Michigan in the quarterfinals. She added two more blocks against No. 17 Maryland in the semifinals to give her another Nebraska conference tournament record with nine blocks in a single tournament.

Cain, who blocked at least one shot in each of her first 31 games, produced six games with five or more blocks, including the top three single-game totals by a freshman in Husker history. Prior to 2017-18, only two freshmen (Janet Smith, 6 vs. Oklahoma State, Jan. 12, 1979) and Jeanne Boller (6 vs. Wichita State, Feb. 5, 1977) had ever recorded five blocks in a game in Nebraska history.

Cain produced her fifth double-double with 14 points and 20 rebounds to go along with three blocks in a win over Penn State (Feb. 22). Her 20 rebounds tied for the sixth-best total in Husker history. She helped Nebraska post a plus-29 team rebound margin against Penn State - the biggest margin against a conference opponent in Husker history.

Cain added a double-double with 19 points and 14 rebounds in a road win at Drake (Dec. 9). She added four blocks. Cain also notched a double-double with 16 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks against Arkansas Pine Bluff (Dec. 2). She recorded her first double-double with 12 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks in a win over Arkansas (Nov. 16).

Cain finished with 15 double-figure scoring efforts, six double-digit rebound games and one double-figure block contest on the year. She played a big role in a road win at No. 25 Rutgers with 14 points, eight rebounds and three blocks in front of friends and family in Piscataway, N.J.

In her collegiate debut, Cain erupted for 18 points and team highs of nine rebounds and three blocks off the bench in a win over SIU Edwardsville (Nov. 11).

Cain and fellow freshman Taylor Kissinger (10.0 ppg) became the first Husker freshman duo to each average 9.9 or more points per game in the same season since Debra Powell and Crystal Coleman in 1981-82.
Before Nebraska
One of the top 100 players nationally in the 2017 high school senior class, Cain made her decision to join the Nebraska women's basketball program on June 23, 2017.

Cain, who graduated from Pine Bush High School in New York, originally signed her National Letter of Intent with Delaware in November of 2016. Cain was released from her NLI after a coaching change at Delaware during the offseason. 

As a senior, she was ranked as the No. 82 overall player in the nation by ESPN, which had her ranked as the No. 10 prep post player. 

Cain was a finalist for Miss New York Basketball honors as a senior, when she averaged 25.2 points, 12.3 rebounds and 7.9 blocks per game for Coach Bill Lacouara at Pine Bush High School. She was a first-team USA Today All-New York selection in 2016-17. She averaged 24.3 points, 15.0 rebounds and 8.0 blocks per game as a junior. Cain, who hails from Middletown, N.Y., played her club basketball for Coach John Reilly and the Hudson Valley Elite AAU program. She also helped Pine Bush to the New York state volleyball finals.

The daughter of Tim and Alison Cain, Katherine (Kate) was born May 18, 1999. She has a strong family background in basketball.

Kate's father graduated as the all-time leading scorer (1,872 points) in Manhattan College history. He was a two-time honorable-mention All-American by The Sporting News, averaging 17.3 points per game during his career for the Jaspers.

He was inducted into the 2019 MAAC Honor Roll and enshrined in "The MAAC Experience" exhibit at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in September of 2019.

Kate's mother, Alison (Martinsky) Cain, was also a 1,000-point career scorer as a collegian at Fairfield, finishing with 1,071 points. She also ranked 10th in Fairfield history with 734 career rebounds, while ranking second in Stags history with 268 blocks. Alison played professionally in Ireland.

Kate's older brother, John, is a 6-10 left-handed pitcher in the Los Angeles Angels organization. He signed a free agent contract in June of 2019 and played with the Burlington Bees and AZL Angels during the summer. 

Kate also has a younger brother, Chris.

Kate, a management major, was a three-time Big Ten Distinguished Scholar. She was also a three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection. She was an eight-time Nebraska Scholar-Athlete Honor Roll choice. She earned her bachelor's degree from Nebraska in just three years and is currently pursuing an MBA.

She is also a four-time member of the Tom Osborne Citizenship Team.

Kate Cain's Career Bests
Points - 22 Three Times, most recent, at Northwestern, Feb. 17, 2021
Rebounds - 20 vs. Penn State, Feb. 22, 2018 
Assists - 3 10 times, most recent, at Northwestern, Feb. 17, 2021 
Steals - 4 vs. Northwestern, Feb. 16, 2020
Blocks - 11 vs. Florida Atlantic, Dec. 19, 2017 (school record)
FGM - 10 Three Times, most recent, at Penn State, Feb. 4, 2021
FGA - 16 vs. Florida Atlantic, Dec. 19, 2017
3FGM - None
3FGA - 1 vs. Sacred Heart, Nov. 30, 2019
FTM - 8 at Northwestern, Feb. 17, 2021
FTA - 8 at Northwestern, Feb. 17, 2021; at Maryland, Feb. 14, 2019

Cain's Career Statistics














































2019-20 30-30 125-232 .539 0-1 .000 28-41 .683 216-7.2 71--0 21 44 101 18 278-9.3
2020-21 26-26 111-193 .575 0-0 .000 43-58 .741 163-6.3 67-1 35 24 72 8 265-10.2