Nebraska's Andrews Sisters Hope To Help Huskers To WCWS
The University of Nebraska is in Brooke and Billie Andrews’ blood, and the two sisters always dreamed of playing together for the Cornhuskers.
That dream became a reality when Billie joined her sister in Lincoln, Neb. in 2021 after Brooke's COVID-shortened freshman season. The choice was obvious when it was time for both of them to pick a school to play college softball at.
“Growing up here, our whole family has been Husker fans, so we were kind of born into it, and going to games when we were younger,” Brooke said. ”I always wanted to go to Nebraska because I was named after a football player (Brook Berringer), and I thought it would just be a cool story to have coming here.”
Since stepping on the field at Bowlin Stadium for the first time together, it didn’t take the sisters long to make an impact. In 2022, they played a crucial role in helping Nebraska ascend to the top of the conference, winning the program’s first-ever Big Ten Tournament championship. Billie tells Softball America that the tournament championship put the Huskers back on the college softball map.
“I think that year, we gave into the process, gave into (the) culture and doing things the right way. We came together as a team,” Billie said. “Our success didn’t come from just talent. Our success came from being a team, trusting each other on the field and off the field.”
Last season, Billie hit .354 and led the team in home runs (16). Brooke set career-highs in runs (34), hits (52), doubles (9), home runs (11), RBIs (45), slugging percentage (.575) and on-base percentage (.366), as the Huskers advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the second straight season.
“I think I’ve grown a lot since freshman year,” Brooke said. “It’s really just putting in the work every day, extra work outside of practice, and consistency with that, so working out what you need to work on—just being consistent and trusting the plan and knowing exactly what I want to do and how I want to perform.”
The popularity of Nebraska's softball team has grown due to the success the program has recently had. Along with Brooke and Billie, five other players from the state of Nebraska are now on the roster, and Billie believes that is vital to the community so that young girls from Nebraska can follow their example.
“We know what it’s like growing up here, playing here and being able to take our experiences and just show what we can do on the field,” Billie said. “Having seven girls on the team who represent that, it just means something different. We just have a lot of love for Nebraska, and we have a lot of love for the sport. We just want to succeed for the state.”
With the popularity of softball growing in Nebraska, the two are excited about the future of the sport.
“I feel like it's grown so much, so fast, that it’s hard to tell how much it’s going to keep growing,” Billie said. “With how it’s grown in the past, it's exciting that we don’t know the potential of softball here (yet).”
Over the last two years, the Huskers won more than 30 games each season, winning 41 in 2022 and 36 in 2023, and made two consecutive NCAA Regionals appearances. With the addition of two-time NCAA champion Jordy Bahl to the roster this offseason via the transfer portal, demand for Nebraska season tickets surged. The Andrews sisters are excited about the growing interest in their team and having the opportunity to play in front of a packed Bowlin Stadium.
“I think the biggest thing with the fanbase that’s coming in and the transfers that have come in, it’s an experience that you can’t really live anywhere else,” Billie said. “Nebraska fans are die-hard fans, and being able to play in front of a sold-out field, we haven’t done that with all Nebraska fans yet. We’ve played in sold-out fields, and it’s been fun, it’s been energetic, but playing in front of Husker fans, I’m really excited to (do) that.”
The 2024 season will be the final time Brooke and Billie Andrews wear Nebraska uniforms, as the Huskers look to return to the top of the Big Ten and make a deep postseason run. Ultimately, the sisters want to end their college softball careers in Oklahoma City at the 2024 Women's College World Series.
“I think that would be the coolest ending I could have to my college career with what I’ve gone through,” Brooke said. “Obviously, going there would mean so much to the team and the whole state of Nebraska.”