Huskers Fight Hard in Loss to No. 12 Buckeyes
Lincoln - Jessica Shepard notched her 12th double-double of the year with a season-high 28 points to go along with 10 rebounds, but No. 12 Ohio State ran to an 87-69 women’s basketball win over Nebraska on Thursday night at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
The Buckeyes, who were led by 27 points from All-American Kelsey Mitchell, improved to 23-5 overall and 13-1 in the Big Ten, while the Huskers slipped to 5-20 overall and 1-12 in the conference.
Nicea Eliely added 13 points, while Emily Wood knocked down a career-high three three-pointers to finish with nine points off the bench to help the Huskers.
Sierra Calhoun helped the Buckeyes with 13 points on 4-of-5 shooting, while freshman forward Tori McCoy finished with 12 points on 6-of-6 shooting to go along with seven rebounds and four blocks.
As a team, Ohio State shot a solid 50.7 percent (34-67) from the floor, including a sizzling 10-of-21 from three-point range. The Buckeyes also connected on 9-of-12 free throws and won the rebounding battle 45-34.
Nebraska shot just 36.5 percent (23-63) from the field, including 5-of-12 from three-point range. The Huskers outworked OSU to the free throw line, hitting 18-of-29 shots from the stripe. NU also won the turnover battle, 17-12.
Ohio State jumped to a quick 19-10 lead over the cold-shooting Huskers in the first quarter. Nebraska hit just 4-of-14 shots in the opening period, while the Buckeyes knocked down 8-of-18, including 3-of-5 three-pointers. Mitchell led all scorers with eight first-quarter points.
OSU pushed its edge to 40-23 at halftime despite 10 second-quarter points from Shepard. Mitchell scored seven in the quarter to finish the first half with 15 points, while McCoy finished the half with eight points on 4-of-4 shooting and added six rebounds and four blocked shots.
In the half, Ohio State hit 51.6 percent (16-31) of its shots including 6-of-10 threes, and OSU was 2-of-4 at the free throw line. The Buckeyes outrebounded the Huskers 22-18 in the first half, but Nebraska won the first-half turnover battle, 8-6.
Nebraska hit just 28.1 percent (9-32) of its first-half shots, while hitting just 1-of-6 threes. The Huskers also connected on just 4-of-9 free throws.
However, the Huskers scored the first seven points of the second half with layups from Jasmine Cincore, Hannah Whitish and a traditional three-point play from Eliely to cut OSU’s lead to 40-30 with 8:28 left in the third quarter.
Ohio State responded to push the lead to 21 points at 64-43 before Wood knocked down her second three-pointer of the game to send the Huskers to the third quarter trailing 64-46.
Nebraska charged out of the gate again to open the fourth quarter, as back-to-back three-point plays by Shepard cut the OSU lead to 66-54 with 7:47 left.
But the Big Red could get no closer the rest of the way. Nebraska nearly matched Ohio State point-for-point after halftime, losing the half just 47-46.
Nebraska continues Big Ten home action on Sunday by battling Indiana. Tip-off between the Huskers and the Hoosiers is set for 2 p.m. with tickets available now on Huskers.com. Sunday's game will be Nebraska's annual Play4Kay game to promote cancer awareness. Fans are encouraged to wear pink.