Coatney's Call: Ohio State Preview
Nebraska (18-6, 8-3) vs. Ohio State (14-10, 4-7)
Thursday, Feb. 14, 8:06 p.m. (central)
Bob Devaney Sports Center (Lincoln, Neb.)
National TV: BTN (Kevin Kugler-PBP; Stephanie White-Analyst)
Radio: Husker Sports Network
(Matt Coatney-PBP; Jeff Griesch-Analyst)
(B107.3 FM-Lincoln; The Wolf 93.3 FM-Omaha; 880 AM-KRVN, Lexington; 94.1 FM-KLIQ, Hastings; 94.1 FM & 960 AM-KNEB, Scottsbluff; 1400 AM-KCOW, Alliance 1240 AM-KODY, North Platte)
Internet: Free live audio on Huskers.com
The two hottest teams in the Big Ten and two of the top four scorers in the league will meet Thursday night when the Nebraska women's basketball team returns home to face Ohio State. Junior Jordan Hooper had a spectacular game Monday night at Iowa, scoring 29 points and the Huskers, who led by as many as 12 points in the second half, withstood a furious Hawkeye rally to grab a 76-75 road win in Iowa City.
Nebraska has won six straight games and Hooper has been a huge reason for NU's winning streak. She has averaged 24.2 points and three three-pointers per game during the stretch and was named co-Big Ten Player of the Week Tuesday, the second straight week she's been honored. Hooper is fourth in the league in scoring (19.5 ppg) and has vaulted into the top 10 on the Nebraska career scoring list.
Brandi Jeffery was a spark off the bench, tying her season high with 10 points. Lindsey Moore scored all 14 of her points in the second half and added seven rebounds and seven assists. With the win, Nebraska improved to 18-6 overall and stands alone in second place in the league with an 8-3 record. Since joining the Big Ten Conference last season, NU is 10-4 in league road games and 13-5 in Big Ten games away from the Devaney Center, including last year's run to the conference tournament title game in Indianapolis. Nebraska also has won four straight league road games for only the second time in school history.
The Huskers return home to battle Tayler Hill and the Ohio State Buckeyes on Valentine's Day evening in a Play 4Kay game. All fans are encouraged to wear pink in support of cancer awareness.
After starting Big Ten Play with a 1-7 record, Ohio State has rallied to win its last three games. The Buckeyes started their winning streak with a 14-point victory at Indiana and then returned home to face Wisconsin. Trailing by two with 1.5 seconds left, Hill intentionally missed a free throw and Ameryst Alston grabbed the offensive rebound and threw it backwards over her head in the basket to tie the game at the end of regulation. OSU eventually won it 65-59 in double overtime.
Last Sunday, Ohio State defeated Northwestern in Evanston 59-52. The Buckeyes are slated to be a first and second round host in Columbus in this year's NCAA Tournament, but with a 14-10 overall record and 4-7 in the league, they are in danger of having their streak of 13 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances snapped.
Hill ranks second in the Big Ten in scoring (21.1 ppg) and has been filling it up ever since she was leading the state of Minnesota in pionts, becoming the first eighth-grader in state history to accomplish the feat. The co-Big Ten Preseason Player of the Year had a game-high 26 points in OSU's win at Northwestern Sunday.
Fellow senior Amber Stokes, the 2012 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, missed four games with a sprained left MCL in January, but has played the last five games. She averages 9.0 points per game.
Junior center Ashley Adams is the team's leading rebounder (7.1 rpg) and adds 9.5 points per game. Alston has assumed the team's point guard responsibilities, starting each of the last 18 games. The two-time Ohio High School Player of the Year averages 5.8 points per contest. Junior forward Aleksandra (Sasha) Dobranic rounds out OSU's probable starting lineup. She has started 13 games and averages 4.1 points per contest.
Ohio State's three-point field goal percentage has fallen from 35 percent four games ago to 30.4 percent. They have made just seven of the last 43 three point attempts (.163), including going 0-of-6 Sunday at Northwestern. However, the Buckeyes outscored the Wildcats by nine points at the free throw line, making 17-of-19.
Veteran OSU Head Coach Jim Foster is one of only two coaches, man or woman, to win at least 200 games at three different schools. Now in his 11th season at Ohio State, Foster's 779 career wins include stops at St. Joseph's and Vanderbilt.
Nebraska leads the all-time series 5-4 and the Huskers have won the last three. The Huskers defeated OSU 62-53 in Columbus on Jan. 31, behind Hooper's 28 points. Rachel Theriot and Moore combined for 20 points and 12 assists. Hill had 22 points for the Buckeyes. NU defeated No. 8 Ohio State 71-57 in the final regular-season game in Lincoln last year and then six days later overcame a 10-point deficit to defeat the Buckeyes 77-62 in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals.
I cordially invite you to join Jeff Griesch and me for Nebraska women's basketball on the Husker Sports Network. Our radio broadcast Thursday night begins with the pre-game show at 7:45 p.m. (central) with the tip-off scheduled for 8:06 p.m. on the Husker Sports Network, including Lincoln affiliate KBBK 107.3 FM (B107.3), KTWI 93.3 FM (The Wolf) in Omaha, KRVN 880 in Lexington, KODY 1240 in North Platte, KCOW 1400 in Alliance, KNEB 94.1 and 960 in Scottsbluff, and available to our entire 25 network stations. All Husker women's basketball broadcasts are also available for free worldwide on the internet at www.huskers.com. I hope you can join us.
There are a number of ways to get enhanced information about our broadcast and Husker women's basketball via social media. You can learn more about the team on the Nebraska Women's Basketball Facebook page or follow the team on their official Twitter page @huskerswbb. I also invite you to friend me on Facebook (Matt Coatney) or follow me on Twitter @coatman1.
Go Big Red!