A steal from senior guard Nicea Eliely, followed by a missed Nebraska layup concluded the game against the Ohio State Buckeyes on Wednesday night. The Huskers walked off the court with their sixth loss in the past seven games, this one handed to them by the Buckeyes.
The Nebraska women’s basketball team (16-11, 6-10 Big Ten) has had a rough month of February while Ohio State (17-9, 10-5 Big Ten) has had quite the opposite experience. The Buckeyes have picked up wins in all six of their February games, beginning with the overtime win on Feb. 2 against Nebraska in their first meeting of the season. The Huskers seemed to have taken a step back, losing by 13 this time around with a final score of 65-52.
Nebraska head coach, Amy Williams knew this was going to be a tough one because of Ohio State’s recent momentum build. Before the game, Williams noted that the Buckeyes have found a rhythm in their lineup. The Buckeyes have a young team, with two freshmen, two sophomores and a junior in the starting lineup. Now that they’ve found a rhythm, the team has gained momentum.
Nebraska’s lack of shooting from behind the arc was their biggest setback, shooting just 10% on 3-pointers.
Both teams had a slow offensive start and stuck right with each other throughout the first quarter, with the lead going back and forth between teams. The game was tied at 6 with under five minutes to go in the first quarter. From there, the Huskers took the lead with a jumper from freshman guard Trinity Brady and kept it until Ohio State freshman Kierstan Bell hit a 3-pointer with under two minutes to go in the quarter. This tied the game at 12-12, which held throughout the rest of the period.
The second quarter started out similar to the first, with the game tied up again at 14-14 about a minute in. Nebraska took a 16-14 lead with a jumper from junior center Kate Cain. Cain led the team with 13 points and nine rebounds in the game. Cain and freshman forward Isabelle Bourne each had two blocks on the night.
After Cain’s jumper, the Huskers never saw the lead again. The Buckeyes went on an 14-0 run mid-second period, bringing the score to 28-16.
Senior guard Hannah Whitish and sophomore guard Sam Haiby broke the scoring drought, each making a basket with under two minutes left in the period.
The last minute and a half consisted of a 3-pointer from Ohio State forward Dorka Juhász and a jumper from junior guard Braxtin Miller. Those two players were Ohio State’s top scorers of the night, putting up 16 points and 13 points, respectively. Juhász was also the top rebounder, contributing 16.
At halftime, the score sat at 33-20. Nebraska missed all 13 of its 3-point attempts in the first half.
The third quarter did not look any better for the Huskers. Within a minute and a half, Ohio State hit two shots behind the arc, followed by a jumper. This made it a 20-point game, 43-23.
Ohio State’s lead stayed consistent throughout the period and it ended the third quarter ahead 53-33.
Nebraska began to get back its footing in the fourth quarter, but it was too late. Sophomore forward Leigha Brown started the period with a 3-pointer within the first 15 seconds, but Bell answered with a 3-pointer of her own 20 seconds later.
The Huskers then went on a 9-0 run, with contributions from Haiby and sophomore forwards Kayla Mershon and Ashtyn Veerbeek, making it 45-56 with just under six minutes left to play.
The Buckeyes broke their silence with a jumper from sophomore forward Aaliyah Patty and a layup from Miller.
Cain then put in a couple free throws. Thirty seconds later, Miller made a 3-pointer, making it 63-48 with under three minutes to go.
Nebraska continued trying to claw its way back, but there wasn’t enough time to overcome the poor second and third quarter play, giving the team a 13-point loss.
The Huskers hope to brush off their February funk when they return to Pinnacle Bank Arena to take on Illinois on Saturday, Feb. 22 at 2 p.m.