The Ohio State women’s basketball team has now won nine straight games, picking up another victory, 87-69, over Nebraska on the road at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln. The Buckeyes, ranked 12th in the country, are now 13-1 in Big Ten play.
Kelsey Mitchell led the way for Ohio State with 27 points, the eighth straight game she has scored at least 20. Freshman Tori McCoy added 12 points and seven rebounds, while Sierra Calhoun contributed 13 of her own to the winning effort.
The Huskers were led by Jessica Shepard, who registered her 22nd career double-double with 28 points and 10 boards. Nicea Eliely also put up 13, the only other member of the team in double figures.
After Nebraska scored the first bucket of the game, Ohio State went on a 9-0 run, holding the Huskers scoreless for three minutes. Three-point makes by Calhoun and Mitchell gave the Buckeyes a 15-6 lead at the media timeout with four and a half minutes to go in the first quarter.
Nebraska turned it over four times in the frame, and shot just 28.6 percent (4-for-14) from the floor, but a scoring drought of two and a half minutes to close out the period meant Ohio State failed to push its advantage, and took a 19-10 lead into the second. Mitchell had eight points to lead all scorers, while Shepard was held scoreless.
The Buckeyes had turnover problems of their own, and went more than three minutes into the quarter without scoring a point. Nebraska couldn’t hit a shot, either, missing its first X shots. A Mitchell three-pointer just under seven minutes to go, followed by a nice dime to McCoy gave Ohio State a 24-11 lead at the media timeout, as the Huskers scoreless streak grew to over four minutes.
After another Calhoun triple, Shepard got her first field goal of the game after missing her first 10 shots. McCoy, filling in for the injured Stephanie Mavunga, controlled the paint, getting back-to-back buckets. The freshman finished the half with eight points and six boards.
An Asia Doss three-pointer and a layup off a turnover for Shayla Cooper pushed the lead out to 38-19, before Shepard made shots on consecutive possessions. Mitchell dropped two free throws, giving her a game-high 15 points, and the Buckeyes went into the locker room with a 40-23 lead.
Despite her early struggles, Shepard scored 10 second quarter points, to go along with six rebounds, both the leading totals for the Huskers, who shot a paltry 28 percent from the field as a team.
Nebraska came out of the half with a newfound urgency, starting the third quarter on a 7-0 run and cutting the deficit to 40-30. A jumper by Kiara Lewis put a stop to that, and another bucketless string for the Huskers, this one lasting five minutes, allowed Ohio State to open its biggest lead at 54-34.
A pair of layups, a jumper, and a free throw gave Linnae Harper seven straight points for the Buckeyes, and the third long-range connection of the game for Calhoun propelled Ohio State to a 64-46 lead as the game moved to the fourth quarter.
In the final frame, Shepard scored eight straight points for Nebraska, and the Buckeye advantage shrunk to 66-54. But a Lewis three-pointer ended the run, and Mitchell’s fourth three-pointer of the game made it 74-58. The Huskers answered with three-pointers by Emily Wood and Eliely, but it would be too little, too late.
Another three from Mitchell, which she followed up with a layup in transition and a step-back jumper, put the final nail in Nebraska’s coffin. The Huskers are now 1-12 in conference play.
Next up for Ohio State is a game that has been circled on the schedule all season, as Big Ten frontrunner and No. 2 team in the nation Maryland will travel to Columbus for a clash of the conference’s two best teams on Monday night. The game tips off at 7:00 p.m. ET and will be broadcast live on ESPN2.