Through excellent team play on both the offensive and defensive end, Ohio State (23-5, 13-1) defeated the Nebraska Cornhuskers (5-20, 1-12) 87-69, earning its 9th straight win. Junior forward Kelsey Mitchell led the way with 27 points.
With OSU’s leading rebounder and second leading scorer in redshirt junior forward Stephanie Mavunga out with a foot injury, the Buckeyes had six players with nine or more points and seven players with four or more rebounds versus Nebraska to fill the void left.
Freshman forward Tori McCoy, who has started in place of Mavunga, scored 12 points, grabbed seven rebounds and blocked four shots.
OSU was able to find offensive success in the first quarter from the perimeter. The Buckeyes shot 75 percent from beyond the arc, hitting 3 of 5 from 3-point range. Although the Buckeyes were missing the Big Ten’s leading rebounder, they were able to double up the Cornhuskers on the boards by the end of the first quarter, 14-7.
In the third quarter Nebraska came out attacking with an 8-0 run, taking advantage of a lethargic OSU defense. Penetrating the basket allowed the Cornhuskers to get to the line, where they converted 8 of 9 attempts.
However, Nebraska couldn’t stop the Buckeyes’ high-octane offense. The Buckeyes were forced to drive the ball to the rim after Nebraska switched from a 2-3 zone to a man defense.
This did not slow down OSU, as the team shot 50 percent from the field in the third.
Nebraska continued its fight into the fourth quarter, shooting 50 percent from the floor. Sophomore forward Jessica Shepard dominated on offense, getting to the free throw line and imposing her will in the paint, scoring 14 points in the fourth. OSU’s offensive efficiency stayed steady into the fourth at 50 percent, never allowing the Cornhuskers to catch up.
Shepard led Nebraska with 28 points and 10 rebounds for a double-double. She was followed by freshman guard Nicea Eliely with 13 points and two assists.
OSU will look to carry its nine-game winning streak into the most important games of its regular season, No. 2 Maryland.
The Buckeyes will face off against the No. 2 Terrapins on Monday at 7 p.m. in a de-facto winner-take-all Big Ten regular-season championship game.