Both teams started slow out of the gates, but Ohio State women’s basketball found its groove as the game went on while Nebraska lagged behind.
Ohio State (17-9, 10-5 Big Ten) pushed its win streak to six games with a 65-52 victory against Nebraska (16-11, 6-10) as the Buckeye defense had one of its strongest showings of the season.
“Our defense was good. We held them to just 20 points in the first half,” Ohio State coach Kevin McGuff said. “We were much better defending the ball screens.”
Each team scored just 12 points in the opening quarter, with Ohio State shooting 5-for-21. A 19-4 run sparked the Buckeye offense heading into the half, as it took a 13-point advantage into the locker room.
Sophomore forward Dorka Juhasz secured her fifth double-double of the season and it took just one half. Juhasz finished with game highs in both points and rebounds, scoring 16 points and securing a career-high tying 16 boards.
“I did not start great offensively. My shots were not going in, so I was trying to get rebounds and help the team like that,” Juhasz said. “In the second quarter, I was finding my shots.”
It was a milestone night for junior guard Braxtin Miller as she scored her 1,000th career point. She finished the night with 13 points on 6-for-9 shooting, including a momentum-killing 3 late in the fourth.
“[Reaching 1,000 points] is something everyone wants to get to in their college career,” Miller said. “I’m really grateful that I was able to reach it.”
The Buckeye defense was suffocating all night as the Cornhuskers shot just 34 percent from the floor. The Cornhuskers had trouble from deep, as they shot an ice-cold 2-for-20 from 3 and did not make one until early in the fourth.
Miller attributed the Cornhuskers’ struggles from deep to the Buckeyes’ focus on their shooters, but she said Ohio State focused even more on defending the drive.
Ohio State smothered the Cornhusker driving and passing lanes as Nebraska turned the ball over 16 times.
Nebraska found its offense too late, as it shot 53 percent over the final frame. The Cornhuskers brought the Buckeye lead down to as little as 11 halfway through the fourth quarter, but couldn’t break into the single digits.
“I thought we got a little lackadaisical, especially on the offensive end,” McGuff said. “We didn’t take great shots and that allowed them to get back into the game.”
The Cornhuskers’ leading scorer, sophomore forward Leigha Brown, struggled throughout the night finishing the game with nine points on a cold 4-for-12 from the field.
Nebraska junior center Kate Cain finished with a team-high 13 points and nine rebounds, while being a presence in the paint with two blocks.
Ohio State had given up more than 30 free throws in each of its past two games, but it was able to defend without fouling Wednesday as Nebraska shot just nine free throws.
“We guarded the ball well,” McGuff said. “The last couple of games we had trouble keeping the ball in front of us, and we were better today.”
With the win, the Buckeyes moved to fourth place in the conference standings, owning the tiebreaker with Indiana.
“We’ve improved a lot,” Juhasz said. “Our team chemistry is just getting better.”
Ohio State looks to push its win streak to seven as it takes on Rutgers on the road at 2 p.m. Saturday.