Ohio State women’s basketball launched its season-long five-game winning streak with a come-from-behind victory against Nebraska. Now, the Buckeyes look to extend to six in another matchup with the Cornhuskers.
The Buckeyes (16-9, 9-5 Big Ten) have surged at the right time as they make a push for a double-bye in the Big Ten Tournament. Nebraska (16-10, 6-9) looks to avenge the 80-74 loss to the Buckeyes Feb. 2, as it’ll try to play spoiler on the road.
“We’re starting to get into a groove,” freshman guard Madison Greene said. “We’re still trying to stay consistent.”
Greene has blossomed in the past week. Her 23.5 points and five assists per game in the past two contests earned her Big Ten Freshman of the Week honors.
Greene has turned the ball over just once through the two-game stretch, shooting a scintillating 68 percent from the field.
“It’s my job to take care of the ball and get it to the right people,” Greene said.
Ohio State looks to avoid a similar start to its previous meeting with the Cornhuskers as it trailed by 15 at halftime before mounting a comeback.
“We just rushed up shots and that got us down really quick,” junior guard Braxtin Miller said. “We just need to keep our heads and make sure we get good offensive possessions.”
Greene, Miller and head coach Kevin McGuff all said the Nebraska win was a turning point in the season.
“We showed a lot of togetherness and toughness to come away with that win,” McGuff said. “We’ve carried that over to the subsequent games.”
Nebraska heads into Columbus following a tight 60-56 loss on the road to No. 18 Northwestern, against which it blew a double-digit second-half lead. Nebraska is just 1-5 in its past six games during a sputter toward the finish line.
The Cornhuskers are led by sophomore forward Leigha Brown, who averages a team-high 13.8 points per game. Brown struggled in the previous meeting with the Buckeyes, against whom she shot 3-for-11 and scored nine points.
Senior guard Hannah Whitish provided 16 points against the Buckeyes in the past matchup, and her defense gave Ohio State problems with four steals.
Nebraska leads the conference in blocks with 6.3 per game and is holding its opponents to 36 percent from the field, good for second in the conference. Its defense is anchored by junior center Kate Cain, whose 3.6 blocks per game are the most in the Big Ten.
Outside Greene, Ohio State’s other freshman guards have also stepped up their level of play during the streak. Kierstan Bell has averaged 14.8 points per game in the stretch, upping her average for the season to 11.3.
Jacy Sheldon also appears to be taking a step forward with staunch defense and an average of 13.5 points per game during the past four games.
The Buckeyes come into this game riding high off of a comeback victory against No. 20 Indiana, which put Ohio State just a half-game behind the Hoosiers for fourth place in the conference with four games to play.
“We’re starting to look at our freshmen as sophomores because they’ve played so many minutes and in so many tough games,” McGuff said. “It’s nice to see that experience showing up this year.”
With Indiana off until Saturday, the Buckeyes can grasp the fourth spot in the conference and the double-bye that comes with it due to them owning the tiebreaker against the Hoosiers.
Tipoff between Ohio State and Nebraska is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Schottenstein Center.