After a strong start for the Nebraska women against No. 21 Ohio State on Thursday night in Columbus, Ohio, disaster struck.
The Huskers held a 29-21 lead against the Buckeyes in the early parts of the second quarter, but multiple scoring droughts and turnovers plagued the Huskers in what turned out to be an 80-70 loss. Nebraska drops to 17-6 overall with a 6-6 mark against Big Ten teams. Ohio State improves to 18-4, 10-3.
It was a rough night offensively for the Huskers, who shot just 33.8% (25-of-74) from the field and 26.1% (6-of-23) from 3-point range. Even when Nebraska got the ball in the paint—which has been the game plan all season—it struggled to consistently take advantage. It went 14-of-31 on layups.
Nebraska also had trouble taking care of the ball against an Ohio State defense that, for much of the game, used a 2-2-1 full-court pressure off made shots. The Buckeyes forced 16 Husker turnovers and scored 19 points off them.
One of the bright spots for Nebraska was the play of freshman Alexis Markowski, who recorded her fourth double-double of the season with a team-high 23 points and 15 rebounds, eight of which were on the offensive glass. The Lincoln Pius X product was also a perfect 5-of-5 from the free-throw line.
Isabelle Bourne scored 12 points with six rebounds while shooting 2-of-4 from 3-point range. Outside of Markowski and Bourne, the Huskers went a combined 11-of-45.
Markowski and Bourne weren’t enough to keep up with Ohio State’s elite shooters, though. The Buckeyes shot 46.4% (26-of-56) from the field and 42.9% (9-of-21) from behind the arc. Taylor Mikesell, Husker guard Jaz Shelley’s former teammate at Oregon, scored a team-best 21 points and was 5-of-8 from 3.
Shelley scored 14 points and dished off five assists, but was 3-of-12 from the floor, including 1-of-5 from 3. Last Sunday in a loss at Maryland, Shelley didn’t score while going 0-of-10 from the field and 0-5 from 3. Also in that loss, Sam Haiby scored six points on 1-of-6 shooting. In Thursday night’s defeat to the Buckeyes, Haiby’s offensive game was still in a rut as she finished with two points on 0-of-6 shooting with a couple free-throw makes.
Nebraska had 10 turnovers in the first two quarters and Ohio State took advantage by scoring 14 points from them. Markowski scored six points in the first half but only played one minute in the second due to foul trouble.
Nebraska was playing well and led Ohio State 29-21 early in the second. The Huskers’ offense went cold in the final stretch of the quarter, however, and didn’t make a field goal in the last 6 minutes, 54 seconds of the first half. After an efficient first 10 minutes offensively, the Huskers went just 2-of-15 from the field in the second. Ohio State ended the first half on a 9-0 run and outscored Nebraska 17-9 in the second to take a 36-31 lead at the break.
Ohio State’s Rebeka Mikulášiková was a problem for the Husker defense in the first half. The 6-foot-4 forward from Slovakia scored 11 points in the first half—and 15 for the game—and provided an outside shooting presence by going 3-of-4 from 3-point range. She came into the game shooting just 28% from behind the arc.
There were long stretches of consecutive missed field goals for the Huskers, including six, eight and two separate occasions where they missed nine straight shots. Ohio State, however, never missed more than four in a row.
According to the FS1 broadcast, Nebraska was flying straight to Illinois for its Saturday game against the Illini at 2 p.m. Illinois will go into that game 6-13 overall and 1-7 against conference opponents. The contest is a makeup game from earlier in the season when the Huskers had to postpone due to being in health and safety protocols.
The Illini have lost five straight, most recent of which was a 93-61 blowout loss to No. 7 Indiana.