Husker women lose big lead, fall in overtime

Story Courtesy: Nebraska Athletic Communications

Lincoln – Nebraska played arguably its best first half of the season to take a 15-point halftime lead, but the Huskers scored a season-low 19 points in regulation in the second half as visiting Ohio State stormed back to force overtime before escaping with an 80-74 women’s basketball win over the Huskers at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Sunday afternoon.

With the loss, Nebraska slipped to 15-7 overall and 5-6 in the Big Ten, while Ohio State improved to 12-9 overall and 5-5 in the league.

Kate Cain notched her fourth double-double of the season – all in the Big Ten – with 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting, while adding 13 rebounds and eight blocked shots. Freshman forward Isabelle Bourne added career highs with 13 points, three blocks and two steals to help the Huskers inside. Senior guard Hannah Whitish added a team-high 16 points to go along with five rebounds and four steals. 

Whitish’s third three-pointer of the game came with 3:13 left in overtime to put Nebraska on top 73-72, before Bourne added a free throw to put the Huskers up 74-72 30 seconds later. But the Buckeyes closed the overtime on an 8-0 run over the final 1:06. Forward Aaliyah Patty converted a three-point play with 1:06 left to put OSU back in front 75-74, before Braxtin Miller added a three-pointer with 34.5 seconds left to give the Buckeyes a 78-74 edge. Dorka Juhasz closed the scoring with two free throws with 10 seconds left to seal the win.

Juhasz (12 points, 13 rebounds) and Patty (12 points, 12 rebounds) both produced double-doubles, while Miller scored all of her game-high 17 points after halftime. She added a team-high four assists. Kierstan Bell gave Ohio State three players with double-doubles, closing with 16 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks, while Rebeka Mikulasikova rounded out five Buckeyes in double figures with 13 points.

For the game, Ohio State hit just 33 percent (29-88) of its shots from the field, but its 88 field goal attempts were nine more than any other team attempted against Nebraska this season. The Buckeyes yanked down 25 offensive rebounds, including 18 in the second half, to finish with an opponent season-high 64 rebounds. The Buckeyes converted their offensive rebounds into 20 , including 18 in the second half.

Ohio State also won the turnover battle, 18-14, but the Huskers outscored the Buckeyes 14-11 in points off turnovers for the game.

Nebraska finished the game at 33.3 percent from the field (23-69), but went just 6-for-38 (.158) after halftime. NU went 2-for-13 from three-point range after halftime, after knocking down 6-of-10 threes in the first half to help build a 15-point halftime lead.

Nebraska tied its season high with 49 points, despite trailing 17-10 early after three-pointers by Buckeye posts Juhasz, Patty and Mikulasikova. Those three accounted for 15 of OSU’s first 17 points.

But the Big Red rallied in a big way. Trailing 23-20 with 52 seconds left in the first quarter, the Huskers got a layup from Cain and a buzzer-beating three-pointer from Whitish to take a 25-23 lead to the second quarter. The 25 first-quarter points were the most scored by the Huskers in an opening period this season and the most allowed by the Buckeyes in the first quarter.

Whitish hit another three to open the second quarter and a steal and layup by Nicea Eliely pushed NU’s margin to 30-23 just 48 seconds into the second quarter to cap a 10-0 Husker run that took just 1:25 of game action. Eliely’s score also forced an Ohio State timeout.

OSU’s Bell answered with a three with 8:08 left in the half, before back-to-back buckets for Sam Haiby and Whitish extended NU’s lead to 34-26. A Mikulasikova three with 7:16 left cut the margin back to five, but Bourne and fellow freshman Trinity Brady answered with seven straight points to extend Nebraska’s margin to double digits for the first time at 41-29 with 4:52 left in the half and force another Buckeye timeout.

The Huskers extended the margin on three free throws by Bourne and Whitish to take a 44-29 lead, and the Big Red maintained the 15-point lead at the half. The 24 points scored by Nebraska in the second quarter were the most allowed by the Buckeyes in a second period this season.

Nebraska hit 17-of-31 first-half shots (.548), including 6-of-10 threes and 9-of-11 free throws. The Huskers also out-rebounded the Buckeyes 21-20 in the half and were even in turnovers, outscoring OSU 11-4 in points off turnovers in the first 20 minutes.

After an explosive first half, Nebraska did not hit a field goal for the first six minutes of the third quarter, as Ohio State outscored the Huskers 14-4 to cut the NU margin to 53-48. Ohio State pulled within three on five straight points from Miller to cut the margin to 56-53, before the Huskers headed to the fourth quarter with a 59-53 lead. Nebraska maintained a six-point lead despite hitting just 1-of-12 shots and 0-for-7 threes in the third period.

Nebraska led 61-53 after a putback by Cain on the opening possession of the fourth quarter, but a 6-0 Ohio State run narrowed the gap to two points for the first time since the end of the first quarter for the Buckeyes.

The Huskers pushed the margin back to six on a three-pointer by Eliely with 3:22 left, but the Huskers went scoreless the rest of regulation. Trailing 68-64, Ohio State got a steal and layup from Bell before her shot with one minute left closed the scoring in regulation, tying the game for the first time since the tip.

Nebraska will try to get back on a winning track against nationally ranked Iowa on Thursday. Tip-off between the Huskers and Hawkeyes at Carver-Hawkeye Arena is set for 7 p.m.

Categories: Husker Sports, Sports