Turnovers, Huskers’ late run doom Buckeyes

Nebraska 78, Ohio State women 69

From staff reports
Ohio State's Dorka Juhasz goes up for a shot as Nebraska's Ashtyn Veerbeek applies defensive pressure in the fourth quarter. [Samantha Madar/Dispatch]

Nicea Eliely scored six points in a late 9-0 surge, helping Nebraska pull away and beat Ohio State 78-69 in a Big Ten women’s basketball game before 5,530 on Monday at Value City Arena.

In a game that featured 11 lead changes and seven ties, the Cornhuskers went ahead for good 64-62 on a three-pointer by Hannah Whitish with 6:13 remaining.

In a stretch of 2:22, Eliely hit a free throw, converted a three-point play and hit a three-pointer from the corner to push Nebraska’s lead from 67-65 to 76-65.

Nebraska outscored Ohio State 27-16 in the fourth quarter, snapping the Buckeyes’ five-game win streak over the Cornhuskers.

In dropping its fourth straight game, Ohio State (4-7, 0-2) committed 20 turnovers which led to 26 Nebraska points.

“It was really tough,” Ohio State coach Kevin McGuff said. “I thought our kids played hard. At the beginning of the game, I thought we had a chance to pull out and stretch, but we had way too many turnovers and we didn’t capitalize on our opportunities. Turning the ball over that much, we’re not going to beat a good team like that.”

McGuff said Ohio State seemed to lose its rhythm when Nebraska (7-6, 2-0) applied a 1-3-1 zone in the second half.

“We didn’t move the ball,” he said. “We kind of stood around and got stagnant.”

Freshman Leigha Brown scored a career-high 19 points with four rebounds and three assists to lead Nebraska. Maddie Simon scored 16 points and Eliely added 14 points — all in the second half — and six rebounds. Whitish had 11 points and five assists.

“Defensively, I thought we started out great, but we kind of broke down in the fourth quarter and we made some mental errors,” McGuff said. “If we’re going to turn it over that much, we have to be absolutely perfect, and we weren’t.”

Mikayla Waterman and Dorka Juhasza had 14 points and seven rebounds each to pace Ohio State. Waterman, who fouled out in the final three minutes, also had four assists to go along with her season-high scoring output.

Ohio State outrebounded Nebraska 39-33 and went 21 of 28 at the free throw line.

“We’re still trying to find the right rotation,” McGuff said. “Everybody on the team has had some great moments … everyone has contributed in a big way the past few weeks. But we need to get more consistent to get over the hump.”