Ohio State 65, Nebraska 52 | Buckeyes win sixth straight in women’s basketball
The previous win stood as a reminder.
Ohio State was down by 15 points at halftime when it visited Nebraska earlier this month, a sluggish start that required the Buckeyes to rally furiously before winning in overtime.
Ahead of their rematch at Value City Arena on Wednesday night, Buckeyes players strove to avoid a similar hole, with memories of the comeback in Lincoln at the forefront of their minds.
“We were talking about how we can't start like we started there,” sophomore forward Dorka Juhasz said. “We had the idea in our head that we had to be really strong, we’ve got to fight for every ball and everything.”
They made good on the vow.
The Buckeyes built a double-digit lead against the Cornhuskers in the first half and remained ahead by a comfortable margin in a 65-52 victory that extended their season-long winning streak to six in front of an announced crowd of 3,896.
With the win, they moved into a tie with Indiana for fourth place in the Big Ten and helped their case for an NCAA Tournament bid.
Juhasz led Ohio State (17-9, 10-5) with 16 points and 16 rebounds, stringing together a double-double by halftime.
Nine of her 16 points came during a stretch in the second quarter that gave the Buckeyes a sizable lead over the Cornhuskers (16-11, 6-10) that they didn’t relinquish.
“She got hot and really put us on her back and gave us a lead,” coach Kevin McGuff said.
The 14-0 run began less than two minutes into the second quarter when Rebeka Mikulasikova hit a three-pointer, allowing the Buckeyes to grab a one-point lead. It was followed by a fast-break layup from Juhasz, who stood alone near one basket when guard Janai Crooms stole a pass near midcourt and flung the ball in her direction.
Junior guard Braxtin Miller finished with 13 points, surpassing 1,000 for her career, and sophomore forward Aaliyah Patty added 11 points.
Amid the flurry of second-quarter points, giving the Buckeyes a 33-20 halftime lead, McGuff saw a flurry of activity from the team.
“We got out in transition, and we were moving the ball,” he said. “We got really good shots during that stretch.”
Although the Buckeyes got comfortably ahead by halftime, they did see a slower start in the first quarter, when the teams traded baskets and no one led by more than three points. Ohio State missed 16 of its 21 shots during the opening quarter before shooting 40.9%, including 38.1% from beyond the arc.
During their six-game winning streak, which began with the win in Lincoln, the Buckeyes have benefited from their work around the perimeter, shooting at least 40% from three-point range in each of their previous four wins.
Nebraska continued to struggle from long range throughout the contest, going 2 of 20 on three-pointers, with both makes coming in the fourth quarter.