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Huskers 63, Buckeyes 55 | On a cold shooting night, No. 15 Ohio State handed first loss by Nebraska

Jacob Myers
Buckeye Xtra
Ohio State women's basketball lost its first game of the 2020-21 season on Saturday at Nebraska.

The comeback, this time, would fall short. 

Down 11 points with four minutes remaining, the Ohio State women’s basketball team rallied late, after a woeful shooting performance through almost the entire game, to the cut the Nebraska lead to 57-54 with 1:24 on the clock. 

With 45.5 seconds left, Nebraska guard Sam Haiby scored a layup with a foul, and converted the 3-point play to dash Ohio State’s hopes of staying undefeated on Saturday in a 63-55 road loss against the Cornhuskers (7-4, 5-3 Big Ten). 

The No. 15 Buckeyes (7-1, 3-1 Big Ten) made 5-of-27 3-point attempts, missing 19 of the first 20 from deep, and shot a season-low 27.2% from the floor in their first loss of the season. 

“Give Nebraska credit, they played harder. They played more to win,” coach Kevin McGuff said. "It’s just a disappointing performance on our part. We just really lacked focus and energy today.” 

Dorka Juhasz, who returned from an undisclosed absence after missing the past three games, led the Buckeyes with 12 rebounds and was tied in points with forward Aaliyah Patty with 13. Jacy Sheldon and Madison Greene added 11 each, but all four struggled from the floor. 

Just a few days removed from an emotional, come-from-behind, overtime victory at Iowa, the Buckeyes were rudely reminded how challenging the Big Ten can be game to game. But Saturday’s contest was more about how Ohio State — one of the nation’s premier scoring teams averaging 89.9 points per game — lost its shooting touch and never found a rhythm. 

“Our shots weren’t falling today, but that’s definitely not an excuse,” Sheldon said. “We knew Nebraska wanted to slow it down, keep the game in the 50s and we let them do it. That’s on us.” 

Ohio State created 18 extra possessions on offensive rebounds against Nebraska and took 23 more shots than the Huskers. But as the Buckeyes tried to mount a comeback in the second half, they allowed Nebraska to bring down seven offensive rebounds compared to just two in the first half.

Kate Cain dominated the Buckeyes inside and led all scorers with 22 points and added 12 rebounds.

"We missed a lot of opportunities that we could’ve got out in transition, but if they’re getting the offensive rebound, we can’t do that,” McGuff said. 

The shooting woes really began to affect the Buckeyes with 4:47 in the second half. After Sheldon cut the deficit to 22-19 on a 3-pointer, Ohio State went cold from the floor. 

The Buckeyes missed their next nine shots. The streak was finally snapped as the first-half horn sounded when Braxtin Miller converted a mid-range jumper, but Nebraska had already used the shooting drought to its advantage, growing the lead to 30-21 entering halftime.

Ohio State cut the deficit to 30-27 with seven minutes on the clock in the third quarter. Again, the Buckeyes then missed their next seven shots as Nebraska grew its lead to as much as 14 early in the fourth quarter. 

The Buckeyes finally started to bust out of their shooting struggles late in the game. Down 52-38 and on the heels of another 0-for-7 shooting stretch, freshman Gabby Hutcherson’s 3-pointer started a run of 6-of-11 shooting to cut the deficit to three. 

Needing a stop, Ohio State allowed Haiby to cut through its defense to effectively slash down one of the remaining unbeaten teams in the nation.

jmyers@dispatch.com

@_jcmyers