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Nebraska WBB vs Ohio State Preview

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The Husker women are playing at a high level. Can they keep it up vs an undefeated Buckeye team?

Scott Bruhn

Nebraska Cornhuskers (6-4, 4-3 Big Ten) vs. 15/15 Ohio State Buckeyes (7-0, 3-0 Big Ten)

Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021, 4 p.m. (CT)

Pinnacle Bank Arena - Lincoln, Nebraska

Live Video: B1G Network (Larry Punteney, Meghan McKeown)

Live Radio: Husker Sports Network (3:45 p.m.) Matt Coatney (PBP), Jeff Griesch (Analyst) Lincoln (B107.3 FM), Omaha (ESPN 590 AM), Huskers.com, Huskers App, TuneIn

The last time this Husker squad got a week off, they turned what looked like a flailing team into a group capable of knocking off ranked opponents. After beating ranked Northwestern and ‘receiving votes’ Rutgers, the Huskers fell by two points to ranked Michigan. They rebounded by beating ranked Michigan State.

The road doesn’t get any easier when another ranked (and undefeated) team awaits in the #15 Buckeyes. A major question mark for Nebraska’s chances will be in the health of wing Isabelle Bourne who went down with a painful looking ankle injury in the closing seconds vs MSU. Bourne was carried off the floor and to the locker room - not a good sign.

Fortunately, the Huskers still have Sam Haiby. She earned her second straight appearance on the Big Ten Women’s Basketball Weekly Honor Roll after notching her first career double-double with 11 points and a career-high 12 rebounds against the Spartans. It followed a 27-point, nine-rebound effort in a last-second loss at No. 15 Michigan (Jan. 7). Haiby enters the Ohio State game as Nebraska’s leader in scoring (16.7 ppg), rebounding (7.8 rpg), assists (3.8 apg) and steals (1.3 spg).

Nebraska’s team defensive efforts have been outstanding in recent weeks. The Huskers are 3-1 over the last four contests despite facing three ranked teams who all entered the contest averaging better than 80 points per game. None of the four opponents (No. 15 Northwestern, Rutgers, No. 15 Michigan, No. 23 Michigan State) scored 65 points against Nebraska’s defense.

Ohio State, which will be NU’s fourth Big Ten opponent this season to be ranked as the AP No. 15 team in the nation at game time, comes to Lincoln averaging 89.9 points per game and has not scored less than 78 points in any contest this season.

Kate Cain, a 6-5 center from Middletown, N.Y., joins Haiby and Bourne as Nebraska’s tri-captains in 2020-21, and plays a central role in the back of the Big Red defense. Cain is averaging 2.5 blocks per game this season to go along with 8.0 points and 5.8 rebounds.

Ashley Scoggin has started all 10 games and is averaging 7.5 points while leading NU with 15 made three-pointers (.417). She posted career highs of 16 points against Purdue and Idaho State.

Junior Bella Cravens has been a major contributor as a starter in Big Ten play. The 6-3 forward from Laie, Hawaii, is averaging 7.4 points and a team-best 9.1 rebounds in conference play.

Scouting the Ohio State Buckeyes

No. 15 Ohio State carries an unbeaten record into Saturday’s game at Pinnacle Bank Arena. The Buckeyes are 3-0 in Big Ten play following an 84-82 OT win over Iowa on Wednesday in Iowa City. The win snapped Iowa’s 42-game home winning streak, which dated back to Nebraska’s 92-74 win at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Jan. 28, 2018.

The Buckeyes return all five starters from the team that defeated Nebraska 80-74 in overtime last season at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Ohio State never led in regulation, but outscored the Huskers 15-9 in the fourth quarter and 12-6 in overtime to escape with the victory.

Junior Dorka Juhasz, who has missed Ohio State’s first three Big Ten games, was a first-team All-Big Ten selection last year. The 6-4 forward from Pecs, Hungary, is averaging 17.8 points and 10.5 rebounds per game early this season. She claimed a spot on the Big Ten All-Freshman team in 2018-19. Juhasz can stretch the floor inside-out, but has struggled outside early this season, hitting just 3-of-14 threes and 8-of-20 free throws. Juhasz is the type of athletic post that is hard to defend. It will be harder for Nebraska if Issie Bourne is unavailable or significantly hobbled (which seems likely given the amount of pain she was in after her injury a week ago).

All five of the Buckeye starters are averaging double figures, led by guard Jacy Sheldon. The 5-10 sophomore from Dublin, Ohio is averaging a team-best 18.3 points including 19.7 in Big Ten play. She is the only Buckeye who has hit more than six three-pointers on the season (14-38), and she also ranks second on the team with 11 steals.

Freshman Kateri Poole is averaging 7.3 points and has hit 5-of-12 three-pointers. Rikki Harris, a redshirt freshman for the Buckeyes, has added 5.6 points on 5-of-13 three-point shooting. Freshman Gabby Hutcherson, a 6-2 forward, has hit 6-of-16 threes to average 5.1 points per game.

Ohio State owns one of the Big Ten’s most explosive offenses, averaging 89.9 points per game, while shooting 50.4 percent from the field, 34 percent from three-point range and 70.9 percent from the free throw line. The Buckeyes carry a plus-3.6 rebound margin and a plus-6.4 turnover margin.

NEBRASKA CORNHUSKERS (6-4, 4-3 BIG TEN)

No. Player Ht. Yr. Pos. PPG RPG
14 Bella Cravens 6-3 Jr. F 6.5 7.6
34 Isabelle Bourne 6-2 So. F 14.0 7.3
31 Kate Cain 6-5 Gr./Sr.C 8.0 5.8
0 Ashley Scoggin 5-7 RSo. G 7.5 2.0
4 Sam Haiby 5-9 Jr. G 16.7 7.8

Off the Bench
2 Trinity Brady 5-11 So. G 8.5 5.0
21 Annika Stewart 6-3 Fr. F 5.5 3.5
10 Whitney Brown 5-8 Fr. G 2.8 1.6
11 Ruby Porter 5-10 Fr. G 2.8 1.4
5 MiCole Cayton 5-9 Gr./RJr. G DNP

Head Coach: Amy Williams (Nebraska, 1998) Fifth Season at Nebraska (65-66) 14th Season Overall (258-175)

15/15 OHIO STATE BUCKEYES (7-0, 3-0 BIG TEN)

No. Player Ht. Yr. Pos. PPG RPG
14 Dorka Juhasz 6-4 Jr. F 17.8 10.5
32 Aaliyah Patty 6-3 Jr. F 11.7 7.0
0 Madison Greene 5-8 So. G 14.3 4.0
4 Jacy Sheldon 5-10 So. G 18.3 3.4
10 Braxtin Miller 5-10 Sr. G 11.8 3.2

Off the Bench
5 Kateri Poole 5-8 Fr. G 7.3 3.0
23 Rebeka Mikulasikova 6-4 So. F 5.8 3.2
1 Rikki Harris 5-10 RFr.G 5.6 2.6
2 Gabby Hutcherson6-2 Fr. F 5.1 3.6
35 Tanaya Beacham 6-1 Gr. F 4.5 5.5
3 Anyssa Jones 5-10 Fr. G 0.8 0.2
21 Hevynne Bristow 6-1 So. G 1.0 0.5

Head Coach: Kevin McGuff (St. Joseph’s College, 1992) Eighth Season at Ohio State (165-78) 19th Season Overall (420-177)