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Nebraska WBB vs Ohio State Preview

Playing in the Big Ten means you play ranked opponents a lot

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: FEB 06 Women’s - Nebraska at Maryland Photo by Tony Quinn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Nebraska Cornhuskers (17-5, 6-5 Big Ten) at 21/21 Ohio State Buckeyes (17-4, 9-3 Big Ten)

Thursday, Feb. 10, 2022, 6 p.m. (CT)

Schottenstein Center - Columbus, Ohio

Live TV: FS1 Lisa Byington (PBP), Christy Winters Scott (Analyst)

Live Radio: Huskers Radio Network (5:45 p.m.) Matt Coatney (PBP), Jeff Griesch (Analyst) Lincoln (107.3 FM & 1400 AM), Omaha (ESPN 590 AM),, Huskers App

Another week. Another ranked opponent.

This time, it is the Ohio State Buckeyes hosting the Huskers.

Last season, Nebraska was the definition of inconsistency, regularly knocking off ranked teams but struggling with the poor ones. This season, the Huskers are a more consistent team, but have flipped the script by (mostly) dispatching unranked teams but (mostly) struggling with ranked ones. They have looked a bit flat of late, understandable after a long COVID layoff and a grueling set of games played with one or two days between.

It doesn’t get easier. Tonight they face a red hot Ohio State squad that has won eight of its last nine games, including wins over top-25 Maryland and Iowa teams in its last five contests (those teams account for three of Nebraska’s five losses).

The Buckeyes lost star player sophomore Dorka Juhasz (6’4” forward; two-time All Big Ten first team) to UConn, but Ohio State seems to have filled the void. They rank in the top five nationally in scoring offense (5th, 82.1 ppg) and field goal percentage (3rd, .473) while featuring Division I’s best three-point offense (.400, 9.1 3FG pg). Nebraska is one of the best three-point defenses at .263 (and not bad at shooting them either) so the long range line may go a long way in deciding this game.

It will be interesting to see how Amy Williams shuffles her lineup in this game. The Buckeyes play a four guard lineup (you can see why they have a prolific three point game) while the Huskers should have an advantage in the paint. Nebraska has the personnel to defend a four guard lineup but continue to put two “bigs” in the paint on offense. Issie Bourne especially can defend out to the three point line and press a height advantage inside against a smaller Buckeye defender. Anni Stewart and Kendall Coley also have the length and athleticism to be create favorable mismatches. Stewart can be knockdown on offense from anywhere on the floor and Coley has proven especially pesky on defense.

Nebraska Cornhuskers (17-5, 6-5 BIG TEN)

No. Player Ht. Yr. Pos. PPG RPG
34 Isabelle Bourne 6-2 So. F 9.9 4.7
40 Alexis Markowski 6-3 Fr. F/C 12.5 6.8
0 Ashley Scoggin 5-7 RSo. G 8.3 1.5
1 Jaz Shelley 5-9 So. G 12.4 7.7
4 Sam Haiby 5-9 Jr. G 10.9 4.3

Off the Bench
14 Bella Cravens 6-3 Jr. F 6.3 5.8
3 Allison Weidner 5-10 Fr. G 6.2 3.6
21 Annika Stewart 6-3 Fr. F 5.7 2.4
32 Kendall Coley 6-2 Fr. F/G 2.9 2.2
11 Ruby Porter 5-10 Fr. G 2.8 0.6
10 Whitney Brown 5-8 Fr. G 2.3 0.8
5 MiCole Cayton 5-9 Gr. G 2.1 1.0
15 Kendall Moriarty 6-1 Fr. G 1.7 0.5

Head Coach: Amy Williams (Nebraska, 1998) Sixth Season at Nebraska (89-80)15th Season Overall (282-189)

Ohio State Buckeyes (17-4, 9-3 BIG TEN)

No. Player Ht. Yr. Pos. PPG RPG
23 Rebeka Mikulasikova 6-4 Jr. F 10.1 5.8
1 Rikki Harris 5-10 RSo.G 7.0 3.9
4 Jacy Sheldon 5-10 Jr. G 20.3 3.8
10 Braxtin Miller 5-11 Sr. G 7.1 3.6
24 Taylor Mikesell 5-11 Sr. G 19.5 3.3

Off the Bench
35 Tanaya Beacham 6-1 Gr. F 6.9 4.0
5 Kateri Poole 5-8 So. G 6.3 3.0
2 Gabby Hutcherson6-2 So. F 3.8 2.1
21 Hevynne Bristow 6-1 Jr. G 3.8 2.8
14 Taylor Thierry 5-11 Fr. G/F 2.7 2.7
20 Kaitlyn Costner 5-8 Fr. G 0.7 1.1

Head Coach: Kevin McGuff (St. Joseph’s, Ind., 1992) Ninth Season at Ohio State (188-89) 20th Season Overall (443-188)

Scouting the Ohio State Buckeyes

Ohio State brings one of the nation’s most explosive teams in Thursday’s meeting with Nebraska. The Buckeyes (17-4, 9-3 Big Ten) are averaging 82.1 points while hitting a scaulding hot 40 percent (191-478) from three-point range. The Buckeyes lead the nation in three-point percentage, while leading the Big Ten and ranking 16th nationally with 9.1 made threes per game.

OSU ranks No. 3 nationally in field goal percentage (.473), trailing only Iowa (.497) and South Dakota State (.474). The Buckeyes rank fifth nationally in scoring offense, trailing only DePaul (90.2 ppg), Oklahoma (86.2 ppg), Iowa (84.5 ppg) and Florida Gulf Coast (82.5).

The Buckeyes have suffered a pair of lopsided losses to rival Michigan and a 20-point loss Indiana (Dec. 12). Those three losses to current top-10 teams join a 97-91 loss to Syracuse (Dec. 1) as the only blemishes on OSU’s schedule. Ohio State owns recent top-25 wins over Maryland (95-89, Jan. 20) and at Iowa (92-88, Jan. 31)

Coach Kevin McGuff’s guard-heavy lineup features the nation’s best three-point shooter, Taylor Mikesell, a two-time transfer (Maryland, Oregon) who was a teammate of Nebraska guard Jaz Shelley last season for the Ducks. Mikesell has hit 49.1 percent (82-167) of her threes and 92.9 percent (39-42) of her free throws. She is averaging 19.5 points per game, while leading the Big Ten and ranking second nationally with 3.9 made threes per game.

Returning starter Jacy Sheldon leads the Buckeyes with 20.3 points per game while adding a crisp 43 percent (34-79) from long range. Sheldon is a workhorse at the free throw line, where she has hit 86.7 percent (91-105). She also leads OSU with 3.8 assists and 1.9 steals per game.

Junior Rebeka Mikulasikova has joined Sheldon and Mikesell in the starting five for all 21 games. The 6-4 forward from Slovakia adds 10.1 points and a team-best 5.8 rebounds. She has hit 12 threes. Rikki Harris (7.0 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 2.6 apg, 1.8 spg) has joined the starting five in Big Ten play. Harris has hit 34.2 percent (13-38) of her threes in league play.

Braxtin Miller (7.1 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 3.2 apg) rounds out the starting five. The 5-11 senior guard is shooting 45.2 percent (14-31) from long range in Big Ten play.