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Nebraska WBB Falls to #3 Ohio State 76-67

The Huskers got close in the third quarter but the Buckeyes pulled away in the end

NCAA Womens Basketball: Big Ten Conference Tournament Semifinals-Iowa vs Nebraska Robert Goddin-USA TODAY Sports

First Quarter

Ohio State got the ball first and Alexis Markowski had an impressive blocked shot that gave Nebraska the ball. In the early going, the Husker shot selection is less than desirable as they are heaving up off balance shot. The Buckeyes opened up a 6-0 lead before Markowski got a rebound and basket (6-2 OSU). Ohio State’s full court press isn’t causing turnovers yet, but it is slowing the Huskers down.

The lead grew to 13-2 for the Buckeyes and Amy Williams saw enough to take a timeout at 5:48. The Husker defense is giving up way too many open shots and the offense is not finding any flow. Callin Hake picked up where she left off from the last game with a three pointer (13-5 OSU). Markowski is Nebraska’s leader in the early going with six hard earned points. Issie Bourne picked up her second foul (17-9 OSU).

Hake hit another three, but it was answered immediately by the Buckeyes to maintain the eight point margin (20-12 OSU). Ohio State took a double digit lead behind yet another three and then extended it after a Husker turnover (25-12 OSU).

Ohio State 25 Nebraska 12

Second Quarter

Both teams traded baskets to start the second quarter and then defense ruled the frame for a copule minutes until both offenses found their groove again and scored on consecutive possessions (31-19 OSU). The Huskers blinked first and turned it over while the Buckeyes hit a three (34-19 OSU). The Buckeyes are not going on huge runs, but they are getting more defensive stops than the Huskers and converting on more offensive possessions to pull away from Nebraska. At the media timeout, the score was 36-19 in favor of Ohio State.

Maggie Mendelson scored back-to-back baskets for the Huskers. Nebraska gave up a bucket to OSU but then a Hake three (yes, again) closed the gap a bit (38-26 OSU). I wonder if Amy Williams needs to put Markowski and Mendelson on the floor at the same time. OSU is having more trouble with them than just about anyone else. Nebraska closed the gap to 10 (40-30 OSU).

Issie Bourne came into the game, immediately drew her third foul, and headed back to the bench. The Huskers are playing Kendall Coley more as a forward this game than guard. She has slowly been moving that way, but it is clear where they want her today. She was recruited as a guard and early enrolled to play while she should have been finishing her senior year of high school. She has grown in height since then and become a very good defender.

Halftime. Ohio State 42 Nebraska 32

Markowski leads Husker scorers with 12 and Hake has nine. Jaz Shelley has not scored yet and that will need to change of Nebraska is going to close the gap. Markowski has four rebounds and Sam Haiby three. Hake has three assists while Shelley and Haiby each have two. No Husker is credited with a blocked shot, although I was pretty sure Markowski had one early. I must have been wrong.

The Buckeyes are shooting over 50% from the floor but only 25% from long range. The Husker defense will need to do some work (again, I think Mendelson and Markowski both should be on the floor at the same time to see how that works). The Huskers are hitting 39% from the floor but improved to over 50% for the second quarter. So much for my preview analysis that they don’t pull out of cold shooting (and I’m happy to be wrong).

Third Quarter

The Huskers scored first and drew a couple of fouls on Ohio State early (42-34 OSU). Shelley got her first points to cut the lead to six (42-36 OSU). Sam Haiby slashed, scored, drew a foul, hit the free throw, and got Nebraska within three (42-39 OSU).


I walked away and apparently missed something big as the score was 42-39 when I came back. Some back and forth scoring, including Sam Haiby doing Sam Haiby things ensued (48-44 OSU).

A Bourne free throw closed the gap to three again (48-45 OSU) at the media timeout.

The Huskers committed a shot clock violation out of the break, sigh, and that ignited a five point Buckeye run, but the Huskers went to Markowski to claw back within six (55-49 OSU). One of the Buckeye starters picked up her fourth foul (offensive) with 2 12 minutes left. Issie Bourne missed two free throws. Ugh, Nebraska needs those. Issie picked up her fourth foul shortly after that and a Buckeye free throw extended the lead back to eight (57-49 OSU).

Mendelson, replacing Bourne, took a hit to the eye and went to the bench. Markowski came in and shot the free throws in her place. She made one (57-50 OSU). The quarter ended with a five-point Buckeye run.

Ohio State 62 Nebraska 50

Fourth Quarter

Markowski played some very good defense to open the quarter (block and forced turnover). Unfortunately, the Huskers turned it over too, and OSU took advantage with a three (65-50 OSU). The score stagnated at 67-54 for a couple minutes. Long range shooting has gone cold again for Nebraska as they’ve missed 12 in a row.

The Buckeyes continued to pull away slowly, but surely with a 74-56 score at 3:41. The Husker threat in the third has evaporated and Ohio State now has its largest lead of the game.

A couple of quick scores by Bourne, one from a full court press turnover, made the score 74-62 Buckeyes with 2:19. The margin stayed at 12 until an Amy Williams timeout at 1:20 (76-64 OSU). A Husker three (Shelley) was the final scoring of the day.

Final. Ohio State 76 Nebraska 67

Stats and Thoughts

Ohio State was the better team today, but the Huskers fought and adjusted their way to a very respectable performance and something they can build on for a tough stretch that awaits.

Four Huskers scored in double figures with Haiby (16), Markowski (15), Bourne (13) and Hake (11). Markowski and Bourne both pulled down eight rebounds and Haiby seven. Jaz Shelley dished out six assists to go with her six points and grabbed five steals.

The Huskers shot 37% from the field and the Buckeyes hit 45% of their shots. Nebraska was only 5-27 (19%) from the three point line while Ohio State was 8-15 (53%). The Buckeyes normally force 20+ turnovers per game but the Huskers only committed 12 while causing 18 miscues by their opponent. The rebounding battle was barely won by OSU 40-39.

Next Games

The ladies travel to Purdue for a midweek game against the 12-5 Boilermakers. The Huskers are currently #41 in NET rankings while Purdue is #48.

After that, Maryland (still ranked in the top 10) comes to Lincoln for a Sunday matchup. The Huskers will need to find their three point shot again if they want to move up the conference standings and make a case for an NCAA tournament bid.