Columbus, Ohio – Nebraska fought for 40 minutes but was unable to overcome cold shooting in an 80-70 loss at No. 21 Ohio State on Thursday night at the Schottenstein Center.
Alexis Markowski led the Big Red with 23 points and 15 rebounds, while Jaz Shelley added 14 points and five assists, but Nebraska still slipped to 17-6 overall and 6-6 in the Big Ten. Ohio State improved to 18-4 overall and 10-3 in the league led by Taylor Mikesell’s 21 points on 5-of-8 three-point shooting. Rebeka Mikulasikova added points 15 and a trio of three-pointers for the Buckeyes, who hit 46.4 percent of their shots for the game, including 42.9 percent (9-21) from long range.
The Huskers hit just 33.8 percent (25-74) from the field, including just 6-of-23 threes (.261), but outworked the Buckeyes 48-34 on the glass. Nebraska pulled down 21 offensive boards, but was able to turn those rebounds into just 16 points.
Nebraska connected on 14-of-15 free throws, but Ohio State answered with 19-of-23 shooting at the stripe, including a perfect 13-for-13 in the fourth quarter to keep the Huskers at bay.
The Huskers trailed 36-31 at the half, but the Buckeyes pushed the lead to 59-46 at the end of three quarters. Nebraska cut the lead to nine at 63-54 after Markowski’s third traditional three-point play of the half, but Ohio State continued to respond throughout the close of the game though to secure the victory.
Isabelle Bourne finished with 12 points and six rebounds for Nebraska, including a pair of three-pointers, while Allison Weidner added eight points off the bench, including 2-of-2 three-point shooting. Weidner’s layup in the final 20 seconds cut the OSU lead to 78-70 after the the Huskers trailed by 16 earlier in the quarter.
After falling behind 15-9 in the first five minutes, Nebraska rallied to take a 22-19 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Husker lead grew to eight on two occasions early in the second quarter first on a three-pointer by Bourne made it 27-19, before a Bourne layup put the Big Red up 29-21 with 6:50 left in the half.
Nebraska did not hit another field goal the rest of the half and got just two free throws from Sam Haiby with 2:42 left, as the Buckeyes closed the half with a 15-2 surge to take a 36-31 lead to the locker room at halftime.
The Huskers went just 2-for-15 from the field in the second quarter on their way to 36.4 percent (12-33) shooting in the half. NU went 3-for-11 from long range in the half and 4-for-4 at the line. Nebraska outworked OSU on the glass, 24-16, in the half, including eight offensive boards. In the first quarter, the Huskers turned four offensive rebounds into seven second-chance points. NU maintained a 7-0 lead in second-chance points at the half.
Ohio State answered by outscoring Nebraska 14-4 on points off turnovers, including 7-2 in both quarters. OSU hit 13-of-30 shots (.433) in the half, including 5-of-13 threes (.385), while knocking down 5-of-8 free throws (.625). The Buckeyes won the first-half turnover battle, 10-5.
Bourne led Nebraska with seven points and five rebounds in the half, while Markowski added six points and three boards despite playing just seven minutes before being called for her third foul.
Mikulasikova led the Buckeyes with 11 first-half points, including eight in OSU’s 15-2 second-quarter surge, while Mikesell added 10 points and Sheldon pitched in eight points.
The Huskers conclude their three-game Big Ten road trip on Saturday when they travel to Illinois. Tip-off between Nebraska and Illinois at the State Farm Center in Champaign is set for 2 p.m.