The Ohio State Women traveled to Lincoln tonight to meet up with the Cornhuskers of Nebraska. The Buckeyes have been struggling this year, in part because of the absence of Amber Stokes from the lineup. But they had a 3-game winning streak going into the game and were looking to make it 4. The last game that Ohio State lost was at home at the Schott, and it was a 9-point loss against this same Cornhusker team. Pulling off the win against them on their home court was not going to be easy.
The game started off with Nebraska getting out to a quick lead, then Ohio State steadily eliminating the lead to tie the game at 9 points each with 10 minutes gone in the half. It was a slow paced first quarter, and wasn’t the best game by either team, highlighted to this point by neither team shooting better than 25% and by the Buckeyes missing a wide open layup on a quick counter.
The game stayed pretty slow and uninspired through most of the first half. The score was 15-15 with just a couple of minutes left. Then something magical happened. Both teams picked up a head of steam, and the pace of the game picked up dramatically. It was suddenly fun to watch. The game went back and forth for several scores, then Ohio State missed and Nebraska capitalized on it. The half ended with the Cornhuskers in the lead by 4, 25-21.
The second half started with Nebraska fully energized, while Ohio State was a bit too casual. The Cornhuskers quickly built a 15 point lead before the Buckeyes could respond. When they did it was a 1-for-1 response. The Buckeyes just couldn’t gain any ground. Buckeye fans kept waiting to see a surge from their team, but it just never materialized. The Buckeyes played very good defense, winning rebounds and gaining steals, but were unable to turn many of them into positive points.
By contrast, Nebraska not only kept the scoring going, but were able to exert a strong defense on the Buckeyes. It was so effective that Tayler Hill scored her first points of the second half with 4:19 on the clock. Where were the other Buckeyes? With just under 4 minutes on the clock, the Cornhuskers took a shot, got the rebound, to another shot, got the rebound, and finally took a shot that scored. The Buckeyes stood and watched. Their rebounding regularly kept the Buckeyes to one shot each time down the floor, and since that shot usually missed, it ended up in points for Nebraska.
This was not a good game for Ohio State.
There was little movement by the Buckeyes. There was little teamwork on offense by the Buckeyes. Individual attempts at buckets – usually 3-point attempts – were pretty much all Ohio State attempted down the stretch. There was a lot of desire by the Buckeyes, but there was little drive, little movement, little effort. Probably the best thing that Ohio State did in this game was build the confidence of the Cornhuskers. It was the worst showing by the lady Buckeyes in a very long time, who end up losing by 19 points, 58-39.
There will be a lot of soul searching after this game, and there should be. If the Buckeyes have any hope of post-season play, they’re going to have to put this game behind them and figure out how to play together. They should be there by now, but they’re not.
They have a week to think about it. Next up the Buckeyes host Minnesota at the Schott on Thursday, February 21. The game is scheduled for 6:00 ET on BTN.
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