Huskers Roll Past No. 8 Ohio State
Lincoln — Freshman Emily Cady tied her career high with 24 points to power the No. 23 Nebraska women's basketball team to a 71-57 victory over No. 8 Ohio State in the Huskers' home finale Sunday.
With the victory, Nebraska improved to 21-7 overall and 10-6 in the Big Ten, picking up its second win in its last three games. The Huskers secured the No. 6 seed in next week's Big Ten Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis and will play No. 11-seed Northwestern in the second game of the tournament at approximately 1 p.m. central on Thursday, March 1.
Ohio State secured the No. 2 seed in the tournament and will earn a first-round bye. The Buckeyes slipped to 24-5 overall and 11-5 in the Big Ten. Penn State clinched the outright Big Ten title on Sunday, while Iowa claimed the No. 3 seed, and Purdue the No. 4 seed. Those four teams earned first-round byes in the 12-team tournament. Nebraska defeated all four of the top four seeds at least once during the regular season, getting five of its conference wins against the league's top four teams, including three of them on the road.
Cady's 24-point performance was just part of a huge day by the Husker freshmen. Playing on Senior Day for teammates Kaitlyn Burke and Harleen Sidhu, the NU freshmen combined for a whopping 49 points, 18 rebounds and five assists.
Cady, a 6-2 forward from Seward, Neb., hit 9-of-16 shots from the field, including 2-of-5 three-pointers. She also connected on 4-of-5 free throws while pulling down four rebounds.
"Emily Cady is a competitor. She is one competitive and tough kid, and she just made plays for us today at both ends," Nebraska Coach Connie Yori said. "All of our freshmen made plays for us today and it speaks great for our future. I thought Brandi Jeffery, Rebecca Woodberry, Hailie Sample and Tear'a Laudermill also made some pretty big plays for us today."
Jeffery, a 5-7 freshman guard from Vacherie, La., made huge plays for the Huskers at both ends in both halves off the bench. Jeffery finished with eight points and a career-high six rebounds, while adding three assists and a steal in 15 minutes.
Woodberry, a 5-9 redshirt freshman from Phoenix, Ariz., matched Jeffery's numbers with eight points and six rebounds while adding an assist and a steal of her own in 22 minutes off the bench.
Laudermill, a 5-9 freshman guard from Riverside, Calif., pitched in four points and an assist in 10 minutes while providing pesky defense on the Buckeyes' talented backcourt.
In a game that featured four of the Big Ten's top eight scorers, Ohio State senior Samantha Prahalis led the Buckeyes with 18 points. She hit just 5-of-19 shots from the field, including 1-of-5 threes just days after scoring a school-record 42 points on 15-of-27 shooting, including 7-of-12 threes, in a win over Minnesota. The Big Ten assist leader also managed just three assists while playing the full 40 minutes against the Huskers.
Tayler Hill, who entered the game as the Big Ten's leading scorer just ahead of Prahalis, added 16 points and seven rebounds but hit just 3-of-15 shots from the field in 39 minutes. Prahalis and Hill combined to hit 15-of-18 free throws to keep Ohio State within striking distance.
Sophomore forward Jordan Hooper, the Big Ten's No. 3 scorer entering the game, was held to a season-low seven points but grabbed nine rebounds for the Huskers. Junior point guard, the Big Ten's No. 8 scorer added nine points, two assists and two steals to help the Huskers.
But the game was decided by the alternate weapons on the two teams, and the Huskers dominated. NU's bench outscored Ohio State's, 22-9 thanks to the Husker freshmen.
All nine Huskers who played at least a minute in the game found the scoring column, while only six Buckeyes hit a field goal in the game.
Nebraska won the battle in the paint, 40-24, thanks to Cady, while outrebounding Ohio State, 38-36. The Huskers also won the turnover battle, 17-16.
The Huskers hit 43.6 percent (24-55) of their shots from the field, including 4-of-15 from three-point range. NU also hit 19-of-24 free throws. The Buckeyes hit just 18-of-55 shots (32.7 percent), including just 3-of-19 threes (15.8 percent). OSU did connect on 18-of-25 free throws.
Ohio State jumped to a quick 8-4 lead before Nebraska took its first lead of the game on a Jeffery jumper at 9-8 just 4:17 into the game. The Buckeyes regained their last lead at 15-13 on an Amber Stokes layup with 13:56 left in the first half. Stokes finished with eight points. That was the last field goal for OSU for more than nine minutes, when Stokes scored again to cut Nebraska's lead to 31-20 with 4:30 left in the first half.
In between, Nebraska erupted on an 18-3 surge with all the scoring by Husker freshmen. The spurt started with a traditional three-point play by Woodberry, followed by a Jeffery layup before a three-pointer by Woodberry put the Huskers up 21-15 with 11:31 left. Cady added seven straight points while Jeffery added two more and Sample added a free throw.
Ohio State never got closer than six points the rest of the game, as Hill cut NU's lead to 35-29 with 1:05 left in the first half. But Moore provided two big answers for the Huskers, scoring the last four points of the half to send NU to the locker room with a 10-point lead at 39-29.
Nebraska's lead grew as large as 20 points on in the final three minutes of the game, as the Buckeyes never got within two possessions of the Huskers in the second half.
Nebraska continues its season on Thursday when the Huskers travel to their first Big Ten Conference Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. A complete tournament bracket can be found here.
Source: University of Nebraska Athletic Dept.