In its final game before Monday's title fight against No. 2 Maryland, the No. 12 Ohio State women's basketball team made short work of Nebraska, thrashing the Cornhuskers 87-69 on the road.
The injury to Stephanie Mavunga leaves the Buckeyes without their top post player for the foreseeable future, but freshman Tori McCoy stepped up in her absence. McCoy finished with 12 points, shooting a perfect 6-for-6 from the field, and pulled down a team-best seven boards.
With Mavunga's absence, the team was also missing its top rebounder, but the Buckeyes dealt with that by crashing the boards as a team. Every single Ohio State player pulled down at least three rebounds to help the team win the rebounding battle 45-34.
|34-67 (51%)||FGM-FGA (PCT.)||23-63 (37%)|
|10-21 (48%)||3PM-3PA (PCT.)||5-12 (42%)|
|9-12 (75%)||FTM-FTA (PCT.)||18-29 (62%)|
Mavunga was certainly missed on the defensive end, however. The Buckeyes had no answer for Nebraska forward Jessica Shepherd. She finished with a game-high 28 points and 10 rebounds. She also helped put the Ohio State forwards in foul trouble; Alexa Hart fouled out and Makayla Waterman and McCoy each had four fouls.
Offensively, Kelsey Mitchell led the way yet again scoring a team-high 27 points. Mitchell shot 10-for-18 from the field and 5-for-9 from behind the arc. She was joined by Sierra Calhoun who scored 13 points on a 4-for-5 shooting performance.
The Huskers got on the board first, but after that, it was all Buckeyes. Led by Mitchell's eight points, Ohio State got off to a hot start offensively while playing stifling defense, allowing Nebraska to shoot just 4-for-14 from the field. The Buckeyes took a 19-10 lead into the second quarter.
In the second quarter, the defense continued. Nebraska missed its first 12 shots from the field while the Buckeyes remained hot. Ohio State shot 62 percent from the field and Mitchell added seven more points to give the Buckeyes a 40-23 halftime lead.
The third quarter was Nebraska's best of the night, as the Huskers doubled their game total by putting up 23 points. Still, though, Ohio State was better. The Buckeyes matched every Nebraska scoring barrage, putting up 24 points of their own to take a 64-46 lead into the fourth quarter.
The Buckeyes cruised in the fourth, matching the Huskers with 23 points. Mitchell, the team's leading scorer, sat much of the quarter and Ohio State left with an 87-69 victory.
With the win, Ohio State improves to 23-5 overall and 16-2 in the Big Ten. The Buckeyes take on No. 2 Maryland Monday night at 7 p.m. with the regular-season conference title and the top seed in the Big Ten Tournament on the line.