Jordan Hooper produced her eighth double-double of the season and Emily Cady scored a career-high 24 points but it was not enough to prevent No. 20 Nebraska from suffering an 82-68 defeat at No. 10 Ohio State at the Value City Arena on Thursday night.
With the loss, the Huskers slipped to 15-3 overall and 4-2 in the Big Ten, while Ohio State improved to 18-1 overall and 5-1 in the conference. The Buckeyes improved to 14-0 at home this season, while the Huskers suffered the first Big Ten road loss of the year, falling to 3-1 on the road in the league.
Hooper, a 6-2 sophomore forward, led the Huskers with 19 points and a career-high 14 rebounds, while Cady added a career-high 24 points and seven boards despite playing just seven first-half minutes because of foul trouble.
Junior point guard Lindsey Moore pitched in 13 points and six assists as the only Huskers in double figures, as the rest of the Huskers managed just 12 points on a combined 4-for-30 shooting from the field. Freshman guard Brandi Jeffery pitched in eight points, including a pair of threes.
Ohio State responded with four players in double figures, led by 21 points, 10 rebounds and six steals from Tayler Hill. Ashley Adams added a double-double of her own with 13 points, 11 rebounds and five blocked shots, while Samantha Prahalis contributed 19 points and nine assists for the Buckeyes. Amber Stokes rounded out the OSU players in double figures with 12 points and five boards.
OSU shot a sizzling 52.5 percent (32-61) from the field, including 3-of-4 three-pointers. The Buckeyes also hit 15-of-21 free throws and won the turnover battle 15-12, outscoring the Huskers 16-6 in points off those turnovers.
Nebraska outrebounded OSU, 43-39, including 20 offensive boards, but the Huskers hit just 33.8 percent (25-74) of their shots from the floor, including just 7-of-29 three-pointers (24.1 percent). The Huskers were also 11-of-12 at the free throw line.
The Huskers trailed the Buckeyes 41-35 at the half in a game that was tied five times in the opening period. Hooper had 12 points and eight rebounds in the first half, while Moore added nine points and three assists. Cady added nine points on 4-of-4 shooting from the field in the first half despite playing just seven minutes after being whistled for her second foul less than four minutes into the game.
Jeffery was the only other Husker to score in the first half, as she hit back-to-back shots to end the half for NU to finish with five points. Jeffery’s three-pointer from the corner was Nebraska’s fourth of the half, but the Huskers went just 4-of-15 (26.7 percent) from long range in the opening half, including 2-of-6 from Hooper. Cady also hit her lone three-point attempt.
Nebraska shot just 35.1 percent (13-37) from the field in the first half, and hit all five of its free throws. The Huskers outrebounded Ohio State, 22-14, including 14-4 on the offensive glass, but the Buckeyes won the first-half turnover battle, 8-6, and outscored NU 10-4 on the turnovers to account for the difference in the halftime score.
Prahalis led Ohio State with 11 points and seven assists in the first half, while Hill added 10 points and four rebounds for the Buckeyes. OSU’s top two scorers played all 20 first-half minutes. Adams, Stokes and Emilee Harmon all provided the Buckeyes with a first-half lift with six points apieace.
Ohio State shot a blistering 58.6 percent (17-29) from the field in the first half, including 3-of-4 three-pointers and all four of its free throw attempts.
Nebraska returns to Lincoln to open a two-game Big Ten home stand on Sunday, when the Huskers play host to Minnesota. Tip-off between the Huskers and Golden Gophers is set for 5 p.m. at the Devaney Center with live national television coverage from the Big Ten Network.