No. 17 Nebraska used a 17-0 run late in the second half to rally from a nine-point deficit with 10 minutes left to claim a 67-59 women's basketball win at Value City Arena on Thursday night.
Nebraska notched its seventh straight victory to improve to 20-5 overall and 10-3 in the Big Ten, while dropping Ohio State to 14-15 overall and 4-9 in the conference. The Huskers became the first Nebraska women's basketball team to produce three consecutive 20-win seasons, after securing 25 wins in 2013 and 24 victories in 2012.
Ohio native Rachel Theriot led the Huskers with her second straight 20-point game and fourth of the season with a team-high 26 points. The 6-0 point guard from Middleburg Heights also tied a career high with seven rebounds and dished out four assists while playing the full 40 minutes. Theriot went 9-for-19 from the floor, including 2-of-3 from three-point range and 6-of-6 at the line.
All-American Jordan Hooper added the 47th 20-point scoring performance of her career and 13th of the season with 24 points, while adding seven rebounds and three steals. Hooper, who increased her school-record-leading total to 275 three-pointers, knocked down 5-of-11 threes in the game, including four in the second half.
Trailing 50-41 with 10 minutes left, the Huskers were ignited by consecutive threes from Hooper to cut the OSU margin to 52-47 with 7:01 left. The second three by Hooper started a game-definiing 17-0 run that included another three by Hooper with 1:20 left to put NU up 60-52. The Big Red shut out the Buckeyes for nearly seven minutes during the surge.
Tear'a Laudermil, who scored all six of her points in the game during the run in the final five minutes, capped the Husker run with a free throw with 57.8 seconds left to put NU up 61-52.
Nebraska actually extended the margin to double digits at 67-56 after six consecutive free throws by Theriot to seal the victory.
The big nights from Theriot and Hooper allowed Nebraska to overcome a 31-point effort on 12-of-17 shooting from Ohio State sophomore Ameryst Alston. She hit 5-of-8 three-pointers to help shoot the Buckeyes to a three-possession lead in both halves.
Amy Scullion added 10 points and six rebounds for Ohio State, while Cait Craft managed six points and three assists.
Nebraska used a 44-34 rebound advantage that included 19 offensive rebounds to overcome 35.4 percent (23-65) shooting on the night. Emily Cady, who had eight offensive boards, and Hailie Sample each pulled down 11 boards for the Big Red.
The Huskers also heated up from long range after halftime, going 7-for-11 from beyond the arc to finish 40 percent (8-20) on the night. NU also continued its stellar free throw shooting, going 13-for-16 (.813) at the line.
Ohio State hit 42.9 percent (24-56) of its shots, including 42.9 percent (9-21) of its three-pointers, but went just 2-for-4 at the free throw line. The Buckeyes also lost the turnover battle 18-11.
Nebraska took a 27-25 lead to the locker room after an odd first half. The Huskers were issued an administrative technical for not submitting a starting lineup by the 10-minute mark on the pregame clock. Something that happened to Ohio State in its previous game at Michigan State.
Alston hit two free throws before the Buckeyes won the tip and got a jumper from Scullion to take a 4-0 lead.
The Buckeyes took their biggest lead at 12-5 after a Martina Ellerbe three-pointer with 11 minutes left in the half. Hooper, who scored NU's first five points, then struck for four more to cut the edge to 12-9 before Theriot hit back-to-back buckets to trim the OSU margin to 14-13 with 7:10 left in the period.
Brandi Jeffery then came off the bench to give Nebraska it's first lead at 15-14 with 6:25 left in the half. The Buckeyes responded to regain the lead until Theriot scored six straight points to give the Huskers a 21-19 edge with 2:20 left.
Two minutes later Theriot scored on a driving layup to give the Big Red their biggest first-half lead at 27-22 with 10 seconds left, before Alston answered near the buzzer with her third straight three-pointer to send the Buckeyes to the half down two.
Ohio State went 5-of-8 from three-point range in the first half, while the Huskers went just 1-for-9. Nebraska hit just 12-of-40 first-half shots (30 percent), but went 10-for-20 to close the half after opening the game 2-for-20. Nebraska outrebounded OSU, 28-17 in the first half, including a whopping 14 offensive boards. NU also won the turnover battle 9-4. The Buckeyes finished 9-for-25 (36 percent) from the field in the first half.
Theriot led the Huskers with 12 in the first half, while Hooper added nine before sitting for a good stretch of the half with foul trouble. Alston led all scorers in the first half with 13 points while Ellerbe and Scullion each added five points.
The Huskers return to Big Ten home action on Monday night when they take on No. 9 Penn State. Tip-off between the Big Red and the Lady Lions is set for 6 p.m.