Nebraska Cornhuskers (6-4, 4-3 Big Ten)
vs. 15/15 Ohio State Buckeyes (7-0, 3-0 Big Ten)
Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021, 4 p.m. (CT)
Pinnacle Bank Arena – Lincoln, Nebraska
Live Video: B1G Network (Larry Punteney, Meghan McKeown)
Live Radio: Husker Sports Network (3:45 p.m.)
Matt Coatney (PBP), Jeff Griesch (Analyst)
Lincoln (B107.3 FM), Omaha (ESPN 590 AM), Huskers.com, Huskers App, TuneIn
Huskers Battle No. 15 Buckeyes Saturday on BTN
Nebraska opens a two-game Big Ten home stand by battling No. 15 Ohio State on Saturday. Tip-off between the Big Red (6-4, 4-3 Big Ten) and the unbeaten Buckeyes (7-0, 3-0 Big Ten) at Pinnacle Bank Arena is set for 4 p.m. (CT).
The Big Ten Network will provide a live telecast with Larry Punteney and Meghan McKeown on the call. Live radio will also be available through the Husker Sports Network with Matt Coatney and Jeff Griesch calling the action across the network stations, the Huskers App and on Huskers.com.
Nebraska enjoyed the mid-week off after defeating its second top-25 opponent of the season with a 68-64 road win at No. 23 Michigan State last Sunday in East Lansing. The Huskers led by as many as 10 points in the first half before rallying from a five-point fourth-quarter deficit for a 68-64 victory over the Spartans.
Sam Haiby earned her second straight appearance on the Big Ten Women’s Basketball Weekly Honor Roll after notching her first career double-double with 11 points and a career-high 12 rebounds against the Spartans. It followed a 27-point, nine-rebound effort in a last-second loss at No. 15 Michigan (Jan. 7). Haiby enters the Ohio State game as Nebraska’s leader in scoring (16.7 ppg), rebounding (7.8 rpg), assists (3.8 apg) and steals (1.3 spg).
Sophomore Isabelle Bourne also has solidified herself as a rising star in the Big Ten. The 6-2 forward from Canberra, Australia led the Huskers with a game-high 18 points to go along with seven rebounds at Michigan State. In her first season as a starter, Bourne is averaging 14.0 points and 7.3 rebounds per game.
Nebraska’s team defensive efforts have been outstanding in recent weeks. The Huskers are 3-1 over the last four contests despite facing three ranked teams who all entered the contest averaging better than 80 points per game. None of the four opponents (No. 15 Northwestern, Rutgers, No. 15 Michigan, No. 23 Michigan State) scored 65 points against Nebraska’s defense.
The Huskers have held each of the four foes to their lowest point totals of the year.
Ohio State, which will be NU’s fourth Big Ten opponent this season to be ranked as the AP No. 15 team in the nation at game time, comes to Lincoln averaging 89.9 points per game and has not scored less than 78 points in any contest this season.
Kate Cain, a 6-5 center from Middletown, N.Y., joins Haiby and Bourne as Nebraska’s tri-captains in 2020-21, and plays a central role in the back of the Big Red defense. A three-time Lisa Leslie Award candidate, Cain notched four blocks against Northwestern to become just the sixth player in Big Ten history with 300 career blocked shots. Cain is averaging 2.5 blocks per game this season to go along with 8.0 points and 5.8 rebounds.
Ashley Scoggin has stepped into a major role in her first year as a Husker. The 22-year-old redshirt sophomore has started all 10 games and is averaging 7.5 points while leading NU with 15 made three-pointers (.417). She posted career highs of 16 points against Purdue and Idaho State.
Junior Bella Cravens has been a major contributor as a starter in Big Ten play. The 6-3 forward from Laie, Hawaii, is averaging 7.4 points and a team-best 9.1 rebounds in conference play, including a career-high-tying 16 rebounds in the win over Illinois. She added 13 boards in the win over Rutgers and had nine points, nine rebounds and three blocks in the win at No. 23 Michigan State.
Scouting the Ohio State Buckeyes
No. 15 Ohio State carries an unbeaten record into Saturday’s game at Pinnacle Bank Arena. The Buckeyes are 3-0 in Big Ten play following an 84-82 OT win over Iowa on Wednesday in Iowa City. The win snapped Iowa’s 42-game home winning streak, which dated back to Nebraska’s 92-74 win at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Jan. 28, 2018.
COVID-19 protocols have affected the Buckeye game schedule significantly this season, beginning with a cancellation against Akron (Nov. 25) and postponements for their first three Big Ten games (Iowa, Dec. 19; at Maryland, Dec. 23; Michigan State, Dec. 31).
The Buckeyes return all five starters from the team that defeated Nebraska 80-74 in overtime last season at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Ohio State never led in regulation, but outscored the Huskers 15-9 in the fourth quarter and 12-6 in overtime to escape with the victory.
Junior Dorka Juhasz, who has missed Ohio State’s first three Big Ten games, was a first-team All-Big Ten selection last year. The 6-4 forward from Pecs, Hungary, is averaging 17.8 points and 10.5 rebounds per game early this season. She claimed a spot on the Big Ten All-Freshman team in 2018-19. Juhasz can stretch the floor inside-out, but has struggled outside early this season, hitting just 3-of-14 threes and 8-of-20 free throws. She had 12 points, 13 rebounds and five steals in last season’s win over Nebraska in Lincoln (Feb. 2), before getting 16 points and 16 rebounds in a 65-52 Buckeye win over the Huskers in Columbus (Feb. 19).
All five of the Buckeye starters are averaging double figures, led by guard Jacy Sheldon. The 5-10 sophomore from Dublin, Ohio is averaging a team-best 18.3 points including 19.7 in Big Ten play. She is the only Buckeye who has hit more than six three-pointers on the season (14-38), and she also ranks second on the team with 11 steals.
Fellow sophomore Madison Greene, a 5-8 guard from Pickerington, Ohio, has added 14.3 points and a team-high 4.7 assists per game. She had 20 points and six steals at Iowa on Wednesday. Her steals total at Iowa matched her season total entering the game, and she now leads OSU with 12. Greene is 24-for-28 at the free throw line after going 1-for-5 at Iowa. She entered that game 23-for-23.
Braxtin Miller is the lone senior in the OSU starting five. The 5-10 guard from Dayton is averaging 11.8 points, 3.2 rebounds and 3.5 assists after an 18-point effort at Iowa. She averaged 13.1 points in 62 games at Oklahoma State. Last season, she scored all of her game-high 17 points after halftime in Ohio State’s 80-74 OT win at Nebraska (Feb. 2). She added 13 in OSU’s win in Columbus (Feb. 19).
Junior Aaliyah Patty joins Juhasz on the Buckeye starting front line. The 6-3 forward from Lombard, Ill., is averaging 11.7 points and 7.0 rebounds. Patty had 12 points and 12 rebounds in OSU’s win last season in Lincoln, before adding 11 points and seven boards to complete the sweep.
Sophomore Rebeka Mikulasikova averaged 10 points in Ohio State’s wins over Nebraska last year. The 6-4 forward from Nitra, Slovakia, missed Ohio State’s first two Big Ten games this season but is averaging 6.3 points and 2.8 rebounds off the bench. She played 12 minutes at Iowa.
The rest of the Ohio State roster will be new faces against the Huskers this season, beginning with graduate transfer Tanaya Beacham, who adds more size and experience inside. Beacham has averaged 4.5 points and 5.5 rebounds per game in six contests, including three starts in place of Juhasz to open Big Ten play. Beacham averaged 10.8 points and 5.5 rebounds at Toledo last season.
Freshman Kateri Poole is averaging 7.3 points and has hit 5-of-12 three-pointers. Rikki Harris, a redshirt freshman for the Buckeyes, has added 5.6 points on 5-of-13 three-point shooting. Freshman Gabby Hutcherson, a 6-2 forward, has hit 6-of-16 threes to average 5.1 points per game.
Ohio State owns one of the Big Ten’s most explosive offenses, averaging 89.9 points per game, while shooting 50.4 percent from the field, 34 percent from three-point range and 70.9 percent from the free throw line. The Buckeyes carry a plus-3.6 rebound margin and a plus-6.4 turnover margin.
OSU is No. 9 in the NET rankings but has not played an AP ranked opponent yet this season.
Nebraska vs. Ohio State Series History
Saturday’s game will mark the 20th all-time meeting between Nebraska and Ohio State, with the Buckeyes holding an 11-8 edge in the series after getting a pair of wins last season.
OSU has won seven of the last eight, including an 80-74 OT win in Lincoln on Feb. 2, 2020.
Nebraska and Ohio State met five times before the Huskers joined the Big Ten, with the Buckeyes owning a 3-2 edge as non-conference opponents. NU won the first-ever meeting between the two teams, a 63-54 Husker win in Columbus on Dec. 2, 1990. The Huskers also defeated OSU 60-55 at the Devaney Center in Lincoln on Dec. 12, 2003, in the second meeting.
NU dropped four straight games to Ohio State, including three in Columbus, capped by an 82-68 loss at Value City Arena on Jan. 19, 2012 – the first meeting between the two teams as Big Ten foes, before uncorking five consecutive series wins from Feb. 26, 2012 through Feb. 20, 2014.
Ohio State leads the series 9-6 as Big Ten foes. Nebraska is 4-6 all-time against OSU in Columbus, including a 78-69 win over the Buckeyes on Dec. 31, 2018 – NU’s most recent win in the series.
Nebraska won the only meeting in the series at a neutral site, a 77-62 victory over the Buckeyes at the Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis (March 3, 2012).
Series History (OSU leads, 11-8): Ohio State leads 5-3 in Lincoln; Ohio State leads 6-4 in Columbus; Nebraska leads 1-0 at the Big Ten Tournament.
Nebraska Schedule Notes
Nebraska’s game against Ohio State will mark the third time this season that Nebraska has played an AP No. 15 team that also entered the game unbeaten (Northwestern, 4-0; Michigan, 7-0; Ohio State, 7-0).
Overall, Ohio State will be the fifth Nebraska opponent in 11 games this season to enter the contest unbeaten, joining ORU (0-0), Idaho State (1-0), No. 15 Northwestern (4-0), No. 15 Michigan (7-0) and No. 15 Ohio State (7-0).