Sorry for being so slow in posting this, I ended up in the hospital last night due to some complications from having my gall bladder removed on Tuesday. Fortunately a great way to feel better is to watch Ohio State beat a ranked team. Last night Nebraska came to Columbus for the first time as members of the Big Ten, if they were expecting a warm welcome, they were in for a surprise.
The two teams opened by trading baskets before Ohio State used an 8 to 0 run to take a 13-6 lead six minutes into the game. Both teams then went cold for the next few minutes but Nebraska was the first to regain their touch as the Cornhuskers scored 7 unanswered to tie the game at 13. The two teams went back to trading baskets and the Buckeyes led 29-27 with four and half minutes left in the half. At this point OSU scored 6 straight to extend their lead 35-27. The two teams would then coast into the half with the Buckeyes holding a 41-35 lead.
Nebraska opened the second half with a layup but then Ohio State went on a 10 to 2 run to take up 51-39 lead with just over thirteen minutes remaining in the game. The Ohio State lead would never drop below 8 again as the Buckeyes cruised to an 82-68 victory.
As normal Ohio State was led by their star guards, Tayler Hill scored 21 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to record a double-double. Hill also played tenacious defense, grabbing 6 steals and recording 2 blocks. Samantha Prahalis came up just short of a double-double of her own, scoring 19 points while dishing out 9 assists. The Buckeye guards were not the only players to come up big for OSU. Center Ashley Adams earned a double-double by scoring 13 points and grabbing 11 rebounds while also blocking 5 shots. Amber Stokes continued her recent streak of solid offensive performances by scoring 12 points and grabbing 5 rebounds. The Ohio State bench chipped in 13 points, led by 6 points from Emily Harmon and 5 from Martina Ellerbe. Ellerbe also added a pair of blocks.
As a team Ohio State show 52% from the field, focusing primarily on attacking the basket as the Buckeyes only went 3 of 4 from beyond the arc. OSU moved the ball well, recording 20 assists on 32 made baskets. Defensively the Buckeyes held the Cornhuskers to 32% shooting from the field and forced 15 turnovers. The defensive intensity of the Buckeyes really showed up in them coming up with 8 steals and 12 blocked shots.
Nebraska is a good team but Ohio State did a phenomenal job of playing their game. Getting steals and leaking out to allow for easy transition baskets. The continued improvement of Amber Stokes is definitely helping with this as her speed makes it hard to catch up to her in transition. After having a minimal impact in recent games Ashley Adams really made her presence felt today as she dominated inside. Her passing skills were evident too as she did a good job of passing out of a defensive rebound to hit a guard attacking in transition.
When asked about how this team was different from the previous three ones she had been on, Samantha Prahalis emphasized the toughness of this team. As I have pointed out all season that toughness has been very evident in how well this team has responded in close games against difficult opponents. It was very evident in the form of Tayler Hill tonight; the Buckeye guard was shaken up running into a blind screen against MSU and was somewhat questionable to play after feeling the effects of that collision earlier in the week. Not only did Hill play, she led the team in scoring and recorded a double-double. Ohio State returns to action at 2pm on Sunday when they host Illinois.