On a night when it sometimes took three or four shot attempts to make one basket, the Nebraska women’s basketball team definitely needed what Emily Cady does so well.
The 6-foot-2 sophomore’s career-high 16 rebounds — eight on the offensive end — helped key Nebraska’s 58-39 victory over Ohio State in front of 5,293 fans at the Devaney Sports Center on Thursday. It was the Huskers' seventh straight win.
“She's kind of Tenacious Emily,” Nebraska coach Connie Yori said. “When she has that look in her eye she's like, 'Nobody is going to stop me from getting to the basket.' She had a good matchup tonight and she knows going into the game she has got to be aggressive."
Cady finished with 10 points on just 2-for-10 shooting, but her offensive rebounding and foul shooting helped the Huskers pull away in the second half.
“One of the big keys was rebounding,” Cady said. “Since we weren’t shooting well I needed to rebound to help the team.”
During Nebraska’s recent tear junior Jordan Hooper has been averaging better than 24 points a game. On Thursday, she was held to just eight on 3-for-11 from the field. So others had to step up, Cady among them. Freshman Rachel Theriot (nine points) and sophomore Tear’a Laudermill (nine points) also made timely baskets to help the Huskers pull away.
The first half was tight only because Ohio State’s Tayler Hill kept her team close, scoring 15 points. The Buckeyes' defensive strategy was to guard Hooper and Lindsey Moore and hope no one else could hit shots. That tactic worked for a while, but Theriot got hot at the end of the first half. She hit back-to-back bombs — one of them a three-pointer — to give Nebraska’s lead some distance. A pair of free throws by Hooper put the Husker up four points, 25-21, at the break.
Cady scored four points and Hailie Sample added a basket in the first few moments of the second half to give Nebraska a 10-point lead at 31-21. Hill struggled to find her stroke in the second half and ended up going scoreless for nearly 16 minutes. Meanwhile, Nebraska started to pull away. Laudermill capped a 9-0 run with a three-pointer for a 40-25 advantage with 13:23 left. A personal 7-0 burst from point guard Lindsey Moore, including a pretty spinning layup, made sure the Buckeyes had no chance at coming back.
Moore led Nebraska with 14 points, eight rebounds and four assists. Hill finished with 20 to lead Ohio State, which scored the fewest points in Coach Jim Foster’s 11-year tenure at the school.
“We didn’t make shots,” Foster said. “Tayler tried a little too hard at times, but I understand why she did that and I empathize with her.”
One important battle Nebraska won was rebounding. Trailing 22-14 on the boards at one point, the Huskers finished plus-8 (53-45) in that category. Nebraska finished at 32.8 percent from the field (22-of-67) and Ohio State was just 25.4 percent (16-of-63).
“Rebounding and defense,” Yori said. “(Former Tennessee coaching legend) Pat Summitt would be proud, she was always harping on that. We did a good job of following the defensive game plan and making them shoot tough shots that they’re not used to shooting. We found enough scoring from kids who haven’t scored much for us. I thought our effort was good and smart as well.”
Asked about the win streak, Yori said, “I don’t think about it. I’m as stressed out in a seven-game win streak as I would be if we had lost seven in a row.”
NEBRASKA 58, OHIO STATE 39
Three-pointers--3-16 (Stokes 0-1, Hill 2-7, Alston 0-2, Kynard 1-3, Ferguson 0-3). Field-goal percentage--25.4. Free-throw percentage--100. Team fouls--13. Assists--3 (Alston, Scullion, Harmon 1). Turnovers--13. Steals--4 (Dobranic, Hill, Kynard, Moore 1). Blocked shots--2 (Dobranic, Moore 1).
Three-pointers--4-14 (Cady 0-2, Hooper 0-2, Moore 1-5, Theriot 1-2, Laudermill 1-1, Jeffery 1-1, Simon 0-1). Field-goal percentage--32.8. Free-throw percentage--62.5. Team fouls--5. Assists--9 (Moore 4). Turnovers--10. Steals--7 (Williams, Theriot 2). Blocked shots--2 (Williams 2).