Columbus, Ohio – Leigha Brown scored a season-high 19 points and Nicea Eliely produced another huge fourth quarter to help Nebraska rally from a deficit at the end of three quarters for a 78-69 women’s basketball win at Ohio State on New Year’s Eve. Nebraska, which improved to 2-0 to start Big Ten play by registering its first road win of the season, improved to 7-6 overall with the come-from-behind win over the Buckeyes, who slipped to 4-7 overall and 0-2 in the conference. Eliely, who scored 14 points for the second straight game, pushed the Huskers over the top by sparking a decisive 27-16 fourth-quarter rally.
The 6-1 junior wing from Colorado Springs, Colo., hit a pair of huge three-pointers and finished a traditional three-point play in the final period. She finished with 10 points in the period. Her first three-pointer came from the right wing with 6:45 left to give Nebraska a 61-60 lead. Her three-point play came with 2:43 left and gave Nebraska its first three-possession lead of the game at 73-65. Just 38 seconds later, Eliely nailed a corner three from in front of the Nebraska bench to give the Big Red their first double-digit lead at 76-65. While Eliely finished off Nebraska’s second straight Big Ten win, it was Brown and senior Maddie Simon who kept the Huskers close throughout the contest.
Brown, a 6-1 freshman from Auburn, Ind., scored 19 points in the first three quarters to help the Huskers survive sub-par offensive performances in the first and third quarters to head to the final period trailing the defending Big Ten champion Buckeyes 53-51 at the end of three quarters. Brown, who went 4-for-9 from the field with a pair of three-pointers and knocked down 9-of-12 free throws, added four rebounds, three assists and a steal in her best all-around game of the season. Simon, a 6-2 forward from Lincoln, Neb., added a season-high-matching 16 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the field. Junior guard Hannah Whitish gave the Huskers four players in double figures with 11 points while adding five assists. She knocked down a trio of triples in the game, including a pair of fourth-quarter threes. She also capped Nebraska’s scoring with a pair of free throws with 45 seconds left after a technical foul was issued on the Buckeyes.
As a team, Nebraska went 9-for-15 from the field in the fourth quarter, including 4-of-5 from three-point range. The Huskers entered the fourth hitting just 16-of-44 shots, including just 3-of-17 threes on the day. For the game, Nebraska finished at 42.4 percent (25-59) from the field, including 31.8 percent (7-22) from three. The Huskers also knocked 75 percent (21-28) of their free throws. The Big Red dominated the turnover department, 20-12, and turned OSU’s turnovers into 26 points, outscoring the Buckeyes 26-11 in that category. Ohio State hit 37 percent (20-54) of its shots for the game, including 8-of-18 threes (.444) and 84 percent of its free throws (21-25). OSU did out-rebound Nebraska, 39-33 on the day. Ohio State was led by senior Makayla Waterman and freshman Dorka Juhasz, who both had 14 points and seven rebounds in the loss. For the Huskers, freshman Sam Haiby continued her solid play with eight points, including a key layup to give Nebraska a five-point lead at 70-65 with 3:54 left. Fellow freshman Ashtyn Veerbeek added six points and six big rebounds to help the Huskers. Brown sparked the Huskers with 13 points off the bench in the first half, including a buzzer-beating three to send Nebraska to the half with a 38-36 lead. Brown’s second three of the quarter gave the Big Red the lead after the Huskers had trailed by as many as seven points in both the first and second quarters. Brown, who scored nine points in the second quarter, went 3-for-5 from the field, including 2-for-4 from three-point range, and 5-of-6 at the free throw line in the half. She added two assists, a rebound and a steal in just 11 first-half minutes. Simon joined Brown in double figures with 10 points in the half for the Huskers, including eight in the second quarter. Simon went 4-for-5 from the floor and 2-of-3 at the line. While Simon and Brown combined to go 7-for-9 from the floor in the half, the rest of the Huskers went just 5-for-22.
As a team, Nebraska hit just 38.7 percent (12-31) of its first-half shots, including just 3-of-12 threes. Nebraska’s other three came on a running 35-footer by Whitish to beat the first-quarter buzzer for her only points of the half. The Huskers did hit 11-of-13 first-half free throws but got out-rebounded 21-16, but won the turnover battle 15-9. Ohio State hit 41.4 percent (12-29) of its first-half shots, including 5-of-8 threes (.625). The Buckeyes also went 7-for-9 at the free throw line (.778). OSU entered the game shooting 27.6 percent from three-point while averaging just five threes per game. OSU was also shooting just 60.8 percent at the line. Nebraska continues its two-game Big Ten road swing on Thursday by traveling to Iowa. Tip-off between the Huskers and the No. 16 Hawkeyes at Carver-Hawkeye Arena in Iowa City is set for 7 p.m.