If there was ever a thing as a moral victory, the Ohio State women’s basketball team got just that Thursday as it dropped its fifth straight game, 67-59, to No. 17 Nebraska.
Despite shooting 42.9 percent, the Buckeyes (14-15, 4-9) were unable make enough plays down the stretch to pull off what could have been arguably their biggest win of the season.
OSU held the Cornhuskers (20-5, 10-3) to 35.4 percent shooting, but could not put together enough stops at the end to pull off the upset.
OSU coach Kevin McGuff said that he was proud of his team, but was also disappointed the Buckeyes did not come out on top.
“I think for 35 minutes we played well and really competed,” McGuff said after the loss. “I think in the last five (minutes) it wasn’t that we weren’t trying, we just made too many mental mistakes to beat a team like Nebraska.”
The Buckeyes turned the ball over five times in the final 6:37, and were held scoreless for more than seven minutes down the stretch as the Cornhuskers finished the game on a 23-7 run.
OSU was led by sophomore guard Ameryst Alston who tied a career-high in points with 31 on an impressive 12-17 shooting from the field. The Buckeyes also received key contributions from redshirt-junior guard Amy Scullion, who scored 10 points and grabbed five rebounds.
Despite the loss, Alston said that she was proud of the way she and her teammates played against a tough opponent like Nebraska.
“Though we lost, I think we fought really hard,” Alston said after the game. “We have to work on closing the game out, but as a team collectively I thought we did really well.”
Scullion, who scored in double digits for the first time since Dec. 17, said she was pleased with the way her team performed even with the loss.
“I really liked our effort tonight, we just could not finish the game,” Scullion said. “I feel we had a lot of momentum going we just could not finish. We had too many turnovers.”
The Buckeyes finished with 18 turnovers on the night, which led to 17 Nebraska points.
OSU led by as many as nine with 10:44 to play in the game, but could not sustain it as the Cornhuskers hit seven 3-pointers in the second half after only making one in the opening 20 minutes.
OSU’s second-leading scorer, junior guard Raven Ferguson was held to just five points on 2-12 shooting.
The Cornhuskers were led by Ohio-native sophomore guard Rachel Theriot who scored a team-high 26 points.
“She had a good game here last year,” Nebraska coach Connie Yori said of her starting guard. “Maybe we should schedule all of our games on this court for her sake.”
With just three games left on the schedule the Buckeyes believe they can finish the season strong.
“I think it is a loss that we can look at (to) build confidence that we can play with anyone,” Scullion said.
OSU is scheduled to play their final home game of the season Sunday at noon against Northwestern (14-11, 4-8), it what is set to be Senior Day for the Buckeyes.