Ohio State Buckeyes
Sunday, Jan. 29, 11 a.m.
Value City Arena (Columbus, Ohio)
Live Television: BTN - Lisa Byington (PBP), Vera Jones (Analyst)
Live Radio: Husker Sports Network - Matt Coatney (PBP), Jeff Griesch (Analyst)
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Live Stats: Gametracker
Huskers Back on Road to Face No. 15 Buckeyes
The Nebraska women’s basketball team wraps up a stretch of four road games in five contests when the Huskers travel to No. 15 Ohio State on Sunday. Tip-off between the Huskers (5-16, 1-8 Big Ten) and the Buckeyes (18-5, 8-1 Big Ten) at Value City Arena in Columbus, Ohio, is set for 11 a.m.
The active Husker roster has combined for 170 career starts, while the Ohio State active roster has started 316 career games, not including 101 collegiate starts by Stephanie Mavunga, Linnae Harper, Sierra Calhoun and Shayla Cooper.
The Huskers are led by 6-4 forward Jessica Shepard, who is averaging a double-double with 18.1 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. She owns 20 career double-doubles, including 10 this season, after going for 20 points and 12 rebounds at Penn State (Jan. 19). It was her fourth double-double in Big Ten play this season.
Shepard is just the fourth Husker in history to produce double-digit double-doubles in two seasons in her career, joining first-team All-Americans Jordan Hooper (2011-12, 2013-14) and Karen Jennings (1990-91, 1992-93) and Emily Cady (2013-14, 2014-15).
Nebraska freshmen Nicea Eliely (7.6 ppg) and Hannah Whitish (7.1 ppg) could become the first pair of Husker freshmen to both average more than 7.0 points per game since 1983-84.
Nebraska leads the all-time series with Ohio State 7-6, but the Buckeyes have won back-to-back meetings including a 96-70 win over the Huskers last season in Columbus
32 - Jessica Shepard - 6-4 - So. - F
22 - Allie Havers - 6-5 - Sr. - C
3 - Hannah Whitish - 5-9 - Fr. - G
5 - Nicea Eliely - 6-1 - Fr. - G
34 - Jasmine Cincore - 5-10 - Jr. - G
Ohio State Buckeyes
1 - Stephanie Mavunga - 6-3 - Jr. - F
32 - Shayla Cooper - 6-2 - Sr. - F
3 - Kelsey Mitchell - 5-8 - Jr. - G - 22.8
4 - Sierra Calhoun - 6-0 - So. - G
23 - Kiara Lewis - 5-8 - Fr. - G
Scouting Ohio State
Coach Kevin McGuff has Ohio State chasing a Big Ten title again in his fourth season with the Buckeyes. The former Xavier and Washington head coach and Notre Dame assistant, has led the No. 15 Buckeyes to an 18-5 overall record and an 8-1 Big Ten mark this season.
Last year, Ohio State finished 26-8 overall and 15-3 in the Big Ten, after going 24-11 and 13-5 in the conference in his second season at OSU in 2014-15. In his first season at OSU, the Buckeyes went 17-18 overall and 5-11 in the conference.
All-American Kelsey Mitchell, a 5-8 junior guard from Cincinnati, is averaging 22.8 points, 2.9 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.3 steals. Last season, Mitchell averaged 26.1 points, 3.2 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.7 steals. She averaged 24.9 points, 4.2 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.7 steals as the 2015 Big Ten Freshman of the Year.
Arguably the most explosive offensive team in the Big Ten, Ohio State is averaging 86.4 points per game, while shooting 45.1 percent from the field. The Buckeyes have hit 33.5 percent of their threes, but just 69.4 percent of their free throws. Ohio State owns a plus-7.0 team rebounding margin and plus-2.2 team turnover margin.
Four of Ohio State’s five losses this season are to top-20 teams, including 82-63 at No. 1 UConn, 85-68 against No. 2 Baylor, 92-80 against No. 5 South Carolina and to No. 17 Miami, 94-89 in overtime.
Ohio State’s lone Big Ten loss came at Michigan State (94-75).
• Jessica Shepard became the second Husker in history to record 10 or more double-doubles in back-to-back seasons when she notched 20 points and 12 rebounds at Penn State.
• Shepard leads the Huskers with averages of 18.1 points and 10.1 rebounds per game.
• Nicea Eliely and Hannah Whitish have helped solidify the Huskers’ starting five, while providing hope for the future for a young Husker roster.
• Nicea Eliely leads the Huskers in assists (52), steals (37), blocks (15) and field goal percentage (.448), while ranking second in scoring (7.6 ppg). Eliely has started all 21 games this season as a true freshman.
• Hannah Whitish is averaging 9.2 points, 2.3 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.3 steals in nine Big Ten games as a starter. Whitish also leads the Huskers with 32 three-pointers on the season. She ranks fifth among freshmen in Husker history with 32 threes and needs one more to catch Kaitlyn Burke in fourth.
• Eliely and Whitish have a chance to become the first pair of Husker freshmen since 1983-84 to both average better than 7.0 points per game.
• Nebraska is facing the toughest overall schedule in school history in 2016-17.
• Nebraska’s strength of schedule ranked No. 12 nationally through games Jan. 26. NU’s 21 opponents owned a combined record of 282-148.
BEAT THE BUCKEYES!!