First Thoughts From an 82-68 Win Over Nebraska
By Tony Gerdeman
COLUMBUS, Ohio — The #20 Nebraska Cornhuskers (15-3, 4-2) came into Value City Arena with the intention of making their game against the #10 Buckeyes (18-1, 5-1) a track meet.
Unfortunately, they failed in so many other areas.
Rather than looking for good shots, the Huskers took quick shots, mostly deep looks from beyond the three-point line that weren't necessarily good shots.
They finished 7-29 from three-point range, so that should tell you a little bit about their shot selection. Not only were they shooting a lot of threes, but they were shooting a lot of bad threes.
The Buckeyes extended their defense and got a hand up in most shots, though with the quickness and depth of Nebraska's shots, half of the defense was done by the Husker offense. They just never put much pressure on Ohio State to defend.
The Buckeyes, meanwhile, got a ton of fast break points thanks to the long rebounds. They outscored Nebraska 20-2 in fast break points, and were able to drive the ball so well that they also outscored them 50-28 in the paint.
It was a fairly close game for most of the first half, but after a slow start in the second half, the Buckeyes turned it on the rest of the way out and kept the Huskers at arm's length—which also happened to be all the closer they needed to be to defend Nebraska's terrible shot selection.
First Thought - Watching this game tonight, the overriding thought that I had was that point guard Samantha Prahalis was in complete control of this game.
Photo by Jim Davidson
She would weave through pressure in the backcourt, and then do it again while driving to the basket. Nobody could stay in front of her, but she never rushed herself. Maybe that's why she looked to be in such control.
It's a fun thing to watch when one player is playing so much better than what she's going against. The shots were smooth, and the passes were smoother.
She finished the game with 19 points and nine assists.
Nebraska point guard Lindsey Moore was looking forward to going against Prahalis so that she could measure herself against the Big Ten's best. She finished with thirteen points and six assists, but she turned it over six times and was unable to ever pick Prahalis' pocket.
The ball was on a string for Sammy tonight, and she played the Huskers like a yo-yo.
Stoke(se)d Thought - Guard Amber Stokes was aggressive on offense from the outset. Head coach Jim Foster has said all season that teams may be able to throw up a bit of a road block for two guards, but it's too much to ask of any team to stop three dynamic guards.
Photo by Jim Davidson
Tonight, Stokes was that third dynamic guard. She attacked the basket repeatedly. She wasn't successful initially, but the good thing was that she didn't let her early struggles control her.
She stayed aggressive and finished with twelve points on 6-12 shooting from the field. She also grabbed five rebounds for good measure.
Stokes was simply too quick to guard tonight. She beat defenders to spots and outraced everybody in the open court.
After the game Foster said that Nebraska chose to try and double Tayler Hill and Prahalis, leaving Stokes to do what she wanted. She did exactly that, and the Buckeyes were never threatened.
Harmonic Thought - Emily Harmon is one of the few Buckeyes on the team that carries some offensive game in the post. However, she had played so little up to this point in her career that you wondered whether it was ever going to happen for her. After half of a season, it seems that answer is a resounding "Yes".
Granted, she doesn't score many points. Tonight she dropped in six points, but is only averaging 2.8 points per game. But more important than her scoring is that she actually has the confidence to shoot.
There is very little hesitation on her part, nor a feeling of deference to anybody else when she's got the ball in a position of confidence.
That's half the battle for many players, including a few of the Buckeyes. It would seem that that's a battle she is winning right now.
Careless Thought - Speaking of confidence, there is no spot on the floor that shooting guard Tayler Hill doesn't think is hers.
Photo by Jim Davidson
Early in the game tonight she had the ball over 20 feet from the basket with a defender in her face. It didn't matter. She shot it over her defender and hit nothing but net.
Tayler Hill just doesn't care.
When she's looking to drive and there happens to be a defender in her way, a simple crossover gets the job done.
Clearly she sees what defenses are trying to do to keep her from scoring, but it just doesn't matter. Hill scored 21 points on just 7-11 shooting and added ten rebounds as well.
On the other end, she came away with six steals and pulled down nine defensive rebounds. That's essentially 15 times she either took the ball from the Huskers, or kept them from getting it back.
It was a complete game from one of the most complete guards in the nation.
Final Thought - The Buckeyes were one Prahalis assist away from having three double-doubles on the night.
Center Ashley Adams scored thirteen points and pulled down a team-high eleven rebounds. Her 6-8 shooting was pretty indicative of the manner of her effectiveness and efficiency on the evening.
Hill finished with 21 points and ten rebounds. Prahalis was the lone "disappointment", finishing with 19 points and just nine assists.
It was the second time this season that the Buckeyes had two players finish with a double-double. The first time came against Florida State. Adams finished with 13 points and 14 rebounds, and Prahalis added eleven points and eleven assists.
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