LINCOLN, Neb. -- Six Ohio State players were assigned to guard Nebraska's Emily Cady throughout Sunday's game. None could stop her.
The freshman forward scored 24 points Sunday to match her career high in No. 23 Nebraska's 71-57 upset of Ohio State (No. 14 ESPN/USA Today, No. 8 AP), the Buckeyes' second loss in three games.
Cady had her best outing since she scored 24 in the Huskers' 82-68 loss at Ohio State on Jan. 19. The timing was perfect, because the Buckeyes did a magnificent job shutting down Nebraska season scoring leaders Jordan Hooper and Lindsey Moore.
Cornhuskers coach Connie Yori said Cady's competitiveness and toughness make her a great third option.
"Off the court, she's fun. I don't want to use any negative words, but she's a little ditzy at times," Yori said. "We love Emily. She's got a great personality. But when she crosses the line on the court, she's as competitive a kid as I've had. She's very, very competitive, and she doesn't like to lose."
The Cornhuskers (21-7, 10-6 Big Ten) bounced back from a 20-point loss at Michigan State for only their second win in six games. The Buckeyes (24-5, 11-5) lost for the fifth time in eight conference road games.
The Buckeyes had Kalpana Beach, Aleksandra Dobranic, Darryce Moore, Martina Ellerbe, Raven Ferguson and Emilee Harmon all try to defend Cady.
Cady said she didn't know so many players were assigned to her. She made 9 of 16 shots from the floor, including a couple 3-pointers, after scoring just four points against the Spartans on Thursday.
"I guess I was just feeling it," Cady said. "I just had to do what I had to do for my team."
Reserves Brandi Jeffery and Rebecca Woodberry scored eight apiece for Nebraska. Hooper had seven points and Lindsey Moore nine, most of them coming after the game was decided.
"Defensively we did about as good as you can against double-zero (Moore) and 35 (Hooper)," Ohio State coach Jim Foster said. "We guarded the heck out of them. For the second game in a row (Cady) hurt us."
Samantha Prahalis, coming off a school-record 42-point game against Minnesota on Thursday, led the Buckeyes with 18 points. Tayler Hill added 16.
Prahalis missed eight shots in a row after making three straight to start the game. Her jumper early in the second half pulled the Buckeyes within seven points, but Kaitlyn Burke and Cady made layups on consecutive possessions to push the Huskers' advantage back to double digits.
Prahalis, who averaged 27 points in her previous five games, never found a rhythm and finished 5 of 19.
"I'm not worried," she said. "I couldn't throw the ball in the ocean today. It was pretty bad. It's minor things."
Ohio State struggled against Nebraska's full-court defense, shooting 33 percent and committing 17 turnovers. The Buckeyes came into the game leading the Big Ten in field-goal percentage (.471) and scoring (77 ppg).
"I didn't like our tempo on offense at all," Foster said. "We played much too fast, much too quick, and never engaged our post players."
Jeffery gave the Huskers their biggest lead, 52-36, after throwing up a desperation air ball to beat the shot clock. Ashley Adams got the rebound for Ohio State, but Jeffery hustled across court to swipe the ball from her and go in for an easy layup.
An 18-1 Nebraska run put the Huskers up 29-16 in the middle of the first half. Woodberry, who averages 4.6 points, converted a three-point play and made a 3-pointer to get the Huskers going.
The Buckeyes went almost 9½ minutes without a field goal before Amber Stokes' back-to-back baskets re-started the Buckeyes' offense. Hill's 3-pointer got the Buckeyes within eight points, but Lindsey Moore drove to the hoop on Nebraska's last possession of the half to make it 39-29.
The Huskers got 49 points and 18 rebounds from their six freshmen. The Huskers' up-and-down performances -- lose by 20 to unranked Michigan State three days before beating a Top 25 opponent for the fifth time -- prompted Yori to borrow a famous line from the movie "Forrest Gump."
"Our team is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you're going to get," she said. "This team is funny that way. We're really young and have had some inconsistencies. But today's game was very important. It proved we're very capable."
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