COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) No. 5 Ohio State was so hot to start the game that Ameryst Alston couldn’t explain it.
”I don’t know. It was just contagious I guess,” the OSU senior said.
Five players scored in double figures and the Buckeyes (22-4, 14-1 Big Ten) shot 54 percent from 3-point range while routing Nebraska 96-70.
Alston finished with 16 points and a pair of 3-pointers. Fellow guard Kelsey Mitchell also scored 16 while hitting 5 of 11 from long range, but the Ohio State frontcourt did plenty of damage, too.
Guard Asia Doss rounded out Ohio State’s balanced scoring effort with 13 points on 6-for-9 shooting.
”When they’re shooting the way they did tonight, I don’t know how you’re going to stop them,” Nebraska coach Connie Yori said.
”I think Ohio State is every bit as good as I thought they would be,” she said. ”Their ability to score in bunches is off the charts. We’re not a great defensive team and when those two forces hit they’re going to get into the 90s or more, so they’re just really hard to guard.”
Jessica Shepard led Nebraska (17-9, 8-7) with 20 points and eight rebounds.
Ohio State dominated the first half, taking a 50-34 lead into the locker room thanks to Mitchell’s 3-pointer just before the buzzer.
The Buckeyes shot 58 percent in the first quarter and 55 percent for the half (21 for 38), including 7 for 14 from long range.
They outscored the visitors 23-12 in the third quarter to expand their lead to 73-46.
”I think with our team you have to guard each and every one of us,” Alston said. ”I don’t think we have just one player or two players. One through five you have to guard us, so when we attack it creates opportunities for us to get open shots.”
Ohio State extended its winning streak to 10 games. It maintained its one-game lead in the Big Ten standings over No. 6 Maryland, a 76-56 winner against Michigan on Wednesday night.
Nebraska: The Cornhuskers were coming off a 73-66 win over then-No. 17 Michigan State on Sunday that snapped a two-game losing streak.
Ohio State: Alston was recognized prior to the game for becoming the sixth player in program history to score more than 2,000 points. She reached that milestone during a 98-81 win at Iowa a week earlier. With 2,048 career points, she is fourth in school history.
DIALING LONG DISTANCE
Ohio State never cooled off from 3-point range, finishing the game making 13 of 24. They entered shooting 36 percent on the season.
Chelsea Mitchell, Kelsey’s sister, scored a career-high eight points in eight minutes off the bench for the Buckeyes.
”I thought (Ohio State) might be the best team in the Big Ten heading into the season and it’s playing out that way,” Yori said. ”Although I know them and Maryland are neck and neck to win this league. I know that both teams are outstanding, but it doesn’t surprise me they are where they are in the standings.”
Nebraska hosts Purdue on Sunday afternoon.
Ohio State hosts Illinois on Sunday afternoon.
Ohio State Individual Notes
Ohio State Team Notes