Marscilla Packer’s continuing emergence from an early-season shooting slump helped Ohio State hold off visiting Nebraska 86-74 Saturday afternoon.
With 3,338 fans in attendance at the Schottenstein Center, the 18th-ranked Buckeyes (9-2) held off a game group of Cornhuskers who had yet to lose on the U.S. mainland this season.
Packer, a senior guard, hit five threes on the day, and her last one stretched a five-point OSU lead to eight with 4:23 to play. The Cornhuskers would never get closer the rest of the way.
Suffering with a knee injury, Packer finished with a game-high 23 points. Jantel Lavender followed her with 21 points and Tamarah Riley added 13 off the bench.
Lavender paced the Buckeyes with seven rebounds. Ashlee Trebilcock and Maria Moeller both handed out five assists.
Danielle Page led Nebraska with 16 points while Cory Montgomery and Tay Hester both scored 14.
The victory was an important positive finish to a challenging preconference schedule that saw OSU head coach Jim Foster’s young Buckeyes go 3-2 against major conference teams.
Ohio State lost to Auburn and Maryland before beating in order Ole Miss, Washington and Nebraska. During that stretch, the Buckeyes also bested Youngstown State after downing the Huskies.
In the two losses and the win over the Rebels, Packer scored a total of 20 points, but her big afternoon against the ‘Huskers was her third straight double-digit scoring contest.
“Give Marscilla a lot of credit – she got banged up yesterday and exhibited a lot of toughness out there and played at a nice tempo and didn’t rush anything,” Foster said. “She let the game come to her. She got some really good looks in the second half. We got some ball reversals and we were a lot more patient in the second half.”
She was modest as usual when asked what the difference was from the period of time in which she was struggling.
“I’ve just been trying to focus on the small things in practice,” Packer said. “I think I had to be a lot more focused in this game, you know, to make sure I was holding my followthrough. I just wasn’t thinking. I was just shooting.”
The Buckeyes now have seven days without a game before they return to action with the start of conference play Dec. 30 at Michigan State.
The Cornhuskers fell to 9-3. Both their previous losses occurred at the Oahu Classic in Honolulu, Hawaii.