The Ohio State women’s basketball team traveled to Minnesota to take on the Golden Gophers in the final game of the 2013-2014 regular season. After falling just short of a road upset against #25 Iowa, the Buckeyes came into this game with a 15-16 (5-10) record and in need of a win to help their slim hopes of making the WNIT.
Ohio State scored the first four points of the game and lead 9-8 after a three pointer by Cait Craft just over five minutes into the game only Minnesota score 7 straight over the next two minutes to take a 16-9 lead. The Buckeyes would trim the Gopher lead to 3, 18-15, but then went cold from the field while Gophers went on a 14 to 1 run to go up 32-16 with two and a half minutes to go in the half and the teams would go into halftime with Ohio State trailing 35-21.
Ohio State didn’t play much better at the start of the second half and Minnesota took advantage to extend their lead to 20, 43-23, under four minutes into the second period. The Buckeyes finally began knocking down shots at that point and slowly chipped away at the Golden Gopher lead, pulling within 10, 63-53, with five minutes remaining in the game. A 7 to 2 run by the Gophers over the next three minutes would extinguish the Buckeye hopes of an upset as Minnesota coasted the rest of the way to a 74-57 win.
Ohio State shot 35% from the field but did go a solid 7 of 18 from three point range. The Buckeyes did a pretty good job of taking care of the ball, committing only 13 turnovers to go with 14 assists. Minnesota didn’t shoot much better than OSU, going 39% from the field and 7 of 17 from beyond the arc while committing 11 turnovers. The big differences in this game were in rebounds and fouls. Minnesota solidly won the rebounding battle 42 to 33 and dominated in terms of fouls, committing only 13 to OSU’s 22. That difference in fouls translated into the Gophers going 25 of 29 from the free throw line while the Buckeyes only attempted 14 free throws, making 10.
Raven Ferguon led Ohio State with 16 points and also grabbed a team high 6 rebounds. Martina Ellerbe added 13 points and 3 rebounds. Ameryst Alston scored 11 points and had an impressive 9 assists while committing only 2 turnovers. Cait Craft added 9 points and a pair of steals while redshirt freshman Lisa Blair had an impressive defensive outing as she blocked 4 shots and grabbed 5 rebounds before fouling out in only 16 minutes of action.
The script for this one was unfortunately very similar for Ohio State fans. The team shot poorly in the first half and dug themselves a big hole. They then played better in the second half but couldn’t dig themselves out of the hole they built. This was disappointing coming off a hot shooting day against Iowa on Thursday but as we’ve seen repeatedly this season, this team struggles with short turnarounds, like due to fatigue from being shorthanded. Today things were made worse by having to deal with foul trouble as Cait Craft and Lisa Blair both fouled out and Darryce Moore had 4 fouls.
Ohio State finishes the regular season with a 15-17 (5-11) record and will be the 8th seed in the Big Ten tournament. OSU will help kickoff the tournament on Thursday as they face 9th seeded Northwestern in a game that starts at noon and will be shown on BTN; the winner of that game will face top seeded Penn State on Friday. OSU beat Northwestern last week in their only meeting of the season.