Ohio State Survives Scare From VCU

Written November 15th, 2013 by Charles

Darryce Moore scored a career high 20 points to help lead the Buckeyes to a victory over VCU.

Darryce Moore scored a career high 20 points to help lead the Buckeyes to a victory over VCU.

After an impressive win at West Virginia in their opener and a narrow win at home against Florida Atlantic, the Ohio State women’s basketball team looked to continue their undefeated start to the season today as they hosted Virginia Commonwealth University Thursday night.  The already shorthanded Ohio State roster suffered another blow earlier this week as junior guard Shelbi Honeycutt announced her decision to transfer from OSU in order to be closer to home and to get more playing time.  Honeycutt is from Siloam Springs, Arkansas so her decision certainly makes sense and we wish her all the best.  Honeycutt’s decision left the Buckeyes with nine available players for Thursday night’s game as Raven Ferguson is serving the last game of her three game suspension for violating team rules and Kalpana Beach is out with an ACL injury.  While the current roster is small, good news awaits on the horizon as earlier in the day Kevin McGuff and the Buckeyes officially signed five new players (Asia Doss, Alexa Hart, Chelsea Mitchell, Kelsey Mitchell, and Makayla Waterman), four of who are ranked in the top 100 in the country, to a recruiting class that is ranked as high as #2 in the nation.  While this new recruiting class promised great things for the future, the Buckeyes still had more pressing business to attend to in the form of the VCU Rams.

The game started out a little sloppy for Ohio State as they missed a few shots and had a pair of turnovers in the first two and half minutes which raised some concerns that the turnover issues that plagued the Buckeyes in the closing minutes against FAU would once again be a problem against a similar, fast paced, guard-heavy VCU team.  OSU led 4-2 just over two and half minutes into the game but then things settled down, the Buckeyes started to take better care of the ball and hit their shots to take a 13-4 lead at the first media timeout while hitting 6 of 8 from the field.  The Buckeyes extended that lead to 19-6 with eleven and half minutes remaining in the half when they hit what could have been a hiccup as Ameryst Alston picked up her second foul however guard Amy Scullion quickly scored five points to take care of any lost offensive production.  After extending their lead to 26-11 with eight minutes remaining in the half, the Buckeyes started having turnover issues which fueled a 7-0 run by VCU.  Ohio State recovered though and put together a 14 to 5 run to push the lead to 17 before a Rams’ three-pointer at the buzzer made it 40-26 Buckeyes at the break.

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Ohio State Defeathers FAU Owls 91-88

Written November 11th, 2013 by Ken

McGuff explains how this works..

Sorry to be a little late on this…

Here we are, Game 2 of the Kevin McGuff era, and things are looking good for the Ohio State women’s program. The Buckeyes politely welcomed the Florida Atlantic University (FAU) Owls by edging them by the score of 91-88. Despite running off to a 52-41 lead in the 1st half, the Buckeyes tried to see if they could commit more fouls than turnovers in the 2nd half. But, a win is a win, and Coach McGuff is 2-0 as Buckeye head coach.

Ashley Adams got things rocking with a basket :16 into the game, and it was hold on to your hats time. By the time the dust had settled at halftime, Ohio State had moved out to a 52-41 lead. Cait Craft, Ameryst Alston (again) and Ashley Adams powered the 1st half offense. As mentioned in the Preview, FAU struggled a bit with OSU’s size and athleticism. OSU had a 14-4 foul advantage in the 1st half, but up to the 9:00 minute nark, in the 2nd half, the foul differential had evened out

Both coaches made use of frequent substitutions in an attempt to get fresh players on the floor. The Owls amped up the intensity in the 2nd half and at about the 11:00 mark, pulled within 10, before a Cait Crat FG moved margin back to 12 points. However, the 2nd half was more problematic for OSU as numerous fouls and turnovers kept FAU within striking distance. At the 5:40 mark, FAU had closed the gap to 10 points, 80-70. At the under 5 time-out, FAU had pulled with 8, 83-75. Follow me here; at the 2:38 mark, the margin was still 8 points, 86-78, until Latavia Dempsey hits a 3-pointer 86-81.. At the 1:49 it’s now 86-83, at 1:44 it’s 86-85 and the Buckeyes are looking to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.. at :45 mark a Darryce Moor +1 moves margin to 4 points, 89-85. Good thing, too, since an Owl 3-pointer pulled them to within 1 point, 89-88. Two free-throws by Alston sealed the deal at 91-88.

Cait Craft led the Buckeyes with a career high 29 points, with Ameryst Alston scoring 28 and Ashley Adams 14 points. Adams also had 14 rebounds for a double-double, and Darryce Moore also had a DD with 11 points and 10 rebounds. It was a pretty good offensive game, obviously, but the down side was that Craft, Alston and Adams also committed 5 turnovers apiece.

In the preview I thought this would be a good test to see how the Buckeyes could fare against a ‘guard-heavy’ team in the Owls. They won, but could easily have lost. The upcoming opponent, VCU will stress OSU again later this week.

Ohio State Gets The Kevin McGuff Era Started Properly

Written November 9th, 2013 by Charles

A beautiful sight, Kevin McGuff with the gameball from his first win at OSU.

A beautiful sight, Kevin McGuff with the gameball from his first win at OSU.

The Ohio State women’s basketball team officially opened the Kevin McGuff era on Friday with a trip to West Virginia.  While most teams from major conferences tend to open the season at home against patsies, the Buckeyes opened their season with a challenging trip to face a team that made the NCAA tournament last season.  As if having to replace their top two players from last season didn’t add enough extra challenge to the trip, OSU was without the services of a trio of junior guards:  Raven Ferguson who is serving a three game suspension for violating team rules, Maleeka Kynard who has an injured left ankle, and Shelbi Honeycutt who was ill.  This required the shuffling of the starting lineup from the exhibition game and the Buckeyes started guards Ameryst Alston, Cait Craft, and Amy Scullion and centers Ashley Adams and Darryce Moore.

Ohio State drew first blood with an Ameryst Alston jumper thirteen seconds into a first half that proved to a tight battle where neither team managed to lead by more than 5 points.  The Buckeyes faced their biggest deficit of the half, down 20-23 just past the midpoint of the half but a three-pointer by Martina Ellerbe quickly knotted things back up.  The Mountaineers pulled back ahead 27-28 with six minutes left in the half but Alston and Ellerbe each hit a pair of free throws and a three pointer to key a 10 to 4 run that gave OSU a 37-32 lead in the biggest score difference of the half.  West Virginia came back and cut the Buckeye lead to one and the teams went into the locker room with Ohio State up 41-40.

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Women’s BB Preview: West Virginia University

Written November 7th, 2013 by Ken


Note: to get a better understanding of this season’s Buckeyes, you need to read this fine article by Charles on the team.

The 2013-2014 basketball season is here. The Ohio State women’s team visits the West Virginia Mountaineers on Friday November 8th at 5:30 PM. After handling Bellarmine 101-48 in a scrimmage at Value City Arena, the pre-conference schedule gets serious. The Mountaineers also had their scrimmage last Friday and conquered Concord, 101-26. Yikes.

Here’s some background on West Virginia University.

School: West Virginia University

Location: Morgantown, WVa

Founded: 1867

Student Population: 22,827

School Type: Public, Co-ed

Division: D-1

Conference: Big 12 (2nd year)

Arena: WVU Coliseum

Seating: 14,000

Built: 1970

Head Coach: Mike Carey

Year: 13th

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Ohio State Women’s Basketball Season Preview

Written November 5th, 2013 by Charles

teamThe start of the 2013-2014 season represents the dawn of a new era for Ohio State women’s basketball as Kevin McGuff begins his tenure as the head coach of the Buckeyes.  After returning OSU to their proper place at the top of the Big Ten, Jim Foster was let go at the end of last season after three years of slipping performance.  After two seasons as the head coach of Washington, McGuff returns to Ohio, he had been the head coach at Xavier for six years before taking the job with the Huskies, with the charge to get OSU to take the next step and compete for National Championships.

McGuff has promised an up-tempo, exciting style of play and his first couple months on the job have certainly shown that he understands up-tempo and exciting.  He quickly assembled a coaching staff with a diverse variety of backgrounds: Joy Cheek (previously assistant coach at national power Duke), Patrick Klein (assistant coach at OSU under Foster), and Mark Mitchell (a state championship winning high school boys coach from Taft High School in Cincinnati).  With no incoming class signed by Foster, McGuff knew that he had to hit the recruiting trail hard and he quickly made a splash, signing five high profile players (Kelsey Mitchell, Chelsea Mitchell, Alexa Hart, Makayla Waterman, and Asia Doss) who will don the scarlet and gray next season as part of perhaps the best recruiting class ever at OSU.

Adjusting to a new coach is always tough and this season the Buckeyes face the additional challenge of having to replace two of their top players and team leaders from last season as Tayler Hill and Amber Stokes graduated.  Hill led the team in scoring (representing almost one third of OSU’s points), assists, and steals while Stokes was second on the team in steals and was third in points.   Replacing both Hill and Stokes will be a tall task but OSU returns a lot of talent who have all played together before and who should now be much more comfortable with each other’s styles.

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Ohio State Falls to #7 Penn State 76-66

Written March 8th, 2013 by Charles
Tayler Hill's valiant effort in the last minute wasn't enough to get the Buckeyes past Penn State.

Tayler Hill’s valiant effort in the last minute wasn’t enough to get the Buckeyes past Penn State.

Yesterday’s win over Minnesota in the first round of the Big Ten tournament was huge for the Ohio State women’s basketball team’s hopes of making the NCAA tournament.  Today’s matchup with top seeded and 7th ranked Penn State was an opportunity for the Buckeyes to improve their NCAA resume and virtually assure themselves a spot in the Big Dance.  This was also a chance for OSU to get some revenge after Penn State overcame a halftime deficit to beat the Buckeyes in their only regular season meeting.

The game started out as a tight, back-and-forth defensive battle with both teams having to work hard to get an open look.  The opening five minutes saw both team trading baskets with neither able to open up more than a three point lead.  Ohio State led 14-13 at the fourteen minute mark but then Penn State scored six straight points to take a 19-14 lead just a minute and a half later and it seemed like the Nittany Lions were poised to take control of the game.  The Buckeyes responded though, getting some defensive stops which led to some nice layups as OSU scored 8 straight to take the lead, 22-19, with eight minutes remaining in the half.  The teams would go back to trading baskets for the next few minutes and OSU managed to extend its lead to 29-24 with just under five minutes left in the half.  The Nittany Lions closed out the half strong though, going on a 9 to 2 run to close the half and to take a 33-31 lead into halftime.

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Tayler Hill and Raven Ferguson celebrate after a basket during Ohio State's decisive second half run.

Tayler Hill and Raven Ferguson celebrate after a basket during Ohio State’s decisive second half run.

The Ohio State women’s basketball team ended the regular season by winning three straight and six of their last eight to move them back onto the bubble for the NCAA tournament.   Despite the strong finish to the regular season, the Buckeyes came into the Big Ten tournament looking for a few more wins to improve their tournament resume.  Ohio State was the ninth seed in the tournament and opened play against the eight seed Minnesota.  The Golden Gophers swept the Buckeyes during the regular season; those wins included a heart breaker in Columbus two weeks ago.

Minnesota got out to an early 10-4 lead in the opening five minutes but Ohio State came back with a 9 to 2 run to take a 13-12 lead with eight and a half minutes remaining in the half.  The Golden Gophers responded though as Big Ten scoring leader Rachel Banham hit a pair of three pointers to spark a 13 to 3 run that gave Minnesota a 25-16 lead with four minutes on the clock.   Just as it seemed that the Gophers had all the momentum, the OSU defense stepped up and the Buckeyes closed the half with 8 unanswered points to cut the Minnesota lead to 25-24 as both teams headed into the break.

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The Ohio State senior class celebrated Senior Day with a win over Michigan.

The Ohio State senior class celebrated Senior Day with a win over Michigan.

When it comes to Ohio State sports, it is only appropriate that the regular season should end with a game against Michigan; unfortunately this rarely happens for most sports that aren’t football.  This year the Big Ten scheduling computers got things right for the women’s basketball team who closed the regular season today by hosting Michigan, their only game against the Wolverines this season.  The Buckeyes came into this game on a two game winning streak that had seen them play some of their best basketball of the season and they looked to keep that momentum going heading into this week’s Big Ten tournament.

After Michigan scored on the game’s first possession, the two teams traded baskets until Ohio State scored six straight to take an 11-6 lead just over six minutes into the game.  The Wolverines responded with a pair of three points sandwiched around an Ameryst Alston basket to make it a one point game and then tied it at 16 a few minutes later.  The Buckeyes roared back with a 10 to 2 run to take a 26-18 lead with just under six minutes remaining in the half.  The teams would trade baskets for the rest of the half and Ohio State went into halftime lead 30-25.

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