Tonight’s game against Washington State marked the end on the non-conference portion of the Ohio State women’s basketball schedule. After seeing the departure of Brittany Johnson, last season’s best three-point shooter, and Jantel Lavender, leading scorer and rebounder in program history, at the end of last season, there were justifiably a lot of questions surrounding this year’s team. With the team having to adjust to the loss of those two key starters and facing a difficult schedule, many people expected the team to struggle a bit and go through some growing pains, as was reflected by OSU opening the season unranked for the first time in years. Fortunately the team did not listen to those questions and instead put together the best start in program history, entering tonight 12-0 and ranked #11/13 in the country. Tonight’s game against Washington State would be yet another test for the Buckeyes as the Cougars, despite their 6-5 record, were a good team that had already faced three ranked teams on the year, two of which they player very tightly, losing by 2 points to 24th ranked Gonzaga and by 4 to 14th ranked Louisville.
Ohio State women’s basketball coach Jim Foster has said several times this season that college students have all the energy in the world and the schedule that he has put together this season seems designed to test the validity of that statement. After playing three games in one week around Thanksgiving, the Buckeyes are currently in the middle of an even busier stretch of their schedule as today’s game against Southern Utah was their third game in four days, a stretch that also included a red eye flight home from California.
Ohio State looked sluggish to open the game, likely a result of their busy schedule, and found themselves trailing Southern Utah 9-4 four minutes into the game. The Buckeyes started to turn things over the next four minutes, finally tying the game at 13. The Thunderbirds briefly retook the look before a Samantha Prahalis jumper and a Tayler Hill three-pointer gave Ohio State an 18-15 lead with eleven and half remaining in the first. After another three-pointer by Hill, the two teams began to trade baskets; Southern Utah twice cut the OSU lead to four points but with six and half minutes remaining until intermission, Ohio State led 30-23. At this point the Buckeyes put together eight unanswered points to take control of the game. The Thunderbirds ended the Buckeye run with a layup with two minutes to go but neither team managed to score again in the half and Ohio State held a 38-25 lead as the two teams went into the locker rooms.
I start this recap with an apology for not posting a recap of the women’s basketball game against California on Saturday as I ended up in Chicago that day without internet access and a dead cell phone battery. The trip to face the Golden Bears in Berkley proved to be an eventful one for the Buckeyes who survived a late rally, and three potentially game tying shots in the final 10 seconds, to hang onto a 77-75 victory. Cal is a great rebounding team and they took advantage of Ohio State’s weakness on the boards by out-rebounding the Buckeyes 43 to 25. Still the Buckeyes once again found a way to win a close game, once again showing a toughness that had been rare for this program in recent years. The win was a significant milestone for coach Jim Foster who recorded his 750th career win.
Today the Buckeyes faced Charlotte in a rare Monday afternoon game; the game originally was a normal evening game but the 49ers had messed up with the scheduling of their return flight, setting it to take-off before the game would have been over. Even after the game was rescheduled so that the Charlotte team could actually be there the whole time, this game did not present nearly as big of a challenge to the Buckeyes as Saturday’s game did. The biggest question was how much energy would OSU have after taking a red eye flight back from California on Saturday and having only one day to recover. That question was quickly answered as the Buckeyes built a 27-14 lead by the midway point of the first half, then they really turned it on, scoring 17 straight points over the next five minutes to widen the lead to 44-14. Ohio State then coasted into the half with a 46-24 advantage.
Yesterday the Ohio State men’s basketball team took care of business in the men’s Big Ten-ACC Challenge. Today the OSU women’s team got their turn as they hosted Florida State in the women’s Big Ten – ACC Challenge. The Seminoles started the year with high expectations but have had a disappointing season so far, despite this they were still a very dangerous team.
After the two teams traded baskets for the first four minutes of the game, Florida State scored 7 straight to open up an 11-4 lead. Ohio State responded with a six point run of their own to cut the lead to 11-10 with twelve minutes remaining in the half. The Seminoles fired right back with another 7 point run to extend the lead to 18-10. The two teams went back to trading baskets with the Buckeyes slowly chipping away at the lead. A Samantha Prahalis three-pointer tied the game at 31 with just over a minute remaining before halftime. Ohio State took the lead seconds later as Amber Stokes came up with a steal and took the ball to the basket for a layup. Neither team managed to score in the final minute of the half and the teams went into the locker room with the Buckeyes up 33-31.
Charles was in charge at yesterday’s women’s hoops game, and got to catch the action live from press row. Here’s his look at the big win-
18th ranked Ohio State completed its Thanksgiving week stretch of three games in six days by hosting 20th ranked LSU. LSU suffered a close home loss to Northwestern last week but were still the first ranked opponent OSU had faced this season and promised to be a stiff test for a young Buckeye team. This game also marked the first OSU women’s basketball game that I attended as a member of the media. After spending four years in the athletic band and playing at women’s games it was a very different experience and I had to actively fight the urge to cheer and be as vocal as I normally am at these games.
Ohio State opened the game with a three-pointer from Samantha Prahalis and a short jumper by Kalpana Beach but LSU quickly responded, cutting the OSU lead to 7-4. An old fashioned three point play by Beach ignited a 7-0 Buckeye run that stretched the lead to 14-4. The Tiger defense responded by tightening up inside and clogging the interior passing lanes, forcing several OSU turnovers and sparking a 16 to 4 run that gave the Tigers a 20-18 lead just past the midway point of the half. Ohio State retook the lead at the eight minute mark as redshirt freshman guard Amy Scullion drove to the basket and hit an impressive shot while being fouled; she made the free-throw to make the score 23-22 in favor of the Buckeyes. The Tigers quickly retook the lead and were ahead 28-25 when Prahalis hit her second three-pointer of the game to tie the score at 28 with 2:20 remaining on the clock. The crowd came alive at that point and got even louder on the next LSU possession when Prahalis came up with a steal that she converted into a layup to give Ohio State back the lead. A pair of free throws by Tayler Hill would stretch the OSU lead to four but LSU hit a pair of free throws of their own in the closing minute to send the teams into the locker rooms with Ohio State leading 32-30. Read More