Based on a strong 2nd half performance yesterday against Northwestern, Ohio State’s Friday opponent was #1 seed Penn State. The Nittany Lions had no trouble with the ‘bye’ to move into the 2nd round.
That “thud” you heard was Penn State’s Big Ten Tournament coming to a convincing end as Ohio State avenged two regular season losses by upsetting the Lions 99-82. The Buckeyes built upon yesterday’s 2nd half 51 point blitz of Northwestern with a season high half score of 58 points half against the Nittany Lions to have a 58-34 lead at the half.
Ohio State ended the game shooting 62% from the field (36-58) and a blistering 55% from the perimeter (10-18) and 71% (15-21) from the foul line. They grabbed 37 rebounds, 8 offensive. But then, if you’r shooting over 62%, you wouldn’t have too many opportunities. Penn State shot 37% (26-71) from the field, 20% (3-15) from the perimeter and 77% (27-35) from the foul line.
Ohio State was led by five players in double figures: Ameryst Alston (31 pts, 9 ast), Cait Craft (24 pts, 6 ast), Raven Ferguson (15 pts, 7 reb), Darryce Moore (11 pts, 6 reb) and Ashley Adams (11 pts, 5 reb). I want to pay special mention to Ashley Adams. Due to foul trouble by Darryce Moore, Ashley was rotated in at Center for the last eight minutes of the game. In those eight minutes, Ashley had 11 points, 5 rebounds, 3 blocks and an assist. This was coming up big in a big game for Ashley. Well done.
Penn State was led by Ariel Edwards (29 pts, 10 rebs), Maggie Lucas (21 pts, 6 rebs) and Dara Taylor (14 pts, 5 rebs, 8 ast).
Ohio State and Northwestern opened up the Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament this afternoon. The Buckeyes finally prevailed in a tough contest, pulling away in the last two minutes for the final margin, 86-77. Before I get into the particulars, I want to congratulate both teams on a hard fought contest. The 2nd half, especially, was an exciting contest, which really went down to the final few minutes.. Although OSU trailed by 4 at the half (39-35), a 51 point second half blitz proved to be too much for the Wildcats.
Ohio State was led by Ameryst Alston’s 30 points (20 in the 2nd half), and double ‘double-doubles’ by Darryce Moore (19 points, 10 rebounds) and Martina Ellerbe (16 points, 13 rebounds). Truly outstanding performances. Ohio State shot 41% from the field, grabbed 45 rebounds and only turned the ball over 8 times.
Northwestern was led by Maggie Lyon’s 23 points, Lauren Douglas’ 15 points, Karly Roser’s 11 points and Nia Coffey’s 17 points and 11 rebounds. Northwestern shot 40% from the field, had 41 rebounds and turned the ball over 10 times.
We wrap up the Buckeyes regular season with a get together to discuss our feelings about multiple topics. We’re pleased to have Marty Bannister from The Fan in Columbus and the voice of the Buckeyes join us and give his thoughts on the regular season. We also have women’s basketball season ticket holder and superfan Jeff Howell joining us with his insight to our Q&A. I have included links in the participant’s names for their twitters, please follow if you aren’t already! Let’s get started.
Marty - Two things pop to mind right away, the signing of the highly rated freshman recruiting class, led Cincinnati Princeton’s Kelsey Mitchell and Kettering Fairmont’s Makayla Waterman, and then that same week, opening with a win at then 12th ranked, and now 7th ranked, West Virginia. That win came without Raven Ferguson, suspended for the first 3 games, and the Buckeyes played the final 1:20 with only 5 eligible players. That same Mountaineer team won at Baylor this past weekend,snapping the defending champs 35 game home court win streak.
Jeff - To me the highlight of McGuff’s first season was the ability of he and his staff to “coach up” this team. There have obviously been more talented Lady Buckeye teams in the past, but in my 12 years as a season ticket holder I have never seen a Lady Buckeye team with more heart and effort than this year’s team. Let’s face it – other than Ameryst Alston, this team was largely made up of role players, who provided a specific area of expertise: a rebounder – Moore/Adams, a defensive stopper – Craft, an energy person – Scullion, a person who can take someone off the dribble – Raven, a person who can hit an open shot – Ellerbe. None of these had the all around, everything game of Alston. McGuff and his staff were able to get the most out of nothing from this group and for the most part were competitive in every single game. His whole approach to practices, warm-ups prior to the game start, his engaging energy on the bench, etc. were refreshing and will bode well going forward.
Ken - The season opening win against West Virginia. In their first game, they visited a very good team and won an away game. Good times were ahead for us.
Mali - We beat Michigan at Michigan. That’s never ever a bad thing.
Charles - This is a tossup between the season opening win on the road against a good West Virginia team, always good to get a win in your first game as head coach, and the upset of 17th ranked Purdue in the first Big Ten game. Beating a ranked conference foe is a big deal and was made better because it was against Purdue who I possibly hate more than Michigan in women’s basketball.
WVaBuckeye - I have two that are ties from my perspective. First, was the way this team came out and performed to his expectations and that definitely became the catalyst for players who just weren’t going to handle the improvement. I think that’s a positive thing. Second, is the tireless work in which he and staff put in with regards to the class that’s coming in and the two stars transferring. The season and recruiting is a testament to him because he did a lot with very little so to speak.
The Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament kicks off Thursday at 12:00 noon EST when #8 seed Ohio State (15-17, 5-11) and #9 seed Northwestern (15-14, 5-11) face each other. Ohio State has staggered to the finish line this past month, having lost 6 of 7 games.
However, their win was against Northwestern 71-62 on February 23rd, so this appears to be a good match-up for the Buckeyes. Also during the month, Northwestern has similarly lost 7 of 8 games, so the Wildcats haven’t been finishing with momentum, either. In their previous meeting, Ohio State got out to a 41-21 halftime lead with some blistering shooting (48% FG, 62% 3Pt), and held on for the win as Northwestern stormed back with a 41-point second half themselves.
Ohio State was led by Ameryst Alston (30 points), Martina Ellerbe (13 pts, 6 rbs) and Raven Ferguson (11 pts, 9 rbs). Northwestern countered with Maggie Lyon (21 pts), Lauren Douglas (13 pts), Christen Inman (10 pts) and Nia Coffey (9 pts, 18 rbs).
Here is the previous game preview and recap between these teams. Not much to add with this one; Ohio State obviously needs to break their pattern of “good half – bad half” to put together forty solid, well played minutes of basketball. It will again come down to executing the basics; shooting, ball-handling and rebounding.
The game is scheduled for Thursday, tipping off at 12:00 PM from Indianapolis. Television coverage will be provided by BTN, check your local listings. The winner of this game plays #1 seed Penn State at noon EST on Friday.
To view more of tBBC’s thoughts on the WBB B1G Tourney, make sure you check out our staff roundtable tomorrow!
Here are the rosters for Thursday’s game.
Northwestern University Wildcats
Ohio State University Buckeyes
Head coach Kevin McGuff has has some more work to do this season but his first three All-B1G honorees have been named and the streak of All-B1G first team honorees continues for the Buckeyes as Ameryst Alston has been so honored.
I tweeted the Canton McKinley product yesterday, @am_bam14 that she had been sending a message to the B1G coaches and media all season, and evidently they got it. Her honors on both lists marks the 10th consecutive season that at least one Buckeye has earned first team honors and is the 12th overall selection since 2005.
Alston, who’s just a sophomore, finished the regular season third with 20.3 ppg and led the team with 99 assists and 36 steals. She lit up the nets from the outside as well at opportune times in key upsets and had 33 total trifectas during the season. She will have plenty of help next season and should repeat as an All-B1G performer.
Junior guard and former Columbus Africentric star Raven Ferguson, who earned honorable mention honors by the media, was a front runner for Big Ten Sixth Player of the Year honors. @ThatsSORaven_31 was second on the team in scoring with 12.8 ppg, the sharpshooting guard led the Buckeyes with 19 three-point field goals in conference play and was a force on the glass at both ends of the court. There were many moments during the season that she was the team leader in scoring or rebounding and has cemented her spot on the team when the fresh talent comes in next season.
Salem Ohio Red-shirt junior Amy Scullion was Ohio State’s recipient of the Big Ten’s Sportsmanship Award and has elected to forego her senior season to focus on med school. One of the more consistent players this season she started 31 of 32 games. She averaged 3.3 ppg and 4 rpg and had a career high 19 points against UT-Martin this season. Her leadership will be missed moving forward, but she obviously left an impression on the rest of the conference for the type of person she is.
Congratulations to the honorees and the best of luck keeping your season going in the B1G tournament this week!
Ohio State First Team All-Big Ten selections (since 2005);2005 – Jessica Davenport; 2006 – Jessica Davenport; 2007 – Jessica Davenport; 2008 - Jantel Lavender; 2009 - Jantel Lavender; 2010 - Jantel Lavender, Samantha Prahalis; 2011 - Jantel Lavender; 2012 - Tayler Hill, Samantha Prahalis; 2013 - Tayler Hill; 2014 - Ameryst Alston
The Ohio State Buckeyes (15-16, 5-10) visit The Barn on Sunday to play the Minnesota Golden Gophers (18-11, 7-8) in an early afternoon tip-off. The Buckeyes will look to get to .500 for the season, while the Gophers look to get to .500 in Conference play. The Gophers will also honor seniors Sari Noga and Micaella Riche.
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The Buckeyes traveled to Iowa City tonight to try and payback #25 Ranked Hawkeyes in the second to last game of the regular season. The Buckeyes (15-15/5-9) and Hawkeyes (21-7/9-5) had a memorable match-up oin Columbus on January 19th that the visitors won 81-74. Ameryst Alston lit them up for 24 points and appeared to be on pace to put on another good show on the road.
Alston finished the half with 10 points and kept the Buckeyes close only down 36-34. Shooting 52% from the field which included 4-8 from three, the ladies held tight and played pretty good defense against a Hawkeye team that has four starters in double figures scoring average.
The Buckeyes led early and often during the second half and was up by as many as 7 at one point, but the home team went on a run and brought it to 52-51 before Raven Ferguson ended the Buckeye drought and stayed in the ballgame with their defense. At the under four time-outy it was Iowa 61, Buckeyes 59 with Ellerbe in foul trouble and being held in check, the rest needed to step up in scoring.
If the Buckeyes hold any hope of making the WNIT they needed this upset and have a great showing in the B1G tournament, good time to get hot. Theairra Taylor may be one of the best in the B1G scoring 21 to go with 6 rebounds and 4 assists, she was the difference maker down the stretch.
Raven Ferguson made a couple free throws to make it 63-61 Iowa and the Buckeyes hung tough against a pretty good Hawkeye squad yet again but fell short 65-61. Alston led the Buckeyes with 18 points along with 4 rebounds and 6 assists and Adams with 12, Craft with 10 and Ferguson with 11. The Buckeyes finish up on the road at Minnesota this Sunday at 2:00 p.m. and hope to finish Coach McGuff’s first season at .500 at 16-16.
The Ohio State Buckeyes (15-15, 5-9) travel to Iowa City for a Thursday evening game against the Iowa Hawkeyes (21-7, 9-5). Ohio State snapped their losing streak with a solid win against Northwestern on Sunday, 71-62, while, Iowa beat Michigan 74-70 on Saturday.
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