With the Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament getting underway today at Conseco Fieldhouse, I mean Banker’s Life Fieldhouse or whatever it is called now, in Indianapolis, some of us here at tBBC sat down to make our predictions for what will happen in the tournament. Ohio State enters the tournament as the 8th seed with a 15-17 record and will need to make it to the championship game in order to qualify for the WNIT, need to finish the season with a .500 record or better; of course if they win the tournament they will be headed to the big dance. The road for the team will be difficult but anything is possible come tournament time. Check out our predictions below for what will happen in each of the tournament’s 11 games.
Ohio State. A very winnable game for both teams, but i think OSU pulls together to get this win. The Buckeyes may not play 40 minutes of good basketball, but 30 minutes should be enough.
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.
The Ohio State women’s basketball team entered their final home game of the 2013-2014 season today on a five game losing streak that had seen the Buckeyes go from solid contenders for an NCAA tournament berth to under .500 on the season and had fueled speculation that the team had just kind of hung it up for the rest of the season. Even though there is still a week left in the regular season, OSU’s last two games are on the road so today’s game was Senior Day for Martina Ellerbe, Amy Scullion, Darryce Moore, Ashley Adams, and Aleksandra Dobranic. Ohio State has really struggled on Sunday’s during the Big Ten season and considering their losing streak coming into the game, there were lots of doubts about whether they could send the seniors out correctly.
Ohio State got things off to an encouraging start with senior Martina Ellerbe opening the scoring with a three pointer as OSU jumped out to an early 7-2 lead. Northwestern would score the next five points before OSU went on a 14 to 3 run to open up a 23-10 lead at the midpoint of the first half. After trading baskets for the next few minutes, the Buckeyes scored 10 straight points, thanks to a pair of three pointers by Raven Ferguson, to extend their lead to 37-16 with five minutes remaining in the half. The teams would trade baskets the rest of the way and Ohio State led 41-21 at the half.
After suffering back-to-back road losses at Wisconsin and Purdue, the Ohio State women’s basketball team returned home to Columbus hoping the friendlier confines of the Schott would help them get back to winning. The Big Ten scheduling gods were not going to make that easy though as standing in the way was 9th ranked Penn State who had already defeated OSU 66-42 in Happy Valley back in January.
Things started off well for Ohio State as a Darryce Moore layup opened the scoring and the Buckeyes got up to an early 7-4 just over two minutes into the game. Penn State would use a 9 to 4 run to change that and take a 13-9 lead with just over fifteen minutes remaining in the half. The Buckeyes would narrow that gap to one only to see the Nittany Lions quickly open the lead back to 5, 19-14, near the midpoint of the half. Down 24-19 with just over eight minutes before the break, Ohio State got a spark from three points by Amy Scullion and Martina Ellerbe and used that momentum to go on a 14 to 2 run that gave the Buckeyes a 33-26 lead with just under five minutes to go in the half. Despite all the momentum on their side, Ohio State suddenly found themselves going cold from the field and Penn State responded by chipping away at the lead and then making a layup just before the buzzer to go into the locker room leading 38-36.
OSU’s cold shooting continued at the start of the second half and the Buckeyes quickly found themselves in a double-digit hole, 47-36, just four minutes into the second period. Five straight points by the Buckeyes pulled them back within six but they still couldn’t find their shot and the Nittany Lions used a 10 to 1 run to put themselves back up by double digits and put the game out of reach as PSU would coast the rest of the way to a 74-54 win.
After dominating Illinois in their best offensive game of the year, the Ohio State (14-10, 4-4) women’s basketball team traveled to Madison looking to put together their first set of back-to-back wins in the Big Ten this season and to get above .500 in conference play. Wisconsin (9-11, 2-6) had struggled for much of the season but had given Michigan State a scare in East Lansing on Thursday in a 71-67 loss.
Neither team got off to a good start offensively. A free throw and then a layup by Darryce Moore gave Ohio State an early lead but then pretty much anything resembling offense disappeared as both teams struggled to make a basket. A three pointer by Wisconsin tied the game three and a half minutes into the game. The Buckeyes take a 5-3 and a 7-5 lead over the next two minutes but then the Badgers got their offense going and scored 10 straight points to take a 15-7 lead eight minutes into the game. A Raven Ferguson layup finally broke the Wisconsin run but Ohio State couldn’t get an closer than six before the Badgers scored 6 unanswered to stretch their lead to 23-11 just past the midpoint of the half. A timeout by Kevin McGuff seemed to get things going for the Buckeyes who quickly got four points to cut the lead back to single digits only to see the Badgers push it back to double digits, 30-17 with five minutes to go in the half. The OSU offense showed some improvement in the final three minutes of the half and managed to trim the Wisconsin lead to 36-28 as the buzzer sounded.
Shooting was the big difference in the first half as Ohio State struggled with their shooting and even with improvement in the closing minutes of the half, the Buckeyes only shot 36% from the field while going 1 of 7 from three point range. Meanwhile Wisconsin was hard to stop at times as the Badgers shot 43% from the field while going 3 of 9 from outside. A major surprise for the Buckeyes was that Ameryst Alston, who leads the team in scoring on the season, was limited to only four points in the first half.
Ohio State came into tonight’s game against Illinois with a 13-10 (3-4 in the Big Ten) record. As suggested by their record, conference play had been very up and down for the Buckeyes who were coming off a tough loss to Michigan State where OSU got out to a nice early lead only to lose the lead thanks to a scoring drought partway through the first half that they couldn’t overcome. Despite their up and down season, OSU is currently projected as a 12 seed in the ESPN’s most recent NCAA tournament projection thanks to their top ranked strength of schedule and four wins over RPI top 50 teams.
The game got off to a poor start for Ohio State as Illinois hit back-to-back three pointers in the first minute and a half as the Illini scored the first 8 points of the game. Even when OSU finally got their offense going, the Illini hit another pair of three pointers to extend their lead to 16-5 less than five minutes into the game. At this point Kevin McGuff switched up the Buckeye defense, changing to a 3-2 which resulted in the Buckeyes getting out on the Illinois shooters better. OSU then started taking advantage of Illinois missing some shots and started to force some turnovers which sparked an 18 to 3 run by the Buckeyes that gave them a 23-19 lead at the midpoint of the first half. A technical foul on the Illinois coach seemed to wake up the Illini who started to hit shots again to tie the game at 28 with just under eight minutes remaining in the half. A pair of free throws by Martina Ellerbe and an old fashioned three point play by Raven Ferguson put the Buckeyes back on top and OSU continued their surging for the rest of the half on the way to a 47-35 lead at intermission.
The Ohio State men’s basketball team wasn’t the only Buckeye squad looking to end a losing streak tonight. The OSU women’s basketball team came into tonight on a two game losing streak and were looking to break that as they traveled to Ann Arbor to face rival Michigan. The game was even more meaningful as the Buckeyes were looking for revenge after losing to the Wolverines in Columbus earlier in the month.
Neither team started out shooting well in the game and points were difficult to come by early on; at the midpoint of the first Ohio State led 8-7. The Buckeyes managed to get the offense going a little better over the next three minutes as they used an 8 to 1 run to open up a 16-8 lead with just over six minutes remaining. The two teams then traded baskets and with three and a half minutes remaining OSU held up 21-15. Unfortunately, the Buckeye offense hit a wall at that point and didn’t score the rest of the half while Michigan closed with 11 straight points and the Wolverines headed into the locker room with a 26-21 lead. Ohio State shot atrociously in the first half, going 29% from the field and 22% from three point range. Fortunately, Michigan didn’t shoot much better going 33% from the field and 20% from beyond-the-arc.
Michigan hit a layup to open the scoring in the second half but Ohio State responded with a 10 to 3 run to tie the game at 31 six minutes into the second period. The Wolverines quickly fired back, outscoring the Buckeyes 9 to 2 over the next two and a half minutes to retake a 40-33 lead. Ashley Adams and Raven Ferguson weren’t impressed by the Michigan run though and teamed up on the next three baskets with Ferguson hitting a jumper sandwiched between assisting on layups by Adams. The baskets by Ferguson and Adams sparked the rest of the Buckeyes and ignited a 17 to 2 run that put Ohio State up 50-42 with five minutes remaining in the game. That run pretty much broke Michigan’s spirits and the Wolverines would never get closer as Ohio State cruised the rest of the way to a 61-50 win.
After a poor shooting performance in a disappointing loss to rival Michigan, the exciting promise of the Ohio State women’s basketball team’s Big Ten opening upset of Purdue was highly muted. With the Buckeyes heading to Bloomington to face a 22nd ranked Indiana team that entered the game 14-0, things didn’t look terribly promising for OSU’s hopes of turning things around.
The game got off to a competitive start with both teams trading baskets but after almost seven minutes Ohio State held a 12-10 lead. Excellent OSU shooting over the next four minutes led to 8 unanswered points which stretched the lead to 20-10. The Hoosiers cut the lead to 7 over the next couple minutes but the Buckeyes responded with a 13 to 5 run to open up a 38-23 lead with two minutes remaining in the first half. Indiana responded with increased intensity and closed the half on a 6 to 1 run to trim the OSU lead to 39-29 at the break.
The second half opened like the first with both teams trading baskets. With the Buckeyes up 9, back-to-back baskets by Ameryst Alston keyed a 10 to 0 run that extended the OSU lead to 56-37 with just under eleven minutes remaining. Indiana wasn’t impressed and responded with 11 straight points of their own over the next three minutes to make it an eight point game. Suddenly all the momentum belonged to the Hoosiers and they were in reach of the lead. This time it was Raven Ferguson who hit back-to-back baskets to ignite a run of 10 straight points to give the Buckeyes a comfortable 66-48 lead with just under five minutes remaining. The Hoosiers couldn’t respond and would only score three more points the rest of the game, giving them only 3 points over the last eight and a half minutes, as Ohio State pulled off the 70-51 upset win.