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.
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.
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.
The Ohio State women’s basketball team looked to copy the men’s team from yesterday and pull off an upset of Michigan State at home. Following a heart breaking loss to Minnesota last Thursday, the Buckeyes added a new wrinkle to their lineup as sophomore guard Raven Ferguson returned to the starting lineup but in a new position, taking over at the four spot. This change gives OSU a smaller lineup but one that is more athletic and one that is a bit more dangerous from the outside.
After Ohio State’s recent shooting woes, Buckeye fans were relieved and excited as Tayler Hill hit OSU’s first shot of the night with her foot on the three point line. The Buckeyes would hit 4 of their first 6 shots to take an 8-7 lead at the first media timeout. At that point OSU’s good offensive start quickly evaporated as the Buckeye missed five straight shots and Michigan State forced several turnovers. Fortunately MSU also struggled with its shooting during this stretch and only managed to take an 11-8 lead with just over fourteen minutes remaining in the first half. After three minutes of neither team being able to score, Ashley Adams finally hit a two point jumper which the Spartans immediately answered. The Adams basket seemed to re-ignite the Buckeye offense as Raven Ferguson hit a three to tie the game on the next trip down the floor and Ohio State went on an 18 to 5 run to take a 28-15 lead with just under five minutes on the clock. MSU wasn’t going to go away though as they scored six straight points and closed the half on an 8 to 2 run to cut the Ohio State lead to 30-23 at halftime.
After having the weekend off, Ohio State came into tonight’s game against Minnesota looking to rebound from their disastrous offensive performance in the second half of last Thursday’s loss to Nebraska. With a 14-11 record coming into this game and only four games remaining in the regular season, the sense of urgency for the Buckeyes was off the charts as they needed to win out in order to have any hope of making the NCAA tournament as an at-large selection.
Ohio State’s recent shooting woes reared their ugly head at the start of tonight’s game as the Buckeyes struggled to make any shot. Fortunately for OSU, a series of turnovers and fouls by Minnesota prevented the Golden Gophers from taking full advantage and the game was tied at 8 seven minutes into the first half. At this point Minnesota started to clean up its sloppy play, taking care of the ball and cutting down on turnovers which fueled a 11 to 2 to give the Gophers a 19-10 lead with just under eight minutes remaining in the half. The Buckeyes finally managed to stop the skid, forcing some turnovers and drawing a few fouls to help them slowly cut into the deficit and only trail 24-20 with just over a minute remaining in the half. OSU would miss a couple scoring opportunities in the final minute and the Gophers would make the final basket of the half to lead 26-20 at the break.
Ohio State entered tonight’s game riding a three game winning streak, their longest this season since Big Ten play started. The Buckeyes knew that keeping that streak going wasn’t going to be easy as they had to face Nebraska in Lincoln. The Cornhuskers came into tonight’s game in second place in the Big Ten and on a three game winning streak against the Buckeyes, all three wins being fairly comfortable ones.
Nebraska got out to an early lead; hitting three of their first four shots to take a 6-0 lead three minutes into the game. Ohio State responded though with a seven point run to go up 7-6 just a bit more than three minutes later. At this point an intense back-and-forth battle started with the two teams trading baskets and the lead for the next eleven minutes with neither team able to take more than a two point lead. That narrow margin was broken when the Cornhuskers scored 5 straight to take a 23-19 lead with a minute left in the half. The Buckeyes would briefly narrow that lead back to a single basket but then Nebraska hit a pair of free throws in the closing seconds to give themselves a 25-21 lead going into intermission.
After getting their first Big Ten win of the year against Indiana, the Ohio State women’s basketball team knew that they couldn’t relax heading into today’s game against Wisconsin. Even though the Badgers came into this game as one of the two teams in the Big Ten that still didn’t have a conference win, the game would be in Madison and road wins are always tough to come by in the conference and the Buckeyes had a big hole still to dig out of after losing their first four conference games.
Ohio State got off to a good start, scoring the first seven points of the game on the way to taking an early 10-2 lead. Wisconsin quickly responded though, scoring 9 straight points, helped in part by a pair of costly Buckeye fouls, to take an 11-10 lead about eight minutes into the game. After exchanging a few baskets with the Badgers, the Buckeyes took advantage of three pointers by Cait Craft and Raven Ferguson to score 10 unanswered and retake a 23-14 lead with six minutes left in the half. Wisconsin wasn’t impressed though, putting together a 7 to 2 run to cut the lead to 25-21. OSU would quickly extend the lead to eight but the Badgers took advantage of two Buckeye fouls in the closing minute to cut the OSU lead to 29-25 as the half ended.
Ohio State entered tonight’s game looking to break their three game losing streak and avoid getting off to their worst ever start in Big Ten play. That task wasn’t an easy one as the Buckeyes would be playing at #12 Purdue without starting guard, and best defensive player on the team, Amber Stokes. OSU’s job got even harder when before the game it was revealed that star guard Tayler Hill and sophomore guard Maleeka Kynard would also miss the game due to illness. The missing players forced a different starting lineup, with Ashley Adams, Darryce Moore, Ameryst Alston, Raven Ferguson, and Cait Craft getting the starting nod; this was the first career start for Craft.
After scoring the first basket of the game, the Ohio State offense struggled and the Buckeyes found themselves in a 14-5 hole eight minutes into the game. The next four minutes would see the two teams trade baskets before OSU scored seven straight to pull within one point, 19-18, with six and a half minutes remaining in the half. The Boilermakers answered right back though, scoring nine unanswered to extend their lead to 10. Ohio State chipped away a bit of that lead in the final two minutes but went into halftime trailing 30-24.