After a week off to finish up final exams, the 20th ranked Ohio State women’s basketball team headed west for a road trip that would see them play a pair of games in the state of Washington. First up for the Buckeyes was Washington State, in what would be only the second official road game of the season for OSU.
The game got off to a defensive start as both teams came up with some steals but couldn’t generate points off of them, resulting in the game being tied 4-4 at the first television timeout. Washington State came out of that break motivate and on fire, scoring 7 straight points in less than a minute. This seemed to wake up Ohio State and the Buckeyes put together a 10 to 2 run of their own to take a 14-13 lead on a pair of free throws by Tayler Hill with eight minutes remaining in the half. The Cougars would retake the lead a minute later and the two teams would trade baskets for the rest of the half, with Washington State scoring the final four points before the break to go into the locker room up 28-23.
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.
This has been a difficult week. “Gee, you think?” – People in Happy Valley
Even as someone who’s not affiliated directly with PSU football, the news and headlines coming out of this story has created a pall over all of the games this weekend. This story reminds us that there are things greater than the trivial games that we enjoy, and that these are (after all) just games. It makes us take a step back and wrestle with the support we give to programs and the expectations we have for people who are in charge of them. It is the icing on the cupcake of a season already filled with reminders that the purity of the sport is not what it should be (particularly if you buy your cupcakes at one of those overpriced “boutique” places).
In addition to the national news, we hear that Urban Meyer lost his father this past week- thoughts and prayers to him and his family. With all that’s been going on, this has been a difficult look back at this past week’s contests- but the games can also be reminders of the better things that can happen on the fields and in the lives of the young adults who represent the Universities we follow. So, with that, this week’s soundtrack is some older U2- here we go.
If Disney were in charge of college footbal (and they aren’t. Yet.), Nebraska would be filled with evil villains and Penn State’s valiant, moxified seniors would figure out a way to beat the evil Huskers to honor their “fallen” coach. Alas- we’ve seen that movie, and while miracles happen in real life, the truth of the matter is that two good football teams played and the one with the better strategy managed to emerge victorious. Penn State’s defense is as advertised, as is their offense- it will be interesting to see if this week’s matchup against Ohio State will make the LSU/Alabama game look like a scoring juggernaut.