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tBBC OSUWBB: Buckeyes Extend Winning Streak to 9


OSUWBB: Buckeyes Extend Winning Streak to 9
via our good friends at Buckeye Battle Cry
Visit their fantastic blog and read the full article (and so much more) here


Following impressive wins against Maryland and Iowa, the 7th ranked Ohio State women’s basketball team headed to Happy Valley to take on Penn State. The Nittany Lions entered this game 9-15, 4-9 in the Big Ten, but were coming off an impressive win over a 17th ranked Michigan State squad that saw PSU erase a 14 point deficit on the road.

Both teams got off to a slow start on offense, missing easy shots as they combined to go 0 of 8 during a scoreless first two and a half minutes. Penn State finally got the scoring started with an old-fashioned three point play before the two teams started trading proper three pointers. The Nittany Lions put together 7 straight points to take a 13-6 lead with just under three minutes remaining in the quarter. The Buckeyes responded thought with 8 unanswered points of their own to take their first lead of the game. Unfortunately the lead didn’t last long as PSU hit the last basket of the quarter to take a 15-14 lead after the first.

Ohio State got off to a much better start in the second quarter, scoring the first 7 points to take a 21-15 lead just over two minutes in. Penn State finally got their offense going, trading a couple baskets before scoring seven straight to pull within one, 27-26, with three minutes left in the half. The Buckeyes fired right back, using a long three pointer by Ameryst Alston to ignite an 8 to 2 run to give them a bit of breathing room that they would maintain through the rest of the quarter, going into the locker room up 37-30.

An Ameryst Alston three pointer opened the scoring in the second half and stretched the Ohio State lead to ten. Penn State answered with a three of their own but Alston came right back with her second in a row to give OSU a 43-33 lead. The Buckeye offense went cold though and the Nittany Lions took advantage, scoring 11 straight to take a 44-43 lead. The two teams would trade baskets for the rest of the quarter with OSU managing to take a 55-52 lead into the final quarter.

The fourth quarter continued the back-and-forth offensive battle with Ohio State unable to get any breathing room and Penn State unable to take the lead. A 7 to 1 run by the Buckeyes extended their lead to 65-58 with four minutes remaining. A pair of free throws by the Nittany Lions made it a two possession game but six straight OSU points gave them an 11 point lead, 71-60, with just under two minutes on the clock. That would prove too much for Penn State as Ohio State coasted the rest of the way to a 77-63 win.

After two hot shooting games in a row, Ohio State came back down to earth in this one, struggling with their shot for major stretches as they went 41% from the field and 38% from outside. Facing a Penn State zone that really limited the ability to penetrate off the dribble, the Buckeyes had to move the ball a lot, recording 19 assists on 25 baskets. OSU’s play could have been crisper as they committed 20 turnovers, 8 in the first quarter. Defensively OSU allowed Penn State to shoot 41% from the field and 44% from outside. The Buckeyes did force 16 turnovers while blocking 6 shots. A high point for the game was OSU dominating the rebounding battle, 41 to 30.

Ameryst Alston led both teams with 26 points as she hit a career high 8 three pointers. Alston also added 6 rebounds, 4 assists, and a steal. Kelsey Mitchell struggled with her shot in contrast, going 6 of 19 from the field and 3 of 13 from outside, but still scored 17 points to go with 3 assists and a pair of steals. Alexa Hart recorded her 7th double-double of the season with 12 points and 15 rebounds as well as 4 blocks. Asia Doss had a team high 5 steals and 4 assists while Makayla Waterman had a big 8 points off the bench.

This was not a pretty win for Ohio State as the Penn State defense really gave them problems for large stretches. The Buckeyes did a good job of not getting too frustrated though and brought a lot of energy on defense, especially when they went to a full court press that gave PSU nightmares and generated several turnovers. It was also nice to see Makayla Waterman step up when star Kelsey Mitchell was struggling a bit. While Mitchell and Ameryst Alston will always be the major scorers on this team, they will have a bad game from time to time and other players need to step up. Alexa Hart has really improved her offense since the start of Big Ten play and Shayla Cooper has been a solid force off the bench; if Waterman can also continue to step up that gives the Buckeyes three solid post players to keep opponents from cheating out too much on OSU’s heralded guards. The win also extends OSU’s current streak to 9, their longest since 2012.

While it would be nice to see OSU consistently blowing out the bottom half of the conference on the road, having to play all the way to the end is teaching this team how to fight and scrap and that will pay dividends come tournament time when the Buckeyes face squads that have been able to coast more often and aren’t using to having a fight on their hands.

After a pair of road games, OSU returns home to take on Nebraska on Thursday. The game tips at 6:00 pm and can be seen on BTN.

The post OSUWBB: Buckeyes Extend Winning Streak to 9 appeared first on The Buckeye Battle Cry: Ohio State News and Commentary.

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