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tBBC OSUWBB Ohio State Overhauls Michigan State 85-80


OSUWBB Ohio State Overhauls Michigan State 85-80
via our good friends at Buckeye Battle Cry
Visit their fantastic blog and read the full article (and so much more) here


(Coach McGuff should be encouraged)

Every Buckeye remembers the football game against Michigan State in November that sent the Spartans to the College Football Playoff and the Buckeyes to the Fiesta Bowl. On the day where the MSU football team would make their appearance in the football semifinals, the 9th ranked Ohio State women’s basketball team hosted 24th ranked Michigan State in front of an OSU crowd looking for revenge on the green and white. They got it, 85-80.

1st Half

Michigan State got the scoring started on their first possession and quickly jumped out to an early 4-0. Ohio State came right back to tie the game up and the two teams began trading baskets before OSU went on a 9 to 0 run to take a 15-7 lead with just over three minutes remaining in the first quarter. The Spartans would finally get their offense going but the Buckeyes always had an answer as they ended the quarter with a 22-12 lead.

The teams traded baskets to start the second half before five straight points by Michigan State’s Aerial Powers cut the Ohio State lead to three, 31-28, with just under four minutes left in the quarter. Ameryst Alston briefly ended the Spartan run with an old-fashioned three point play but MSU hit two straight three pointers to tie the game at 34. Alexa Hart put OSU back on top by hitting a layup while drawing a foul and then making the freebie; Alston would do the same thing on Ohio State’s next possession and suddenly the Buckeyes were back up six, a margin they would hang onto for the rest of the half, going into the locker room up 42-36.

2nd Half

Ohio State came out in the third quarter to push their lead eight early only to see Michigan State hit a pair of three pointers that would ignite a 9 to 0 run that gave the Spartans a 47-46 lead midway through the quarter. Alexa Hart would tie the game with free throw but MSU immediately went back on top, dictating tempo as they slowly pushed their lead to six, 58-52 with just under a minute remaining in the quarter. The Buckeyes finally got a bit of rhythm going, scoring the last four points of the quarter to pull within two, 58-56.

Michigan State started the scoring in the final quarter with a free throw but Ohio State scored the next four points to go back on top, 60-59. The Spartans would retake the lead on their next possession, igniting a run of six unanswered points to extend their lead to 65-60 three and a half minutes into the fourth. The Buckeyes quickly fired back, pulling to within one, 67-66, at the midpoint of the quarter.

The two teams would begin trading baskets with MSU unable to build any breathing room but OSU unable to tie or take the lead until an old-fashioned three point play by Kelsey Mitchell tied the game at 75 with just under three minutes remaining. A pair of free throws by each team would leave the game still tied a minute later. The free throw battle would continue for another round but this time MSU would only hit one of their freebies while Mitchell knocked down both of hers to give Ohio State a 79-78 lead with just over a minute to go. The Spartans quickly retook the led on their next possession but the Buckeyes fired right back as Asia Doss converted an offensive board to put OSU back up 81-80 with thirty-six seconds remaining. Cait Craft did a brilliant job of drawing a charge on the next MSU possession, forcing the Spartans to foul. Mitchell knocked down both free throws to put Ohio State up by three, the Spartans would miss a three pointer, and Mitchell would knock down two more from the charity stripe to give Ohio State an 85-80 win.

Ohio State shot a solid 44% for the game but really struggled from outside, hitting on 2 of their 20 three point attempts. The Buckeyes did much better from the free throw line, hitting 79% of their freebies. OSU did a good job of taking care of the ball, committing only 12 turnovers while dishing out 12 assists.

Defensively Ohio State struggled to limit Michigan State’s shooting as the Spartans were 43% from the field and 42% from outside. The Buckeyes did do a good job pressuring the ball, forcing 21 MSU turnovers. After showing some improvement in rebounding the past couple games, OSU went back to struggling on the boards, getting out-rebounded 49 to 31; the difference was most glaring on the offensive boards where the Spartans grabbed 19 offensive rebounds to only 8 by the Buckeyes.

Despite struggling with her shooting, going 6 of 22 from the field and 0 of 10 from three point range, Kelsey Mitchell still led all scorers with 25 points. Mitchell did most of her damage from the free throw line, hitting 13 freebies which she earned by aggressively attacking the basket off of the dribble.

Mitchell had an amazing all around day, dishing out 5 assists to go with 4 rebounds, 3 steals, and only one turnovers. While Mitchell struggled to find her shot early, Ameryst Alston did the heavy lifting for the OSU offense on the way to scoring 23 points. Shayla Cooper came off the bench for a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds while Asia Doss added 10 points and made OSU’s only two three pointers.

Final Thoughts

The unsung hero of this game was Cait Craft and while she only scored two points, she made a major impact on the defensive end. The stat sheet will only show 3 rebounds and a steal for Craft but she a great job of pressuring MSU all game. Her real impact was highlighted by two plays in the fourth quarter. On the first play Michigan State’s Jasmine Hines had grabbed a rebound but had committed the cardinal sin for a post player of bringing the ball down low. Craft recognized the opportunity and darted in, grabbing the ball and forcing a held ball. This so frustrated Hines that she pushed Craft down after the held ball had been called, earning herself a technical foul which led to a pair of free throws by Ameryst Alston to pull OSU within one with four minutes to go. The second play occurred with OSU holding a narrow 81-80 lead with less than 30 seconds to go. MSU’s Branndais Agee had a nice drive to the basket for what looked like a layup that would give MSU the lead but Craft did a great job of getting guarding position and moving to take the charge, giving OSU the ball back and fouling out Agee, ultimately giving the Buckeyes the win.

This was a great way to open Big Ten play by Ohio State. Michigan State is a solid, ranked team with some very talented scorers. The Buckeyes struggled in the third quarter and early in the fourth, letting MSU dictate tempo and slow the game down but OSU kept fighting. As the fourth quarter wore on, the Buckeyes began pushing the pace more and the game swung their way. OSU did struggle defensively for a lot of the game but when it mattered in the final minute, the defense stepped up, making key plays to preserve the victory. Shayla Cooper and Asia Doss continue to show that they are major threats off of the bench and Kelsey Mitchell did a great job of finding a way to contribute even while having an awful shooting night. This OSU team is starting to develop into more than just the dynamic duo of Mitchell and Ameryst Alston and the rest of the Big Ten should be nervous about that.

Ohio State returns to action on Saturday when they travel to #6 Maryland. The game tips off at noon and will be shown nationally on CBS.

The post OSUWBB Ohio State Overhauls Michigan State 85-80 appeared first on The Buckeye Battle Cry: Ohio State News and Commentary.

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