Eric Beiersdorfer / Lantern photographer
The No. 24 Ohio State women’s basketball team is not the same team Michigan sent packing Dec. 30.
A major difference is the presence of freshman center Ashley Adams, who stepped in for senior forward Sarah Schulze after she suffered a season-ending knee injury during the Buckeyes’ Jan. 16 win against Michigan State.
“Ashley has been great,” Schulze said of the reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Week. “Me getting injured and her getting a chance to play might have been the best thing to happen to this team.”
Coach Jim Foster agreed that Adams’ presence has been a driving force on the team.
“She’s got a couple areas where she’s really far advanced for a young player,” he said after practice Wednesday. “She has some really, really solid habits that are invaluable.”
Schulze described her new role on the team as emotional leader.
“It’s been really different,” Schulze told The Lantern. “They can still hear me from the bench, though. I can still provide the team with motivation.”
In tonight’s home rematch against the Wolverines, the Buckeyes look to make up for their 64-51 loss in Ann Arbor, Mich.
Schulze said a quick start will be key for the Buckeyes tonight.
“Before, they just clobbered us in the first 10 minutes,” she said. “If we just come out and set the tempo instead of being run over.”
Junior guard Samantha Prahalis described OSU’s previous meeting with Michigan as “probably the worst game of the season” to the media Wednesday.
“We just played terrible,” Prahalis said. “Now, we’re more in sync. We’re playing good defense.”
Foster said he thinks the Buckeyes are a changed team and ready for Michigan.
“We’re not the same team we played up there,” he said. “We’re playing more of a high-low game. Our guards’ defensive pressure is terrific.”
Tonight’s game is scheduled to tip off at 7 p.m. at the Schottenstein Center.