Although the Ohio State women’s basketball team lost its last game, the Buckeyes are still standing tall.
The roller coaster ride that has been the team’s 2013-14 season is set to make its next stop in West Lafayette, Ind., to take on the No. 25 Purdue Boilermakers (15-7, 5-5) Thursday.
The Buckeyes (14-11, 4-5) are coming off of a loss against Wisconsin Sunday, a game from which coach Kevin McGuff said he would like to move forward.
“We just have to get back to practice,” McGuff said Wednesday. “That is our formula. We practice well, prepare well, we will play well. Hopefully, we can do that.”
Despite the poor performance against the Badgers, OSU is still projected to be one of the “last four in” to the NCAA women’s college basketball tournament according to ESPN’s Bracketology.
With a road game against a ranked team looming, McGuff said he does not like to put too much emphasis on projections or a particular game.
“I do not ever look at that stuff until we are done playing,” McGuff said concerning the ESPN projections. “What happens when you start saying ‘This is a huge game because…’ then you get to the next game and it is not as big.”
OSU redshirt-junior guard Amy Scullion said the win against the Boilermakers in their first meeting was a result of consistent offense and inspired defense.
“We played well, we played hard, we made shots,” Scullion said. “That is a big thing for us. When our offense is clicking, it seems like our defense is a lot better.”
Fellow Buckeye, junior guard Raven Ferguson, who has led the Buckeyes in scoring three out of the last four games, said the problem for OSU has been a lack of focus.
“We need to focus on the finish and finish plays,” Ferguson said. “We just need to play harder as a team.”
The Boilermakers will likely be without their leading scorer, redshirt-senior guard KK Houser, who tore her ACL in a loss at Michigan State Sunday. Houser scored a game-high 26 points on 9-20 shooting in Purdue’s loss to OSU Jan. 2.
“(Purdue is) going to try and win for her,” McGuff said about Houser’s injury. “I think you will see an incredibly inspired effort (from Purdue) Thursday night.”
The Boilermakers rely heavily on their three point shooting ability, as they shoot 38.7 percent from beyond the arc, good for second in the Big Ten. McGuff said he will stress the importance of defending the arc to his team.
“They shoot it great,” McGuff said. “They can really light people up from the three point line. We are going to have our hands full defensively. We will need a great effort on that end of the floor.”
Although the Boilermakers shoot well from deep, they are not a very big team, and roster lists their tallest player as redshirt-junior center Camille Redmon who stands at 6 feet 4 inches.
The Buckeyes seem to excel against smaller teams as they blew out an Illinois team, 90-64, Jan. 30 whose tallest player stands at 6 feet 3 inches.
OSU senior center Ashley Adams and redshirt-freshman center Lisa Blair both stand taller than 6 feet 5 inches.
“I think that when we play smaller teams, we get our post players involved early and that kind of builds confidence for the team,” Scullion said. “Those are easy buckets for us and I think we build off of that.”
The Buckeyes are set to tip off with the Boilermakers Thursday at 7 p.m.