Sometimes the shots just won’t fall.
That was the case for the Ohio State women’s basketball team Sunday, as poor shooting doomed the Buckeyes against No. 9 Penn State, as they fell 74-54. It was the third straight loss for OSU (14-13, 4-7).
Despite only trailing 38-36 at halftime, the Buckeyes shot just 25 percent from the floor in the second half and were outscored 36-18 in the period.
The Buckeyes’ leading scorers, sophomore guard Ameryst Alston and junior guard Raven Ferguson, combined to shoot just 11-35, each scoring 16 points.
Alston, who leads the Buckeyes in scoring on the season with 17.3 points per game, came off the bench for the first time this season because of what coach Kevin McGuff said was a violation of team rules.
“We aspire to create a winning culture,” McGuff said concerning Alston’s benching.
Ferguson started in place of Alston and shot just 5-19 from the field.
Sunday’s loss to PSU (18-5, 9-2) was the first time this season the Buckeyes outrebounded their opponent and failed to win the game. OSU outrebounded the Nittany Lions 40-38.
“I thought our effort on the glass was as good as it has been in a long time,” McGuff said. “We just weren’t good enough in the other phases of the game to put ourselves in a position to win.”
OSU was able to get to the free throw line early and often in the first half driving the ball effectively and drawing fouls, as they made 12-14 from the free throw stripe in the opening half.
“They were doing a good job of attacking us in the high post,” Penn State coach Coquese Washington said after the game. “We tried to make some adjustments in our zone and try to contain (OSU) and keep the ball out of the paint.”
PSU was able to do just that as Buckeye senior centers Darryce Moore and Ashley Adams only attempted a combined three shots from the field in the game.
The Buckeyes were able to build a seven-point lead with 4:45 left in the first half before the Nittany Lions went on a 12-3 run.
OSU would not take the lead for the remainder of the game.
Buckeye redshirt-junior guard Amy Scullion said if OSU can remain consistent, it can be a dangerous team.
“When we play well, we can play with the best of them, and when we don’t, we will get beat by anybody,” Scullion said following the loss.
The Nittany Lions showed why they are atop the Big Ten standings as they shot 49.1 percent from the floor. PSU was led by the league’s second leading scorer and reigning Big Ten player of the year, senior guard Maggie Lucas, who scored a game high 23 points on 9-14 shooting.
“She is a great player,” McGuff said of Lucas. “She is one of the best scoring guards in the country.”
Moving forward, the Buckeyes need to focus on getting better, McGuff said.
“It is still about showing up every day practicing hard, making sure that we get better and get prepared for our next game,” McGuff said. “We will continue to focus day-by-day and make sure we get better.”
The Buckeyes will try to end their three-game skid Saturday when they are set to travel to East Lansing, Mich., to take on No. 24 Michigan State (16-8, 8-3) at 5:30 p.m.