In a back-and-forth battle, the Ohio State women’s basketball team lost to No. 24 Georgia on Wednesday night at the Schottenstein Center.
The Buckeyes (1-2) held a four-point lead at the half, but were outscored by 12 after the break on their way to a 67-59 loss to the Bulldogs (3-0).
Coach Kevin McGuff said the game came down to Georgia being the more aggressive team in the second half.
“I was really pleased with our effort, intensity and toughness in the first half,” McGuff said. “In the second half they were clearly the more physical, tougher team around the basket and that ultimately was the difference in the game.”
The game got started with both teams trading baskets. The Bulldogs went on a 9-0 run late in the first half to go up 24-18. The Buckeyes responded by going on a 10-0 run to close out the half. OSU went head into halftime with a 28-24.
The second half started with a 3-pointer from freshman guard Kelsey Mitchell to extend OSU’s lead. The Buckeyes kept rolling, going on a 16-11 run to take their largest lead of the game at 44-35 with about 12 minutes remaining on the clock.
Georgia kept fighting back, eventually taking the lead with a 3-pointer from junior guard Tiaria Griffin as the Bulldogs scored seven unanswered points to give them a 52-50 lead over the Buckeyes with about four minutes remaining. The Bulldogs continued the attack, going on a 15-3 run to take a 60-53 advantage.
With about two minutes remaining, Mitchell completed a 3-point play after being fouled to bring the Buckeyes within four. But OSU could not hold on as the Buckeyes were forced to foul the rest of the game and couldn’t close the gap as the Bulldogs finished off an eight-point win.
OSU shot just over 34.4 percent from the field and was out-rebounded 50-37. Mitchell finished the game with 26 points, seven rebounds and three assists, but also committed eight turnovers. Junior guard Cait Craft made a career-high five 3-pointers to finish with 17 points and three rebounds. Junior guard Ameryst Alston finished with five points on just two of 14 shooting and added a career-high 13 rebounds.
Craft said the team wasn’t able to rally toward the end and put part of the blame on herself as a leader.
“They made their run and we didn’t answer,” Craft said. “Part of that is on me from a leadership standpoint, being a part of getting everybody together and helping people through it.”
Mitchell said the team still has a lot to learn about how to handle the pressure of playing from behind.
“We’ve got to learn how to handle adversity,” Mitchell said. “We’ve got a lot of things that we’ve got to work on as far as the mental aspect of the game.”
OSU is scheduled to host Virginia Commonwealth on Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Schottenstein Center.