INDIANAPOLIS — Top seeded Ohio State lost in the Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament semifinals to No. 5 Purdue 71-60, ending their 12 game winning streak.
The Buckeyes were lost without leading scorer, junior guard Kelsey Mitchell, taking over the game. The Boilermakers held the Big Ten Player of the Year to only nine points on 3 for 22 shooting and 1 for 12 from deep. Senior forward Shayla Cooper ended her last Big Ten tournament career recording a double-double and leading the team with 14 points, 10 rebounds, and four assists.
“I thought we played hard, we just didn’t play well,” said OSU coach Kevin McGuff.
Purdue was led by Ashley Morrissette with 24 points, three rebounds, and seven assists. She was followed by freshman Dominique Oden with 20 points and hit half of her shots from the field and all of her shots from the charity stripe.
The first quarter was a back-and-forth battle between the Boilermakers and Buckeyes. OSU hit 52.6 percent from the field in the first quarter, but Purdue held its own, shooting 41.7 percent and going 8 for 8 at the charity stripe. With the buzzer at the first, OSU only held a two-point lead, 22-20.
OSU was unable to find their touch in the second quarter. The Boilermakers went to a 2-3 zone and took away the Buckeyes range, rotating out on the Buckeyes quickly as OSU went 0 for 6 from 3-point range.
“We didn’t hit many shots,” McGuff said. “Part of that had to do with their defense. They’re were really effective.”
Purdue slowed down Mitchell, forcing her to take ill-advised shots and limiting her to just 2 for 12 from the field in the half. Purdue also dominated the boards throughout the first half, out rebounding OSU 25-17. Purdue lead OSU 36-31 at half.
Purdue opened the second half with two quick scores from Oden and Morrissette, giving the Boilermakers their first double-digit lead.
OSU started to make some shots and cut the lead back to single digits near the end of the third, but the Boilermakers fought back with more contributions from Oden and Morrissette. The quarter ended with Purdue maintaining their double-digit lead 55-42.
Throughout the final quarter of play the Buckeyes played with urgency, but were unable to find their way as Mitchell continued to struggle, hitting only one shot in the second half. Ultimately, OSU never found their shot and Purdue capitalized off of the Buckeyes off-night.
“(Morrissette’s) a player,” Cooper said. “She’s a great player, but we had to dig in a little more on the defensive side.”
The Buckeyes will continue their tournament play into the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament, which begins in less than two weeks. The NCAA Women’s Basketball selection show will reveal the fate of OSU on March 13 at 7 p.m.
Nicholas McWilliams contributed quotes from Indianapolis.