The No. 12 Ohio State women’s basketball team’s disastrous stretch continued Thursday night with a third straight defeat. Iowa held off the Buckeyes, defeating them 103-89 in Iowa City, Iowa.
This is Ohio State’s first three-game losing streak since the 2013-14 season. The team has more losses in the past three games than in the opening 18 games of the year. The loss dropped Ohio State, the preseason conference favorite, to fifth in the Big Ten.
The Buckeyes had no answer for junior forward Megan Gustafson. The Big Ten Player of the Year candidate dropped 29 points on 9-of-14 shooting, adding 11 points from free throws. Sophomore guard Kathleen Doyle added 25 points, making 4-of-8 3-pointers. She led the game with 11 assists.
While Ohio State had just five assists, Iowa assisted on 26 of its 37 made shots.
Ohio State struggled mightily inside with foul trouble while attempting to guard Gustafson. Redshirt senior forward Stephanie Mavunga, who picked up three first-half fouls, fouled out with 7:38 remaining in the game. Redshirt junior forward Makayla Waterman fouled out with seven minutes to go. Forwards Alexa Hart also fouled out with 21 seconds to go in the game.
The Hawkeyes took advantage, hitting 20-of-24 free throws. The Buckeyes also did damage from the charity stripe, going 14 for 17 from the free-throw line.
Ohio State got off to a poor start and fell behind 14 points in the first quarter. But Mitchell began to heat up, scoring six points in the final 1:06 of the quarter, and the Buckeyes pulled back within five points by the end of it. But Iowa regained the momentum and entered halftime with a nine-point lead. The Buckeyes made a third-quarter run, pulling within two points, but Iowa rode its shooting touch and retained its lead for the remainder of the game.
Senior guard Kelsey Mitchell led Ohio State with 27 points, making 10-of-26 shots. Mavunga had 15 points and 10 rebounds before her night ended early. Redshirt senior guard Linnae Harper scored 17 points and grabbed 12 boards.
The Hawkeyes made 54 percent of their shots and drilled 9-of-17 triples. Ohio State hit just 41 percent of its shots and went 5 for 23 from behind the 3-point line. The Buckeyes grabbed 20 offensive rebounds and held a 19-10 advantage in second-chance points.
Gustafson and Ohio State redshirt junior guard Sierra Calhoun collided heads with 2:23 left in the game. Both players returned to action before the game ended.
During the three-game losing streak, Ohio State has given up at least 84 points in each game.
The Buckeyes have one off day before getting back to action at home against Michigan State at noon Saturday.