The Ohio State women’s basketball team secured its most impressive victory of the season on Thursday night with a come-from-behind win against North Carolina, 76-69.
The Buckeyes (2-2) started off slow against the Tar Heels (5-3), trailing by as much as 14 points with 6:24 left in the first quarter, and found themselves with a four-point deficit at the half.
The game looked like it was already out of hand early when North Carolina sophomore center Janelle Bailey made a basket on a fast break to put the Tar Heels up 16-2 early in the first quarter.
But the Buckeyes responded with a flurry of their own coming back to make the game to 18-16 with 2:46 left in the first with strong play from redshirt senior guard Carmen Grande and freshman forward Dorka Juhasz, who seem to be building a chemistry down low.
Grande, the active NCAA leader in assists, had a game-high 23 points, recording only 23 points total this season coming into the game, to go with six assists. She was able to take advantage of her shot opportunities Thursday and knock down what was given to her.
“I always want to be a scoring option,” Grande said. “I want to take advantage of the best option that we get in every possession, so I just went out there and that time, the open player was me, so I just took the shot.”
Ohio State head coach Kevin McGuff was at a loss for words explaining Grande’s performance against the Tar Heels.
“It was bit of an anomaly the way she started,” McGuff said. “I think just her kind of trying to feel her way through a new system. I think too she’s such a conscientious kid. She’s so concerned about making everybody else better and today she was a little more aggressive for herself.”
Ohio State fought in a back and forth affair in the second half, but did enough,outscoring the Tar Heels 47-36 in the final 20 minutes.
Juhasz recorded her third double-double in her first four games as a collegiate athlete, adding 18 points along with 16 total rebounds for the game.
The Buckeyes finished strong down the stretch despite a couple of late 3s by Tar Heels guards, redshirt junior Stephanie Watts and redshirt senior Paris Kea, the last of which cut the Ohio State lead down to three and silenced the crowd.
Ohio State redshirt senior guard Adreanna Miller notched the final two free throws to secure the victory for the Buckeyes and putting her just five away from 1,000 career total.
Ohio State will try and take the momentum into their next game against in-state rival Cincinnati at 2 p.m. on Sunday.