After four consecutive losses of at least eight points or more, Ohio State seemed destined for a double-digit drubbing on Saturday against No. 4 Maryland. But in the third quarter of Saturday’s game against the Terrapins, something clicked for the Buckeyes.
Coming out of halftime with a seven-point deficit to overcome, head coach Kevin McGuff said Ohio State executed an efficient offense, did not turn the ball over in that span and tightened up defensively. This led to a 22-14 run in the third quarter, giving the Buckeyes a 58-57 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
However, it was a game Ohio State could not hold on to win, shooting 38.5 percent from the field and connecting on 1-of-6 attempts from 3 in the fourth quarter to secure its fifth straight loss.
After falling 75-69 to the Terrapins, the Buckeyes are now winless in three games against ranked opponents, losing by an average of 20.67 points.
Freshman forward Dorka Juhasz does not seem fazed by the five-game losing streak her team is on heading into its game against No. 25 Indiana on Thursday. If anything, she seemed encouraged after the Buckeyes’ previous performance.
“It just showed that we are getting better and better,” Juhasz said. “After this game, I think it just gave us confidence that if you are playing like this, we can change the wins and losses a little bit, push it up. I think it was a great example of what team we are and what we are capable of doing.”
Ohio State (4-8, 0-3 Big Ten)
G — Carly Santoro — Redshirt senior, 9.5 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 1.8 apg
G — Carmen Grande — Redshirt senior, 6.4 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 4.6 apg
G — Adreana Miller— Redshirt senior, 5.2 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 0.3 apg
F — Makayla Waterman — Redshirt senior, 8.2 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 1.7 apg
F — Dorka Juhasz — Freshman, 12.1 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 0.8 apg
No. 25 Indiana (14-1, 3-0 Big Ten)
G — Ali Patberg — Redshirt junior, 18.0 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 4.9 apg
G — Jaelynn Penn — Sophomore, 12.0 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 1.4 apg
G — Bendu Yeaney — Sophomore, 10.3 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 2.3 apg
F — Kym Royster — Senior, 6.0 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 0.3 apg
F — Brenna Wise — Redshirt junior, 14.1 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 1.4 apg
While Ohio State enters the next game on a losing streak, Indiana comes to Columbus on a winning streak. With their most recent loss coming against Grambling State on Dec. 20 in the Puerto Rico classic, the Hoosiers have won four straight games, including a four-point win against then-No. 15 Michigan State on Sunday.
McGuff said Indiana is a very balanced team, showing an ability to score around the basket and shoot from the perimeter. The Hoosiers average 75.1 points per game, No. 5 in the Big Ten. He also mentioned the amount of upperclassmen on the team, and said Indiana uses a normal starting lineup with two redshirt juniors and a senior.
Even though the Hoosiers might be ranked No. 1 in the Big Ten standings, Ohio State is preparing for them the same way it prepared for the Terrapins.
“We realized leading into Maryland that we practiced really well,” redshirt senior guard Carmen Grande said. “We are just trying to practice very well to play against IU.”
Indiana is led by redshirt junior guard Ali Patberg, who McGuff considers one of the best players in the Big Ten and the reason why the Hoosiers execute their offense effectively. Averaging 18 points per game, the guard shoots 43.8 percent from the field and records an average of 6.4 rebounds per game.
The Hoosiers also have redshirt junior forward Brenna Wise to lead the team in the post, averaging a team-leading 7.2 rebounds per game. However, she is also the best 3-point shooter on the team, shooting 47.9 percent from deep, something that Grande said Ohio State will have to limit.
Ohio State has shown success against ranked opponents in limited stretches. McGuff knows what it takes to defeat the Hoosiers, but he said the Buckeyes will have to be at the top of their game for the entirety of the game.
“I think it just shows when we are doing the things that makes us good, we are being stingy defensively, we are being aggressive on the boards, we are taking care of the basketball, we can compete with anybody,” McGuff said. “We just have to be able to do that for longer stretches of period in a game for us to finish those games out and win.”
Juhasz is confident in this. She said that Ohio State proved its potential against the Terrapins on Saturday. Now she thinks the Buckeyes can prove that at home on Thursday.
“We still have a lot of games left,” Juhasz said. “We are just ready for the next one.”
Ohio State will take on No. 25 Indiana at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Schottenstein Center.