After two wins against Rutgers and Wisconsin, Ohio State heads into the final three games of the season with an opportunity to have a record over .500 for the third time this season.
Despite earning a 65-55 win against Michigan State on Jan. 14 and having won its past two matchups with the Spartans, Ohio State has failed to beat Michigan State in its past three matchups in East Lansing, Michigan.
Ohio State is tied for fifth with four other teams in the Big Ten conference, with Michigan State a half game behind the Buckeyes in the conference standings.
The Buckeyes will get another shot at Michigan State on Thursday.
Ohio State (12-12, 8-7 Big Ten)
G — Carmen Grande — Redshirt senior, 7.6 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 5.0 apg
G — Janai Crooms — Freshman, 7.8 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 2.0 apg
G — Carly Santoro — Redshirt senior, 11.3 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 1.2 apg
F — Dorka Juhasz — Freshman, 12.1 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 0.8 apg
F — Makayla Waterman — Redshirt senior, 8.3 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1.8 apg
Michigan State (17-8, 7-7 Big Ten)
G — Shay Colley — Redshirt junior, 15.6 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 3.6 apg
G — Nia Clouden— Freshman, 11.0 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 4.2 apg
G — Taryn McCutcheon — Junior, 10.7 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 4.5 apg
F — Sidney Cooks — Sophomore, 9.3 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 1.1 apg
C — Jenna Allen — Senior, 13.4 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 2.2 apg
In the Buckeyes’ 10-point win against the Spartans on Jan. 14, the Ohio State offense started off hot, shooting 44 percent from the field in the first half.
However, freshman forward Dorka Juhasz struggled mightily, making only 1-of-6 attempts from the field with five rebounds.
Despite her performance against the Spartans, Juhasz has shined in the middle for Ohio State. She has a team-high nine double-doubles this season, leading the Buckeyes in both scoring and rebounding. In her previous performance against Wisconsin, the freshman forward scored 21 points and 15 rebounds, earning her a Big Ten Freshman of the Week award.
But Juhasz will go against senior center Jenna Allen, who has recorded at least seven rebounds in four of her past six games, recording a season-high five offensive boards in Michigan State’s 82-71 loss to Nebraska on Sunday.
Redshirt junior guard Shay Colley, who scored a team-high 18 points against the Buckeyes in their first matchup this season, has led the Spartans in scoring all season, averaging 15.6 points per game and shooting 40.7 percent from the field.
While Juhasz has been consistent in the post, freshman guard Janai Crooms has continued to step up as a scorer in Big Ten play, recording nine points or more in nine of her past 10 games, making 5-of-9 from the field against the Badgers.
As a team, Michigan State averages 77.6 points per game, second-best in the conference, while shooting 45.2 percent from the field. From 3, the Spartans have been the best in the Big Ten, shooting 38.6 percent from deep.
However, the Spartans have struggled defensively, finishing in the bottom half in scoring defense, defensive field goal percentage and 3-point defensive field goal percentage.
In their past two games, both losses to Nebraska and Wisconsin, the Spartans have allowed 79 and 82 points respectively.
Ohio State will take on Michigan State in East Lansing at 6 p.m. Thursday.