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Women’s Basketball: Ohio State ends season with 71-61 loss to Morehead State in WNIT

Ohio State freshman guard Janai Crooms (3) dribbles the ball up court in the first half of the game against Rutgers on March 3. Ohio State lost 66-56. Credit: Casey Cascaldo | Photo Editor

The Ohio State women’s basketball team (14-14, 10-8 Big Ten) lost in the first round of the WNIT tournament 71-61 to  Morehead State (23-10, 13-5 Ohio Valley) 71-61.

In their second appearance in the WNIT in program history, the Buckeyes struggled to keep up with the Eagles, who outscored Ohio State 46-30 in the second half.

Freshman forward Dorka Juhasz led the team with 15 points and 10 rebounds, notching her 12th double double of the season right before rolling her ankle and leaving the court late in the fourth quarter.

Redshirt senior forward Makayla Waterman, usually averaging 7.8 points per game, only added two points in 19 minutes of playing time, making 1-of-4 from the field.

“It was definitely a tough game to go out to, I think that was a pretty bad game for us,” Waterman said.

The Buckeyes tried to play catch up in the fourth quarter, but the Eagles 3-point shooting seemed to be unstoppable, making 7-of-14 in the second half.

Morehead State started the game hot, coming out to a quick 10-4 lead. However, after a timeout, the Buckeyes answered with an 11-0 run.

“I thought in the first half we had a chance to stretch out the lead and really impose our will on the game,”Ohio State  head coach Kevin McGuff said.

The first half was the story of turnovers for both the Buckeyes and the Eagles. Both teams had nine turnovers by the end of the half. The Buckeyes made the most out of those turnovers, making 11 points off of turnovers while the Eagles only had five.

After a 3-point make by freshman guard Janai Crooms, the Buckeyes took the lead and held it out until the end of the first half, leaving with a 31-25 lead.

But Morehead State answered with three 3-point shots late in the third quarter by redshirt junior guard Aliyah Jeune that left the Eagles bench electrified with excitement and gave them back in the lead 48-45.

Crooms finished the game with 13 points, making 5-of-10 from the field, but recorded eight of Ohio State’s 17  turnovers in the 10-point loss.

Holding a three-point lead heading into the fourth quarter, Morehead State outscored Ohio State 23-14 in the fourth quarter, leading to a 10-point victory for the Eagles.

In the second half, Ohio State shot 40 percent from the field, but made 2-of-10 from deep.

In what ended Ohio State’s season, McGuff said his team did not play consistently enough to sustain the first-half lead or even stretch it out.

“We weren’t the more physical team and we were going to need to be that to win tonight and we weren’t,” McGuff said.

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