A hot start from Maryland was too much for the Buckeyes to overcome on Thursday night.
Ohio State women’s basketball (11-9, 4-5 Big Ten) dropped its second straight game, falling to No. 17 Maryland (17-4, 8-2) 85-65. It was a rough showing for the Buckeyes as the search for consistent play continues.
The Buckeyes did not get the start they wanted as Maryland outscored them in the opening quarter 23-8 — a lead they never relinquished. The Terrapins closed the quarter on a 15-2 run that spanned the final six minutes of the frame.
“They were really prepared,” Buckeye head coach Kevin McGuff said. “Their defense was very good early on and I don’t think we reacted to that very well.”
The Terrapins ran Ohio State out of the building with their offensive pace, finishing with 19 fastbreak points while using their defense to generate offense as they forced 20 Ohio State turnovers and scored 28 points off of them.
“We had poor decision making in the half court,” McGuff said. “We didn’t execute to level to get great shots and we were forcing shots.”
The Terrapins controlled the game from the inside as they outscored Ohio State 56-30 in the painted area.
Big Ten Preseason Player of the Year senior guard Kaila Charles had another stellar performance against the Buckeyes, putting up 19 points on an efficient 8-for-12 from the field.
“She’s quick, shifty and hard to guard,” Ohio State sophomore forward Aaliyah Patty said.
Maryland sophomore forward Shakira Austin was unaffected by an ankle injury that sidelined her for most of the Terrapins’ previous game. She had 15 points while adding seven boards. Maryland sophomore guard Taylor Mikesell, an Ohio native, also put up 15 points.
It was Maryland’s sixth straight victory as it kept pace with Iowa for the top spot in the conference, remaining one game back.
A strong third quarter brought the Maryland deficit down to 13, but the Buckeyes were unable to keep the momentum going into the fourth.
“I thought we were a little more aggressive,” McGuff said. “I thought we made more plays [in the third].”
The Buckeyes struggled with Maryland’s zone looks on defense in the first half as they shot an abysmal 27 percent from the field and 28 percent from 3.
Junior guard Braxtin Miller was a bright spot for the Buckeyes with a team high 15 points on 5-for-11 from the field.
Sophomore forward Dorka Juhasz nearly secured her second straight double-double as she finished with 14 points alongside nine rebounds.
Freshman guard Kierstan Bell fouled out midway through the fourth quarter as she struggled throughout the night, scoring just six points on 3-for-11 shooting.
The loss dropped Ohio State to below .500 in conference play and five games behind conference-leading Iowa.
Ohio State felt it did not get the best week of practice necessary to beat a tough Maryland squad.
“We really struggled on Tuesday and we were okay yesterday but you need to have two great days to beat a team like Maryland,” McGuff said.
Miller said the team cannot allow the loss to affect them into the pivotal February schedule.
“Since it’s so late in the season, we know we can’t let this loss affect anything going forward,” Miller said. “We have to be better.”
Ohio State travels to Lincoln, Nebraska, to take on the Cornhuskers Sunday. Tipoff is at 3 p.m.