Ohio State women’s basketball enters its game Thursday as an underdog, but it wouldn’t be the first time it pulled an upset on its home floor.
Ohio State (11-8, 4-4 Big Ten) looks to avenge its 72-62 early January loss to No. 17 Maryland (16-4, 7-2) in College Park –– a game the Buckeyes led at halftime.
The Terrapins boast the top scoring attack in the conference, averaging 80.9 points per game, and it’s not just one or two players accounting for the output, either. Five players average double-digit points per game.
Ohio State will look to slow the pace of the Terrapin offense by limiting it in transition.
“They hurt us in transition last time,” Ohio State head coach Kevin McGuff said. “We also need to take care of the ball, which would hopefully slow down their scoring.”
The Terrapins also allow the third-fewest points per game, holding their opponents to 56.8 points. They have the largest scoring margin in the conference at plus-24.2 points.
Maryland is led by Big Ten Preseason Player of the Year senior guard Kaila Charles, who puts up 14.3 points per game. She had a 28-point scoring outburst in the team’s Jan. 6 matchup against Ohio State.
“She’s really versatile,” McGuff said. “She can score around the basket and shoots the ball well.”
Ohio State is looking to secure its fourth ranked win this season and creep into a winning record in conference.
It may be tough to secure, since the Buckeyes are returning from a weeklong hiatus following a 77-68 loss to Iowa.
“When we didn’t have practice, we knew we had to get in the gym on our own,” Ohio State freshman guard Kierstan Bell said.
Maryland is riding a five-game winning streak, which doesn’t help matters. The Terrapins recently scored a huge 70-61 win against No. 22 Northwestern, led by senior forward Stephanie Jones and sophomore guard Taylor Mikesell, who each had 14 points.
The Terrapins may be without their second leading scorer in sophomore forward Shakira Austin, as she went down with a left ankle injury in the game against Northwestern. Her status for the game tomorrow is still unknown.
Maryland is looking to keep pace with conference-leading Iowa, which it trails in the standings by one game.
Ohio State sophomore forward Dorka Juhasz, the team’s leading scorer and rebounder, is flying high after a 22-point, 16-rebound performance in the Iowa loss.
Ohio State has seen excellent production off its bench, with Bell at 10.6 points per game. Sophomore guard Janai Crooms and freshman forward Rebeka Mikulasikova both add 7.3 points per game off the pine.
The Buckeyes will look to protect the ball against Maryland, as they struggled with the Terrapins’ aggressive press defense last time the teams played, finishing the game with 25 turnovers.
“Their press really shook us a little bit,” Crooms said. “If we can just get past their press and execute on offense, we’ll be in a really good position.”
Ohio State and Maryland tip off at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in the Schottenstein Center.