The Buckeyes will look to close out a three-game-in-six-day stretch with a win against Penn State Sunday.
Ohio State (9-6, 2-2 Big Ten) is coming off of one of their biggest wins of the season against No. 24 Michigan Thursday night. It hopes to build on that momentum against the Nittany Lions (7-8, 1-3), whom the Buckeyes have beaten in the teams’ previous nine meetings.
Penn State is led by junior guard Kamaria McDaniel, who averages a Big Ten second-best 19.5 points per game. She’s coming off a near triple-double performance during a win against Michigan State in which she had 24 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists, along with five 3-pointers.
Senior guard Siyeh Frazier is the other double-digit scorer for Penn State. She puts up 12.9 points per game while shooting more than 43 percent from the field and is coming off a 24-point performance against the Spartans.
Frazier is also a defensive threat, averaging 2.6 steals per contest.
“Frazier and McDaniel are two of the best perimeter players in the league,” Ohio State head coach Kevin McGuff said. “They’re really hard to match up with.”
Penn State has the conference’s worst defense, giving up just more than 70 points per game. Penn State also has the second-worst field goal percentage in the Big Ten, shooting at a 40-percent clip on the season.
The Buckeyes will have their hands full on the defensive boards, as Penn State averages a conference third-best 14.7 offensive rebounds per game.
Given Ohio State’s slew of recent games, McGuff said the team’s preparation will focus on trying to keep the fatigue from affecting its play.
“We’ll not practice as hard as we normally would today,” McGuff said. “But at the same time I want to make sure we continue to get better and stay sharp.”
Freshman guard Madison Greene attributed her ability to ward off fatigue to the training staff. She stated that thanks to their preparation, the team is ready for practice and games.
Greene will look to replicate her performance against Michigan, against which she scored 23 points.
The Buckeye offense found its range Thursday, hitting 50 percent of its 3-point attempts. It will look to take advantage of Penn State’s 3-point defense, which ranks No. 13 in the Big Ten. Seven different Ohio State players have hit at least 10 triples this season.
Sophomore forward Dorka Juhasz remains the only Buckeye to average double figures in points, putting up 12.5 points per game.
Outside of Juhasz, the Buckeyes have six players averaging between seven and 10 points per game, showing tremendous scoring balance within their offense.
“[Our balance] makes us hard to guard. We’re at our best when we share the ball,” McGuff said.
Freshman guard Kierstan Bell has become a spark off the bench for the Buckeyes, averaging 9.9 points per game while leading the second unit. She contributed 15 points to the 28-point total that the Buckeyes’ bench put up against Michigan.
The Buckeyes are looking for more consistency, and it starts with a win against Penn State, Greene and McGuff said.
The Buckeyes and Nittany Lions tip off at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Schottenstein Center.