The Buckeyes look to slay the three-headed monster of the Iowa offense Thursday night.
Ohio State (11-7, 4-3 Big Ten) takes on the high-flying No. 19 Hawkeyes (15-3, 6-1), who lead the Big Ten in scoring offense behind a trio of top-flight finishers.
Iowa averages a Big Ten-best 81.7 points per game, led by three 15-plus point-per-game scorers. Senior guard Kathleen Doyle leads the charge, averaging 18.2 per game, while sophomore forward Monika Czinano adds 15.9 and senior guard Makenzie Meyer puts up 15.
“That’s as good of a trio as we’ll see in the conference,” Ohio State head coach Kevin McGuff said. “We have to make sure that they don’t drive it by us and make them shoot it over us.”
Ohio State has pulled off three ranked wins this season and looks to get its fourth in Iowa City Thursday. Iowa comes into this game the winner of six straight conference games, riding the top offense in the conference.
The Hawkeyes are unbeaten at home, tallying a 9-0 record at Carver-Hawkeye Arena this season. They currently sit at the top of the conference standings next to Northwestern.
Czinano has become a matchup nightmare this season, leading the Big Ten in field goal percentage, shooting a blistering 71 percent.
Iowa shoots the 3 at an impressive 38-percent clip. Meyer shoots at 44 percent on 6.2 attempts per game.
Iowa has the top-ranked passing offense in the conference, too, averaging 21.1 assists per game. Doyle leads the Big Ten with 6.2 per game.
“We need to make sure we don’t overhelp,” McGuff said. “A lot of times, we’re overhelping and that’s leading to open 3s.”
Iowa is coming off an 85-78 win against Wisconsin in which Doyle, Czinano and Meyer combined for 63 points.
Ohio State has struggled to find a rhythm this season as it continues to trudge through Big Ten play. The Buckeyes are in the middle of the conference standings with a 4-3 conference record.
The Buckeyes come into this matchup off a 77-47 win against Illinois, as Ohio State closed the game on a 40-10 run.
Freshman guard Kierstan Bell will look to build on her career-high 19-point performance, which vaulted her scoring average into double digits at 10.6 points per contest.
“She’s been showing the talent that she has,” McGuff said. “She’s continuing to evolve in our system and gaining some consistency.”
Ohio State’s depth and scoring balance has been a key to its success, as it has eight players averaging between 6.5 and 12.5 points per game.
Freshman forward Rebeka Mikulasikova has emerged in her role off the bench, putting up 7.7 points on 50 percent from deep alongside 2.7 rebounds per game. She is averaging 11.5 points over the Buckeyes’ past two games.
“I’m trying to be a dangerous player from both the outside and the inside,” Mikulasikova said. “I’m working to be more balanced so it’s harder for the defender to know whether I’ll shoot or attack inside.”
Ohio State’s 3-point shooting has hit its stride the past few contests, shooting 42 percent as a team throughout the past four games.
“Earlier on, we were struggling with our shooting as a team,” freshman guard Madison Greene said. “We’ve been focusing on it more in practice, and it’s showing in the games.”
Ohio State and Iowa tip off at 8 p.m. Thursday in Iowa City.