The imminent chill of another December in Ohio crept its figurative way into the shooting of the Ohio State women’s basketball team for most of the night Wednesday at the Schottenstein Center as the team shot a season-low 37.8 percent from the field.
But the No. 17 Buckeyes got hot when they needed to, overcoming a seven-point deficit in the final 1:22 of regulation to force overtime against Florida State in a game that was part of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.
Junior guard Tayler Hill scored eight-straight OSU points over the final 34 seconds of regulation, capped off by a coast-to-coast layup with 0.3 seconds remaining to tie the score and send the game to overtime.
OSU prevailed in the extra period, 78-75, after sophomore center Ashley Adams stole a Florida State inbound pass with 3.5 seconds left to prevent a game-tying shot attempt and seal the victory.
With senior point guard and preseason Big Ten co-MVP Samantha Prahalis watching from the bench during overtime after fouling out with 10 seconds left in the second half, Hill took over again, scoring the last five points of the game over the final minute to help the Buckeyes turn a two-point deficit into a three-point victory.
Hill finished with a career-high 31 points, 20 of which came in the second half and overtime while also setting career highs in steals (six), field goals (11) and three-pointers (4).
“It’s crazy, it really is crazy,” Prahalis said of Hill’s performance. “But it’s not all surprising. We know (Hill) is a great player and down the stretch I have complete faith in her.”
“We see (Hill) do things like every day in practice,” she said of Hill. “It’s not really shocking but I’m very proud of her.”
It wasn’t all grand for Hill, however, as she missed three-straight free throw attempts to start the overtime period. She did make her final three attempts from the line, including two with 13 seconds left to extend the OSU lead to three.
“It was some inappropriate words to myself at first, since I missed the first three (attempts),” Hill said about what was going through her mind as she stepped to the line with the Buckeyes leading 76-75 in the final seconds. “I knew they were clutch free throws, it was down the stretch. I just straight focused on the rim, nothing else.”
Both teams were in the holiday spirit of giving throughout the game, turning the ball over a combined 38 times, leading to a total of 43 points off turnovers for the game, 21 for Florida State and 22 for the Buckeyes.
“We had enough gas in our engine to win a game when everything wasn’t pretty,” coach Jim Foster said.
With the win, the Buckeyes complete their third-straight season without a November loss and now stand at 6-0. OSU travels to Oklahoma for its first road game of the season Sunday at 3 p.m.