Daniel Chi / Asst. photo editor
Ohio State women’s basketball freshman guard Ameryst Alston hadn’t made a shot all night until there were .01 seconds left in regulation.
Alston rebounded a purposely-missed free throw by senior guard Tayler Hill and threw up a prayer over two Wisconsin defenders. The ball danced around the rim and finally found the bottom of the net as time expired in the second half, sending the game into overtime with a 52-52 tie.
“We work on missing free throws occasionally in practice. I did not even think about it. I just caught it and passed it up there,” Hill said.
The game went on into double overtime before OSU finally pulled away and dropped Wisconsin, 65-59, at the Schottenstein Center Thursday.
OSU coach Jim Foster said he was confident in Alston’s put-back the moment it left her hands.
“She always makes interesting layups. She has a good sense around the basket and knows how to get there,” Foster said.
But Wisconsin coach Bobbie Kelsey didn’t agree. He said he wasn’t so sure if the shot was even good or not, blaming the lack of monitors for a possible game changer.
Alston finished with five points, four assists and two steals, and helped her team earn just their third Big Ten win this season.
Up two at the end of the first half, the Buckeyes started the game’s second act with much more aggression to get to the rim. OSU managed to build a six-point lead, but easy Badger layups left the Buckeyes trailing for the last six minutes of the game.
Wisconsin sophomore guard Jacki Gulczynski could not be guarded as she drop 13 points in the second half.
“Jacki stepped up big time,” Kelsey said. “She came through for us. She hit some clutch shots when we needed her to.”
Conversely, Hill’s 15 points made the contest her 56th consecutive game in double figures, the longest active streak in the Big Ten and the fourth longest in Division I women’s basketball.
Hill also finished the game with five rebounds, four assists, and three steals in 46 minutes of playing time.
But for a change, it was not Hill that led the Buckeyes in scoring, but rather junior center Ashley Adams.
Adams finished the night one rebound shy of a double-double with nine. She also had 16 points, three assists, and one steal.
Foster said Adams stepped up and played well inside the paint.
Another key to OSU’s success was redshirt senior guard Amber Stokes, who played 32 minutes and added 15 points, hitting her shots at crucial moments.
After losing to Wisconsin for the first time since 2001 on Jan. 20, the Buckeyes needed a staunch defensive effort to prove they were better than their 2-7 Big Ten record indicated.
And it was defense indeed that seemed to be the saving grace for the Buckeyes in the second half. The Badgers went from shooting 40 percent from 3-point range in the first half to not taking any 3-pointers in the second half.
“As a team we played good defense,” Stokes said. “We held them down until the very last second.”
With just six games remaining in the Big Ten regular season, the Buckeyes (13-10, 3-7 Big Ten) are now 11-3 at home this season.
The Buckeyes will look to continue their momentum against Northwestern on Feb. 10 at 4 p.m. at Welsh-Ryan Arena in Evanston, Ill.