Climbing out of a 17-point hole against Iowa Sunday proved to once again be too big a task for the Ohio State women’s basketball team to handle as it lost its second straight game in conference play.
Despite allowing 49 first half points to the Hawkeyes (15-5, 3-3), the Buckeyes (12-9, 2-3) made a late run in the second half and cut the Iowa lead to two with just over six minutes to play only to come up short, eventually falling 81-74.
This seems to be a recurring trend for the Buckeyes, who have been outscored by a total of 25 points in the first half of Big Ten games this season.
The first half hole proved to be too deep to get out of, OSU coach Kevin McGuff said following the game.
“You spend so much energy climbing back in the game … we wore ourselves down,” McGuff said. “We could not make a couple key plays at the end.”
The Buckeyes are 3-8 this season when trailing at halftime.
A lack of attention to detail is what contributed to the slow start against the Hawkeyes, sophomore guard Ameryst Alston said after the loss.
“It was just more focus, discipline and concentration in the second half,” Alston said. “You cannot spot a good team 17 points.”
Although the Buckeyes have not excelled in the first half in their losses this season, they are a promising 9-1 when leading at the half, something they have not done since leading Indiana 39-29 at the break Jan. 11.
OSU did, however, find its offensive touch in Sunday’s loss, shooting 49.2 percent and scoring 42 points in the paint.
A big part of the second half comeback was senior center Ashley Adams, who scored all eight of her points in the second half.
“Ashley is working really hard down there,” senior guard Martina Ellerbe said following the loss. “It is really great to see her get rewarded.”
With the second half of the season winding down and just 11 games remaining, McGuff hopes his team can build off of the successful second half against Iowa.
“We showed tremendous resolve,” McGuff said. “Hopefully we can take away that if we just play like that for closer to 40 minutes … the results are going to be what we want.”
The road ahead does not get any easier for the Buckeyes as they are scheduled to travel to Ann Arbor, Mich., to take on archrival Michigan (13-5, 4-1) Thursday at 7 p.m.