The Ohio State women’s basketball team (13-10, 3-4) has shown glimpses of brilliance this year, but it has not been able to put it all together for consecutive games in Big Ten play.
It seemed that after upsetting Michigan on the road 61-50 Thursday, the Buckeyes would be able to carry the momentum into Sunday’s game against Michigan State (13-7, 5-2).
This was not the case as OSU fell for the third time in four games, losing 82-68 against the Spartans. It was also the Buckeyes’ third consecutive loss at home.
Despite recent struggles, the Buckeyes have received key contributions from their bench players, as they have outscored their opponents’ bench 56-18 in their last two games.
Two big parts of the Buckeyes’ successes off the bench have been junior guard Raven Ferguson and senior center Ashley Adams.
Ferguson has led the Buckeyes in scoring in their last two games and is currently OSU’s second-leading scorer with an average of 9.8 points per game despite only starting once so far this season.
“I am trying to be as effective as I can,” Ferguson said Jan. 14. “I am just trying to do what I need to do in order for us to be successful.”
Ferguson is not the only player to make key contributions off of the bench this season. Adams has made her presence felt in the paint and is OSU’s second all-time shot blocker.
“We really need her,” OSU coach Kevin McGuff said about Adams. “She can really change the game for us.”
Although Adams struggled in the loss Sunday — only playing nine minutes and not registering a point — she played a large part in the Buckeyes’ upset win over Michigan when she scored 11 points and tallied nine rebounds in what was just her eighth start on the year.
Also giving the Buckeyes key minutes as of late has been junior guard Maleeka Kynard, who tied a career high in points in the win over Michigan with 12 and played a season-high 31 minutes off the bench.
If the Buckeyes want to be more successful in the Big Ten down the stretch, they will need more consistent play, redshirt-junior guard Amy Scullion said.
“The Big Ten is a tough league,” Scullion said Jan. 21. “I think for us, the biggest thing is mental consistency. Our effort is usually good and we are usually playing hard but we do not execute at the level necessary.”
The Buckeyes have a chance to avoid back-to-back Big Ten losses Thursday when they are scheduled to take on Illinois (9-10, 2-4) at 7 p.m. at the Schottenstein Center.
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