Coming off its biggest win of the season against then-No. 17 Purdue at home Thursday, the Ohio State women’s basketball team failed to build on the momentum, falling to Michigan 64-49.
As things got underway at the Schottenstein Center, OSU (11-7, 1-1) struggled to shoot the ball, only shooting 6-32 from the field in the first half. The Buckeyes headed into the break trailing 25-13 and were unable to recover in the second half.
OSU coach Kevin McGuff said it was tough to lose after the game, especially to rival Michigan, on the heels of a big win.
“It’s tough. It’s disappointing because all the things we were so good at on Thursday, all the things we can control we didn’t today,” McGuff said. “And that’s not to give Michigan credit because they played well and they deserved to win the game based on their effort and execution, but I was very disappointed in how we responded to a great win on Thursday.”
The 13 points were a season low in a half for OSU, who also shot eight percent from beyond the arc in the game’s first 20 minutes.
Despite starting the second half with a bucket on the team’s first possession, things did not improve for OSU as the game progressed.
It was tied for the lowest total OSU has put up this season, only scoring 49 three times against Georgia Nov. 17, Connecticut Dec. 1 and Cincinnati Dec. 15.
Michigan coach Kim Barnes Arico said the key to holding OSU’s offense in check was stopping the guards from penetrating the basket.
“We spoke all week about trying to slow them down and trying to really zone up and gap and take away their penetration, take away their ability to get to the free throw line … that was something we really focused on,” Arico said. “Make them have to beat us from the outside.”
OSU finished the day shooting 20-64, including only hitting six of 25 shots from beyond the arc. The Buckeyes also struggled turning the ball over, giving it away to Michigan 14 times in the game.
Arico said she was content with letting the Buckeyes take a lot of 3-pointers as long as they weren’t getting the easy shot.
“Their guards off the bounce, we didn’t think we were going to be able to contain them,” Arico said. “So we were going to try to let them score from the outside and see what happened and tonight they didn’t make as many shots.”
Sophomore guard Ameryst Alston led the Buckeyes with 15 points, but was one of only two Buckeyes to reach double figures.
OSU’s second leading scorer, sophomore guard Cait Craft, came into the night averaging 9.9 points per contest, but only managed two points against the Wolverines.
The Wolverines (10-4, 1-0) were paced by freshman guard Siera Thompson and junior guard Shannon Smith, who scored 18 and 17 points, respectively.
Thompson said the team executed its game plan well, which allowed them to pull away from OSU.
“We just executed the game plan and my teammates found me and I was trying to be aggressive and attack the bigs and get them into foul trouble,” Thompson said. “Our game plan just worked out today.”
It was McGuff’s first Big Ten loss as coach of the Buckeyes, and the loss ends a four game win streak for OSU.
The Buckeyes will look to bounce back as they head to Bloomington, Ind., to take on the Hoosiers in their first Big Ten road match, scheduled for Saturday at 4:30 p.m.