It is never easy to win a game when playing from behind, and it’s even harder when you are losing before the ball is even tipped.
That is exactly what happened to the Ohio State women’s basketball team (14-14, 4-8) Saturday as the team’s bench was assessed a technical foul for not handing in a starting lineup on time to the officials. Michigan State freshman guard Tori Jankoska made one of two free throw attempts and the Buckeyes found themselves behind before the game started.
The Buckeyes never led Saturday as they dropped their fourth straight game, falling to No. 25 Michigan State (17-8, 9-3), 70-49.
“That is a first,” OSU coach Kevin McGuff said about the technical foul in an OSU press release. “We have an assistant coach who does it (handles the lineup assignment) and it did not get executed.”
The Buckeyes trailed by as many as 28 points in the second half in large part because of a lack of rebounding.
OSU, who had outrebounded then-No. 9 Penn State in their last game Feb. 9, was beat on the glass 57-33 by the Spartans, something that frustrated McGuff.
“In general, our effort was very poor,” McGuff said. “We were very bad on the boards and they were very aggressive. We did not have a lot of fight.”
The Buckeye offense lacked balance as well, with sophomore guard Ameryst Alston attempting a game-high 32 shots and making 11. Alston took 47 percent of OSU’s shots. She finished with a game-high 25 points.
MSU, on the other hand, had four of its five starters score in double figures including 17 from both junior forward Becca Mills and senior forward Annalise Pickrel.
“I think everyone having a good all-around game is very important especially with rebounds and everything,” Pickrel said in a postgame press release. “It really ignites our energy in transition.”
OSU redshirt-freshman center Lisa Blair recorded a career-high 21 minutes played and four blocks. Despite the career-highs, Blair did not score, attempting just one shot.
With Blair playing so many minutes, senior center Ashley Adams played only four minutes and was held scoreless.
“Whoever is going to play the hardest is who we’re going to play,” McGuff said of his post players. “Tonight, she (Blair) played harder, so I put her in the game.”
The Buckeyes received just seven points from their bench Saturday, all of which were provided by junior guard Raven Ferguson who finished 3-10 shooting.
OSU is set to return home Thursday night to take on the No. 21 Nebraska Cornhuskers (19-5, 9-3) at the Schottenstein Center. It is set to be the only meeting between the two teams this season.