With just five games remaining in the regular season, the Ohio State women’s basketball team (14-13, 4-7) is trying to finish the season strong.
To do that, the Buckeyes will need to make a concerted effort to outrebound their opponents and get in easy shots.
When the Buckeyes outrebound their opponents, they are an impressive 11-1, the only loss coming Sunday against then-No. 9 Penn State when the Buckeyes shot just 27.9 percent from the field.
But that’s easier said than done for the struggling Buckeyes, who are trying to avoid a four-game losing streak — which would be the longest for the team this season.
Senior center Ashley Adams, who is tied for third on the team in total rebounds despite coming off the bench for most of the season, has played a big part in games in which the Buckeyes have won. In the Buckeyes’ most recent victory Jan. 30, she tallied 15 points and six rebounds on 7-7 shooting.
Adams, who has struggled during the current three-game skid, said the pressure put on her and her teammates to win the battle on the boards is very demanding.
“It is kind of stressful because our guards get back,” Adams said. “It is really difficult to have the mentality to get the ball every time and not give up.”
Adams, along with fellow senior center Darryce Moore, received a lot of help from sophomore guard Ameryst Alston and junior guard Raven Ferguson on the boards against Penn State. The two guards combined for 17 total rebounds, something Adams said is always a positive.
“It is extremely helpful whenever they have above five or six rebounds,” Adams said. “It relieves us a lot.”
The Buckeyes received what senior forward Martina Ellerbe called a much-needed two days off this week, as they prepare to take on No. 25 Michigan State Saturday in East Lansing, Mich.
“It is a long season and I feel like our bodies go through a lot,” Ellerbe said. “I came in and got some shots up though.”
OSU coach Kevin McGuff said he is excited to get his team back on the court, especially against a good Michigan State team.
“Overall, they are playing very well,” McGuff said of the Spartans. “It (the Breslin Center) is a great venue to play in and they support their team well.”
The Buckeyes dropped their first meeting to the Spartans, 82-68, Jan. 26, a game in which MSU 6-foot-7 redshirt-junior center Madison Williams had a career day, blocking seven shots and pulling down eight rebounds while also altering multiple OSU shot attempts.
“We have changed our offensive around (since the MSU game), so hopefully our guards will have a better chance of finishing,” Adams said in reference to the Jan. 26 loss.
When later asked how the offense was changed, Ellerbe simply said with a smile, “It is a secret.”
The Buckeyes and Spartans are scheduled to tip at 5:30 p.m. Saturday in East Lansing, Mich.