The Ohio State women’s basketball team entered day two of the Big Ten Tournament as the only remaining team in the tournament with a losing record.
The Buckeyes proceeded to pull the biggest upset in the conference this year, upsetting No. 1-seeded Penn State, 99-82.
The 99 points scored by the Buckeyes were the most points ever scored in a single game in the 20-year history of the women’s Big Ten Tournament. OSU also broke the record for most points scored in the first half as it jumped out to a 58-34 halftime lead.
OSU coach Kevin McGuff said post-game that he was pleased with the energy his team came out with against the Nittany Lions.
“I am really proud of our players,” McGuff said in a post-game interview with the Big Ten Network. “We played incredibly hard and we played to win the game. I think that was the most important thing.”
The Buckeyes caught fire early, hitting on 10-14 3-point shots in the first half, nine of which came from sophomore guards Ameryst Alston and Cait Craft.
Recently named first team All-Big Ten, Alston recorded a career-high 33 points to go along with nine assists. It was her fourth 30-point performance in her last six games.
Craft has her highest scoring game since scoring 29 against Florida Atlantic Nov. 10, as she finished with 24 points and six assists.
Craft said the Buckeyes are playing with nothing to lose.
“They were the No. 1 seed, they had all the pressure on them, and I think our group realizes that this could be the last time we ever play with each other,” Craft said in a post-game interview with the Big Ten Network. “Everybody is just playing for each other right now, trying to do what we can for one another.”
Five Buckeyes scored in double-figures, including senior centers Ashley Adams and Darryce Moore, who combined for 22 points and 11 rebounds. Adams, who finished with 11 points, did all of her damage in the second half after not playing in the first.
Despite trailing by as much as 27 points in the second half, Penn State was able to trim the Buckeye lead to just nine with under four minutes to play, something McGuff said he wasn’t surprised to see.
“They were going to make a run because they are a good team, but we really stayed relentless,” McGuff said.
Contributing to the Penn State run was two-time Big Ten player of the year, senior guard Maggie Lucas, who scored 13 of her 21 points in the second half, including a fade-away 3-point shot that made her the Big Ten’s all-time leader in 3-pointer shots made. The Nittany Lions also received a big game from senior forward Ariel Edwards, who scored a team-high 29 points while pulling down 10 rebounds.
Although she scored 21 points, Lucas was held to just 5-16 shooting thanks in part to the defensive effort put forth by Craft.
“You just have to stay glued to her,” Craft said. “My teammates trusted me to guard her so I just take that in stride.
The Buckeyes scored more points in the quarterfinal game (99) than they did in their first two games against Penn State combined (96), losing to the Nittany Lions both times.
The Buckeyes are scheduled to play the winner of Iowa against Purdue Saturday at 3:30 p.m.
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