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tBBC OSUWBB: Ohio State Knocks Off Rutgers in B1G Quarterfinals

Discussion in 'News' started by Charles, Mar 5, 2016.

  1. Charles

    Charles Guest

    OSUWBB: Ohio State Knocks Off Rutgers in B1G Quarterfinals
    via our good friends at Buckeye Battle Cry
    Visit their fantastic blog and read the full article (and so much more) here

    Today was day 3 of the Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament and the top four teams in the conference finally hit the court in Indianapolis after enjoying their double byes. While the extra days of rest are nice, players also start to get antsy and eager to get back into action. You can bet that there was also a bit of extra nervousness as the top teams watched upset after upset occur yesterday; 3 of the 4 games yesterday were won by the lower seeded team.

    The big game was of course the third game of the day which saw 2nd seeded Ohio State squaring off against 10th seeded Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights had upset 7 seed Nebraska yesterday and were looking for revenge after losing both regular season meetings against the Buckeyes. After losing their last two regular season games, a lot of people expected Ohio State to come out fired up. Instead, they got off to a slow start, making only 1 of their first 11 shots as Rutgers got out to 10-2 lead midway through the first quarter. The Buckeyes put together a 6 to 0 run to pull within a basket but the first quarter ended with the Scarlet Knights up 14-10.

    Rutgers hit a three pointer to open the second quarter and the two teams traded baskets before back-to-back three pointers by Ameryst Alston and Kelsey Mitchell pulled Ohio State within one, 21-20, midway through the second. The Buckeyes would tie it up shortly thereafter but the Scarlet Knights closed the half on a 8 to 3 run to take a 31-26 lead into the locker room.

    The two teams traded baskets to start the second half before an Asia Doss three pointer sparked a 14 to 2 Ohio State run that gave OSU a 44-36 lead midway through the third. The Scarlet Knights would hit the next two baskets before the Buckeyes used six straight points to take a double digit lead that they would hold through the rest of the third.

    Rutgers would make the first two baskets of the fourth quarter but Ohio State quickly pushed the lead to 13, taking control of the game. The Scarlet Knights would never get the game back to single digits while the Buckeyes would build their lead to as much as 18 on the way to a 73-58 OSU victory.

    Ohio State shot a solid 41% from the field but a great 44% from three point range; if you ignore the 1 of 11 start, OSU shot 47% from the field. OSU took good care of the ball, committing only 12 turnovers, but could have moved the ball better as they only recorded 7 assists on 26 baskets. Defensively OSU gave up a bad 46% from the field but did hold Rutgers to only 18% from outside. The Buckeyes did force 24 turnovers. OSU was outrebounded 39 to 33 but did hold a 12 to 10 edge in offensive boards.

    Kelsey Mitchell was the star of the day, setting a new Big Ten Tournament single game scoring record with 43 points. Mitchell shot a very good 15 of 24 from the field including an outstanding 8 of 13 from outside. She also added 6 rebounds and a pair of steals.

    Ameryst Alston added 12 points while Asia Doss added 9 and Shayla Cooper put up 7. Alexa Hart led the team with 8 rebounds and 3 assists while adding 2 blocks.

    The slow start by Ohio State wasn’t ideal but the team didn’t panic, instead they made adjustments and fought back against a motivated opponent looking to get into the NCAA tournament. Defensively the Buckeyes struggled to limit Rutgers’ scoring, something that has troubled them all year, but they did a great job of forcing turnovers, something they have been successful at most of the season. Obviously this was the Kelsey Mitchell show and big players step up on the big stage but to win the tournament OSU will need other players to step up too. This ended up being a solid opening win for Ohio State but they will need to step things up tomorrow.

    Other Games

    Things got underway with top seeded Maryland squaring off against 9th seeded Iowa. The Hawkeyes were on fire yesterday and got off to a hot start, taking advantage of the Terrapin zone defense to get out to a 28-18 lead at the end of the first quarter and get people talking about the upsets continuing. That talk quickly ended as Maryland switched to a man-to-man defense that not only caused Iowa to struggle with their shots but to struggle with just hanging onto the ball. It would take over five minutes for the Hawkeyes to score their first points of the second quarter and they would only make one more basket before the half as the Terrapins used a 21-4 quarter to take a 39-32 lead into intermission. Iowa continued to struggle with turnovers in the second half and while they would make a few runs to pull within a couple baskets, Maryland always seemed to have control of the game on the way to a 75-55 win. The loss ends Iowa’s NCAA tournament hopes though they should get a spot in the WNIT.

    The second game saw 4 seed Indiana take on 12 seed Northwestern. The Wildcats came in looking like the Cinderella story of the tournament after upsetting 5 seed Minnesota yesterday despite playing without senior leader Maggie Lyon who is suffering from a lower leg injury. Northwestern showed no signs of fatigue early, despite this being their third game in as many days, hanging with Indiana and taking a 21-18 lead at the end of the first quarter. The second quarter continued the tight game and the two teams went into halftime tied at 35. The Wildcats retook the lead early in the third and slowly extended it, getting the lead up to as much as 8 late in the quarter. The fourth quarter was a pretty even affair before the Hoosiers made a late push to pull within four, 75-71, with thirty seconds remaining. The Wildcats hit their free throws though and held on for a 79-73 victory that keeps their surprising run going.

    The final game of the day saw 3 seed Michigan State against 6 seed Purdue. The Boilermakers always seem to have some sort of magic in Indy, possibly due to it being a defacto home court for them, and it looked like that magic was in effect as they jumped out to an 18-12 lead at the end of the first. Purdue would briefly stretch that lead to double digits before taking a seven point lead, 32-25, into halftime. Michigan State came out strong to start the second half, briefly taking the lead before giving it back up and going into the fourth quarter down 44-43. The final ten minutes was a tight, back-and-forth affair but the Spartans managed to retake the lead with about seven minutes on the clock and held on for a 65-64 win.

    Saturday’s Games

    The first semifinal game will see top seed Maryland take on the 12 seed Northwestern, the Cinderella of the tournament. The Terrapins won both regular season meetings but the Wildcats put up a fight in the game in Evanston three weeks ago, losing only by 9 points. Northwestern has a lot of momentum and magic in this tournament but having already played three games in three days there are questions as to whether the Wildcats will have any legs left. Expect fatigue to be an issue as the game goes on, especially since Maryland got to rest their starters late in their game against Iowa.

    The second semifinal sees 2 seed Ohio State against 3 seed Michigan State. The Buckeyes won the meeting in Columbus but they lost a heartbreaking triple overtime game in East Lansing to close the regular season. OSU will need to avoid another slow start as MSU is a very good defensive team and digging out of a hole against them will be a major challenge. The Spartans are led by Ariel Powers who is one of the biggest offensive threats in the Big Ten and someone who the Buckeyes will have to pay attention to her.

    tBBC Picks

    After three days of action tBBC staff are really tight in their performance with the picking contest still completely up for grabs.

    Michael: 0-0 (Michael skipped to the semifinals with his picks)

    Scott: 7-3

    Brandon: 7-3

    Joe: 6-4

    Ken: 7-3

    JC: 5-5

    WVa: 6-4

    Charles: 7-3

    The post OSUWBB: Ohio State Knocks Off Rutgers in B1G Quarterfinals appeared first on The Buckeye Battle Cry: Ohio State News and Commentary.

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