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tBBC OSUWBB: Strong Fourth Quarter Leads Buckeyes Past Illini

Discussion in 'News' started by Charles, Feb 1, 2016.

  1. Charles

    Charles Guest

    OSUWBB: Strong Fourth Quarter Leads Buckeyes Past Illini
    via our good friends at Buckeye Battle Cry
    Visit their fantastic blog and read the full article (and so much more) here

    After a nail biting win on Thursday against Northwestern that gave the Ohio State women’s basketball team revenge against the one Big Ten team to beat them this year, the Buckeyes took to the road to face Illinois. The Illini came into tonight’s game with an 8-12 record but 7 of those losses have been by single digits.

    Ohio State got the scoring started, jumping out to a quick 5-0 lead only to see Illinois go on an 8 to 3 run to tie the game at 8 just four minutes into the opening quarter. The two teams would trade baskets for the next couple minutes before the Illini took a 13-12 lead with just under four minutes remaining in the first. The Illini would stretch their lead to three points on two occasions but a late basket by Kelsey Mitchel would pull the Buckeyes within one, 21-20, at the end of the quarter.

    Illinois would open the scoring in the second quarter but Asia Doss hit a three pointer to tie the game on the next Ohio State possession. The Illini would answer with a three of their own and the two teams would begin trading baskets. A pair of free throws by Ameryst Alston and a jumper by Mitchell would give the Buckeyes back the lead but an Illinois three pointer quickly changed that. The Illinois defense couldn’t stop the OSU offense though and the Buckeyes went on a 15 to 2 run to take a 44-33 lead with just over a minute left in the half. The teams would trade baskets for the rest of the period and Ohio State would go into halftime with a 49-41 lead.

    The momentum Ohio State had to end the first half evaporated during intermission and Illinois took advantage, opening the second half with an 11 to 2 run to take a 52-51 lead four minutes into the third quarter. OSU finally got their offense going a bit after that but neither team lit up the scoreboard for the rest of the quarter, slowly trading baskets with the Buckeyes holding a 59-58 lead heading into the fourth.

    Ameryst Alston opened the fourth with a pair of free throws but neither teams could get any offense going. Illinois tied the game at 61 three minutes into the final period. OSU responded with a 5 to 1 mini-run that featured a crucial three pointer by Cait Craft. A three pointer by the Illini would pull them within one but the Buckeyes didn’t blink, scoring seven straight points to go up 74-66 with two and a half minutes remaining. OSU would make their free throws down the stretch on their way to an 80-70 win.

    After shooting a great 55% from the field in the first half, Ohio State struggled with their shot in the second half, going 31% from the field to finish 44% for the game; the Buckeyes shot 35% from three point range. Other than a 6 turnover third quarter, the Buckeyes did a good job taking care of the ball, committing 11 turnovers while dishing out 14 assists. Defensively OSU struggled in the first half, allowing Illinois to shoot 44% from the field and 60% from outside but the Buckeyes stepped it up in the second half, only allowing Illini to go 28% from the field and 23% from outside after intermission. OSU forced 13 turnovers which they turned into 13 points. As has become expected in recent years, Ohio State struggled on the boards, losing the rebounding battle 45-37.

    Ameryst Alston led Ohio State with 24 points thanks to going 12 for 12 from the free throw line. Alston also had 4 assists and 5 rebounds. Kelsey Mitchell struggled in the third quarter but had a big fourth quarter on the way to putting up 22 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, and 2 steals. Alexa Hart just missed out on a triple-double with 18 points, 14 rebounds, and 8 blocks. Cait Craft had 9 points thanks to going 3 of 6 from outside.

    7th ranked Ohio State continues to be involved in close games in Big Ten play. Of OSU’s 9 wins in conference action, only 3 of them have come by more than 10 points and all three of those wins were at home. The Buckeye offense continues to perform well but they struggle to play consistent defense for a full 40 minutes and rebounding continues to be an issue. Some of these defensive lapses are likely due to the fact that OSU is still a young team that starts three sophomores along with a pair of seniors. The Buckeye defense will need to cut back on these lapses come March though if the team wants to live up to the enormous potential that its offense gives it. That offensive potential has increased recently thanks to the performance of Cait Craft who has gone 6 of 9 from outside in the last two games. With a starting lineup that features scoring threats in Kelsey Mitchell, Ameryst Alston, and Alexa Hart, Craft is often overlooked on the court as defenses will give her space in order to try to better contain OSU’s big three. This gives Craft lots of good looks and if she can continue to take advantage of those, the Buckeye offense will go from scary to downright terrifying.

    Ohio State returns to action on Thursday when they play host to Wisconsin in a game that will tip at 7:00 pm.

    The post OSUWBB: Strong Fourth Quarter Leads Buckeyes Past Illini appeared first on The Buckeye Battle Cry: Ohio State News and Commentary.

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