No. 8 Ohio State improves to 3-0, Cruises to 86-56 win over Ohio

The Ohio State No. 8 women’s basketball team (2-0) traveled to Athens, Ohio. for a matchup with Ohio University (0-2) on Thursday. Photo credit: Zachary Rilley | Photo editor

In her first game after climbing six spots in the latest Associated Press women’s basketball rankings, the No. 8 from Ohio State defeated Ohio 86-56 Thursday at the Convocation Center for a 3rd this season :0 success.

Although neither team shot well throughout the night, Ohio State’s defense again put on a dominant performance. Ohio had a higher shooting percentage for the game, but the difference was in their 33 turnovers that went straight to 41 Ohio State points.

Ohio State head coach Kevin McGuff said the Bobcats have a good game plan, but he’d like to see his team execute more on offense. Despite ending with 86 points, the Buckeyes shot 30-to-79 from the floor.

“To the credit of our kids, not one missed shot spoiled our defensive efforts at our full court pressure, so I was proud of that,” McGuff said. “We just have to be a little more efficient on the offensive.”

The first quarter got off to a fast start in typical Ohio State fashion, continuing its effective press at all seats and forcing a third of Ohio’s sales in the opening quarter. Senior guard Jacy Sheldon led the team with eight points, including a pair of ones, to give Ohio State an 18-8 lead.

Ohio State extended their lead in the second quarter, leaning on senior forward Rebeka Mikulasikova and redshirt junior guard Madison Greene. The duo, both of whom were on the 2019 roster that lost to the Bobcats, shot a combined six-for-seven on field goals for 15 points to give Ohio State a 43-22 advantage at halftime.

In the following half, Ohio could not do much offensively. The Bobcats scored 13 points on 5-for-13 shooting in the third quarter with continued pressure from Ohio State. The Bobcats turned it over eight more times and the Buckeyes went 68-35 into the final 10 minutes.

As the game clock slowed, Ohio State maintained their lead and gained some experience for some of the younger players. Freshman guard Kaia Henderson played her first regular season minutes for Ohio State in the fourth quarter, turning a steal into an and-one to record her first three points in a scarlet and gray uniform.

Despite not repeating her 11-steal performance from Sunday, Sheldon still managed three takeaways in the contest. She also led the team in scoring for the first time this season, finishing with 16 points. It’s still early in the season, but Sheldon said defense is the backbone of this team.

“Our good defense leads to offense, so I think it’s important for us to pay attention to that every night, no matter who we’re playing,” Sheldon said. “They always ask for our press and it’s a bit sporadic, but it works.”

Ohio Guard student Yaya Felder did whatever it took to keep the Bobcats in the game. In the loss, Felder scored a career-high 21 points in 9-for-18 shooting.

Sophomore guard Taylor Thierry has made an impressive start to her second year with the Buckeyes. As a starter, the Cleveland native averages 9.0 points per game and grabbed seven game-high offensive rebounds against Ohio, but Sheldon says she may only be scratching the surface.

“Honestly, we need to be more aggressive with them,” Sheldon said. “She can also be a real offensive threat and she will be at some point.”

Despite its poor shooting night, Ohio State was able to get back on track from the free throw line. After shooting 60 percent out of the charity streak in their first two games, they shot 20-to-26 against the Bobcats.

Ohio State returns to Columbus for a three-game home game starting Sunday at the Schottenstein Center, where they meet McNeese State at 1:00 p.m. The game will be available on B1G+.