The Ohio State women’s basketball team headed north to the home of their biggest rivals on the heels of a tremendous 3 game winning streak and played valiantly and fought hard until the very end but came up just a little short, falling 62-58.
In spite of the sub-zero temperatures and the 6 inches of snow from the blizzard the day before, Crisler arena was packed with over 5,000 fans of all ages decked out in their yellow and blue, with touches of scarlet and grey sprinkled throughout.
Both teams got off to a slow start but the Buckeyes strong defense and tough play kept them in the game as they only trailed by 3 after the first quarter. Buckeye star freshman Dorka Juhasz, the 6 foot 4 inch forward from Hungary, went down early in the second quarter with an injury which gave the height advantage to the Wolverines. Juhasz was able to return to the game later though. At the half, the Wolverines held onto a 28-27 lead in spite of both teams having many turnovers and fouls.
Buckeye Head Coach Kevin McGuff made some great adjustments at the half and his team hit the court on fire as they dominated and scored the first 12 points taking a 39-28 lead midway through the third quieting the home crowd. The Wolverines kept scratching and clawing their way back but the Buckeyes kept a solid double-digit lead until midway through the fourth quarter.
The Wolverines then chipped away the final few minutes to tie the game at 55-55 with 1:55 remaining. but the Buckeyes Carly Santoro hit a long three-pointer at the 1:36 mark but the Wolverines responded on the other end with a three and the game was again tied with a minute to go.
The Wolverines missed a shot but Naz Hillmon grabbed the rebound and put it back with seven seconds left to put them ahead 60-58. The Buckeyes took a shot at their end with time running out but couldn’t connect and after the Wolverines connected on two free throws, the Buckeyes only had 1.6 seconds left and couldn’t get a shot off in time, ending a hard-fought game.
Santoro led all the Buckeyes in scoring with 16 points, hitting 3 big three-point shots. Janai Crooms finished with 11 and played almost the whole game while Juhasz finished with 10 points and a team-leading 7 rebounds.
The Buckeyes, 7-9 on the season, 3-4 in the Big Ten, will take the court again Thursday at home as they host the 9th ranked Maryland Terrapins. Tip-off is at 8 P.M.