This game recap is a bit late and on the short side as I am currently in Seattle attending a conference. Ohio State traveled to Iowa yesterday looking to show that they had turned around their season after their late December slump and were once again contenders to win the Big Ten.
The game started out at a torrid pace, with both teams shooting very well. Iowa lead most of the half as the two teams mostly exchanged baskets. The Hawkeyes managed to open up a 34-27 lead with 6 minutes remaining in the half but the Buckeyes came right back to take a 40-39 lead with a minute and a half remaining in the half. Iowa scored the last six points of the half though and the two teams went into the break with the Hawkeyes up 45-40. The second half began with the two teams once again trading baskets but Iowa slowly managed to extend their lead. With 9 minutes remaining the Hawkeyes lead 68-59 when the Buckeyes went on a run to cut the lead to 68-65 with 7 and a half minutes remaining. This would be the closest the Buckeyes would get as Iowa got their touch back and slowly pulled away. When the buzzer sounded Iowa had won 89-76 and Ohio State was 1-2 in the Big Ten that they had been expected to win.
The game played out in the way that many people would have expected based on Ohio State’s performance the past few weeks. Iowa came out in a zone defense, packing the middle and daring Ohio State to shoot from outside. The Buckeyes continued to struggle from beyond the arc, shooting 4 of 22, meaning that Jantel Lavender spent most of the game in a crowd of defenders. Lavender still shot pretty well, hitting 7 of 11 shots to put 14 points, but just did not see the ball enough.
Samantha Prahalis led the team in scoring with 22 points and in the first half it looked like her shooting touch was back as she hit 5 of 9 shots. The second half proved otherwise though as she hit only 2 of 10 shots in the closing 20 minutes. Sammy also struggled from long range, hitting only 1 of her 9 three point attempts. Prahalis needs to realize that her long range shots are not falling and either find an open teammate or take the ball inside. Instead she once again looked like she was being selfish and trying to do to much on her own.
On the defensive end the Buckeyes tried to take away the long range shot but in doing so left lanes open to the basket. The Hawkeyes gladly exploited these as their guards Jaimie Printy, Kachine Alexander, and Kamille Wahlin penetrated almost at will. Even when they failed to score on their drives to the basket, the Iowa guards managed to pick up fouls, getting their points from the free throw line and getting the Buckeyes into foul trouble.
Despite their 1-2 start to the Big Ten season, there is still time for Ohio State to turn things around and win the conference but they need to do so now as their is little margin for error at the moment. It is pretty obvious what the Buckeyes need to do to get back on top, start hitting their outside shots and play more intense defense. The shooting will be the hardest to fix and may take time but the defensive intensity can start immediately if they players want it to.
The Buckeyes return to action Thursday when they travel to Northwestern before returning home on Sunday to face conference leader Michigan State.