After an easy opening win over Tennessee State that allowed the Ohio State Women’s basketball team to slide into the polls, being ranked 24/25thin the polls this week. OSU faced a tougher challenge tonight as they hosted Temple. Temple came into this game 2-0 and returns three starters from a team that made it the second round of the NCAA tournament last year.
Ohio State won the tip but came up empty on their first possession as Samantha Prahalis missed a jump shot. Prahalis immediately made up for the miss though by stealing a Temple pass and racing to the hoop for an easy layup. The Owls came right back to tie the game on their next possession and the two teams went back and forth repeatedly exchanging the lead. Both teams have very good backcourts and were pushing the ball up the floor quickly and attacking the basket off the dribble. The OSU defense struggled a bit with stopping Temple’s dribble drives, getting caught out of position several times. With 11 and a half minutes remaining in the half Temple led 17-16. Tayler Hill hit a three-pointer to put the Buckeyes up to two however the Owls tied the game up with a basket on their next possession. Ohio State came back up the floor and Hill hit her second three-pointer of the night, getting fouled in the process and hitting her free throw for the rare four point play to give the Buckeyes their largest lead so far in the game, 23-19 with just over ten minutes remaining. Temple had no intention of going away though and came right back and the two teams kept trading baskets. Ohio State stretched their lead to six, 32-26, with five minutes remaining in the half. The Owls would cut that lead to four points with a basket with three and a half to go. Those would be the last points Temple would score in the half and the Buckeyes would add a pair of baskets to go into the locker room leading 36-28.
Prahalis scored 12 points in the first half to lead both teams in scoring. Tayler Hill added 11 for the Buckeyes while center Ashley Adams did a great job passing the ball, tallying 5 assists in the opening half. Adams is the best passing center OSU has had in a long time, if not ever. Overall the Buckeyes shot 41 percent from the floor. OSU did a great job of spreading the floor and moving both with and without the ball. This put a lot of pressure on the Temple defense and gave the Buckeyes open shots from the outside as well as nice lanes to attack inside.
On the defensive end Ohio State did a good job of getting into the passing lanes on the outside, as evidenced by their forcing 10 turnovers. However the interior defense did not do a good job of jumping to the ball, allowing Temple to have easy entry passes. The Buckeyes did do a great job of holding guard Sheylani Peddy, Temple’s leading scorer, scoreless in the first half.
Temple came out of the break on fire, scoring 6 straight points to cut the Ohio State lead to 36-34. Forward Darryce Moore broke the Owls’ scoring streak with a layup and then hit assisted on an Ashley Adams layup the next trip down the floor. A Tayler Hill three-pointer on the next Buckeye possession stretched their lead to a game high nine points, 43-34, forcing a timeout from Temple. The timeout did nothing to swing the momentum away from Ohio State and the Buckeyes ran their streak to 11 unanswered points to open up a 47-34 lead with thirteen and a half minutes remaining in the game. OSU continued to grow their lead and lead 53-37 at the halfway point of the second half. Temple was not done though and mounted a comeback, scoring 9 straight and cutting the Buckeye lead to 53-46 with five and a half remaining. The Buckeyes responded with a pair of free throws by Tayler Hill and then back-to-back jumpers by Samantha Prahalis to push the lead to a more comfortable 59-46. For the second game in a row there was a scary moment as Prahalis went down with a possible leg injury. Fortunately Sammy was able to get back up and return to the game. The Owls went on a 6 to 2 mini-run to pull within single digits with just over two minutes remaining in the game. Ohio State’s offense went cold at this point and Temple took advantage to cut the lead to 66-63 with thirty seconds remaining in the game. Tayler Hill hit a pair of free throws but Temple managed to hit another three to cut the Buckeye lead to two with 14 seconds remaining. The Owls fouled Prahalis who then knocked to two free throws to seal the deal and give Ohio State a 70-66 victory.
The Ohio State offense had stretches were they played very well, spreading the floor, moving well, and finding good shots. However the offense went cold for stretches, most notably at the end, and did not shoot very well, finishing the day having hit 39% from the floor. The Buckeyes did a good job of taking care of the ball, only committing 12 turnovers with 5 of them coming in the last few minutes.
The OSU defense also had an up-and-down night. The Buckeyes did a good job of getting in the outside passing lanes and forcing turnovers, forcing 16 on the night. However the defense struggled to defend when Temple attacked the inside, allowing easy entry passes that gave the Owls shots from within the paint. As a result Temple shot 40% from the floor.
Tayler Hill led Ohio State in scoring with a career high 24 points. Samantha Prahalis chipped in 20 points and made her presence felt on the defensive end with 3 steals. Amber Stokes and Ashley Adams also scored in double digits, putting up 11 and 10 points respectively. Stokes added 7 rebounds while Adams grabbed 8 boards and dished out 5 assists. Darryce Moore put in solid minutes and pulled down a career high 7 rebounds.
It was frustrating to see Ohio State allow a large lead slip away but that may prove to be a good thing long term. This is a young team and facing some adversity like this and coming away with the win will help them grow and will benefit them against tougher opponents. The freshmen did not put up as good of numbers in this game as in the season opener but they still logged major minutes and got crucial experience. Ashley Adams continues to grow nicely; her ability to pass out of the post makes her very hard to defend. Amber Stokes continues to play more and more minutes and her explosiveness on the court is a big asset to the team. While this was not a pretty win for the Buckeyes, a win is a win and this is a young team whose best games still are ahead of them.