After playing three straight difficult games and then having final exams, the Ohio State women’s basketball team got a bit of a break today as they hosted Canisius. Last Sunday’s win at Oklahoma helped the Buckeyes rise to 13thin the country and her performance in that game, as well as the game against Florida State, got Tayler Hill named Big Ten player of the week. Freshman Kalpana Beach, who had started the first seven games of the season, did not play today as she is still suffering the lingering effects of taking a hard elbow to the head against Oklahoma; sophomore Darryce Moore started in Beach’s place.
Canisius jumped out to an early lead thanks to a three-pointer on their first possession but that lead did not last long as Ohio State responded by scoring 18 straight points to take an 18-3 lead with just over thirteen minutes remaining in the half. The Golden Griffins finally got their offense going a bit at that point but the Buckeye lead was just too much to overcome. Canisius got to within twelve, 25-13, with six and half minutes on the clock but Ohio State closed out the half on a 13 to 6 run to take a 38-19 lead into the half. The large lead allowed Coach Jim Foster to sub liberally in the first half; eleven Buckeyes saw the floor and seven of them scored.
The second half was very similar to the first as Ohio State slowly extended its lead with Canisius unable to do anything about it. The Golden Griffins opened the second stanza with a pair of three-pointers that bracketed a pair of free-throws by Tayler Hill and cut the Buckeye lead to 40-25. The Buckeyes responded with a 13 to 3 run that made the score 53-28 with fourteen and a half minutes remaining and ended any hopes by Canisius that they could make this a game. From that point on it was pretty much all Buckeyes as Ohio State coasted to an 84-41 victory.
Ohio State shot 51% from the floor but only 26% from beyond the arc. Their three-point shooting did improve in the second half as they hit 4 of 10 from long range after intermission compared to only 1 of 9 in the first half. The Buckeyes still need to improve their outside shooting otherwise the better defensive teams in the Big Ten will be able to make life very difficult for them in the paint. OSU tallied 16 assists while committing 13 turnovers. As has been the case for much of the season, most of the Buckeye turnovers occurred in the first half and the team took much better care of the ball in the second.
The OSU defense had a great day, limiting Canisius to 29% shooting though they did allow the Golden Griffins to hit 7 of 16 three-pointers. The Buckeyes won the rebounding battle 34 to 27. Most impressively, Ohio State came up with 10 steals and 5 blocks, while forcing a total of 24 Canisius turnovers.
Tayler Hill led the team in scoring with 21 points; she also came up with 4 steals and 4 rebounds. Samantha Prahalis was close behind with 20 points, 3 steals, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists. Both Prahalis and Hill did a lot of damage from the free-throw line, Prahalis going 5 of 6 while Hill went 7 of 8 from the charity stripe. As long as both of them continue to attack the basket this season, they will continue to get to the free throw line for hopefully easy points while also getting the opponent in foul trouble. Sophomore forward Darryce Moore got her first start and scored 8 points while getting two blocks.
The large lead for most of the game allowed Foster to go to the bench often and several non-starters posted season highs for minutes played today. Freshman guard Raven Ferguson was in for 20 minutes and scored 6 points while grabbing 6 rebounds. Redshirt sophomore center Aleksandra Dobranic scored 4 points and grabbed 6 boards in 13 minutes while sophomore forward Martina Ellerbe also played 13 minutes and finally got the chance to show off her range as she hit her first two three-pointers of the season for her 6 points. In total 12 Buckeyes saw playing time and 11 of them scored; freshman Shelbi Honeycutt did not score but did grab 2 rebounds.
This will be a special weekend at Value City for redshirt junior Amber Stokes. Today she scored 6 points, got 2 steals, and 1 block. Tomorrow she will return to Value City to receive her degree, finishing it only 3.5 years; great job Amber!
Today’s game was an easy win, as was expected, but there were still several meaningful signs. Ohio State used a lot of players and gave the younger players a lot of minutes in the game, which experience will pay off down the stretch. The Buckeyes also kept up their intensity for the whole game, continually extending their lead and not showing any decrease in performance when bench players came in. The Buckeyes return to action on Tuesday when they host Southern University at 7:30pm in a game that will be broadcast on BTN.