Women’s Basketball: Ohio State’s Season Ends at The Hands of Florida, 70-65

Posted by Charles in Hoops |

Tayler Hill fights for a rebound but Florida's edge in rebouding gave them the win over Ohio State.

Almost a week after being snubbed with only an 8 seed in the NCAA tournament, Ohio State’s women’s basketball team finally got their chance to dance as they faced 9th seeded Florida.  The Gators were a bubble team and thus were thrilled to see their name announced on Monday.  The Buckeyes were less thrilled by where their name was called, not only were they given a worse seed than they expected, they were placed so that a first round win would most likely earn them a matchup against top overall seed Baylor, a team that has looked unstoppable this season.  The mental state of Ohio State would play a big role in today’s game, did the seeding slight anger the Buckeyes and give them a chip on their shoulder or will they come out flat, still wondering what they could have done to get a better seed.

Florida opened up playing a high pressure, trapping defense that frustrated Ohio State and forced turnovers on their first three possessions as the Gators jumped out to a 12-2 lead early.  The Buckeyes finally got their offense going and put together a 12 to 5 run to cut the Gator lead to 17-14.  Florida quickly responded with a 13 to 3 run to extend their lead to 30-17 with a bit more than seven minutes remaining in the half.  The teams began trading baskets but the Buckeye defense could not get stops to let them go on a run and cut into the lead.  The Buckeyes got a little bit of a spark thanks to a late defensive stop that let them score the final four points of the half and go into the locker room down only 39-31.

Ohio State did a good job of crawling back into the game after giving up the first 9 points of the game but their defense has struggled to consistently get stops.  The Buckeye run to cut the lead to three points came after a switch to a zone defense but Florida’s shooting from beyond-the-arc pulled OSU out of the zone, the Gators hit 7 three-pointers in the first half.  The other big problem for the Buckeyes has been a problem for much of the season, their inability to rebound.  Florida only out-rebounded the Buckeyes 24 to 18 in the first half but the Gators had an 11 to 3 edge on offensive boards, you just can’t keep giving a team that many second chance opportunities.

Ohio State scored the first four points of the second half but Florida came right back with five straight of their own.  The run trading continued as the Buckeyes scored 5 straight only to see the Gators answer with four straight to lead 48-40 with just over thirteen minutes remaining.  The teams kept trading baskets for the rest of the game with the Buckeyes finally putting together a late run to pull within 2 with 54 seconds remaining in the game but Florida scored on their next possession to go back up 4.  The Buckeyes came up empty on their next possession and Florida put the game away with free throws as the Buckeyes saw their season end in a 70-65 loss.

Tayler Hill led the Buckeyes with 23 points and 4 assists. Hill also showed some impressive defense at times as she came up with 4 steals and 2 blocks.  Amber Stokes scored 12 points, most coming in the second half during a stretch that was crucial to giving the Buckeyes a chance at the end.  Ashley Adams also reached double figures in scoring as she got a double-double with 11 points and 14 blocks while also adding 4 assists and 7 blocks.  Samantha Prahalis scored only 9 points in her final game as a Buckeye while also dishing out 3 assists.

Ohio State shot 47% from there floor compared to Florida’s 35%, but the Gators won the rebounding battle 46 to 35, generating 16 points off of second chances.  Those second chance points were the difference in the game and point out the biggest place that OSU needs to improve.

Today’s loss is profoundly disappointing and not the way that I thought we would see Samantha Prahalis’s career end.  When she arrived at Ohio State I loved her passion for the game and her skills and felt sure that she would be able to get us to a Final Four.  Unfortunately things did not turn out that way though she helped lead the team to two Sweet 16 berths while also setting a Big Ten records for assists and today becoming only the second player in NCAA history to score 2,000 points while dishing out 900 assists.

The biggest weakness for Ohio State all season was its young frontcourt where nobody was older than a sophomore.  The play of the frontcourt should improve greatly next season after an off-season of working and learning.  People can criticize Jim Foster’s coaching in big games but he is great at getting his players to improve between seasons.  Improvement by the frontcourt will need to focus on better boxing out as poor rebounding was costly several times this season.  In the backcourt, the Buckeyes will return Tayler Hill who exploded this season as a scorer and Amber Stokes who is a great defender and has shown that she can attack the basket.  OSU also has a trio of freshman guards who showed real promise at times this season and next season will hinge on their improvement in the offseason.

I am frustrated and sad with this loss but there is always next season and this team is really morphing into an athletic team that should be better able to compete in the tournament.  Plus I keep reminding myself, Foster is getting the team to the tournament every year and more importantly, continues to graduate every player who ever played for him, and that is the point of college sports.

 

Written by: Charles Kuehn | full bio

Charles is the Endowed Professor of Women's Basketball Coverage and general Buckeye blogger who tries to avoid the roving bands of Wolverines while living in Michigan.

 

4 Responses to “Women’s Basketball: Ohio State’s Season Ends at The Hands of Florida, 70-65”

  1. 1 Vico

    Well, at least we won’t be murder-balled by Baylor in our home state now.

    This was disappointing. Everything was disappointing down the stretch for this squad, which finished 5-6 in its last 11 games (including this loss). Foster can bemoan the seeding (and it was beyond weird), but you pay that price for that finish. Further, for as good of a league the B1G is men’s basketball, it’s Pac-12 caliber in the women’s game. Foster’s group is sadly a big part of that reputation.

    It’s obviously a stretch to start putting Foster on blast, but I can’t figure out why there is such a disconnect from his tenure at Vandy to his time at Ohio State. At Vandy, he took the Dores to 3 Sweet 16s, 2 Elite Eights, and a Final Four. At Ohio State, we usually get a lot of stuff like this (in addition to the conference championship accolades). I don’t know. I take the sport seriously, and I want a national championship(s) in it. So yeah, it’s fair to ask questions about Foster, though it obviously is a huge leap to simply say “Foster must go”.

  2. 2 Charles

    I agree Vico, I take the sport seriously and it frustrates me beyond belief that we haven’t had more success. Foster does deserve a lot of the blame as he isn’t a very good game coach and he isn’t great in season, however he is a great off-season coach. People have criticized his recruiting based on how many big names leave Ohio for elsewhere but it is hard to recruit against UConn and Tennessee and other bigger name schools. OSU is getting better but we are still not a top team in the sport. I think Foster needs to be given another year or two to see if this push towards more athleticism works, if it doesn’t get us over the hump though, then it is time to look for other answers. There are several good coaches at smaller schools that could do well with OSU’s resources and name.

  3. 3 linda

    As a female fan of OSU it is time to state the obvious. Coach Foster has proven he has reached his ceiling. He is not capable of taking an OSU team deep into the NCAA tourney. As fans we should thank him for his efforts. What should OSU do next? Go get the best young coach possible. Show everyone we are serious in getting a national program, not just content with a regional program. Whats that going to take? MONEY. Show them the money,and they will get in line. GO BUCKS.

  4. 4 Ken

    Interesting recap & comments with this. To be honest, I haven’t had much more of a passing interest in women’s basketball until I started reading OHD, so I have not developed the passion for the sport as you (Charles) and Vico have.

    Based on what I’ve seen the last couple of years, I’d tend to agree with linda; Foster has a nice little regional program, nothing much more. Yes, Charles, it is tough to recruit against TN and UConn due to their history of success, but if we continue to flame out, OSU just just reinforces this perception. I don’t understand the “I think Foster needs to be given another year or two to see if this push towards more athleticism works..”. This is Foster’s 10th year at OSU; is he just finding out that he needs athletic players?

    You raise interesting points about his “in-season” and “off-season” coaching. Waiting until this off-season to teach how to block out? Someone on his staff should have been working on this four months ago. I think with distinction of “in-off” season abilities, we’re entering into Ron Zook Territory. Or perhaps, we can move Foster to end of the bench and make him Head Recruiter and bring in an actual coach.

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