Today was a busy day for Ohio State sports and women’s basketball got into the act as they hosted Winthrop. Today’s game was a bit different in that it was played at St. John Arena, one of the two games that must be played there this season since it was selected to host NCAA tournament games this year. Personally I am a fan of games in St. John, while the Schott is nice looking, it is too big and not well designed for basketball which really kills the atmosphere; St. John is more compact, louder, and just produces a better atmosphere in my opinion.
Ohio State started the game with some hot outside shooting as Tayler Hill and Raven Ferguson each hit two three-pointers in the first three and a half minutes to help OSU jump out to a quick 14-2 lead. Winthrop finally got its offense going a bit at that point and the two teams traded baskets for the next eight minutes. With the Buckeyes up 23-16 with eight minutes remaining in the half, OSU scored 8 unanswered thanks to a pair of three pointers by Hill, she assisted on the Martina Ellerbe basket the provided the other two points. The two teams traded baskets for a few minutes again before Ohio State closed out the first half with a 10 to 0 run to give themselves a 43-20 halftime lead.
The second half went pretty much like the first half with Ohio State controlling the game, never letting Winthrop even think about getting back into it. Despite substituting liberally, OSU saw its lead continue to grow as they coasted to a 78-53 win.
Ohio State had another great shooting night, hitting 45% of their shots overall and going 7 of 14 from beyond the arc. Defensively they held Winthrop to 37% from the floor, 25% from three-point range. The big different was on the board where the Buckeyes outrebounded the Eagles 42-27; OSU also won in terms of second chance points, 14-2. The Buckeyes have struggled on the boards over the past year so it was very nice to see them dominate in that category tonight, even if it was against an outmatched opponent.
Tayler Hill led the Buckeyes with 16 points, thanks to shooting a very nice 4 of 6 from three point range, 5 assists, and 3 rebounds. She did struggle at the free throw line, going an inexplicable 2 for 7. Forward Darryce Moore had perhaps the best game of her careers as she just missed out on a double-double with 16 points and 9 rebounds; the 16 points were a career high for Moore. Ashley Adams also had a great day inside with 14 points, 8 rebounds, 6 blocks, and 4 assists. It is nice to see that the frontcourt appears to be getting better with each game, Adams has been strong all season and if Moore can play up to her potential the Buckeye interior will be much improved from last season where they were the team’s biggest weakness.
Amber Stokes didn’t look to score as often as last game, taking only 7 shots in this one, but she did a good job of attacking inside when she did look to score and got to the free throw line several times as a result. Stokes finished with 8 points and showed off her energy and tenacity as she also grabbed 6 rebounds and 4 steals. Fellow guard Raven Ferguson scored 7 points, going 2 of 4 shooting, all from three point range, in only 17 minutes of action.
Coach Foster used the large lead to freely substitute and 12 players saw the floor, 9 playing double digit minutes, and 10 of them scoring. None of the bench players had a huge day, Martina Ellerbe probably had the best with 4 points and 5 rebounds, but it is nice to see them getting playing time and experience while at the same time keeping the starters fresh. None of the starters played more than 29 minutes which is rare for a Foster coached team, even in blowout games. Hopefully this will lead to improved depth over the course of the season and more players being able to step up when needed to.
This was another dominating win over a lesser opponent so one cannot read too much into it but there were a lot of good signs. It is great to see so many players seeing the floor and to see the scoring somewhat spread around. The best sign Is the improving frontcourt with two interior players scoring in double-digits while coming close to getting double-doubles. The bench players still need to provide more of a scoring threat but the team still kept rolling despite the substitutions. The Buckeyes return to action on Tuesday when the host St. Francis (PA) at 7:00pm in a game that will be available at BTN.com.