The Ohio State women’s basketball team closed out 2012 and the non-conference portion of their schedule by hosting Howard today. Coming off of a dominating performance earlier in the week, the Buckeyes looked to continue their momentum heading into Big Ten play where the schedule will get tougher.
Ohio State opened the game hot from the floor and quickly jumped to a 17-5 lead in the opening nine minutes. Howard finally got their offense going at this point but their defense still couldn’t slow down the Buckeyes and the two teams traded baskets the rest of the half; OSU went into intermission leading 33-21. The Buckeyes built their lead thanks to shooting a scoring 63% from the field but 11 turnovers kept the Bison in the game.
Howard opened the second half with a pair of baskets to trim the Ohio State lead to single digits, 33-25. The two teams traded baskets for the next few minutes and the Buckeyes led 40-32 with fourteen minutes left in the game when OSU scored 8 unanswered to extend their lead to a more comfortable 48-32 with just over ten minutes remaining on the clock. The two teams would trade baskets the rest of the way, with the Bison getting no closer than 13 points down as the Buckeyes came away with a solid, if closer than desired, 67-50 win.
Ohio State struggled a bit with their shooting in the 2nd half and finished the game shooting 49% from the field, still a very good day though not as good as their first half. The Buckeyes didn’t do as well from beyond the arc, shooting only 25% from three point range. OSU held on and extended their lead in the second half despite their shooting struggles by cutting down on turnovers, committing only 5 after halftime to finish the game with 16. Defensively OSU held Howard to 33% shooting, 25% from three, and forced 15 turnovers. The Buckeyes dominated the boards 37-27, a welcome sign considering their rebounding struggles over the past season and a half.
Tayler Hill led the way with 22 points, hitting all 8 of her free throws even as she only went 2 of 7 from outside the arc. Hill pulled down 5 rebounds and had 3 assists but committed a disappointing 4 turnovers. Ashley Adams recorded her third double-double of the season, putting up 13 points and 11 rebounds while also dishing out 4 assists and getting 2 blocks. Amber Stokes also scored in double-digits, finishing with 11 points, 5 boards, and 2 assists. Freshman Ameryst Alston continued to show that she is going to be a very good college point guard as she had a career-high 9 assists while also putting up 4 points and grabbing 4 rebounds.
After three solid games, Aleksandra Dobranic saw limited playing time in this game but Darryce Moore did a good job of coming off the bench at the forward position to score 8 points. Raven Ferguson continued to provide vital scoring off the bench, contributing 7 points.
Today’s game was closer than expected, maybe Ohio State was looking ahead to the start of Big Ten play, maybe they had a bad day, or maybe Howard was better than expected. No matter the cause, it was nice to see the Buckeyes fight and find ways to win even when the game wasn’t going the way they expected or hoped. OSU had to change up its strategy and personnel and the bench responded, providing some vital scoring. The most exciting sign is the continuing development of freshman Ameryst Alston at the point. A 9 assist and 1 turnover night would be a great performance from a senior and is exception for a rookie, no matter who the opponent is. Alston will face tougher defenses during conference play but she has shown positive signs that she will be able to handle the pressure and run the Buckeye offense.
Ohio State must now get ready for Big Ten play and they will open the conference season with a trip to Iowa. The Hawkeyes are 10-3 on the season with their losses coming to North Carolina, Florida State, and a surprising upset at the hands of Florida International. The Hawkeyes aren’t as good as they have been in recent years but they still have a pair of top guards in Jaime Printy and Samantha Logic. Iowa center Morgan Johnson is a great inside player and she will challenge Adams and Dobranic on both ends of the court. OSU and Iowa will tip at 6:30pm on Thursday, January 3rd; the game will be shown on BTN.