Tonight the Ohio State women's basketball team (10-6) travels to West Lafayette, Indiana to take on the Boilermakers of Purdue (13-2) in their home arena. The 12th ranked Boilermakers will be looking to make a statement with the Buckeyes, and that statement will be a case for higher ranking. It will be difficult. Purdue lost their final non-conference game on December 29 by a wide margin, 74-47, to a 5th ranked Notre Dame team at South Bend. They then went on to narrowly defeat unranked Illinois in overtime, 67-66 in Champaign, and then another narrow victory over unranked Nebraska, 69-66, in Lincoln. Purdue needs this win to remain unbeaten in league play, but also to gain credibility as a contender.
Ohio State enters the game 0-3 in league play, having lost to Iowa, 77-72 at Iowa City, Illinois 79-73 in Columbus, and Minnesota 83-74 in Minneapolis. All three teams were unranked, as is Ohio State after starting the season ranked 19th.
Teamwork and productivity seem to be missing from the Ohio State game plan this year. This is something a bit unusual for Jim Foster's teams, who have amazed and entertained us over the years with the likes of Prahalis and Lavendar lighting up the court. This year, however, in spite of the many talented players on the roster, the Buckeyes just haven't been able to get into a rhythm that includes the entire line-up.
In their first three league games (all losses) Tayler Hill scored a total of 88 points for the Buckeyes.Who has stepped up to match? Junior center Ashley Adams has the potential to create some chaos in the paint and make things happen, but potential means you haven't done anything yet. She has been good at times, and at times she has been miserable, but mostly she just disappears. It doesn't help their perimeter work that Amber Stokes is out with an injury. Stokes and Hill certainly know each other well, and generate a lot of opportunities. But with Stokes out it was nice to see that Ameryst Alston, Raven Ferguson and Darryce Moore all stepped up their play against Minnesota. They will need to come back to that level and more if they're going to have a chance against the Boilermakers tonight, especially on their home court.
Jim Foster is a good coach and will have his team ready to compete. The question at this point is, will they remember how to do it when they're under pressure?
The game airs tonight at 7:30 on the BTN.
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