If anything, Ohio State's game against Purdue on Monday was the start of something special for the Buckeyes. Though they lost, that game forced some new names to step up and make a difference. There's little doubt that it was a much needed awareness. The question that many people had was whether or not that new-found ability would find it's way into regular play once Tayler Hill returned.
That question was answered tonight.
This evening the Buckeyes hosted the Indiana Hoosiers at Value City Arena. The Hoosiers came into the game 10-6 overall and 1-2 in the Big Ten, so they were in need of another conference win. Ohio State, sitting 0-4 in the Big Ten, was looking to break the ice on a long conference win streak that would give them a shot at making the end of season tournament. With Tayler Hill back from the illness that kept her out of Monday's game, the fans wondered if the team would continue their level of play from Monday, or would instead, revert back to an over dependence on Hill.
The first half was a good indication of how determined both of these teams were to get the win. They battled each other for dominance, but continued to stay within a few points of each other, sporting seven ties in the first 30 minutes. This back and forth battle continued until the last few minutes of the first half when a true team effort showed up in the statistics. At the 4:25 mark, with Ohio State leading by one point, Tayler Hill sunk two free throws. This was followed by another free throw by Hill, 2 free throws by Ameryst Alston, 2 free throws by Ashley Adams, a 2-pointer by Hill and a free throw by Raven Ferguson. All of this while the defense effectively held off the Hoosiers, and the first half ends with Ohio State leading Indiana by six points, 30-26.
The two teams started the second half determined to fight for the win, but Ohio State's amazing defense and team play had the Buckeyes up by 14 points within a few minutes. The dominance by Ohio State kept the Hoosiers back on their heels. As a result Indiana was unable to shoot well, making only 38% of their 2-point shots and 20% of their three pointers. This statistic was made worse by the fact that the rebounds were almost always covered by Ohio State. The Hoosiers were also quite literally unable to get to the free throw line. They had 0 points off of just one attempted free throw the entire game.
By contrast the Buckeyes showed that they had learned from their performance against Purdue. Far from the single-woman show that has dominated the Buckeyes' play of late, in this game there were ten players who scored, four of them were in double-digits. The Buckeyes' man-to-man defense did an excellent job of shutting down the Hoosier attack, resulting in 12 turnovers by Indiana. The Buckeyes were able to turn those turnovers into 4 points, along with getting 4 points on fast breaks and outscoring the Hoosiers 20-8 in the paint. Probably one of the most important statistics for the Buckeyes on the night was the productivity of the bench players. Ohio State got 13 points from their bench, compared to only 5 for Indiana.
In the end the Buckeyes were simply too much for the Hoosiers, winning the game by 23 points, 68-45.
Darryce Moore and Ashley Adams continued the highly charged play that they had brought out in the Purdue game. Moore finished the game with 14 points and 6 rebounds, an assist and 1 steal in 21 minutes of play. Adams finished the game with 10 points, 4 assists, 3 rebounds and 2 blocks. Both Adams and Moore have had a tendency to simply disappear during their games. Tonight they both made their presence known.
Ameryst Alston continued her success from the Purdue game and played relentlessly. She finished the game with 7 points, 7 assists and 8 rebounds. Most of her effort doesn't show up in statistics, since she does such a nice job of disrupting the other team's rhythm of play. Cait Craft also did a great job of reading and disrupting Indiana's defense, and also managed to put up 3 points, a block and a rebound.
Tayler Hill was her usual amazing self with 15 points, 4 assists, 8 rebounds, 2 blocks and a steal.
Another notable performance tonight was made by red shirt junior Aleksandra Dobranic who scores an average of 3.8 points per game, but tonight put up a solid 10 points off of 7 shots. She also had 2 assists, 4 rebounds and a block.
The Buckeyes will quickly get another chance to show that they are for real when they take on the Badgers this Sunday, January 20 at 3:00 pm in Madison, WI.
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