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Ohio State Women’s Basketball Completes Largest Comeback in Big Ten Tournament History to Beat Indiana, 79-75, and Advance to Big Ten Championship



When Ohio State defeated Michigan on Friday, the Buckeyes proved it’s not impossible to beat a team three times in a row.

After back-to-back losses to Indiana in the regular season, Ohio State showed the opposite could be true this weekend as it completed a 24-point comeback – the largest in Big Ten Tournament history – to beat the top-seeded Hoosiers in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals.

Team 1 2 3 4 FINAL
#4 OHIO STATE 12 14 27 26 79
#1 INDIANA 23 23 17 12 75

Ohio State defeated Indiana, 79-75, on Saturday in Minneapolis. Taylor Thierry led the way for the scarlet and gray with 19 points, while Rikki Harris (13 points), Taylor Mikesell (13), Cotie McMahon (12) and Jacy Sheldon (12) also finished in double figures.

With the win, Ohio State advances to the Big Ten Tournament championship, where the Buckeyes will face either No. 2-seeded Iowa or No. 3-seeded Maryland on Sunday.

First Quarter

The Wolverines landed the first punch in Ohio State’s matchup with Michigan in the Big Ten quarterfinals. Indiana did the same on Saturday, but unlike the Buckeyes’ performance on Friday, Kevin McGuff’s squad could not respond to the Hoosiers’ initial blows in the semifinals.

Indiana connected on nine of its first 15 attempts to shoot an impressive 60% from the floor in the first quarter. Ohio State, on the other hand, made only five of its initial 17 shots (29%) in the opening frame. The Hoosiers also secured 13 rebounds to the Buckeyes’ six and protected the rim well with two blocks.

While Indiana’s offense is the primary reason for the team’s early advantage over Ohio State, the Hoosiers’ defense also played a crucial role in their lead, as forwards Mackenzie Holmes and Lilly Meister helped limit McMahon to two points in 10 minutes, and they held the Buckeyes without a basket for the final 5:34 of the first quarter. Indiana entered the second quarter with an 11-point lead, 23-12.

Second Quarter

Ohio State’s offensive woes continued in the second quarter. The Buckeyes made five of 18 shots, including a 1-of-8 mark from behind the arc, as McMahon, Thierry, Rebeka Mikulasikova and Mikesell were the only scorers. For the half, the team converted on 10 of 35 field goals (28.6%) and one of 13 attempts from the 3-point line.

79 POINTS 75
26-73 (35.6%) FGM-FGA (PCT.) 24-59 (39.0%)
4-23 (17.4%) 3PM-3PA (PCT.) 7-18 (87.0%)
23-25 (92.0%) FTM-FTA (PCT.) 20-23 (87.0%)

Indiana didn’t experience the same issues. The Hoosiers were led by Sara Scalia, who made four of six shots and three of five 3-pointers for a team-best 12 points in the second quarter. Grace Berger added four points from free throws, and Holmes contributed two points and three rebounds for their team as IU carried a 46-26 advantage into the break after leading by as much as 24 points, 46-22, in the final minutes of the half.

Third Quarter

In the third quarter, Ohio State’s best offense was its defense. The Buckeyes chipped away at the Hoosiers’ lead with a heavy defensive push, recording four steals and one block in the frame to cut Indiana’s lead to 63-53 as the teams entered the fourth.

Jacy Sheldon was the leader of Ohio State’s defensive outbreak, as the Dublin, Ohio, native secured two steals that led to points during her brief time on the floor. Thierry and Harris were the other Buckeyes to record takeaways, and Thierry also added a block.

Thierry, Harris and Mikesell led the way for Ohio State on offense. Thierry scored a team-best eight points in the frame and collected four rebounds, while Harris and Mikesell combined for 13 points for the Buckeyes, who outscored their entire offensive output in the first half (26 points) with a 27-point third quarter.

Fourth Quarter

Early in the fourth quarter, Indiana had an answer for each of Ohio State’s comeback attempts. Anytime the Buckeyes cut into their 10-point deficit, Scalia, Holmes, and the rest of the Hoosiers responded right on cue with a two- or three-point bucket.

But Ohio State’s hardest push came after the 5:23 mark of the quarter, which proved to be too much for the Hoosiers to handle. Suddenly, the Buckeyes’ historic comeback looked possible, perhaps even likely.

Ohio State’s relentless full-court press forced Indiana into a five-second violation, resulting in a Sheldon floater, and a jump ball that turned the possession arrow in its favor. The next four Hoosiers possessions ended in a defensive rebound for McMahon and steals for Sheldon, Harris and Thierry, but the Buckeyes only capitalized on those opportunities with two points.

In the game’s final minutes, Ohio State’s press continued to be an effective tool McGuff relied heavily on his most experienced players to put the Hooisers away, as Thierry, McMahon, Mikesell and Sheldon shined on both ends of the floor to help their team outscore Indiana 26-12 in the quarter and secure the four-point victory for the Buckeyes.

Game Notes

  • Ohio State head coach Kevin McGuff selected Rikki Harris, Taylor Thierry, Taylor Mikesell, Eboni Walker and Cotie McMahon to start for the Buckeyes for the sixth consecutive contest.
  • Big Ten Freshman of the Year Cotie McMahon was dominant in Ohio State’s 81-79 win over Michigan in the Big Ten Tournament quarterfinals, collecting 28 points, 12 rebounds and four assists in the Buckeyes’ three-point victory. Second-team All-Big Ten honoree Taylor Thierry also had 20 points and first-team All-Big Ten member Taylor Mikesell scored 16.
  • Ohio State was selected as the last No. 3 seed in the final pre-tournament rankings released by the NCAA women’s basketball selection committee last week. The Buckeyes are expected to be a No. 3 or No. 4 seed after reaching the Big Ten Tournament semifinals this weekend.
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