Entering Thursday, Ohio State had been outscored 102-55 in the fourth quarter of its previous five women’s basketball games, all losses. And entering the fourth quarter Thursday night, the Buckeyes trailed No. 25 Indiana 36-30.
But then the Buckeyes made steals on Indiana’s first three possessions as part of an 8-0 run and Carmen Grande made four consecutive free throws in the final 20 seconds to give them a 55-50 win at Value City Arena in front of 3,557.Join the conversation at Facebook.com/BuckeyeXtra and connect with us on Twitter @BuckeyeXtra
At 9:43 of the fourth, Dorka Juhasz scored in the lane to cut the deficit to 36-32, then came up with a steal 30 seconds later. Grande found Makayla Waterman on a fast break to cut the deficit to 2, and Janai Crooms took the ball from Indiana’s Jaelynn Penn and went in for a layup to tie the score.
Grande picked off a pass and went in for the layup and a 38-36 lead — the Buckeyes’ first of the game — with 8:19 left.
“We were struggling to get points, so now we weren’t only getting stops we were turning those turnovers into points,” Ohio State coach Kevin McGuff said.
The Hoosiers (14-2, 3-1 Big Ten) reclaimed the lead 43-40, but the Buckeyes defense came up big by forcing Indiana into a shot-clock violation before a Carly Santoro three-pointer tied the score again with 4:48 left.
On back-to-back possessions in the final two minutes, Crooms had three-point play opportunities. She missed on the first chance but converted the second time, and her five-point spurt gave Ohio State (5-8, 1-3) a 51-45 lead with 1:26 remaining.
A pair of free throws by Aleksa Gulbe and a three-point play by Brenna Wise cut the gap to 51-50 with 33 seconds left, and after a Grande turnover, the Hoosiers took a pair of timeouts to set up a potential go-ahead shot. Penn missed a jumper. Gulbe grabbed the rebound but lost it out of bounds.
Grande converted two free throws, Penn missed a three to tie it, and Grande grabbed the rebound and was fouled again to ice the win. Grande finished with 19 points and five rebounds. Crooms scored eight of her 12 points in the fourth quarter.
It was a slow start for the Buckeyes. They missed 10 of their first 11 attempts from the field and trailed 14-2 before a three-pointer by Juhasz as time expired in the first. The Hoosiers led 24-20 at the half.
“We weren’t getting enough good shots and we weren’t making the ones we got, I thought we did a better job in the second half with our offensive execution,” McGuff said. “We drove it a bit more aggressively and threw it inside more.”