The Ohio State women’s basketball team entered a game Thursday night against 11th-ranked Maryland short-handed and, well — short. Injuries meant the Buckeyes had only eight players in uniform and just two true post players.
Among the injured was 6-foot-4 Dorka Juhasz, who had 18 points and 10 rebounds in Maryland’s six-point win earlier this month. It was primarily up to Aaliyah Patty and Makayla Waterman to patrol the lane.
Despite the disadvantages, Ohio State mostly hung with the Terrapins before falling 70-57 in front of 3,962 at Value City Arena.
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Carly Santoro led the Buckeyes (7-10, 3-5 Big Ten) with 23 points and Patty added nine points, all in the first half.
The Buckeyes took their first lead of the game with 5:02 left in the opening quarter when Janai Crooms found Santoro in the corner for a three-pointer to make it 9-8. Crooms made a layup on the next possession to make it 11-8 at the 4:12 mark.
The score was tied at 18 after one quarter and Maryland’s lead at the half was just 32-28. The Buckeyes outrebounded the Terps 18-12 and forced then into 15 turnovers in the opening half. Maryland committed 12 turnovers in the first meeting with Ohio State and entered the game averaging 15.
The second half didn’t have an ideal start as Patty picked up her third and fourth fouls in the first 36 seconds, putting her on the bench.
“In the first half, we really competed with great competitive character,” coach Kevin McGuff said. “But in the second half, when things didn’t go our way, we still played hard — but mentally we let some of those plays carry over to the next play and the next play.”
Despite the foul problems, the Buckeyes kept it close. Santoro made a three-pointer from the corner and then added a layup 30 seconds later to tie the score at 38, prompting Maryland (17-2, 6-2) to call a timeout with 6:21 left in the third.
The scrappiness, hustle and grit the Buckeyes showed in the first half was replaced with fatigue and sloppiness as Maryland pulled away. The Terrapins closed the quarter on a 16-8 run and enjoyed a 13-6 advantage on the boards for the quarter.
In the fourth quarter, Maryland outscored the Buckeyes 16-11. The Terps outrebounded the Buckeyes 23-13 in the second half and committed just eight turnovers.
“I thought we got worn out a little bit, especially with the short bench,” McGuff said. “Whenever we turned the ball over, they were really good at turning it into points.”
Stephanie Jones led Maryland with 20 points, and Shakira Austin added 11 rebounds.
The Buckeyes next play Monday at Minnesota. Juhasz, who suffered a sprained ankle last week against Michigan, is questionable for that game.