In the early weeks of the Ohio State women’s basketball season, coach Kevin McGuff has talked about how, while maintained that even though he feels his team has the talent to succeed, there’s still plenty of room for improvement.

Sunday's game against Ohio University showed exactly how much room for growth the Buckeyes have.

Despite a late comeback, Ohio State suffered its first loss of the season, falling to Ohio 74-68 in its home opener.

“We fought and we didn't give up, and that shows a lot about the character of the team,” McGuff said. “Certainly a disappointing loss, but give Ohio credit — they played really well tonight.”

Ohio State trailed by as many as 12 in the fourth quarter but managed to fight back to tie the Bell on the defensive end.

figures.

While it might have come in a losing effort, Buckeyes players were excited to see the press work.

“I think the momentum (from the press) definitely helped us and gave us a boost,” Miller said. “We've worked really hard on making that press better, so it was good to see us work super hard on that and see it pay off.”

After both teams battled back and forth through the first half, the Bobcats pulled away late in the third quarter thanks to nine straight points from Erica Johnson.

While neither team had an extremely proficient game on offense — Ohio State finished 25 of 60 — the Bobcats found their range from deep, going 8 of 24 on three-pointers. while the Buckeyes didn't (4-for-21). The Buckeyes were 4 of 21.

only 1 of 7 from the free-throw line.

“I definitely have to get better,” she said. “I feel like sometimes maybe we focus on (fouls being called rather) than gathering ourselves and finishing strong. That's on us, and we have to work harder at practice.”

For it can serve as another learning moment.

“We know that we can come back from this,” she said. “Obviously, losses are something that happen in college basketball and you don't want to lose, but it's not really about the loss anymore, it's about how you come back. I think the freshmen have a pretty good understanding of that.”

hpalattella@dispatch.com

@hellapalattella