Through one quarter of a women’s basketball game Sunday against Ohio , things were going according to plan for Ohio State.
Forwards Aaliyah Patty and Dorka Juhasz combined for 12 points against an undersized Bobcats team, and the Buckeyes’ length on defense led to Ohio starting 3 of 17 from the field.
But even then, Ohio State led only 19-14, in part because of a familiar issue — turnovers. Ohio State had six in the first quarter, four by Patty.
Three quarters and 14 more turnovers later, the final horn sounded in Ohio’s 74-68 win. And while Amani Burke’s 23 points and Erica Johnson’s nine straight points in the third quarter played a big part in the Bobcats’ comeback, the familiar theme of unforced errors were again front and center for the Buckeyes as they prepared for a game Thursday night at Kent State.
Through three games, Ohio State is averaging 19.7 turnovers, a which ranks 284th nationally among 348 Division I teams.
“We’ve got to get our turnovers down,” coach Kevin McGuff said. “Our goal is to get 15 or less, and we talked about that before practice (Tuesday). We’ve got some offensive firepower, but if we’re turning the ball over, we don’t get a chance to utilize it.”
Ohio State was able to win in spite of turnovers in its first two games. That wasn’t the case against Ohio.
“(Ohio) scored off probably every turnover we had,” Patty said. “If we didn’t have some of those turnovers, it might have been a totally different game. We’re working on that in practice and have goals set for that. We just need to continue to grow in that area.”
Part of the turnover problem can be attributed to Ohio State’s makeup: Six freshmen played. The team has depth, but the players are still learning to play as a unit.
Two examples of that learning curve are freshmen Jacy Sheldon and Kierstan Bell, who combined to shoot 7 of 24 from the field against the Bobcats. Despite the rough showing, McGuff is still confident in his freshman duo.
“(As a freshman), the game speeds up a little bit and it’s tough to find your rhythm,” he said. “As long as they focus on taking good shots, they’re going to be just fine.”