Monday will mark two years since Braxtin Miller and Oklahoma State upset seventh-ranked UCLA 87-72 in women’s basketball.
Miller, playing in only her 10th collegiate game, set a career high with 19 points, proving that she could play on the biggest stage, and as the buzzer sounded, nearly 3,000 fans stormed the court, swarming Miller and her teammates.
When Miller stepped to the free-throw line for Ohio State on Thursday in the final minute against No. 2 Louisville, she did so with that celebration in Stillwater playing in her mind.
After splitting her free throws to give the Buckeyes a six-point lead, the transfer turned around and reminded her teammates to finish strong. Thirty-five seconds later, Miller was in the center of another celebration at center court, the final horn sounding on a 67-60 Buckeyes win.
“It felt great,” she said. “It was something that a lot of people didn’t expect from us. It feels great to be able to have that under our belt.”
Miller finished with nine points on 2-of-7 shooting, but it served as a step forward after she went 0 of 10 last weekend in the Buckeyes’ two games in the South Point Shootout in Las Vegas.
Part of the reason for Miller's struggles can be attributed to her playing with an arm tendon out of place, though she said Friday she was optimistic that the worst of the pain was behind her. She left Thursday's game briefly in the third quarter after landing hard but returned at the start of the fourth.
“Any time I lifted my arms, whether it be shooting or even on defense, I had felt a sharp pain,” Miller said.
More than half of Ohio State’s points in the second half came from freshmen, a far cry from their game against Connecticut when the group struggled as the game wore on.
“They’re amazing,” Miller said of the freshmen. “I think we all believe in them and we have confidence in them. To be freshmen and doing the things that they’re doing is incredible.”
For coach Kevin McGuff, the victory over Louisville was a tangible example of the growth his team went through since their loss to UConn.
“We just seemed to execute a little better and make a few more plays on both ends of the floor compared to when we played against UConn,” he said. “That was great to see. I think it shows the maturation process of this team.”