The roller-coaster nature of the Ohio State women’s basketball season is coming off another thrill ride, an 80-74 overtime win at Nebraska on Sunday, when the Buckeyes trailed by 15 points at halftime.
The next leg of OSU’s journey is at 8 p.m. Thursday, and it includes the possibility of more smiles.
The Buckeyes (12-9, 5-5) play at Illinois (10-11, 1-9), which is next-to-last in the Big Ten standings and has lost five straight, including a 77-47 defeat to Ohio State on Jan. 19 in Value City Arena.
But OSU coach Kevin McGuff is working to ensure his team recalls more than the 30-point margin.
“Hopefully they remember the first 30 minutes, because Illinois played great against us,” McGuff said of a game that was tied 37-37 midway through the third quarter. “It’s obviously harder on the road, but hopefully the team will be ready.”
Ohio State guard Braxtin Miller said she and her teammates already have discussed not taking the Illini for granted.
“I was saying this (Tuesday) night in the locker room — I have a feeling this is going to be a tough game,” Miller said. “We’re going to have to be locked in.”
Miller has been a key component for the Buckeyes in the past two games. She went through a three-game stretch in mid-January in which she totaled one point and shot 0 for 13 from the field.
But the Oklahoma State transfer scored 15 points in a loss at Iowa last Thursday and added a team-high 17 against Nebraska, including a dagger three-point goal with 34.5 seconds remaining in OT.
“I’ve been trying to keep my head in the game and believe in myself,” Miller said. “I’ve tried to be a good teammate and guide them, even when I wasn’t producing a lot of points.”