Now that it’s February, inconsistent college basketball teams begin to wonder whether they have the goods to make a run at the NCAA Tournament.
That’s certainly true for the Ohio State women’s team, which will be seeking only its second three-game winning streak of the season Sunday, when the Buckeyes (13-9, 6-5 Big Ten) play Wisconsin (11-12, 3-9) at Value City Arena.
“It’s going to be a fight,” forward Aaliyah Patty said of the Buckeyes’ closing stretch of seven games in 20 days before the Big Ten tournament. “Everyone’s coming at us, and we’re going at everyone else. It’s going to be hard.”
Tournament projections indicate Ohio State is on the NCAA bubble, listed as a No. 10 or 11 seed on some projections and out on others.
Regardless, the Buckeyes’ schedule suggests that a tournament run is possible. Among the final seven opponents, only Northwestern (19-3, 9-2) has fewer than four Big Ten losses, and the Buckeyes will play the Wildcats at home on Feb. 25.
Ohio State has shown grit in its past two games, rallying from 15 points down to beat Nebraska last Sunday and breaking open a close game in the final nine minutes of a 78-58 win at Illinois on Thursday. Patty was among five OSU scorers in double figures with 13 points, making 6 of 7 shots from the field.
“I thought Aaliyah was really good,” coach Kevin McGuff said. “She was efficient and really good defensively, communicating and keeping everyone organized.”
Overall, the Buckeyes had one of their best offensive games of the Big Ten season, shooting 49.1% from the field, 46.2% from three-point range and 83.3% on free throws.
“We had some balance,” McGuff said. “We kept moving the ball, and we moved ourselves.”
Before the Illinois game, Ohio State announced that guard Kaelynn Satterfield had entered the NCAA transfer portal. The freshman from New York had played in 18 games and averaged 2.4 points.