Shrugging her shoulders, Madison Greene tried to pretend that she hadn't done anything extraordinary Thursday night against Minnesota.
"I'm not sure it was me," the 5-foot-8 freshman point guard from Pickerington Central said. "The driving lanes were open and my teammates were getting open. Things just fell into place. When that happens, it makes the game seem a lot easier than it is."
Greene racked up career highs of 25 points and seven assists in fueling the Ohio State women’s basketball team to a 99-76 victory before 3,721 at Value City Arena. Perhaps even more impressive, Greene committed no turnovers in helping the Buckeyes to their season-high fourth straight win.
"Madison was really great," Ohio State coach Kevin McGuff said. "She not only got other people involved, which she tends to do most of the time, but she was scoring as well."
One of six accomplished Buckeyes freshmen, Greene carved out a role off the bench early in the season, but earned her way into the starting lineup with outstanding defense and true point guard qualities.
On Thursday, she carved up the Golden Gophers with slick ball moves and confident one-on-one drives to the basket. She converted four three-point plays.
"I don't have much control on whether they foul me or not, but I'll take the and-ones if I can get them," Greene said. "I just appreciate that the coaches have put the trust in me as a leader to be out there in key situations. It certainly has boosted my confidence."
Fellow freshmen Jacy Sheldon of Dublin Coffman and Kierstan Bell also had big games. Sheldon had 19 points and seven rebounds, and Bell, the three-time Ohio Ms. Basketball winner, had 15 points and six rebounds in just 14 minutes off the bench.
Ohio State (15-9, 8-5 Big Ten) shot 55.7% from the field (34 of 61), including 10 of 23 on three-point shots, made 21 of 25 free throws and committed just eight turnovers in one of its strongest overall outings.
"I think we've started to play really well together of late," Sheldon said. "It's a reflection of the hard work we've put in at practice."
The Buckeyes got off to a shaky start, missing their first five shots in falling behind 6-0. But the cold snap didn't last long.
Ohio State ripped off an 8-0 run early in the second quarter and took the lead for good. The surge swelled to 18-4 as the Buckeyes took a 49-37 halftime lead.
There were six lead changes and five ties before the decisive run.
"We stepped up our defense and that helped us get into our transition offense," Sheldon said.
Ohio State padded its lead to 73-59 by the end of the third quarter and continued to build it throughout the final period when McGuff substituted liberally.
The Buckeyes' previous best winning streak was three, from Nov. 30 to Dec. 8.
Ohio State improved its lead in the series with Minnesota to 61-17, including seven straight victories.
Jasmine Powell had 23 points for the Golden Gophers (15-10, 5-9), who are 4-9 since losing to Ohio State in the first meeting 66-63 on New Year's Eve.