Ohio State women's basketball falls to Texas in Sweet 16 despite late comeback attempt

Joey Kaufman
The Columbus Dispatch
Texas forward DeYona Gaston, right, shoots over Ohio State forward Tanaya Beacham (35) during the first half of a college basketball game in the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA tournament, Friday, March 25, 2022, in Spokane, Wash. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)

SPOKANE, Wash. — The Ohio State women’s basketball team’s surprise run in the NCAA Tournament came to an end on Friday as it suffered a 66-63 loss to Texas in a regional semifinal.

The sixth-seeded Buckeyes nearly rallied from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter to upset the second-seeded Longhorns and move past the Sweet 16 for the first time in nearly three decades before being undone in the waning moments.

“I’m proud of our fight,” coach Kevin McGuff said. “I’m proud of the toughness we showed down the stretch. We just came up short against a great Texas team.”

As the final seconds ticked off the clock at Spokane Arena, the Buckeyes were unable to get off a 3-point attempt that could have tied the game and forced overtime.

Star guard Jacy Sheldon dribbled the length of the floor before turning around and firing off a pass to Tanaya Beacham, who was hovering along the side of the arc.

But a pair of Texas players were quick to swarm Beacham as soon as she picked up the ball. Time expired before a desperate heave could be hoisted.

The Buckeyes had called a play that was set up for Sheldon to have enough space to flip a pass to Taylor Mikesell on the opposite side of the court. McGuff referred to it as action on the backside. 

Instead, Rori Harmon, a hard-nosed freshman guard for the Longhorns, stuck with Sheldon, leaving her without much room and cutting off her vision to make a pass along the baseline.

“They did a great job of defending it,” McGuff said.

Mar 25, 2022; Spokane, WA, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes guard Jacy Sheldon (4) shoots the ball against Texas Longhorns guard Aliyah Matharu (2) in the Spokane regional semifinals of the women's college basketball NCAA Tournament at Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

On the previous possession, the Buckeyes were also unable to score a go-ahead bucket as Sheldon air-balled a step-back jump at the elbow, and freshman Taylor Thierry’s put-back underneath was blocked.

A frenetic energy and continued pressure from its defense kept Ohio State, which finished its season with a 25-7 overall record, close for 40 minutes against the physical Longhorns that featured a pair of 6-footers in their starting frontcourt. 

But the hot shooting that put the Buckeyes past the round of 32 vanished. After making 48% of their field-goal attempts and 46% from beyond the arc to upset third-seeded LSU on Monday, they shot 43% and just 33% from 3-point range four days later.

It wasn’t until late in the third quarter before OSU made its first 3-pointer, a shot along the wing by Mikesell, after missing its first four attempts from long range.

Mikesell and Sheldon, who formed a dynamic backcourt tandem for the Buckeyes this season, still shouldered the scoring load.

Mar 25, 2022; Spokane, WA, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes guard Rikki Harris (1) shoots the ball against Texas Longhorns guard Shay Holle (10) in the Spokane regional semifinals of the women's college basketball NCAA Tournament at Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Mikesell finished with a game-high 19 points, while Sheldon added 17 points, and both were instrumental in the late comeback attempt.

After leading during the second quarter and trailing by only a basket at halftime, the Buckeyes fell behind by double-digits as the second half wore on and they faced continued pressure from Texas’ full-court press.  

With the Longhorns holding a 60-50 lead as the midpoint of the fourth quarter approached, Ohio State began its run.

Sheldon was fouled while scoring a layup in transition and converted a three-point play with a made free throw. She then stole a pass on Texas’ next possession and made a 3-pointer in the corner.

“That was a big momentum shift for us,” Sheldon said. “We were playing as hard as we could the whole game. A few plays that went our way, and at that time, we were just telling each other we still got it, we still got a chance to win, and we’re still in it. We fought until the end.”

After the baskets by Sheldon, senior guard Braxtin Miller also hit a turnaround jumper, adding on to the 8-0 run. Miller had 12 points.

Senior guard Joanne Allen-Taylor led Texas with 17 points, many of them coming late in the second quarter and allowing the Longhorns to go ahead by a score of 32-30 at halftime.   

As they ended the quarter on a 7-0 run, Allen-Taylor scored all of those points, including converting a three-play in the final seconds.

Allen-Taylor was especially important for Texas, which saw Harmon limited to only 22 minutes due to foul trouble. 

Some of Ohio State’s cold shooting was seen in the second quarter, losing its grip on a narrow lead that it had built by scoring off turnovers.

The Buckeyes made only four of 14 field-goal attempts in the second quarter, including missing both of its shots from 3-point range.

Joey Kaufman covers Ohio State football for The Columbus Dispatch. Contact him at or on Twitter @joeyrkaufman.