Buckeyes finish strong after Bearcats threaten with late run

Jeff Thitoff The Columbus Dispatch

The final score showed a 13-point victory for the Ohio State women’s basketball team against Cincinnati on Sunday at Value City Arena, but that wasn’t an indication of how much of the game the Buckeyes were in control or how close the Bearcats came to rallying for a victory.

Freshman Dorka Juhasz led OSU with 17 points and 13 rebounds in a 69-56 win in front of 4,825. It was a methodical, businesslike performance for OSU (3-2) for most of the game, but a late rally cut the deficit to just three points with 2:55 left.

The Buckeyes, who led by as many as 23 points, entered the fourth quarter leading 55-42. A 12-0 run by Cincinnati (5-4) early in the fourth cut the deficit to 59-56, sparked by a three-pointer by Nikira Goings, a steal and two free throws by Antoinette Miller and Angel Rizor’s three free throws.

Jensen Caretti responded with a three-pointer and then found Aaliyah Patty underneath for another basket and a 64-56 Buckeyes lead. Cincinnati turned the ball over, Makayla Waterman fed Patty for a basket and Caretti made another three to finish off the Bearcats.

Juhasz scored 10 points and grabbed seven rebounds in the first half as the Buckeyes took a 41-24 lead. OSU was 11 of 13 (84.6 percent) from the field in the first quarter and shot 56.7 percent in the first half, making 17 of 30 shots.

Juhasz padded the lead to 48-26 early in the third when she scored underneath and was fouled by Rizor, resulting in a three-point play.

“It was good to see us get together and finish the game, but it was disappointing because I thought we had chances in the third quarter to really stretch the lead out,” Ohio State coach Kevin McGuff said. “(Cincinnati) kept playing hard and we kept making mental mistakes and didn’t make them pay at the free throw line.”

The Buckeyes made just 10 of 24 free throws.

The double-double was the fourth in five games for Juhasz.

“She’s getting better every game,” McGuff said. “You see progress on a daily basis.”

Adreana Miller added 11 points and Santoro had 10 for Ohio State.

Sam Rodgers led Cincinnati with 14 points.

The Buckeyes improved to 20-4 all-time against Cincinnati.

With back-to-back wins against North Carolina and Cincinnati, Ohio State heads west to Washington to take on the Huskies on Wednesday night.