Buckeyes' clutch plays down stretch deliver win

Jeff Thitoff The Columbus Dispatch

Ohio State used another fourth-quarter rally, and point guard Carmen Grande hit a milestone Wednesday night in a 78-73 victory over Penn State in front of 4,264 at Value City Arena.

Penn State led 73-72 with 30 seconds left after a three-pointer by Jaida Travascio-Green and a basket by Siyeh Frazier. But Grande scored in the lane, Makayla Waterman came up with a big block and Carly Santoro made four free throws to give Ohio State (10-11, 6-6) the victory.

Grande had 14 points and four assists. Her first assist came after she made a steal and fed Waterman for a layup with 3:19 left in the first quarter to give the Buckeyes a 10-7 lead, giving her 800 for her career. She has more assists than any active player, male or female, in the NCAA.

Join the conversation at Facebook.com/BuckeyeXtra and connect with us on Twitter @BuckeyeXtra

“Carmen’s got a great feel for the game. She executes on offense really well,” coach Kevin McGuff said. “She knows where everybody is supposed to be — she’s a really special player that way.”

Santoro finished with 20 points, Waterman added 19 and Dorka Juhasz had her seventh double-double of the season with 14 points and 11 rebounds.

Juhasz, who returned to action Jan. 31 after missing two games because of an ankle injury, started strong with eight points and nine rebounds — five on the offensive end — in the first half.

“I think she’s getting back closer to 100 percent. We needed her,” McGuff said. “She’s a difference-maker.”

Despite Penn State starting off just 4 of 17 from the field, the score was tied at 29 at halftime after a putback by Juhasz as time expired.

The teams were tied at 51 after three quarters, but the Buckeyes made a living at the free-throw line down the stretch. OSU was 25 of 32 on foul shots, led by Santoro (11 of 13) and Waterman (10 of 14). Waterman drew nine fouls. Penn State was 16 of 18 from the line.

Waterman broke her career high of 18 points, set in the last home game for the Buckeyes over Illinois.

“We felt like I had another mismatch, my teammates and coaches recognized that, and I was able to get to the free-throw line,” Waterman said.

Waterman blocked a shot in the lane by Frazier with 17 seconds left and, after a lengthy review by the officials, they determined the ball went off Frazier’s foot. Santoro was fouled and knocked down both free throws.

Teniya Page led the Nittany Lions (10-12, 3-8) with 22 points.


Listen to the BuckeyeXtra Basketball podcast: