OSU women’s improvement reflected in the stats

From staff reports
Ohio State head coach Kevin McGuff talks to his players during the second half of an NCAA women's basketball game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Nebraska Cornhuskers on Wednesday, February 19, 2020 at Value City Arena. [Fred Squillante]

Statistics help explain the six-game winning streak put together by the Ohio State women’s basketball team, the team’s first of that length in two seasons.

The Buckeyes have scored 80 or more points four times in their streak after reaching that total only three times in their first 20 games.

On defense, OSU has been particularly effective against the three-point goal. The past four opponents are shooting 19.1% (13 of 68) from beyond the arc. Ohio State leads the Big Ten in three-point defense in conference play.

But coach Kevin McGuff still sees room for improvement as Ohio State (17-9, 10-5) heads into the final three games of the regular season, beginning Saturday afternoon at Rutgers (18-8, 8-7).

“I think we’re getting better,” McGuff said after OSU’s 65-52 win over Nebraska on Wednesday.

That game, he added, “was up and down and not as close to 40 minutes as I’d like. We’ve got to make sure we keep getting better and make sure we’re playing our best basketball down the stretch.”

The Buckeyes’ six-game run includes five wins against four teams with a combined record of 16-36 in Big Ten play. OSU’s final three opponents all have league records of .500 or better.

Rutgers began the season 15-2 but is 3-6 since. In conference play, the Scarlet Knights are 13th in points per game with a 62.8 average but lead the league in scoring defense at 60.1 points.

A win for Ohio State would clinch no worse than a fifth-place finish in the Big Ten regular season. The top four teams earn a double bye in the conference tournament.