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Women's basketball: No. 14 Ohio State takes down No. 7 Maryland 88-86, four-way tie for Big Ten lead

Jacob Myers
Buckeye Xtra
Ohio State Buckeyes guard Jacy Sheldon (4) makes a runner in the lane ahead of Maryland Terrapins guard Diamond Miller (1) during the third quarter of the NCAA women's basketball game at Value City Arena in Columbus on Monday, Jan. 25, 2021. Sheldon finished the game with 21 points in the 88-86 win.

Ohio State took control early, conceded the wheel, then ended the night in the driver’s seat in the Big Ten. 

Down five after Maryland started the fourth quarter on a 7-0 run, Ohio State guards Jacy Sheldon and Braxtin Miller scored all points in a 13-2 run that gave the No. 14 Buckeyes the lead that ended in an 88-86 win at the Schottenstein Center that snapped No. 7 Maryland’s 24-game Big Ten winning streak. 

Ohio State led by as much as 11 with 1:47 remaining when the Terrapins began to make the Buckeyes earn the upset victory. Maryland guard Katie Benzan hit her seventh and final three-pointer of the night with six seconds remaining to cut the deficit to three. Madison Green made both of her free throws to close out the game. 

Greene led all Ohio State scorers with 24, followed by Sheldon and Miller with 21 and 18, respectively. Maryland guard Ashley Owusu was 11 of 24 from the floor and finished with a game-high 33 points. 

Ohio State shot 8 of 13 in the final quarter to pull off the win. With back-to-back wins over the last two teams unbeaten in the conference in Michigan and Maryland (11-2, 7-1), the Buckeyes (9-1, 5-1) are in a four-way tie for first place with those two teams and Indiana — their opponent on Thursday. 

"I think our competitive character is as good as it's been probably since I've been here,” coach Kevin McGuff said. “These kids really fight, scratch, claw and play for each other. You saw that now the last couple games, for sure. That's how you beat a team as good as Maryland." 

Miller was challenged all night with guarding Owusu, but the senior came through on the offensive end during the biggest offensive stretch of the night. 

Owusu drove from the right wing with 7:34 remaining in the game, spun, then finished over Miller through contact to give the Terrapins a 67-62 lead after the free throw. Jacy Sheldon then scored seven straight points to give the Buckeyes the lead before Owusu drove on Miller again and converted a step-back jumper to tie the game at 69. 

Miller motioned to the official like Owusu pushed off, and Owusu started to talk smack back to Miller. That ignited something inside Miller who knocked down back-to-back three-pointers to put Ohio State on track to its biggest win since winning the conference tournament title against Maryland in 2018. 

“You just can't let that take you out of your game,” Miller said. “For me, I didn't really have much to say back, just play hard, go at 'em and try to help the team in any way I needed to." 

Ohio State Buckeyes guard Madison Greene (0) dribbles around Maryland Terrapins forward Mimi Collins (2) during the second quarter of the NCAA women's basketball game at Value City Arena in Columbus on Monday, Jan. 25, 2021.

Greene paced the Ohio State offense and kept Maryland off-balanced with five steals, most of which came early in the game and showed that Ohio State would be in the fight to the end. 

Maryland never led by more than five all game and Ohio State responded at crucial moments while controlling the glass, winning the rebounding battle 44-38 without forward Aaliyah Patty for a second straight game. 

When Maryland made its run to open the fourth quarter, McGuff relied on his trio of Miller, Greene and Sheldon who led the Buckeyes to a program-defining win. 

"We knew they were going to go on runs and it was going to be a tough game,” Greene said. “But as we showed, we're a tough team, they're a tough team, but we did what we had to do, we stayed focus and played our game.”

myers@dispatch.com

@_jcmyers