Women's basketball: Buckeyes can't relax, carrying two ranked wins into No. 16 Indiana
Snapping one opponent’s 24-game conference winning streak and another’s 42-game home winning streak while racking up back-to-back wins against top-15 teams have been the highlights in recent weeks for the Ohio State women’s basketball team.
But how they respond to the former will have to be diametrically different than how they handled the latter heading into Thursday’s matchup against No. 16 Indiana in Assembly Hall.
On Monday night, the No. 14 Buckeyes (9-1, 5-1 Big Ten) followed up a win against previously undefeated Michigan with a victory over No. 7 Maryland — its first conference loss in two dozen games — and joined a four-team race at the top of the Big Ten standings with the Wolverines, Terrapins and the Hoosiers (9-3, 7-1).
After becoming the first team to win at Iowa in nearly three years, on Jan. 13, the Buckeyes had poor preparation and struggled at Nebraska three days later in a 63-55 defeat, their first loss of the season.
Since then, coach Kevin McGuff has emphasized the need for strong practices in order to knock off the top teams and survive in one of the nation’s toughest conferences.
“Hopefully we’ve learned that lesson,” McGuff said after the win against Maryland. “It’s really about our preparation and process day to day to get ready for these games. If we don’t stick to that and commit to that, then we’re going to leave ourselves vulnerable. You just can’t do that in this league.”
Had there been an NCAA Tournament last year, Indiana would be going for its third straight appearance this season. The Hoosiers are one of the most experienced teams in the country. Of the six players that average more than 20 minutes per game, Mackenzie Holmes is the only underclassman. She leads the Hoosiers with 17.9 points and 7.0 rebounds per game.
Sophomore guards Jacy Sheldon and Madison Greene have paced Ohio State’s offense. In the past two games, they have led the team in scoring, each averaging around 20 points.
After one emotional win, the Buckeyes refocused quickly and scored one of the program’s biggest wins in McGuff’s tenure with the program against Maryland. They took time to celebrate, but were already keenly aware of the challenge that faces them against Indiana — as well as the next game, Monday on the road against another ranked opponent in Northwestern.
“We can’t get too high, can’t get too low,” Greene said. “Just keep doing what we’re doing. I feel like we’re preparing well and playing great.”
No. 14 Ohio State at No. 16 Indiana
When: 8 p.m. Thursday
TV: Big Ten Network
Radio: WBNS-AM (1460)