Miller delivering in clutch moments for Ohio State women during winning streak

Jacob Myers
Buckeye Xtra
Ohio State guard Braxtin Miller (10) uses a screen from teammate Madison Greene to drive around Indiana guard Ali Patberg in the Buckeyes' win on Thursday.

Ohio State women’s basketball coach Kevin McGuff probably wouldn’t have guessed his team could go on the road against one of the best teams in the Big Ten and win with his top two scorers held to one made basket and 11 points combined. 

But when he needed more contributions from others, senior guard Braxtin Miller answered the call — again.

To knock off 16th-ranked Indiana and stay tied in the loss column with Maryland and Michigan atop the conference standings, Miller carried the Buckeyes with 25 points — the most she has scored in a game for Ohio State — on 9-of-16 shooting from the field and added five steals and five rebounds in a 78-70 win at Assembly Hall

Madison Greene and Jacy Sheldon were a combined 1 for 15 from the floor for the Buckeyes (10-1, 6-1). Miller had help from forward Dorka Juhasz, who had her best game since returning from COVID-19 protocols with 19 points and 12 rebounds on 50% shooting.

Ohio State forward Dorka Juhasz pulls down a rebound in Thursday's 78-70 victory over Indiana. Juhasz finished with 19 points and 12 rebounds.

The win was Ohio State's third straight against a ranked Big Ten opponent. But like the other two, against Michigan and Maryland, it did not come easily.

But when Ohio State needed a bucket, Miller, a senior in her second season at OSU after transferring from Oklahoma State, exhibited poise and efficiency for a second straight game.

"Even with Madison and Jacy not having their normal games, Braxtin, it's not like she forced shots,” McGuff said. “She played within the offense and executed to get good shots that she could make, and she made them.” 

Miller's best performance as a Buckeye

After an 18-point performance in the win against No. 7 Maryland earlier in the week, Miller clearly had a hot hand early against Indiana, scoring 16 in the first half and helping Ohio State draw within one by halftime after trailing 11-0 to begin the game. 

The Buckeyes had an 11-0 run of their own to open the fourth quarter, getting out to a 64-54 lead with 5:29 remaining. But when Indiana cut OSU's lead to 64-60, Miller hit a clutch, contested jumper in the lane on the next possession before hitting a three-pointer to put the game out of reach.

The previous game against Maryland, Miller hit back-to-back threes in the final quarter to break Ohio State out to a six-point lead that proved insurmountable. 

Miller doesn’t often bask in the praise of her performances after games. She said she didn’t feel like her job was to fill a void left by Greene and Sheldon, rather to maintain her role as a team leader and do whatever is needed — whether that’s scoring or finding the hot hand.

On Thursday night, hers was the hot hand. In two of the biggest games of Ohio State’s season, Miller has given the Buckeyes exactly what they needed when they needed it. 

"They have a lot of experience, they're smart, they're disciplined, so it was just about us coming in here and getting it done,” Miller said of the Hoosiers (9-4, 7-2). “It's huge that we're able to back up this third win and go home with an away win.”

jmyers@dispatch.com

@_jcmyers