Jacy Sheldon ditched shooting slump at crucial time for Buckeyes
The Ohio State women's basketball team found a way to win a week ago at Indiana with a single made shot from its dynamic sophomore duo of Jacy Sheldon and Madison Greene. But the Buckeyes also knew it wasn’t sustainable.
A loss at Northwestern on Monday was proof that Ohio State needed its top performers to play like themselves in order to have a shot at the regular-season Big Ten title.
On Thursday against Iowa, Sheldon found her groove again.
Sheldon entered the night with only three made baskets in her previous 20 attempts but rebounded to score a career-high 29 points in a 92-87 win that Ohio State had to have. Sheldon made 8 of 12 shots from the field, including 1 of 3 three-point tries, and 12 of 14 free throws.
"She was really efficient offensively, obviously, and she got out in transition, which allowed her to get to the rim, allowed her to get to the free-throw line,” coach Kevin McGuff said after the game. “Overall, really good performance by her on offense.”
Sheldon single-handedly carried Ohio State early, scoring the team’s first nine points and 11 of its first 14 to give the Buckeyes (11-2, 7-2) a lead after trailing 9-2 in the first three minutes.
The Hawkeyes (10-5, 6-5) held Sheldon scoreless in the third quarter, but the Buckeyes made it a point to get Sheldon the ball in the fourth, in which she scored eight of her 14 points off free throws.
Sheldon couldn’t provide a specific reason as to why she had been struggling, and she didn’t take any individual credit for a career performance.
“We moved the ball really, really well tonight. That was a huge part of it,” Sheldon said. “We got in the paint, kicked it out. We had a lot of offensive rebounds, which is also awesome. That was all my teammates, they were making great passes.”
Ohio State moved the ball well against Iowa, posting a conference-season-high 20 assists, nine by Greene, and creating open looks for Sheldon or opportunities for her to score in transition.
"She's super quick,” said OSU forward Aaliyah Patty, who had 15 points. “Once we get a rebound, we push the ball up the floor. We know she's ahead so we throw it to her. That gets us a lot of buckets.”
With eight games left and one loss behind Michigan and Maryland in the conference standings, the margin for error is slim for the Buckeyes. If Sheldon has moved past her drought this season, Ohio State can sustain more success.