Ohio State women's basketball handles Purdue 100-85 without starter Madison Greene

Jacob Myers
Buckeye Xtra
Ohio State Buckeyes guard Jacy Sheldon (4) drives to the basket ahead of Purdue Boilermakers center Fatou Diagne (45) and guard Tamara Farquhar (25) during the first quarter of the NCAA women's college basketball game at Value City Arena in Columbus on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021.

The Ohio State women’s basketball team is supposed to play this way against inferior opponents. 

After back-to-back-to-back wins against Michigan, Maryland and Indiana in January, the Buckeyes were on track to contend for the only trophy they could play for this season. Then a miserable, inexplicable loss to Wisconsin last week in Madison sharply derailed those chances 

The No. 15 Buckeyes (13-3, 9-3 Big Ten) played like one of the best teams in the conference again on Thursday at Value City Arena in a 100-85 win against Purdue (6-12, 3-11), which should give Ohio State confidence before a pivotal rematch against No. 11 Michigan in Ann Arbor on Sunday. 

In its first game since that loss to the Badgers and Sunday’s postponement against Northwestern after a positive COVID-19 test, Ohio State allowed one of the poorest shooting teams in the Big Ten to get hot early from the field. It didn’t matter, for the Buckeyes had one of their best shooting nights of the season. 

"I thought we really did a good job of making the extra pass, sharing the ball, not settling until we got the shot we wanted,” coach Kevin McGuff said. “We were not good defensively. I thought we really struggled on that end of the floor. We got to make sure we're mindful of that in practice here the next two days." 

Dorka Juhasz and Jacy Sheldon led Ohio State with 23 and 19 points, respectively. Braxtin Miller added 15 points and Aaliyah Patty scored 12, 10 of which came in the final quarter. 

Ohio State has dominated in conference play on its home floor this season, averaging 87.7 points per game and a 6-0 record. The Buckeyes shot 58.2% from the field and were 10 of 19 on three-pointers, but the absence of starting point guard Madison Greene had a noticeably impact on the defensive end of the floor. 

Purdue entered the game shooting near 40% from the field and made 55.2% of its shots. Kateri Poole started in place of Greene, who was listed as “unavailable” Thursday. Poole scored nine points on 3-of-10 shooting. 

"Kateri really helped us move the ball and share the ball,” McGuff said. “We probably missed Madison more on the defensive end as much as anything." 

Ohio State Buckeyes forward Dorka Juhasz (14) drives to the basket around Purdue Boilermakers center Fatou Diagne (45) during the third quarter of the NCAA women's college basketball game at Value City Arena in Columbus on Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021.

It wasn’t until the Buckeyes trailed 27-23 early in the second quarter that they turned it on and left Purdue in the rearview mirror. 

Starting with a jumper in the middle of the lane from guard Braxtin Miller with 8:45 on the clock, Ohio State went on an 18-0 run over the next 3:13 and finished the half leading 49-36. 

Purdue cut its deficit to eight on a three-pointer by Cassidy Hardin in the third quarter. Leading by 12 entering the final quarter, Ohio State was impressively efficient and pulled away from the Boilermakers with 10 straight made field goals. 

More than a full week since its last game, the Buckeyes were forced to wait with the sting of its loss to Wisconsin. They effectively put that behind them with the win they should have had against another team at the bottom of the conference. 

"It definitely wasn't what we wanted the last couple games,” Miller said. “I think we knew we had to come out tonight and put a full effort in and make sure we really locked in to do what we need to do to get the win." 

jmyers@dispatch.com

@_jcmyers