No. 15 Ohio State women's basketball blow early lead, fall in upset at Penn State 69-67

Jacob Myers
Buckeye Xtra
The No. 15 Ohio State women's basketball team fell to 13-5 with a loss at Penn State on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2020.

Standing next to the Ohio State bench, Braxtin Miller heaved a pass from the sideline toward the basket. The only chance the Buckeyes had at sending the game to overtime was if Dorka Juhasz tipped in the pass with 0.6 seconds left on the clock. 

She tipped the ball, along with two other Penn State defenders, and it fell mercifully to the ground, as did the Buckeyes (13-5, 9-5 Big Ten) in a stunning upset loss to Penn State (9-12, 6-10) on Wednesday night at the Bryce Jordan Center. 

On its penultimate road trip of the season, the No. 15 Ohio State women’s basketball team followed a weekend loss to Michigan with its first back-to-back defeat this season, losing to the Nittany Lions 69-67, after leading 63-58 with 5:34 remaining. 

"We had chances where we made a few shots there, and Jacy (Sheldon) got hot from the three late, and we just didn't string that together with stops,” coach Kevin McGuff said. 

Penn State guard Niya Beverley torched Ohio State for a career-high 21 points on 9-of-11 shooting. She made 3-of-4 three-point shots, including a bomb in transition that gave the Nittany Lions a 67-65 lead with 3:17 left. 

Ohio State freshman guard Kateri Poole, who started in place of Madison Greene, made a stellar play on an out-of-bounds pass off the back of Penn State’s Johnasia Cash that got Poole to the free-throw line where she tied the game. 

But with 1:01 left, Makenna Marisa found a way to the rim and made the game-winning layup. 

On the next possession, Ohio State forward Dorka Juhasz turned the ball over on an entry pass to Aaliyah Patty. The Buckeyes got a stop at the other end of the floor and McGuff called a timeout with 2.3 seconds remaining. 

McGuff said the designed play was to get the ball to Sheldon or Juhasz — who led the Buckeyes with 19 and 21 points, respectively — but Penn State took away those options. 

Marisa caught the tipped pass and stepped out of bounds, giving Ohio State one last chance that didn’t result in a shot. 

A poor night shooting beyond the three-point line for much of the game prevented Ohio State from keeping its early lead, but the shots started to fall in the fourth quarter. 

Miller assisted Sheldon on back-to-back three-pointers to give the Buckeyes that five-point lead with a little more than half the fourth quarter remaining. From there, Ohio State had just four field-goal attempts to Penn State’s nine. 

Ohio State had no answer for Beverley, Cash and Marisa, who scored 54 of Penn State’s 69 points. Juhasz was particularly disappointing with the team’s defense. 

"The main thing is you have to compensate on defense whenever those shots are not falling,” she said. “We didn't do enough of that and obviously that just ended up we're losing this game.” 

The Nittany Lions never led by more than four points, but they forced the Buckeyes to defend every possession and frustrated Ohio State by refusing to go away quietly. 

The Buckeyes sprinted to an early 17-4 lead, but that was quickly erased and Penn State (9-12, 6-10) took its first lead at 24-22 with five minutes remaining in the second quarter. 

The game never widened in the final 30:13 to more than a six-point lead for either team. There were 15 lead changes in the game, which was tied at six different times. 

"We really could have stretched that out and put a lot of pressure on them early,” McGuff said. “We let them right back in because we didn't finish some plays around the basket.”