Women's basketball: Ohio State falls to Indiana, suffers first home loss

Joey Kaufman
Buckeye Xtra

Ohio State’s women’s basketball team lost its grip on a lead late in the fourth quarter on Saturday afternoon against Indiana and fell to the Hoosiers in an 87-75 defeat.

Held to only a pair of baskets over the final six minutes, the 15th-ranked Buckeyes suffered their first home loss during the season’s final scheduled game at Value City Arena.

A layup by junior forward Dorka Juhasz with 6:10 left had put them ahead by a 69-64 margin before they were outscored, 23-6, over the remainder of the game.

The 11th-ranked Hoosiers overtook Ohio State for good when forward Aleska Gulbe made a jump shot at the elbow with 3:37 to go, putting them in front by a score of 72-70.

As part of what became a 14-0 run, Nicole Cardaño-Hillary added to the onslaught of points for Indiana on its next trip down the floor by hitting a 3-pointer from the corner.

“I just think they made some good plays,” senior guard Braxtin Miller said. “Maybe we made some bad ones. Our defense kind of fell apart a little bit, and we didn't rebound to the best of our abilities as the stretch went on.”

Buckeyes coach Kevin McGuff further pointed to turnovers that ailed them in the closing stretch, including four in the final five-plus minutes.

“Their good defensively,” McGuff said. “We should give them credit. But boy, we made some decisions and plays that did not put us in a very good position.”

Their scoring drought toward the end of the game came as top scorer Jacy Sheldon fouled out with 5:47 left.

McGuff added that her absence from the floor was “brutal.”

“We need her out there,” he said. “She's a great player, so that was very tough to contend with.”

Ohio State Buckeyes forward Aaliyah Patty (32) goes up for a shot against Indiana Hoosiers forward Mackenzie Holmes (54) during the first quarter of their game at Value City Arena in Columbus, Ohio on February 27, 2021.

Freshman guard Kateri Poole was also whistled for five fouls, including a technical late in the game.

With other guards in foul trouble, senior Miller played all 40 minutes and led the Buckeyes with 23 points, including making three of seven 3-point attempts.

Miller helped the Buckeyes (13-6, 9-6) gain a lead late in the third quarter after hitting a shot from atop the arc, giving them a 51-49 advantage.

Poole had 17 points, and Sheldon finished with 11 points while playing reduced minutes.

The loss not only marked the first for Ohio State on its home court in 11 games this season, but it also marked the third in a row for the team, a streak that started with last Sunday's defeat at Michigan and continuing Wednesday at Penn State

The teams exchanged a pair of leads in the first half before the Hoosiers (16-4, 14-2) went ahead by as many as nine points late in the second quarter.

The Buckeyes narrowed the gap to only three points by halftime following a pair of 3-pointers in the waning seconds.

Miller connected on an attempt from above the left side of the arc, then Sheldon scooped up a loose ball and heaved a buzzer-beating from near half-court. Her shot was a little long, but it banked in, putting Ohio State down only 39-36 at the midway point of the contest.

jkaufman@dispatch.com

@joeyrkaufman