Kevin McGuff experienced the agony of defeat for the first time as Head Coach of the Ohio State Women's Basketball team following a 1-1 week that saw the Buckeyes squander leads in the second half.
The Buckeyes held off Virginia Commonwealth at home, 83-71, despite a late surge that brought the Rams within five points with less than two minutes to play. Darryce Moore's second consecutive double-double, a 20 point, 10 rebound effort, led the way, with Ashley Adams adding 20 points of her own.
"We had stretches where I thought we played great," McGuff said in a postgame press conference. "But we didn't sustain that for long enough."
The struggles after halftime finally caught up to the team on Sunday, as a poor second half shooting performance against 22nd-ranked Georgia was too much to overcome. The Buckeyes fell 53-49, thanks to 14.3 percent shooting in the final twenty minutes, dropping them to 3-1 on the season.
This difficulty in putting games away that has reared its head the past three games has not been lost on the players.
"We brought a lot of energy and I think that's the team we're capable of being," junior guard Amy Scullion said. "Obviously, the second half is a different story, and that's something we're going to have to address."
Despite the disappointment of dropping its first game of the season, the team has reason for optimism, as it seems a new star is emerging in the early season. Sophomore guard Ameryst Alston had another solid week scoring the basketball, including 22 in the loss to Georgia, and is averaging over 23 points per game through the first four contests. Centers Adams and Moore have also been solid scoring in the paint and cleaning up the glass.
McGuff's squad has been playing with a skeleton crew in the early going, as injuries, a transfer, and a suspension have limited the team to just eight able-bodied players. The returns this past week of Maleeka Kynard and Raven Ferguson will help to bolster the rotation.
The Buckeyes will need the help, as a tough slate begins this Friday with the Basketball Hall of Fame Challenge. The team will host Old Dominion on Friday, Marist on Saturday, and Bowling Green on Sunday. A meeting with top-ranked Connecticut also looms on December 1st.