Back-to-back conference losses last week have Ohio State's women's basketball team mired in a three-game losing streak, and three games below .500 in the Big Ten. Turnovers sealed the Buckeyes' fate against two Top-25 opponents, as they have now lost seven of their last ten.
Ohio State traveled to West Lafayette on Thursday for a matchup with No. 25 Purdue. After an 89-78 victory over the Boilermakers in the Big Ten opener, the Buckeyes played sloppily in the rematch. Sixteen team turnovers were turned into 26 points and a 13-0 fast break advantage by Purdue, as they rolled to a 74-58 victory.
"In the first half, they really killed us in transition and in second-chance points," Head Coach Kevin McGuff said. "That was the difference. It allowed them to get out to such a large lead. I thought on offense we got enough quality looks at the basket, (but) we didn't make them."
Sophomore guard Ameryst Alston paced the Buckeyes with 26 points, while junior guard Raven Ferguson chipped in 13 off the bench. It was not enough to overcome the team's mistakes and Purdue's balanced scoring attack, which had five players in double figures.
On Sunday afternoon, the Buckeyes returned home to take on 9th-ranked Penn State and their All-America candidate, senior guard Maggie Lucas. Ohio State started out strong, but a nine-minute stretch that encompassed the end of the first half and beginning of the second, in which their only points were three free throws, turned a seven point advantage into a nine point deficit, and the team never recovered. The Nittany Lions cruised to a 74-54 win behind 23 points from Lucas.
Ohio State continued its sloppy play, turning it over twenty-one times. They also shot a dismal 27.9 percent from the floor on their way to losing their third straight.
"From a mental standpoint, we had way too many turnovers, and they really made us pay in transition," McGuff said. "We had opportunities to make shots, and we just didn't make them."
Alston and Ferguson were again the only Buckeyes in double figures, each scoring 16 points. The two were a combined 11-35 from the field, though, highlighting the team's shooting woes.
At 4-7 in Big Ten play, and just a game over .500 for the season, the road gets a little easier for Ohio State this week, as they're on a six-day break from game action. The team will travel to East Lansing on Saturday looking for revenge against the No. 24 Spartans, who soundly defeated the Buckeyes, 82-68, in late January. Another five-day hiatus follows that before a clash with No. 22 Nebraska at Value City Arena the following Friday.