What’s it like beating the No. 1 team in the country? The Louisville Cardinals (8-0) know that feeling as they enter tonight’s Big Ten/ACC challenge against the Ohio State (4-3) women’s basketball Buckeyes. The Cardinals come into the matchup fresh off of their upset over No. 1 ranked Oregon on Saturday, moving them up to No. 2 in the AP poll.
But the young Ohio State team has experience holding their own against a ranked team this season, losing 73-62 to the now No. 4 ranked UConn Huskies in mid-November; a game that was even closer than the score indicates.
OSU will host No. 2 Louisville tonight at 8 p.m. ET in a game broadcast on the Big Ten Network. Then, they will travel to Palo Alto, Cali. next week to take on the No. 1 Stanford Cardinal on Sunday, Dec. 15.
The Buckeye’s are coming off of a 64-46 win in Las Vegas against Northern Iowa in the South Point Shootout after dropping their first game of the tournament 68-53 to South Dakota. Here’s hoping that they rediscovered their winning ways and didn’t leave their luck in Vegas.
The Buckeye’s have two players averaging double-digits this season in junior Dorka Juhasz and freshman Kierstan Bell, while junior transfer Braxtin Miller is fitting right in averaging eight points per game. The team played well against UConn, with nine players getting buckets. So, they had a close game versus a perennial powerhouse and got back to their winning ways in Vegas? With those odds, it wouldn’t be the worst move to bet on red — or scarlet in this case.
Louisville junior guard Dana Evans was named National Player of the Week by espnW after leading her team to the victory over No. 1 Oregon on Saturday. In total, she averaged 21.3 points over the weekend at the Paradise Jam in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The undefeated Cardinals boast four players averaging over 10 points per game in Evans, Jazmine Jones, Kylee Shook, and Elizabeth Balogun.
While Ohio State was certainly tested against UConn, in spite of their No. 4 ranking, the Huskies are in what some have considered a down year. That doesn’t mean they aren’t good, just that they are not dominating teams the way that they have been known to in the Geno Auriemma era.
Louisville is a different story. They beat an undefeated Oregon team that actually beat the US Women’s National team in an exhibition game earlier this season. They also have no freshman in their starting lineup, as opposed to an Ohio State squad that last started one freshman, three sophomores, and one junior.
The Buckeye’s need to go all in against the Cards if they want to continue their win streak, starting with their defense. If they are able to contain Evans and Shook, the Buckeye’s could have a real chance to make some waves in the rankings and make an early statement before the start of the Big Ten season.
You know what they say, “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” Let’s just hope that doesn’t include the Ohio State win streak.