Sunday’s game between the Ohio State women’s basketball Buckeyes and the Wisconsin Badgers also served as OSU’s senior night. After both senior team managers and a pair of Buckeye players were honored, Ohio State sent them out as winners with a 59 to 42 victory over the Badgers in hand.
Ohio State and Wisconsin play two drastically different styles of play; on one hand, the visiting Badgers play a game where the shot clock is their friend. Wisconsin attempts to use all 30 seconds available to them in order to build up a play. The other hand features a Buckeye team that wants to get up a shot as quickly as possible.
Coming into Sunday, the Badgers averaged just 57.7 points per game compared to 82.2 for the Scarlet and Gray. In the first quarter, OSU guard Jacy Sheldon ran the show. The junior scored 10 and added 2 rebounds, 1 assist and 2 steals in a quarter that fed on Sheldon’s energy.
The Buckeyes almost held the Badgers to nine first quarter points, but with just nine seconds remaining, junior guard Julie Pospisilova hit a three with Ohio State defenders in her face. Then a Buckeye turnover gave senior guard Katie Nelson an open three with one second remaining. Ohio State went into the second quarter with only a one-point lead 16-15.
After a slower start to the game, the Buckeyes picked up the pace at the beginning of the second period. Ohio State started the quarter going on a nine-point run, extending their lead to 10. Surprisingly, guard Taylor Mikesell wasn’t the engine that increased the Buckeyes’ lead. In the first half, Mikesell scored seven, on 3-for-9 shooting, going 1-for-7 from beyond the arc.
Ohio State spread out the offense in the first half and played stellar defense across the board. At halftime, the Buckeyes had six different players score, all but one Buckeye had a rebound, and collectively had just one turnover in the second quarter.
Defensively, Ohio State rarely missed assignments and held Wisconsin to 3-for-10 shooting, and seven total points in the second quarter. The Buckeyes headed into the locker room with a 32-22 lead.
Halftime didn’t slow down the Buckeyes’ defense. If anything, it made it stronger; Ohio State didn’t give up their first points of the second half until 5:17 left in the third quarter. The Buckeyes carried a 16-point run from the end of the second quarter halfway into the third, and going into the fourth led the Badgers 51-29.
In the fourth quarter, Head Coach Kevin McGuff gave key starters rest, and gave bench players rare minutes. With Sheldon, Mikesell and Braxtin Miller off the court, the Badgers mounted a comeback but it wasn't enough. Ohio State came away with the 59 to 42 victory, with only one game remaining at Value City Arena.
Quiet Night for Mikesell
The outstanding senior guard, Mikesell, had her second quietest night of the season. The Oregon-transfer’s seven-point night was only more than a six-point game against Michigan on Jan. 27. That Michigan game was a tough 77-58 Buckeyes defeat; but Sunday’s victory, and Mikesell’s quiet performance is actually a positive for Ohio State.
Now, Mikesell is a competitor and shooting 1-for-10 from three is likely not going to sit well, but the rest of the Buckeyes stepping up can help this team as they move towards tournament season.
Sheldon, who is usually right behind Mikesell on the stat sheet, had a strong game with 19 points, 4 assists and 3 rebounds. Elsewhere, it was the Buckeyes’ bigs that helped carry Ohio State in the win. Rebeka Mikulasikova and Tanaya Beacham were the only other Buckeyes scoring double figures. Mikulasikova added 12 and Beacham almost hit a double double, scoring 10 and adding 7 rebounds.
Although the Sunday victory wasn’t the last game for seniors in Columbus, due to a rescheduled game Thursday, it was still technically their senior night. Ohio State honored starting guard Braxtin Miller, sixth woman Tanaya Beacham and two managers before the tipoff.
Miller brought high defensive pressure, per usual. The two-year Buckeye, after transferring from Oklahoma State, stifled Badger shooters, and contributed on the boards. Miller finished with 3 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals.
Beacham continued her role as the first substitute on the court and never stopped moving. The Youngstown native ended her second-to-last game at the Schottenstein Center with her seventh double digit scoring performance of the 2021-22 season.
The Buckeyes have two more games left in the B1G regular season. On Thursday, they welcome the Penn State Nittany Lions, after their Jan. 3 matchup was postponed due to COVID-19 protocol for the visiting Penn State.
Ohio State’s final game of the regular season takes them to East Lansing, on Sunday, Feb. 27. The Buckeyes and Michigan State Spartans tip off at 2:30 p.m. ET.