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No. 2 Ohio State women drop second-straight in 78-65 loss to No. 6 Indiana

A dismal third quarter plagued the Buckeyes in another tough loss on Thursday night.

Ohio State University athletic department

There wasn’t a lot of time for the No. 2 Ohio State women’s basketball team to dwell on Monday’s loss to the No. 10 Iowa Hawkeyes. The 19-1 Buckeyes looked to go back to adding numbers to the left side of that record, but against another tough opponent in the No. 6 Indiana Hoosiers.

Making things more difficult was the venue: Bloomington, Indiana’s Assembly Hall. The Scarlet & Gray couldn’t overcome a tough Hoosiers team, trading their 19-game winning streak for a two-game losing streak, falling to Indiana 78-65.

The Buckeyes were again without guard Jacy Sheldon. Still recovering from a foot injury, and not playing since Nov. 30, the guard watched from the bench.

The atmosphere inside the Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall was at a decibel the Buckeyes likely haven’t heard all season in front of a crowd that filled the entire lower bowl of the historic basketball venue. The crowd got loud on every Hoosiers make, let out piercing boos when Ohio State got a call go their way, as well as some language not suitable for repeating at Land-Grant Holy Land.

From the jump, the Scarlet & Gray were a motivated unit. It began on defense, with the first Hoosiers possession ending in a miss and putting the Buckeyes on offense, and they made history.

Specifically, guard Taylor Mikesell made history. The guard from Massillon, Ohio hit a layup to score her 2,000th point in her impressive NCAA career.

The Buckeyes followed the graduate senior’s lead. Freshman forward Cotie McMahon scored the way she usually does — attacking the basket. McMahon scored six points halfway into the opening quarter all from the paint, while also hitting two free throws.

With six minutes of the first quarter done, the Buckeyes were up 14-8. It happened with strong half court defense and stopping the Hoosiers in transition. After the media timeout though, Indiana turned things around.

The Hoosiers went on a nine-point run, led by six points from forward Mackenzie Holmes and a free throw and layup by point guard Grace Berger. On the Buckeyes’ offensive side of the court, the shots falling earlier in the quarter weren’t there, and they hit foul trouble early.

Both underclassmen role players McMahon and Forward Taylor Thierry picked up two fouls apiece, sending Thierry to the bench. At the end of the first quarter, Indiana cleared the deficit and went up one point, up 17-16.

To start the second quarter, the Buckeyes went up a point quickly, but it was a seesaw affair between the two sides, with the Hoosiers and guard Yarden Garzon putting the home side up three.

Then McMahon took the game over. The freshman scored nine of the next 15 points, with Indiana only having four of them. McMahon did it by attacking the basket. At one point, she scored a layup, scored a second layup plus a free throw, and then on defense came down and blocked guard Chloe Moore-McNeil.

Mikesell showed off her passing skills on a second-quarter fastbreak possession, cutting the Indiana defense to only where McMahon could grab the ball and hitting the layup. Mikesell did some scoring too, scoring eight points on 4-for-5 shooting. A quiet, yet efficient, first half.

Overall, it was the McMahon and Holmes show. McMahon matched Indiana’s forward for scoring in the first half, scoring 18 points each. Through McMahon’s work, and the Buckeyes holding Indiana to 39.4% shooting, the visitors pushed their lead back up to six, eventually going into halftime up 36-32.

After all the energy and excitement of the first half, the second half started with more of a whimper. Both sides struggled to hit shots early, but as the game found its footing again, the Hoosiers pushed forward, but not without some hustle by Ohio State.

Garzon made a three that cut the Buckeyes lead down to one, and moments later she had a golden opportunity to put Indiana back in the lead. The Scarlet & Gray gave the ball away at the top of the arc, and Garzon was all alone running down the court on the fastbreak.

Not giving up on the play was Mikesell, who rushed the guard and hit the ball out of Garzon’s hands before she could attempt the layup. It kept Ohio State’s lead, but only momentarily.

Indiana then went on an 11-point run, and it was with points from deep and no Holmes getting on the scoreboard. Through a Buckeyes timeout, the Hoosiers kept it going and surged ahead to a five-point lead.

Ohio State did themselves no favors, shooting 14.3% halfway through the third quarter and giving the ball away twice. The Hoosiers were getting the crowd back on their side the whole time, meaning the Buckeyes needed to fight six players.

The inside game that worked so well for Ohio State in the first half was met with triple teams in the paint, and the Buckeyes took too long to adjust. Indiana ballooned their lead up to 11, their highest of the game to that point, as part of a 17-0 run.

Making matters worse, Thierry picked up a fourth foul and a seat on the bench. The third quarter quickly erased Ohio State’s strong first half.

Ohio State ended the third quarter down 59-42 — a 21-point swing in 10 game minutes. The Buckeyes were outscored 27-6 in the second-worst quarter of the season for the team after scoring only five in one quarter against the Oregon Ducks on Dec. 21.

To start the fourth quarter, the Scarlet & Gray needed to cut down a 17-point deficit, a tall task against the veteran Hoosiers. Before long, the Buckeyes trimmed it down to 10, thanks to Mikesell starting to take and hit three-point shots.

The Buckeyes started scoring 11 of the first 14 points of the fourth quarter. Then Ohio State would give up a layup and foul on Holmes, taking away the momentum they desperately needed, but the Scarlet & Gray kept battling.

Indiana’s lead got down to as little as eight, but they could never make up the entire deficit.

Cotie McMahon Continues Big Games

Despite the defeat, McMahon again had an impressive game. The forward kept attacking the basket and getting points and trips to the line. Unfortunately, it was only McMahon making things difficult for much of the game for the Hoosiers defense.

At the end of the third quarter, McMahon was the only Buckeye in double figures, scoring 21 points. McMahon ended the night scoring 21 points with three boards and an assist. In the fourth quarter, with 4:50 left, McMahon picked up her fifth and final foul, and received a kind “bye” ovation from the record Assembly Hall crowd of 10,455.

Losing Streak

The Buckeyes’ first half showed a team who learned from their lessons against Iowa, but they created all new lessons in the second half. Ohio State had six turnovers and were outscored in points off turnovers, 13-0.

Now, after two losses in a row, a road to a conference title is much rockier, and the Buckeyes all the sudden find themselves needing a lot of help.

What’s Next

Ohio State heads back to friendlier confines, and a slightly less difficult opponent, when they welcome the Purdue Boilermakers to the Schottenstein Center. It’s a Sunday matinee tipoff of 1:00 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on BTN+.

The Buckeyes will then travel to Wisconsin on Wednesday night before going into another hostile environment Sunday, Feb. 5, against the No. 10 Maryland Terrapins.