The Ohio State women’s basketball team has had a week. Head coach Kevin McGuff’s Buckeyes entered the week 19-0 and No. 2 in the nation. The only part they still have is the No. 2 ranking and that’s because the new poll won’t come out until Monday.
Against the Iowa Hawkeyes and Indiana Hoosiers the Scarlet & Gray had glaring issues, ending with two straight losses. There’s one more chance for the Buckeyes to salvage something from the week Sunday, when the Purdue Boilermakers travel to Columbus, Ohio.
Looking at the records of these two sides, it has the potential for a good day for the Buckeyes (19-2), but the Boilermakers (14-6) are anything but a cakewalk. All season, Big Ten head coaches like McGuff have praised the conference for a strong league up and down and it’s not lip service.
Purdue is a good team who will put up a fight against Ohio State.
The two teams also enter Sunday’s game with vastly different levels of momentum. Ohio State traveled to Purdue’s in-state rivals, the Indiana Hoosiers, and lost by 13 points. That same night, the Boilermakers were picking up a marquee victory.
Although not ranked, Purdue is making a case to be a seventh team in the NCAA Tournament and their win against No. 22 Illinois Fighting Illini is great to add to their resume. Purdue traveled to Champaign, Ill., and didn’t simply stifle but completely shut down the surprise Fighting Illini.
Illinois scored only 52 points on 4-for-26 shooting from deep. The body language of Illinois on the court looked like a team defeated early in the second half. Illinois head coach Shauna Green was screaming at her team with no real response from the collective team.
This season, Purdue has fought in all of their games, playing a true team style of basketball, and it’s led by senior guard Jeanae Terry. The former member of the Illini joined the Boilermakers prior to last season and this year she’s playing her best basketball in her career.
Currently, Terry is one of only three players in all NCAA women’s basketball to average at least six points, six rebounds, and six assists per game. Terry’s in elite company with fellow Big Ten guard Caitlin Clark and Notre Dame guard Olivia Miles.
Terry primarily plays facilitator and makes it look effortless. At one moment, Terry is finding an open teammate, and the next she’s under the basket grabbing a rebound. The senior holds her composure and puts herself in the right place at the right time.
While the Boilermakers don’t have a dominant five-position player like Iowa’s Monika Czinano or Indiana’s Mackenzie Holmes, Terry can make the Buckeyes pay. Last year, when the Buckeyes traveled to West Lafayette, Indiana, Terry grabbed 13 rebounds against Ohio State. If left available to make plays, Terry will easily.
Around Terry are a couple of players to watch. The first is fifth-year guard Lasha Petree, who transferred to Purdue for her final season, after playing with the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. Petree leads the Boilermakers in scoring, averaging 14.9 per game.
Petree can provide offense in diverse ways. She can hit shots from deep and go into the paint when a lane opens. Petree represents the Boilermakers well, a team who will take shots deep instead of pounding passes into the post. The other is Australian guard Abbey Ellis.
After starting the year on the bench, Ellis’ name has been on the starting lineup in the last five games. In three of those five, Ellis scored 24, 20, and 16 points for Purdue. Thursday was the 16-point night, but Ellis brings more than scoring. Especially at the 2:15 mark in highlights from that big Boilermaker win.
Highlights? Yes, please pic.twitter.com/kfDYPBjFJp— Purdue Women's Basketball (@PurdueWBB) January 27, 2023
That means Ohio State has a brief bit of respite after playing against the top two bigs in the conference this week, but more running to make sure Purdue doesn’t get open looks from beyond the arc. The Boilermakers will also still throw passes into forward Caitlyn Harper. There are few nights off in the Big Ten.
On Thursday, Ohio State showed that they’re a top-10 team in the country despite the losses. Their three quarters against Indiana showed that skill. It also showed that the Buckeyes learned from some of their mistakes against Iowa with improved defense in the paint and better rebounding.
Now the Scarlet & Gray need to show that over 40 minutes. Expect coach McGuff to be vocal is those lulls in play hit Ohio State in a game that they should win.
Also, is Sunday the day when guard Jacy Sheldon returns? The Buckeyes’ starting point guard hasn’t played since Nov. 30 in Louisville, Kentucky, even against the pair of powerhouses Ohio State faced this week.
Games against Purdue, and then the Wisconsin Badgers on Wednesday, would give Sheldon games with less pressure than next Sunday when Ohio State travels to the No. 10 Maryland Terrapins.
- Forward/guard Taylor Thierry earned the first double-double of her NCAA career against Indiana, scoring 13 points and grabbing 12 rebounds despite foul trouble
- If Sheldon returns, she brings 30 steals in five games with her
- Guard Taylor Mikesell hit 2,000 NCAA points against the Hoosiers on Thursday
- Terry has double-digit assists in five games this season
- Ellis leads the Big Ten in free throw percentage this season at 89.7%
- Purdue sits in seventh place on the Big Ten standings entering Sunday
The Ohio State Buckeyes should win this game. If not, there are some larger issues with the team right now than playing two tough teams. Although Purdue is strong, they aren’t on the same level as the Iowas and Indianas of the world.
It’ll be a close game in parts, but if Sheldon returns it should be a comfortable win for the Buckeyes. If Sheldon is out again, then it should still lean in the Scarlet & Gray’s favor.
McGuff’s side will come out strong in the first quarter, especially forward Cotie McMahon who has a habit of getting the momentum going for the Buckeyes. After Thursday’s game, McMahon wore a boot walking into the media room following the game, but assured Land-Grant Holy Land that she was fine and there are no injury issues.
Sunday will show if the Buckeyes have gotten the message that you can’t always go down big against teams and still win.
How to Watch
Date: Sunday, Jan. 29, 2023
Time: 1 p.m. ET
Where: Schottenstein Center, Columbus, Ohio
LGHL Prediction: 84-70 Ohio State Buckeyes
Pride Game and Honoring History
The Buckeyes program continues its season chock-full of successful themed promotions celebrating not one but two worthwhile themes. It’s not only a day to celebrate the 30-year anniversary of Ohio State’s run to the 1993 NCAA Tournament Final but also the LGBTQ+ community.
Players from that team will be in the house for the game and the first 200 students receive a free pair of pride socks.