Ohio State women’s basketball returned to the Schottenstein Center on Thursday, playing its final game before a trip south to the Bahamas. Before there could be any soaking in the sun, the Buckeyes had the Boston College Eagles in town, looking to beat the ACC side for the second season in a row.
The Boston College side lost its two top scorers in the offseason to transfers and it showed Thursday. Ohio State dominated on both sides of the court, defeating the Eagles 88-66.
Guard Jacy Sheldon picked up where the Buckeyes left off last November in Boston. After scoring 14 points and grabbing 11 steals against the Eagles in that Buckeyes win, the guard was off to a hot start on both sides of the ball again Thursday.
In the first minute and a half, Sheldon already scored on two runs to the paint, and one off a steal off an inbound pass. The steal total could’ve been more too, because the guard didn’t let the Eagles breathe.
Combine that with forwards Cotie McMahon and Taylor Thierry getting hot early and Boston College was already down 20-6 with only a half of the first quarter in the books. Thierry excelled especially. In the first six minutes, the guard/forward hybrid was busy on the boards. Thierry had four rebounds, including one offensively on only her second missed basket in three games. After her layup rolled off the rim, Thierry kept with it, grabbed the rebound and hit the layup plus a shot at the free throw line.
It was that kind of game for Thierry. The forward ended the first quarter with seven points, five rebounds and two steals in only seven minutes. When Sheldon got a rest on the bench, Thierry was playing the Sheldon role, grabbing both first quarter steals while the Buckeyes’ point guard had a break.
For McMahon, it wasn’t a game like last year where Boston College was only her second NCAA game, still learning the ropes. The Eagles faced a McMahon with odd defensive tactics. From the jump, the sophomore had a basically open lane to work in. It seemed to surprise McMahon at one point, opting to take, and make, a midrange jumper instead of running in a wide open paint.
Overall, Boston College looked listless and confused by what Ohio State offered. After the first quarter, the Buckeyes were already up 32-11.
The second quarter was much of the same, with points in the paint. With five minutes remaining in the half, Ohio State took only two shots from deep, making one. On that make it was Sheldon, who hit prestigious company with the points. It put Sheldon over the 1,500 point mark as a member of the Buckeyes.
With two minutes remaining in the half, Ohio State was up 31 points. Thierry and McMahon led the Buckeyes in scoring with 16 and 18 points respectively, and it allowed head coach Kevin McGuff the chance to give more rest to starters. Boston College cut the lead to 29, but at the half it was still out of hand, with the scarlet and gray leading 55-26.
Out of the half, Boston College’s adjustments didn’t do too much to slow down the home side.
Ohio State had its worst shooting quarter of the game to that point, 57.1%, which says more about how well the first half went. The Eagles didn’t capitalize off it though, shooting 30.8% and struggling to make any consistent baskets or have multiple good possessions in a row.
The Buckeyes extended its lead by eight points into the final quarter, putting only one starter in the game to start the final 10 minutes, guard Celeste Taylor who led the Buckeyes with five assists.
With eight minutes remaining, Coach McGuff had all bench players in to close the game out. McMahon led the Buckeyes with 24 points, followed by an 18-point eight-rebound night by Thierry and 16 points and three steals by Sheldon.
Boston College responded, still playing with energy despite a 37-point deficit. The fourth quarter began with an 8-4 Eagles run and ballooned to 20-6, cutting Ohio State’s lead down to 26. However, it was three quarters too late, falling to the Buckeyes 88-66.
Sheldon’s second quarter three put the Dublin, Ohio guard up to No. 17 in Buckeyes history for points in scarlet and gray. To make it to the next milestone of 2,000 points, Sheldon has a way to go but has the history to back up it happening.
The 21/22 season ended with Sheldon scoring 631 points, the second season in a row where she led the Buckeyes in scoring.
Even though it’s possible, Sheldon is likely not too caught up with the idea. In previous milestone moments as a Buckeye, Sheldon hasn’t given them much thought in the moment. When the guard hit 1,000, it was against a ranked Maryland Terrapins in 2022. Not only did the guard not know but had to take free throws to score the win while the crowd cheered for Sheldon’s big moment.
Focusing on the Paint
Against the USC Trojans on Nov. 6, Coach McGuff’s side took 21 three-point shots. The Buckeyes took 12 against the Eagles, making six.
Instead of forcing shots, or even taking catch-and-shoot opportunities, the Buckeyes moved the ball and focused on the paint. With Boston College’s defense playing Ohio State loosely, the Buckeyes exploited.
This year, there isn’t a clear and obvious three-point shooter on the team. There are seven Buckeyes who’ve hit one from deep this year. If Thursday is any indication, Ohio State’s selective approach could continue if it yields similar results.
Following Thursday’s game, the Buckeyes head south, all the way to the Caribbean. Up next is the Baha Mar Pink Flamingo Championships in the Bahamas. In two days, Ohio State faces the East Carolina Pirates (Nov. 20) and the Oklahoma State Cowgirls (Nov. 22). Both games stream live on FloHoops.
Then the scarlet and gray are back home. On Nov. 26, the Ivy League comes calling with a home game against Cornell and the Big Red women’s basketball team.