IU women’s wrap: Ohio State


WHAT HAPPENED:

In No. 22 Indiana’s first game as a ranked team in over two decades, the Hoosiers couldn’t solve Ohio State’s lockdown defense in a 70-51 win over Indiana before an announced 4,139 at Assembly Hall.

The loss ends a program-best 14-game winning streak for IU, which entered play as one of only four undefeated teams in the nation. The Hoosiers shot only 28 percent from the field, a figure that was significantly skewed by an empty, 6-of-32 shooting effort in the second half. Indiana was outscored 38-14 in the paint, while allowing guards Ameryst Alston and Raven Ferguson to combine for 47 points.

WHO MADE IT HAPPEN: Alston was outstanding for the Buckeyes, tying her career high with 29 points on 13-of-21 shooting. She was tough to stop in Ohio State’s dribble-drive offense, which gave Indiana fits all evening. She teamed with Ferguson, who had her best game of the season after pouring in 18 points.

For Indiana, Larryn Brooks scored 11, while Taylor Agler and Karlee McBride each had nine points. But the Hoosiers never seemed to find an offensive rhythm for any prolonged stretch and found themselves trailing by double digits for the bulk of the game.

KEY STAT: Ohio States’ experienced — and more talented — frontcourt pushed the Hoosiers around. The Buckeyes’ 38 points in the paint accounted for 54 percent of their offense. Many of those points also came from Alston barreling toward the basket.

QUOTE OF THE NIGHT: “I was surprised they didn’t play us in some zone. Their man was really good. I worried about how good they are with rest. They had a bye week. They haven’t looked as good on one-day preps and some short turnarounds, but I knew there would be a plan and they had a lot of time to prepare for us. I thought they put together a really nice game plan and really we were on our heels form the beginning offensively. That’s disappointing because we’ve played a little bit fearless this season and made a lot of shots. Not many people have made a lot of shots against them. You can go to UConn and Maryland and their field goal shooting percentage defense is great. I thought it was a little bit of quicksand in the first half when we started missing some shots.”
— IU coach Curt Miller on what Ohio State did to surprise him.

MIKE’S ‘WHAT THE HECK?’ MOMENT: Midway through the first half, I had a flashback to last season’s offensive struggles when Milika Taufa’s failed on two tries to score within five feet of the basket. It was a facepalm moment that first saw Taufa miss an easy layup, but quickly steal the rebound out of the hands of Martina Ellerbe. Just as quickly, Taufa put up another gimme shot that missed again. On IU’s next possession moments later, Taufa was called for a travel while she was completely unguarded at the elbow. She was pulled in favor of Tabitha Gerardot and didn’t play the rest of the game.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN?: It was a tough day for Indiana, which was pushed around by Ohio State’s size. Alston’s a ball of force with her ability to roll through the lane past defenders and toward the hoop. But she also showed ability with a pull-up jumper that found the basket more often than not. The Big Ten has a bevy of outstanding guards and Alston is near the top of the list. Against IU’s smaller, more slender guards, she had herself a career day.

The nine-day layoff didn’t do any favors for Indiana, especially considering that the Hoosiers weren’t able to prepare against the size of their male practice players. Now, the schedule gets much tougher over the next two weeks. The Hoosiers will play six games in that span, beginning with Wisconsin Wednesday, followed by Purdue on Friday and Minnesota Sunday.

Chalk up Saturday as a learning experience. The conference schedule will continue tossing bigger and stronger teams at Indiana over the next couple months. Against the dribble-drive, it certainly hurt IU that it couldn’t stick with a zone against the Buckeyes, who’ve struggled against that look at times this year. But Curt Miller has repeatedly said that this year’s Indiana team simply isn’t good enough with zone concepts to stick with it for a whole game. Watching Ferguson and Alston cut through the paint all afternoon, a more athletic, dedicated zone would’ve helped. Now, IU must prepare for a rebuilding Wisconsin team that doesn’t score a ton of points, but has the ability to make games messy enough that they could go their way. How Indiana responds to the difficult upcoming stretch could determine their plans for March.

Video above courtesy of IU Athletics

4 comments

  1. Tough game for the young Hoosiers! Their shooting was abysmal to say the least against a stout defense. Ohio State’s exceptionally tough schedule has certainly prepared them well this year. Their 11 and 7 record coming into this game is quite deceiving. Their size and veteran leadership showed up throughout the game. They start 2 seniors and a junior and 6 foot 5 inch senior Ashley Adams who is the first big off the bench started her sophomore and Junior seasons. Ohio St.’s experience showed the whole game.
    IU was simply out played by a veteran team that will be very tough to beat in conference play. We all knew that our girls would certainly not go undefeated. What will be very interesting to see is how they react from this defeat. I am betting this team will be resilient enough to come back and play well at Wisconsin. I posted earlier this year that I thought if our girls could play 500 ball in the conference it would be a very successful season, I stand by that! If they can pull that off, it would give us a 21-8 record. That would most definitely get us into the post season and be a huge improvement over last year’s 11 wins.
    Last but not least, tonight’s crowd was great! Over 4,000 was the largest crowd of the season. I only hope that tonight’s defeat will not cause these people to not return? These girls deserve a great crowd game in and game out! Go Hoosiers!!

  2. Tough day at the office ladies. Use this loss. Watch film, practice hard and keep believing. Most of all listing to Coach Miller and the staff, Hoosier Nation has your backs.

  3. My family and I drove over for the game. First women’s game this year. Will not be the last! Keep working hard ladies your future is very bright!!!

  4. Our women are super talented and have basketball IQ. They will use this loss to improve their play and grow stronger. There are minutes watching them play that made me think they could actually defeat CTC’s bunch.

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