By Tonya Kelly, (Sportzkelz Media) and Okon Ekpenyong
The Ohio State Women’s Basketball finished the 2021-2022 season with an overall record of 25-7, a share of the regular-season Big Ten Championship with Iowa and made it to the sweet sixteen before falling to Texas 66-63 in Spokane, Washington. Despite the loss, the team will learn and grow from this experience, and they will also put themselves to have another run like this in years to come.
In the first round, the Buckeyes beat the #11 seed Missouri State and #3 seed LSU in the second before falling to #2 Texas in Spokane, Washington. It was the team’s first Sweet sixteen since 2017, but they have not won one since their tournament title run in 1993.
The difference-marker for Texas is that their bench players outscored the Buckeyes 24-8 to advance to the elite eight for the second year in a row. “In those closing minutes, we told each other that we still got it; we still got a chance to win it, and we fought till then,” Junior Guard Jacy Sheldon said. Sheldon had 17 points and four assists, while senior guard Taylor Mikesell added 19 points, making three out four from the three-point line. Ohio State was up 20-16 in the first quarter, but the Longhorns stormed back by scoring 16-10 in the second and 18-15 in the third.
With more than two minutes to go, Taylor Mikesell cut to lead 62-61, but the Longhorn defense stepped up their energy, and it helped sore them to victory. Senior Braxin Miller brought the Buckeyes back within two points 60-58 with 3:28 to go in the fourth quarter. Miller finished with 12 points and ended the Longhorns’ 9-0 run in the last quarter by hitting a few jumpers.
Statistically, both teams were close in block shots, steals, assists, offensive/defensive rebounds, and turnovers. But that bench points 24-8 in favor of the Longhorns were the difference-marker.
Sportzkelz Media spoke to Ohio State Head Coach Kevin McGuff about the season and looking into the future. You played two big teams in the nation. You know, it was a close loss. What does this say about your program, where you’re going for next year?
It was a great game. Texas, I thought, did a great job. They play hard. They’re very well-coached and one of the best defensive teams in the country. So, give them credit. I am incredibly proud of our kids. Our fight and probably the most significant thing, where we were in November to where we ended now, we were a significantly different team, and that’s a credit to their competitive character, their commitment to getting better.
We didn’t go to the Tournament because of COVID in 2020, had a postseason ban the following year; disappointed that we didn’t take this next step now. Still, I’m hoping that this experience at this level on the second weekend in the Tournament will motivate the team and those incoming recruits in years to come. Especially the leadership we have with our upper-level students.
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