By Okon Ekpenyong
To reach their first Elite Eight since 1993, Ohio State must get past the Mount Rushmore of Women’s Basketball, UConn, 11 times NCAA Champion, and eventually win after a winless 0-6 history between the two teams.
But first, they had to take care of James Madison University and win a thriller against North Carolina to set up the match-up.
On Saturday, March 18, 2023, a solid second-half performance by Ohio State Women’s Basketball led to their 80-66 victory over James Madison University at Schottenstein Center, which enabled them to advance to the second round of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament in Columbus.
On Monday, the Lady Buckeyes faced North Carolina after the Lady Buckeyes defeated James Madison in front of their home crowd. The Tar Heels defeated Saint John University to set up the match-up.
The Monday game was yet another tough test for the Buckeyes, who did have to rally down from 16 points to live another day. The team, though, did not lose hope and continued to pressure James Madison with a full-court press resulting in multiple turnovers, which eventually led the Buckeyes to cut the lead to 37-34 at halftime.
North Carolina Versus Ohio:
With 1.8 seconds remaining in the game, Ohio State’s Jacy Sheldon hit a crazy pull-up to secure a 71-69 victory against the North Carolina Tar Heels and send them to their second trip to the sweet sixteen in a row.
The Buckeyes led most of the way by going on a few runs, but NC stormed back and went on a run of their own to keep the game close for the rest of the game. The Tarheels took their first lead of the game at 67-66 with two minutes remaining, forcing an Ohio State timeout. Despite regaining the lead, the Tarheels tied the game with 9.8 seconds left. Sheldon, however, hit a jump shot in the final 1.8 seconds of the game to secure the win for the Buckeyes.
* Eboni Walker scored a career-high 15 points.
Walker joined the team after transferring from Arizona State and has significantly contributed to the team’s success. So day in and day out, I want to do whatever I can to help my team and help the program and support our fans in a way, Walker said.
* Q1: The Buckeye defense forced seven turnovers in the opening quarter.
* Q2: Ohio State shot 6-of-11 (.545) from the floor and won the rebounding battle 10-5 in the second quarter.
* Q3: The Buckeyes made half (6-of-12) of their field-goal attempts in the quarter.
* Q4: Ohio State was 7-of-12 (.583) from the floor.
The Buckeyes will face UConn in the Sweet 16 after they defeated Baylor. It is the Buckeyes’ 13th Sweet 16 appearance, and they are seeking to advance to the Elite Game for the first time since 1993, when they went straight to the title game before losing heartbreakingly to Texas Tech.
The team had a good run last year in the Tournament despite losing 66-63 to Texas Longhorns.
Therefore, they can compete with the best teams in the nation, especially after defeating LSU in last year’s tournament and defeating Indiana this season, ranked third in the country during the Big Ten Tournament.
UConn versus Ohio State:
The Buckeyes coach Kevin McGuff said that UConn had had a similar season battling injuries and their impact on the team’s performance.
Kevin McGuff was referring to Junior Guard Madison Greene, who was injured last season, but returned this year and contributed significantly to the 19-0 start that the team had. However, she hasn’t played since 12/20/2022, after suffering a season-ending ACL injury.
Senior Guard, Jacy Sheldon, was also out for two months because of a leg injury and was averaging 16.5 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game before she went out. She would return during the Big Ten Tournament to help the Buckeyes win against Michigan in the quarterfinal and Indiana in the semi-final. They advanced to the championship game before losing to Iowa.
A torn ACL has forced UConn’s Paige Bueckers to miss the rest of the season, and throughout her collegiate career, injuries have plagued the former national player of the year since her sophomore season. However, last year she returned mid-season to help the team advance to the title game before falling to South Carolina.
Nevertheless, both teams are healthier, except for Paige. It will be a dogfight and a high-powered defense. The 11-time NCAA Champion UConn team will look to advance to their 16th straight Elite eight.
The Buckeyes and Huskies have faced one another only six times, and the Buckeyes are 0-6 in all six games. They last met on November 24, 2019, with the Husky winning 73-62 in Columbus.
The winner will play either Virginia Tech, ranked number one, or Tennessee, ranked number four. Early in November, Ohio State defeated Tennessee 87-75 to begin the season.
The Buckeyes are 23-4 when they score more than 59.5 points and 17-0 when they allow fewer than 68.9 points. In other words, if they can get their senior forward Rebeka Mikulasikova to dominate on the boards, force UConn to shoot from outside, and have the rest of her teammates double-team UConn’s best players. Then they will likely advance.
Support the New Americans magazine to continue to serve our community with precise news that affect the new American, immigrant and refugee community. https://paypal.com/donate/?hosted_button_id=8LHFS78NRNJJY&source=url
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.