Jacy Sheldon scored her 1,000th career point and Taylor Mikesell produced a career-high 33 points en route to an upset win over No. 12 Maryland 95-89 Thursday.
Sheldon — a junior guard — has been nothing but exceptional for the Buckeyes (14-3, 6-2 Big Ten), as she recorded a double-double with 24 points and a career-high 10 assists against the Terrapins (12-6, 4-3 Big Ten).
Sheldon was named Big Ten Co-Player of the Week alongside Iowa sophomore guard Caitlin Clark. Sheldon scored a total of 65 points in addition to 13 assists and 11 rebounds during last week’s conference matchups against Michigan State and Minnesota.
Head coach Kevin McGuff praised Sheldon after she achieved her career milestone.
“She’s got a really high basketball IQ,” McGuff said. “She’s a great communicator, and the team respects her. She tells people where to go and they respond.”
Mikesell, a senior guard, faced the Terrapins for the first time after leaving the Maryland program at the end of her sophomore season before transferring to Oregon for her junior year.
It was not long after her junior season ended before the Massillon, Ohio, native decided to come home for her senior year to play for the Buckeyes.
During Mikesell’s freshman year at Maryland, she was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year and All-Big Ten Second Team. Mikesell also broke Maryland’s single-season record for 3-pointers with 95.
Mikesell had nothing but love and respect for her former team.
“They recruited me for four years, so I’ve built really good relationships with them. I went and gave every single one of them a hug. I still visit them,” Mikesell said. “Some of my teammates are there frequently in the summer, so it’s all love just at the end of the day. I made the decision. We still have that bond, which is huge.”
Mikesell currently has 69 buckets from 3-pointers for the Buckeyes this season, including her perfect 5-for-5 from beyond the arc Thursday.
The scarlet and gray started the first quarter off strong in a very physical battle with the red and gold.
Ohio State went on a 12-2 scoring run in the middle of the first quarter to get the edge over Maryland, including two of Mikesell’s downtown shots.The Buckeyes finished the quarter making their last eight field goal shots, outscoring the Terrapins by 10 going into the second quarter, 25-15.
Mikesell’s shooting percentage was perfect in the first quarter, shooting 4-of-4 field goals.
Sheldon said she has loved getting to know Mikesell on and off the court.
“She’s one of the best players I’ve ever played with. She’s one of the coolest people I’ve ever met, too,” Sheldon said. “It’s easy to play with her. She makes shots, she makes the right decisions, and she’s really good at what she does. So, it’s unbelievably fun.”
The Buckeyes held onto their lead going into halftime, 45-37. Maryland outscored Ohio State 22-20 in the second quarter. Mikesell led the Buckeyes at the break with 16 points.
Coming out of halftime, Maryland cut the Buckeyes’ lead down to two with 6:23 left to play in the third quarter before Ohio State pulled away to make it 65-57 going into the final frame.
The physicality of the game was consistent throughout all four quarters, ending in 39 total personal fouls.
McGuff emphasized how proud he was of the Buckeyes’ energy and competitive spirit.
“We competed for 40 minutes,” McGuff said. “We made mistakes, and that’s going to happen. But, our competitive character was as good as it’s been.”
Sophomore guard Rikki Harris was in the starting lineup for the third game in a row due to sophomore guard Kateri Poole’s ongoing shoulder injury she suffered earlier this month.
Since Poole’s injury, Sheldon has been Ohio State’s primary ball handler on the court.
“It helps us a lot. And just her playmaking ability, you have to respect her as a scorer, but then she creates so many opportunities for everybody else,” Mikesell said. “The way she managed the ball and just handled it at the end was big.”
The Buckeyes earned their 450th all-time regular-season conference win Thursday, making them the second team in the Big Ten to reach this milestone in the last week. Iowa reached 450 conference wins at Purdue Jan. 13.
The Buckeyes will travel to the Garden State to face Rutgers (7-12, 0-7 in Big Ten) Sunday at 1 p.m. on ESPN2.