All great things must eventually come to an end, including Ohio State women’s basketball’s six game winning streak.
No. 22 Ohio State (15-3, 7-3 Big Ten) had not lost a game since it last played Michigan (18-2, 8-1 Big Ten) Dec. 31, 2021, 90-71.
The No. 7 Wolverines were unstoppable throughout the entire battle, shooting 49 percent while the Buckeyes shot 37 percent.
In the first ten minutes, the Wolverines severely outrebounded the Buckeyes by 10, allowing Michigan to hold the conference’s No. 1 scoring offense to only two points in the first three minutes. Soon after, the Wolverines went on a 10-0 run.
One of the biggest problems for the Buckeyes was capitalizing. In the first quarter, Ohio State was 6-for-18 from the field. The second frame was not any better as the Buckeyes shot 2-for-12 from the field, while junior guard Jacy Sheldon was the only player to score for Ohio State — dropping all seven of its points.
Michigan ended the half on a 7-2 run. The Buckeyes went into the locker room having not made a single field goal in over three minutes. The Wolverines led at halftime, 38-23.
The Wolverines started out strong in the second half, scoring the first four points before graduate forward Tanaya Beacham put the Buckeyes back on the board.
The Wolverines created an even bigger lead, stretching to a game-high 34 with 7:20 left in the fourth quarter.
The margin did not sit well with the Buckeyes as they finished the game strong, making their last four field goals and slowing down Michigan’s offense by holding it to one bucket in the final 8:01.
Michigan senior forward Naz Hillmon was a force to be reckoned with on both ends of the court. Hillmon racked 20 points and 12 rebounds against the Buckeyes.
Hillmon, a Cleveland native, became Michigan’s all-time leading rebounder. Wolverines head coach Kim Barnes Arico had nothing but compliments for the senior.
“For her to be able to do it here in Ohio in front of her friends and family,” Barnes Arico said. “”She’s not finished. I know she’s got a few more records under her belt, for sure.”
Sophomore guard Kateri Poole played for the first time after missing four consecutive games due to a shoulder injury, seeing 10 minutes of action.
Beacham believed the Buckeyes fell short because they were facing adversity.
“They came out and hit us in the mouth and we needed help to get ourselves together,” Beacham said. “We struggled at this getting ourselves together. We had a lot of things that were our fault.”
Beacham was the leader of the Buckeyes’ energy and resilience, tallying14 points and six rebounds.
Although the Buckeyes did not get the outcome they wanted, Beacham was proud of the way her team never gave up.
“We fought to the end no matter what the score was,” Beacham said. “Our energy stayed high. We still wanted to run our stuff. We had good looks, our defense was really good. I think our energy was good.”
Head coach Kevin McGuff had nothing but respect for the Wolverines’ performance, and believes his team needs to focus on communicating.
“Give them credit, they played really well,” McGuff said. “We didn’t play very well, that’s a bad recipe against them. I think overall, we hit a little bit of adversity. We kind of get too many people trying to do their own thing instead of staying together and collectively kind of punching back.”
The Wolverines swept the season series against the Buckeyes. It is possible these two teams meet again during the Big Ten Tournament in March.
The loss will only add fuel to the fire as the Buckeyes travel to Iowa for another ranked matchup.
McGuff stressed the biggest thing his team can take away was to learn from it.
“Every season has inevitable ups and downs,” McGuff said. “That’s the thing about college athletics is you get excited about a win, you got to get to the next day, learn from it and turn the page and get on to the next game. Same thing with a tough loss; we got to learn from this.”
The Buckeyes will hit the road to compete at No. 23 Iowa Monday at 9 p.m. The game will be streamed on Big Ten Network.