Ohio State women’s basketball is undefeated no more.
After starting the season 19-0 for the longest unbeaten start in program history, Ohio State suffered its first loss of the year on Monday night when it hosted the 10th-ranked Iowa Hawkeyes at the Schottenstein Center.
|#2 OHIO STATE||24||10||20||18||72|
Cotie McMahon scored 21 points for the Buckeyes while Taylor Thierry added 20, but an off night from the 3-point line and rebounding struggles doomed Ohio State. Iowa star Caitlin Clark had 28 points, 10 rebounds and 15 assists for the Hawkeyes while Monika Czinano added 22 points.
“Iowa deserved to win the game. They were certainly the better team tonight,” Ohio State coach Kevin McGuff told reporters after the loss.
Iowa pulled out to an early 18-14 lead in the first quarter as Czinano scored 10 points in the game’s first seven minutes. Ohio State forward Rebeka Mikulasikova responded with eight points of her own in the final four minutes of the first quarter, and the Buckeyes finished the first frame with a 24-23 lead after Taylor Mikesell hit a 3-pointer just before the buzzer.
Q1 | What a way to end the quarter for @TMikesell23 #GoBucks pic.twitter.com/n91ajvUu43— Ohio State WBB (@OhioStateWBB) January 24, 2023
The Hawkeyes responded back with a 11-2 run to start the second quarter with Caitlin Clark scoring seven of the quarter’s first 11 points. From there, Iowa would control the scoreboard for the remainder of the first half, taking a 43-34 lead into halftime as Ohio State scored just 10 points in the second quarter.
Ohio State, which entered the game making 35.2 percent of its 3-point shots for the season, went just 2-of-12 from beyond the arc in the first half.
|27-71 (38.0%)||FGM-FGA (PCT.)||31-65 (47.7%)|
|4-25 (16.0%)||3PM-3PA (PCT.)||8-27 (29.6%)|
|14-20 (70.0%)||FTM-FTA (PCT.)||13-14 (92.9%)|
Iowa extended the lead to 12 points with a 13-10 start to the third quarter, but the Buckeyes finished the third quarter on a 10-0 run to make it a two-point game entering the fourth quarter. Ohio State held the Hawkeyes scoreless for the final 5:56 of the third quarter while six different Buckeyes – Eboni Walker, Mikesell, Thierry, Rikki Harris, Emma Shumate and McMahon – scored at least one point during that span.
The Buckeyes were unable to carry that momentum into the fourth quarter, however. Molly Davis and Clark broke Iowa’s scoring drought with a pair of 3-pointers in the first two minutes of the final quarter, and the Hawkeyes quickly extended their lead back to seven points. Iowa pulled away to lead by as many as 13 with just 3:11 to play before ultimately winning by 11.
For the game as a whole, Ohio State made only four of its 25 3-point attempts while Iowa outrebounded the Buckeyes 51-31.
McGuff said he was less disappointed by the Buckeyes’ loss than he was by how badly they were outrebounded, which he thinks reflected Ohio State not playing as hard as it needed to against its toughest competition of the season.
“I was never concerned about if we're going to lose, it’s how we play. We just didn't play very well,” McGuff said. “To get dominated on the boards like that, we just didn’t show the fight that we needed in a really big-time Big Ten basketball game. And so the loss I can handle. If we would have played as hard as we could and really executed at a high level and they just beat us, no problem. But we didn't play well, and we didn’t deserve to win.”
McGuff is hopeful the first loss of the year will be a learning experience for the Buckeyes going forward as they prepare to play their second straight top-10 opponent on Thursday on the road against sixth-ranked Indiana (8:30 p.m., BTN).
“Outside of tonight, I think for the most part we've handled winning fine. Now you gotta handle losing. And so we’ll show a lot about our competitive character in the coming days, how we practice and how we show up on Thursday, because it's not gonna get easier in Bloomington,” McGuff said.
McMahon said the Buckeyes would immediately turn the page from Monday’s loss to preparing for the trip west to Bloomington.
“We kind of just have to smile through it and move onto the next. We're not worried about this game anymore. We got Indiana next, and that's all we're worried about,” McMahon said. “The game was over when the buzzer hit, so there’s nothing we can do about it.”
- 2021-22 leading scorer Jacy Sheldon, who has missed 15 of Ohio State’s first 20 games due to a foot injury, remained out Monday night but was not wearing a walking boot on the sideline. When asked about her status after the game, McGuff said he hopes she’ll be able to return “before too long.”
- Monday night’s game was a sellout at the Schottenstein Center, though tickets were not sold for the upper level of the arena. A total of 9,955 fans were in attendance.
- Ohio State women’s basketball great Kelsey Mitchell, who is entering her sixth season with the WNBA’s Indiana Fever, was recognized with an on-court tribute between the first and second quarters.
- While the Buckeyes have four ranked wins this year, Monday’s game was Ohio State’s first this season against a team currently ranked in the top 10 of the AP Top 25.