The IU women’s basketball team traveled to Columbus, Ohio, on New Year’s Eve to play the No. 12 Ohio State Buckeyes in its second Big Ten game of the season.
The game was over before the second quarter could begin.
IU (7-8) came out and shot as if there was a lid on the basket. The Buckeyes (13-2) had no issue running up and down the court, getting wide open easy baskets.
That, and the seven turnovers, had the Hoosiers finding themselves down 32-13 after the first ten minutes of play.
The next 30 minutes looked all too familiar to the first quarter as the Buckeyes took a 85-70 victory.
The statistical differences between the two teams on the final day of 2017 were all Buckeyes.
Field goal percentage was 44-37 in favor of OSU, rebounds were 46-37, assists were 15-9 and the list goes on.
What stood out more was the balanced scoring attack for OSU. All seven players that played for the Buckeyes got at least one basket, with five scoring in double-digits.
Buckeye senior guard Kelsi Mitchell, who leads the nation in points per game with 26.2, dropped 22 in this one. Seniors Linnae Harper and Stephanie Mavunga both posted doubles-doubles with points and rebounds, and junior guard Sierra Calhoun scored 13 points with eight rebounds and four assists.
For the Hoosiers, senior guard Tyra Buss led the way with 24 points, while junior forward Kim Royster scored a career-high 22 points and added eight rebounds.
All five starters for IU played 30 minutes or more, and when the bench only scored three total points, it was difficult for IU to keep up with the fast-paced style of Ohio State.
The largest lead for OSU came with two minutes left in the third when they led by 28. From that moment on, however, IU looked like a whole different team.
With five minutes to go, the deficit was 24, but a 9-0 run cut the lead to 78-63, which was the closest IU had been since 22-7 in the first quarter.
That sequence began with a three-pointer by Buss, who was able to free herself up from an off-ball screen from senior forward Amanda Cahill.
OSU came down the next possession and missed a jump shot. Freshman guard Jaelynn Penn snatched the rebound and took it coast-to-coast for a layup, but even that wasn’t easy. Penn had to elude two defenders with a cross-over move and an acrobatic hand-switch in mid-air to get the basket to go.
OSU Coach Kevin McGuff had seen enough and called a timeout to try and halt the Hoosier momentum. Out of the timeout, his team turned the ball over, resulting in another Buss three on the other end.
Despite the run, the Hoosiers had fallen into too deep of a hole to dig themselves out of as OSU pushed the lead back up to twenty.
Royster and Buss gave the Hoosiers another 7-0 run in the last minute to cut it to 13 until the game finally ended at a 15-point deficit.
This marks IU’s second Big Ten loss of the year after losing its first contest to No. 24 Michigan State. Both games were lost by double-digits, but the spurts in the fourth quarter are something the team can use going forward into 2018.
The Hoosiers resume play on Jan. 3 against Penn State.
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IU will look to build momentum as it heads to the final stretch of the season.
The No. 6 Hoosiers will face No. 4 Texas and No. 19 Florida in a two day meet in Austin, the site of this year’s National Championships.
IU has defeated both Texas and Florida for three straight seasons.