For the fifth time in program history, IU women’s basketball is ranked in the Associated Press Top 25.
A 14-1 start to the season and a victory Sunday over then-No. 15 Michigan State pushed IU onto the list after receiving votes in weeks prior.
At 6 p.m. Thursday in Columbus, Ohio, the Hoosiers will play their first game as a ranked team since Nov. 19, 2016.
Here are three things to know about the Ohio State Buckeyes.
1. This isn’t the same Buckeye team as years past
After losing Kelsey Mitchell and Stephanie Mavunga to the WNBA, Ohio State hasn’t seen the success it’s used to seeing. The Buckeyes are 4-8 this season and haven’t had eight losses in a season since the 2015-16 season, when the team finished 27-8.
The Buckeyes are currently on a five-game losing streak, losing the last three contests to Purdue, Nebraska and Maryland to begin conference play 0-3.
Two of Ohio State's games were cancelled this season against California State University, Sacramento and Stanford University on Nov. 16 and 18 due to the wild fires in California.
Last season, the Buckeyes averaged 85 points per game and this season they are averaging just 59.3. The team’s scoring margin was a plus 13.9 last season and is now a minus 6.7 this year.
Both times IU played Ohio State last season, OSU won by 15.
2. Size can be an issue for IU
Freshman forward Dorka Juhasz is the leading scorer this season for Ohio State. The 6-foot-4-inch Hungarian talent is averaging 12.3 points per game and grabbing an impressive 8.3 rebounds per game, almost averaging a double-double.
No other Buckeye on the roster is scoring more than 10 points per game. Last season, Mitchell averaged 24.3 and Mavunga scored 16.6 points per game. Two other players on last year’s roster also scored in double figures.
One thing this team has going for them this season is its size. Five players on the roster are 6-feet-1-inch or taller.
IU freshman Aleksa Gulbe, sophomore Linsey Marchese, junior Brenna Wise and senior Kym Royster, all forwards, will be tasked in the paint with guarding the skyscraper frontcourt of the Buckeyes.
3. Slow starts have plagued Ohio State
Of all the points Ohio State has given up in each quarter this season, it has given up the most points in the first quarter. In 12 games, opponents have scored 211 points in the opening 10 minutes. No other quarter has eclipsed the 200 mark, while Ohio State has only scored 177 points in all its first quarters this season.
IU hasn’t got off to the best starts each game but has totaled 271 points in the first quarter over its 15 games. IU’s highest scoring quarters are the third (302) and fourth (295) periods.
IU Coach Teri Moren has emphasized the first four minutes of each quarter to her team all season, which is especially important for road games. If IU can get off to a hot start in Value City Arena, it will help the Hoosiers’ chances of picking up the victory.
One of two things will happen Thursday: Ohio State will pick up its first Big Ten win of the season, or IU will remain undefeated in conference play at 4-0.
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