Ohio State (9-1, 5-1) used a 17-2 run in the fourth quarter to rally from a five-point deficit and take control of the game. Back-to-back three-pointers from Madison Greene and Braxtin Miller gave the Buckeyes a 75-69 lead with 4:22 remaining, and they never trailed again. Maryland’s defense remained a concern, but the Terps were also sloppy with the ball, finishing with 16 turnovers that turned into 27 Ohio State points.
The result tightens things at the top of the Big Ten; Maryland, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio State all have one loss in conference play.
“They were really aggressive attacking the ball, which we knew,” Frese said. “They do a great job digging the basketball and using their high hands to get deflections and steals. . . . It took us too long to be able to adjust and be able to move the basketball and be a little bit more patient. With a young team, patience isn’t one of our best qualities yet.”
Greene scored 24 points to lead the Buckeyes, and she added seven assists and four rebounds. Jacy Sheldon had 21 points, and Miller finished with 18 to help give Ohio State back-to-back wins against top-15 programs after it beat then-No. 11 Michigan last week.
“The league’s so hard this year and everybody’s so good, and we are in a very difficult stretch against some of the best teams in the league,” Ohio State Coach Kevin McGuff said. “The key for us is to just kind of go day by day.”
Ashley Owusu scored a game-high 33 points for the Terps (11-2, 7-1) and added nine assists and six rebounds. Katie Benzan scored 22 points, including seven three-pointers, and Chloe Bibby added 13.
Owusu and Benzan both played the entire 40 minutes as the shorthanded Terps played just seven players. Starting forward Mimi Collins was essentially benched in the second half — the 6-foot-3 sophomore played just three minutes after halftime and finished without a rebound as Ohio State won the rebounding battle, 44-38.
It took some time for the anticipated high-scoring affair to take shape between two of the three best offensive teams in the Big Ten. Maryland turned the ball over five times in the first five minutes, and Ohio State scored off each of them and built an early 17-7 lead. At one point, Maryland had more turnovers (five) than made field goals (four), and Greene scored eight of her points during a 13-3 run that gave Buckeyes an early 10-point advantage.
“We’re disappointed with how we started the game,” Benzan said, “but we just have to pick up our energy to go on our own run. . . . Basketball’s a game of runs, so we have to go on our runs. Unfortunately, that wasn’t sustained throughout the game.”
Defense has been the Terps’ Achilles heel since the beginning of the season, and the issues continued Monday. Ohio State scored 26 points apiece in the first, third and fourth quarters, and only in the second quarter did Maryland find success defensively, switching to a zone look that seemed to give the Buckeyes trouble. Ohio State shot just 3 for 16 in the quarter and managed just 10 points. The Terps went on a 15-2 run at one point, and they led 39-36 at halftime.
The teams went back and fourth in the third quarter, and a 9-0 run gave Maryland a 67-62 lead early in the fourth. But Ohio State took control from there, ending two Maryland winning streaks at the same time.
“These kids really fight and scratch and claw and play for each other,” McGuff said. “. . . That’s how you beat a team as good as Maryland.”
Notes: Maryland announced that its home game scheduled for Thursday afternoon against Rutgers was postponed “out of an abundance of caution surrounding the health and safety of the participants.”
No specifics were provided about potential coronavirus issues.
The Terrapins are starting to get into worrisome territory from a scheduling standpoint, with four Big Ten games postponed and not yet rescheduled. In addition to the Rutgers game, a Dec. 23 home game against Ohio State and a Jan. 21 game against Iowa were called off, and a Feb. 7 game at Michigan has already been postponed.
Following the postponement of Thursday’s game, the Terps are next scheduled to play Feb. 4 against Wisconsin.