Buckeyes Collapse Late, Drop Home Game to Illini
By Tony Gerdeman
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Let by 34 points and 12 rebounds from Karisma Penn, Illinois (8-6, 1-1) defeated Ohio State (10-5, 0-2) 79-73 at Value City Arena, snapping the Buckeyes' 31-game home winning streak.
Tayler Hill led the way with 30 points for the Buckeyes, who played in front of a season-high home attendance of 4,516. It was the second consecutive game of 30 points or more for Hill, who scored 34 in an overtime loss at Iowa last Thursday.
Illinois got out of the gate early, grabbing a 20-12 lead in the first nine minutes of the game. Ohio State then went on a 16-0 run, sparked by Hill, as well as Darryce Moore and Raven Ferguson. Moore, who scored a career-high 17 points, dropped in three layups during the run.
The Buckeyes led 28-20 before their spurt was finally ended by a three-pointer from Amber Moore with 3:40 to play. A pair of late free throws by Penn would cut OSU's lead to just two points. A layup by Ashley Adams with 18 seconds remaining in the half gave the Buckeyes their 35-31 halftime lead.
Ohio State could only build their lead up to five points early in the second half, thanks to a layup by Adams that made it 40-35. Adams scored 11 points, but only came away with one rebound.
Illinois went on an 8-1 run to capture the lead, but Hill then immediately responded with an 8-0 run by herself to build the Buckeye lead to six points.
Ohio State held the lead until a three-point play from Penn tied the game at 59-59 with 5:11 to play. A layup by Penn less than a minute later gave Illinois a lead, and the Buckeyes would never get it back.
A layup by Penn with 3:06 to play made it 68-65 for Illinois, and a pair of free throws a minute later extended the lead to four points. She added another layup less than a minute later to make it a six-point game, and the Buckeyes would only ever get it as close as four points after that.
"We’re not showing determination," admitted a frustrated Hill.
"We’re not showing heart as a team. They wanted it more than us and it shouldn’t be like that. I think they just wanted it more. We made simple mistakes, like not boxing out at the free-throw line. But that’s all determination."
As if the news couldn't get worse for the Buckeyes, starting guard Amber Stokes was injured late in the first half with a sprained knee and she is expected to be out for a while.
"It's the very least a sprained knee," Buckeye coach Jim Foster said. "I'll know more tomorrow. She's a great defensive player, but it will be Cait [Craft’s] job to step up. Overall Cait played solid defense and she's going to get more playing time."
Raven Ferguson added eight points for the Buckeyes, but did it via 3-13 shooting from the field, including 1-6 from three-point territory.
Ohio State had 22 assists on their 25 field goals, and shot 55.6% from the field in the first half, but managed just 35.7% in the second half. The Buckeyes turned the ball over 20 times.
"We have to cut down on our turnovers," Hill said. "We have to soul-search. Some people on our team have to look in the mirror and ask if this is really what they want to do."
"It’s determination. We have to want to play. We have to want to make changes that are necessary. Amber [Stokes] is out and now it’s time for people to step up, starting with myself. I have to find a way to make us more excited and get us more energy."
Illinois turned the ball over 19 times and had just six assists, but they were 30-34 from the free throw line.
Up next for the Buckeyes is a trip to Minnesota on Thursday for an 8:00 pm tipoff.
· Since the start of the 2009-10 season, Ohio State is 75-5 when scoring at least 70 points. The Buckeyes are 8-2 this year when scoring at least 70 points. Both losses have come against Big Ten opponents Iowa (77-71 in overtime) and Sunday vs. Illinois &79-73).
· Ohio State has hit one 3-pointer in 134 consecutive games.
· Darryce Moore recorded a career-high 17 points in 26 minutes.
· With 30 points, senior Tayler Hill has now recorded back-to-back 30-point games after scoring a career-high 34 at Iowa Jan. 3.
· Hill has scored in double figures in 49 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the Big Ten.
· Hill has hit nine three-pointers in the last two games.
· Freshman Cait Craft played a career high 15 minutes vs. Illinois.
· Junior center Ashley Adams was 5-for-5 from the field and finished the game with 11 points.
· The 4,516 in attendance was the largest crowd at Value City Arena for women’s basketball this season.
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