Ohio State women's basketball: Moore making most of opportunity off the bench
Darryce Moore hasn’t counted the hours of practice that have helped her emerge from a sometimes lost freshman to a key contributor as a junior this season for the Ohio State women’s basketball team.
Watching the clock, she came to understand, might interfere with the process of learning how to improve her game.
Moore played 14 minutes in relief of starting center Ashley Adams on Thursday and contributed eight rebounds, a career-high six assists and four points to an 88-50 victory over Virginia Commonwealth.
She entered the game at the 10:45 mark of the first half and assisted on Martina Ellerbe’s layup 14 seconds later. Over the next seven minutes, Moore had five assists because she was ready to play from the get-go.
“It’s a day-to-day thing,” she said. “It doesn’t just start with the game. It’s like in practice or when you’ve been watching for a while. When you come back in, you’ve got to match or be better than the productivity that was in there before. So you can’t just come in slowly.”
Moore began the season as the starting power forward for the 24th-ranked Buckeyes (9-3) but now is backing up Adams. She knows what coach Jim Foster wants from her.
“My job is to come in and get rebounds, do assists and get buckets,” she said. “I just have to help the team.”
After the game, Foster went out of his way to say that he now considers Adams and Moore as a tandem in the post. He added that he feels the same about starter Sasha Dobranic and Ellerbe at power forward.
“The numbers are adding up at the end of the games,” Foster said. “You look at the five spot and the four spot collectively. You look at them after the game and more often than not, they’re significant numbers. I mean, we’re still tweaking things.”
Freshman Ameryst Alston now will draw the point guard defensively instead of senior Amber Stokes, the reigning Big Ten defensive player of the year. Foster is counting on Stokes and all-conference defender Tayler Hill to handle the shooting guard and the wing.
“Amber, without the responsibility of the point guard, is going to become a better rebounder for us on the defensive glass,” he said. “Amber and Tayler do such a good job of negotiating screens, so we’ll be on shooters quicker. We are still evolving.”
The process is ongoing. The team has come miles since practice began in October.The Buckeyes had 26 assists in the victory over VCU and will try to have similar ball movement in today’s 2 p.m. game against Howard (5-5) at Value City Arena.
“(The coaches) always tell me that I’ve got to think the game like I see it,” Moore said. “When I catch the ball, I just feel like someone is there. I look there and I pass it. We drill all those passes. They seem like they just happen, but we drill that. It’s just like second nature for us now.”