Women's basketball: Hill helps Ohio State get first Big Ten win
Guard Raven Ferguson tries to drive past Indiana’s Aulani Sinclair in the second half of Ohio State’s victory.
One victory couldn’t clear away all the clouds hanging over the Ohio State women’s basketball team since Big Ten play began two weeks ago.
But a 68-45 dusting of Indiana last night at Value City Arena, which also featured the return of Tayler Hill from an illness, provided a welcome port in the storm for the Buckeyes. The team rebounded well. It didn’t foul so much, and the offense came alive in the second half to turn a six-point game into a laugher. Having an easy victory, especially after dropping a three-overtime thriller at Purdue on Monday, obviously felt good.
The road back in the Big Ten, however, remains long and winding.
“You can’t lose sight of the fact that it’s about today,” coach Jim Foster said. “There’s no such thing as a night where you win four games. You win one. We’ve lost enough.”
Getting the Big Ten’s leading scorer back was a good start. Hill missed the Purdue game and played sick in an 83-74 loss at Minnesota last week. She gave the Buckeyes (11-7, 1-4) 15 points, eight rebounds, four assists, two blocks and a steal over 32 minutes against the Hoosiers (10-7, 1-3).
“I’m starting to feel better,” Hill said, adding that she still isn’t well. “I’m close, though.”
She also defended Aulani Sinclair, the conference’s fourth-leading scorer, and held her to five points and 2-of-15 shooting. Foster could tell that Hill was hurting by her shooting from three-point range (1 of 6).
“Based on her three-point field-goal (percentage), she didn’t have any legs,” Foster said. “And given the defense that she played on the Sinclair kid, you have to give her a lot of credit. I don’t know if she’s eaten for five or six days. She’s got something in her. But when your throat is (sore), that’s a very uncomfortable thing.”
Hill and freshman point guard Ameryst Alston helped get the ball moving in the second half when the Buckeyes ran away from the Hoosiers. The two combined for 11 assists against one turnover and each had eight rebounds.
“Am Alston, she just keeps getting better and better and better,” Foster said. “She’s a solid, solid guard.”
Alston scored 24 points in the loss at Purdue, but only took five shots against the Hoosiers.
“She has to realize that she took 20 shots the other day and maybe going back to five shots, we’d like her to shoot the ball a little more,” Foster said.
Ohio State’s post players also produced. Darryce Moore had 14 points and six rebounds. Ashley Adams and Sasha Dobranic each had 10 points. Moore is averaging 14 points since returning to the starting lineup three games ago.
“Darryce is doing an excellent job,” Hill said. “We actually had a talk — her and I. She’s slowing down. She’s rebounding and scoring the way we knew she could.”
Moore feels better now.
“I didn’t really have that much confidence in myself,” Moore said. “When one of my teammates like Tayler tells me, ‘I believe in you,’ it drives me to play the way I play.”
The Buckeyes entered the game averaging 18.5 turnovers and 19 fouls. They limited the turnovers to 12 and the fouls to nine against Indiana.
“Both make me happy,” Hill said. “But we’ve got to try to cut down on some turnovers.”