Sky high intersected with a Grand Canyon low yesterday afternoon for the Ohio State women’s basketball team.
The Buckeyes had gone to bed on Saturday with a thrilling 62-59 come-from-behind victory over Marist to sweeten their dreams. Bowling Green left them with a collective nightmare in the finale of the three-day, three-game Basketball Hall of Fame women’s challenge.
Bowling Green dominated the game from start to finish in a 64-52 victory that allowed its fans to chant, “B-G, S-U,” as time expired at Value City Arena.
The victory was the first in the series for the Falcons (6-1) since Jan. 18, 1975, and broke a string of 12 consecutive victories by the Buckeyes (5-2).
The postgame numbers showed why. Ohio State was 12 of 48 from the field and Bowling Green made 12 of 21 three-point attempts. The Buckeyes did make 24 of 26 free throws, or the final score would have looked more lopsided.
What went wrong?
“Discipline,” guard Ameryst Alston said. “They came out with more energy than we did. We were just too lax. We definitely should have won this game. Like I said, they just came out with more energy and want-to than we did.”
Bowling Green coach Jennifer Roos said the tournament format had taken a physical toll on all four teams. The Falcons lost to Marist on the opening night and defeated Old Dominion on Saturday. Roos gingerly handled a question of having the biggest Ohio school to play on the third day to add energy to her team. Senior point guard Jillian Halfhill didn’t.
“I think from the start, especially with the seniors, we preached the whole weekend that we wanted this game the most,” Halfhill said. “Let’s be real — Ohio State-Bowling Green. We’ve heard about Ohio State the whole time. I have friends on this (OSU) team that I’ve played with.”
The Falcons took a 3-2 lead on a three-pointer by Erica Donovan at 18:23 of the first half and never let the Buckeyes lead again.
“From the very start, we were feeling good,” Halfhill said. “We came out on a roll for the first four minutes, I think, for the first and second half.”
Deborah Hoekstra came off the bench in the first half and stung the Buckeyes with three of her four rainbows. Miriam Justinger, who was 2 of 19 from beyond the arc for the season, added four in the second half. The Buckeyes got as close as 37-35 after a Darryce Moore basket in the second half. Halfhill scored the next seven points.
“They deserved to win,” Ohio State coach Kevin McGuff said. “They played harder. They executed 10 times better. We got a little tired when things didn’t go our way and we didn’t respond to that with execution and toughness and fight. It was a hard matchup. To their credit, they got threes and they made them. They really, really wanted this game. Ultimately, that was the difference.”
In the opening game, Marist defeated Old Dominion 87-82 in overtime.