The Ohio State Buckeyes traveled to West Lafayette to take on the Purdue Boilermakers in a must win situation for the Buckeyes. Purdue came into the game 2-0 in conference play while the Buckeyes came in 0-3. Ohio State also came in with a severe deficiency – Amber Stokes, one of their best players who is sitting out right now with a sprained knee, was joined on the bench (figuratively) by leading scorer Tayler Hill who was unable to play due to illness. This was the time for the other Buckeyes to step up and make a difference. The question was, who would do it?
The game started out very ugly. Fairly sloppy play dominated the first ten minutes of this game, as the Buckeyes tried to settle into their stopgap lineup, and the Boilermakers tried to figure out a new game plan that did not include defending Tayler Hill.
Ohio State's defense played well. By throwing off the timing of the Boilermakers, they were able to keep the score close. All-in-all, it wasn't a bad first half for the Buckeyes, as they went into the locker room trailing #11 Purdue by only 6, 24-30.
The second half started with the Buckeyes scoring, then the battle began. within a couple of minutes Purdue was up by 11. Undaunted, the Buckeyes continued to battle through spurred on by some very nice aggressive defense by Darryce Moore. Purdue's defense was very solid, and it took a while for the Buckeyes to sort things out, and even though Purdue was shooting 47% to Ohio State's 33%, they were able to keep the game close in the meantime.
At the 11:24 mark, Ashley Adams started the Buckeyes on their way with a simple layup that brought the Boilermaker lead down to 10. This was followed by good defense, a shot clock violation by Purdue and another Ashley Adams bucket to bring the Buckeyes within 8. An Ashley Adams steal leads to an Ashley Adams rebound that leads to a 3-pointer by Shelbi Honeycutt. Now the battle is on, and what once was a very sloppy and almost boring game has become a real competition with under 7 minutes remaining.
Ohio State continued to chip away at the lead with inspired play by Moore, and with 3:45 remaining the Buckeyes tied the game at 51 each. A foul on Purdue turns the ball over to Ohio State and at the 3:01 mark a 3-pointer by Cait Craft gives Ohio State their first lead of the game. Purdue quickly ties it with a 3 of their own, and then fouls Ashley Adams on the subsequent play. Adams makes one of her free throws butting th bucks up by 1. In an attempt to block Purdue's next shot, Adams fouls out. Purdue then makes one of their shots and the teams were knotted at 55. A turnover by Ohio State gives the ball back to Purdue, but a missed shot gives the rebound to Moore. Ohio State works the ball, and with 1:03 on the clock and 2 seconds on the shot clock, the ball is knocked out by Purdue (should have been a foul). Ohio State misses the quick shot, and Purdue rebounds.
Great defense and a shot clock violation gives the ball back to Ohio State with just over 27 seconds remaining. The score is still tied 55-55. After a timeout, with 17.6 seconds remaining and no shot clock, Ohio State starts their run to win the game. Purdue ties up Ohio State on the inbound, and the jump ball turns it over to Purdue. It was a poor call by the official, who missed the foul that created the tie-up situation. But Ohio State plays well, and when Purdue attacks the basket for what appears to be a wide open layup, Martina Ellerbe shifts over and stuffs the balls down the throat of Purdue's KK Houser.
Ohio State draws first blood with 2 free throws, but then Purdue goes ahead with a wide open 3. An OSU shot clock violation gives the ball back to the boilermakers, but a missed shot and rebound returns it to the Buckeyes for a go ahead score by Ameryst Alston. A couple of empty possessions for both teams, then Purdue goes ahead with a 2. Ohio State drives the basket, the foul isn't called, but after the missed shot a foul is called on Ohio State. Purdue misses the front end of the 1-1, ball back to the Buckeyes. Ohio State gets fouled and Raven Ferguson makes 1 shot for the tie. Purdue with the ball misses a 3, and the Buckeyes get the rebound.
Timeout Ohio State. 1:24 remaining.
Ohio State's shot is missed, rebounded, missed, then rebounded to Purdue. Their missed 3 leads to a tie-up - ball to Purdue with 37.4 left. They miss a 3-pointer, Ohio State has the ball and no shot clock.
Timeout OSU with 8 seconds remaining.
OSU drives the basket, shot partially blocked and out of bounds to the Buckeyes. Shot off the inbound is rebound to Purdue. Time runs out.
Purdue wins the tip, and quickly goes ahead with a 2. Ohio State answers with a go-ahead 3. An OSU steal gives the ball back to the Buckeyes leading to a layup by Ameryst Alston. Buckeyes by 3. 65-62. A shot clock violation gives the ball to OSU. Ferguson drives the basket and draws the foul. She makes the first shot, Ohio State is now up by 4. The second shot is missed, and a tie up on the rebound keeps the ball with the Buckeyes. A shot to just beat the buzzer is missed but rebounded my Ohio State. That turns into 2 more for OSU, but Purdue responds with a quick 2. 68-64 Ohio State. Raven Ferguson misses a 3, it's rebounded by Purdue who the turns it over to Ohio State. Ellerbe misses a jumper from the free throw line, the rebound by Purdue results in a foul by Ohio State.
36.9 remaining, Purdue makes both shots. OSU by 2. Ohio State has the ball knocked out by Purdue. OSU ball with 7 seconds on the shot clock and 13.4 in game. Ohio leads 68-66.
A steal by Purdue on inbound pass and Purdue ties it. The ball is mishandled by Ohio State coming up the court, and the clock runs out.
Overtime number 3.
Purdue wins the tip. Both teams are running on pure adrenalin right now. A pass inside is stolen by Ellerbe. OSU is fouled. Alston makes both shots. OSU up by 2. Purdue works the ball inside and answers with 2. Ferguson's 3-point shot misses, it's rebounded by Purdue and the 2-pointer scores, Purdue up by 2. OSU has the ball stolen by Purdue who turns it into 2 more. Boilermakers up by 4. Ohio State answers with 2. Purdue answers with 3, 77-72, Purdue now up by 5. Ohio State misses, ball out of bounds to Purdue. Purdue scores, now up by 7. Ohio State's 3 misses. OSU fouls. Purdue makes one. Ferguson drives the basket and is fouled. She makes one. OSU fouls. Purdue makes one. OSU scores. Time runs out. Purdue wins. 82-75 is the final.
Ohio State is handed their 4th conference loss, and starts conference play at 0-4 for the first time in school history. But that's not the real story here. The real story is that a team of players who had to adjust to new assignments at the last minute, stepped up to meet the challenge and took the #11 team in the country to triple overtime. What the Buckeyes can take away from this game is far more than a disappointing loss. They have learned how to play as a team. They now have a glimpse of just how good they can be. This has been a good game for the Buckeyes.
When Hill and Stokes get back, the rest of the Big Ten had better be on guard. These Buckeyes have just become very dangerous.
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