Ohio (2-4) took the short trip from Athens to Columbus to take on No. 12 Ohio State (6-1) on Tuesday. Although the game would start slow for both teams, Ohio State’s size advantage and defense proved to be too much for Ohio, who would fall by a score of 85-45.
Coming out of the gate, it was a struggle for both teams offensively. Ohio’s biggest struggle was the press defense that Ohio State was running after made shots.
However, Ohio State struggled to penetrate the Ohio defense early in the first quarter. The Buckeyes had to settle for threes, which, in the first quarter, were not able to fall at a consistent and efficient rate. Ohio’s kryptonite was the full-court press that Ohio State ran from its very first made basket of the game. Ohio is already a turnover-prone team, adding a press to that issue only worsened the turnover problems. Nearing the end of the second quarter, the Buckeyes became more balanced in their offensive attack.
The second quarter saw Ohio State further take advantage of Ohio’s lack of height. Ohio’s tallest player is Kate Dennis, who is listed at 6 feet, 1 inch. The tallest player for Ohio State is Rebeka Mikulasikova, who is 6 feet, 4 inches.
Mikulasikova started the second quarter, dominating on offense. She was able to use her size to get position underneath the basket and finish easy scoring opportunities. When Ohio left her open from behind the arc, she was able to attempt and convert a pair of triples comfortably. On the other end for the Bobcats, the shots just couldn’t fall in the first half. Ohio only shot 19.2% from the field in the first half, only making nine free throws, and it wasn’t able to draw any free throw opportunities. With all of the issues snowballing, Ohio went into the half trailing 42-13.
The same problems continued for Ohio entering the third quarter. Time and time again, Ohio State would either find an open shooter to knock down a three or be able to get positioning to finish layups consistently. Following their made basket, the Buckeyes would press the two Bobcat guards, usually Jaya McClure or Madi Mace, and force a turnover on the inbounds pass. Following the turnovers, Ohio State would again have an open shooter or an easy layup to turn the good defense into offense.
This is not a recipe for success for any team, let alone one that faced the size disadvantages that Ohio did. That recipe again showed on the scoreboard as Ohio was still trailing big entering the fourth quarter.
The fourth quarter opened with a new lineup for the Bobcats. Peyton Guice played in her first game since 2022, coming off an injury, and Kailah Johnson, Asiah Baxter and Emma Barnett saw the court in the final frame and were able to produce well on offense.
“I thought we did a good job of points in the paint out of the half (court),” said Ohio Coach Bob Boldon. “At times when were organized, we were able to run pretty good offense.”
The fourth quarter saw Ohio State maintain its sizable lead, and the Bobcats fell to their in-state opponent.