Dec. 8, 2013
COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio State women’s basketball team battled back from 18 down, but fell at the buzzer when Gonzaga’s Shaniqua Nilles hit a jumper as time expired to give No. 24 Gonzaga a 59-58 victory Sunday at Value City Arena.
Seconds earlier, Ohio State’s Ameryst Alston put the Buckeyes ahead with a jumper in the lane with 7 seconds left. But it was just enough time for Gonzaga to get a shot off at the other end and escape with the victory.
It was the third-consecutive ranked opponent for the Buckeyes, who fell to 6-5 on the season. The Bulldogs move to 7-1.
The lead changed hands four times in the final 40 seconds. After a layup by Raven Ferguson cut Gonzaga’s lead to one, 55-54, with 2:07 left, Darryce Moore converted inside with 40 seconds left to give Ohio State its first lead of the game. Twenty seconds later, Nilles converted to put Gonzaga back up by one, setting up the dramatic ending.
“Both teams made really big plays down the stretch, they just happened to get a chance to make the last one and to their credit they made it,” head coach Kevin McGuff said. “That’s a tough way to go out. One team was going to be really disappointed today because both teams played hard and put a lot into it.
“They’re a great basketball team and they’re going to have an outstanding season. We just have to continue to fight, scratch and claw and if we show that same kind of fight that we showed in the second half I think good things are going to start to happen for us.”
The Buckeyes, who scored the first four points of the game, got off to a slow start and found themselves down 22-4 midway through the first half. They slowly chipped away at the lead and found themselves down by 12 at the break after shooting just 29 percent.
Ohio State then caught its second wind in the second half, outscoring the Bulldogs 38-27 while shooting 50 percent from the field. Down by 12, 51-39, Ohio State went on a 10-0 run, highlighted by a pair of three-pointers by Alston and Ferguson, to set up the fantastic finish.
Alston finished with a team-high 18 points while Martina Ellerbe finished with 11. Moore and Ferguson both scored nine.
The Buckeyes are back in action at 7 p.m. Friday vs. Army at Value City Arena.