March 7, 2014
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Heading into Friday’s Big Ten tournament game against top-seeded Penn State, Ohio State women’s basketball coach Kevin McGuff wanted his team to play like it had nothing to lose.
Over the next 40 minutes, it played like it couldn’t.
“I think the key when you come into a game like this is that in a tournament format, that you play extremely hard, obviously because it’s win or go home, but also that you’re loose and your players are enjoying it and they don’t have the weight of the world on them,” he said. “We certainly played like that today.”
Ameryst Alston scored 33 points and Cait Craft 24 as eighth-seeded Ohio State stunned No. 11-ranked Penn State 99-82 Friday in the Big Ten Conference tournament quarterfinals.
The Buckeyes (17-17) advance to today’s semifinal against Iowa.
Raven Ferguson added 15 points for OSU, which shot 71.9 percent in the first half when it made all 10 of its 3-pointers for a 58-34 lead. The 58 points were a tournament record.
“I think in the beginning, you know, a few people made some shots,” Craft said. “When that happens, it becomes contagious for everybody. I think everybody comes out and plays for each other, trusts one other. When you have team nights like that it’s easy to come out and play like that.”
When asked if the Buckeyes have shot that well in practice this season, Craft said, “I don’t think so, honestly. You know, that was honestly ridiculous I think, because it seemed at the beginning like nobody could miss and I don’t think that’s ever happened, you know, in a stretch of practice or a game obviously this year.”
Boardman High graduate Darryce Moore started and finished with 11 points and six rebounds while Salem’s Amy Scullion started but did not score in seven minutes.
The Lady Lions (22-7) were led by Ariel Edwards’ career-high 29 points plus 10 rebounds. Maggie Lucas added 21 points, including a pair of 3-pointers that gave her the conference’s career record with 358.
OSU built its lead to 27 points before PSU cut it to nine with 2:56 left. OSU then went on an 11-2 run to seal the outcome.
“We knew if we stayed focus and stayed calm, [we’d be fine] because teams make runs, it’s a game of runs,” Craft said. “They were bound to make up some points since we had held them to a lower score than they’re used to for most of the game.”
Ohio State’s last win over a top-15 team came against Michigan State in the 2011 conference tournament. The Buckeyes are now 12-1 in their last 13 Big Ten tournament games played in Indianapolis.
“From the start we didn’t look nervous or scared,” McGuff said. “We were like, ‘Hey, we’re going to show up and put forth our best effort, win, lose or draw.’ That was the other thing we were talking about, don’t bring anything back to Columbus. We’re going to leave it all here in Indy.
“I think our kids did that.”
Alston, who scored 30 in the first round win Thursday vs. Northwestern, has scored 63 points in a two-game span, which are the second-most in Big Ten Tournament history. That mark trails only Kelly Mazzante’s (PSU) 64 points in 2002.