March 2, 2014

Box Score

MINNEAPOLIS – The Ohio State women’s basketball team dropped a 74-57 decision Sunday afternoon at Minnesota to close out the regular season.

The loss puts the Buckeyes at 15-17 overall and 5-11 in the Big Ten. Ohio State will be the No. 8 seed in next week’s Big Ten tournament in Indianapolis and will face No. 9 Northwestern at Noon ET Thursday in the opening game. The winner will face top-seeded Penn State at Noon ET Friday in the quarterfinals.

Raven Ferguson led three Buckeyes in double-figures with 16 points off the bench. Martina Ellerbe added 13 points and Ameryst Alston, playing with an injured left shoulder, scored 11 points and added nine assists. Cait Craft finished with nine and Lisa Blair recorded four blocks and five rebounds in her first career start.

After a solid start, Ohio State dug itself in a hole when it shot just 26 percent from the field in the first half and the game swung in favor of Minnesota about midway through the half. Ohio State trailed by only three, 18-15, with 7:23 left before a 14-1 run by Minnesota put the Gophers up, 32-16, with 2:36 remaining. The Buckeyes hit only one field goal, a three-pointer by Ellerbe, in the final 7 minutes and Minnesota would lead 35-21 at the half.

The Gophers were quick to start the second half as well and pushed the lead to 47-26 about 5 ½ minutes in. The Buckeyes, however, kept fighting and trimmed the Gopher lead to 10 on a few occasions behind the play of Alston, Ellerbe, Craft and Ferguson. After a jumper by Alston cut the lead to 65-55 with 3:53 left, Minnesota answered coming out of a timeout with the next five points to end the Buckeye comeback.

Rachel Banham led Minnesota with 27 points and seven assists while Amanda Zahui had 14 points and 18 rebounds. Banham also made 13 of 14 from the line for the Gophers who shot 25 of 29 from the stripe compared to 10 of 14 by the Buckeyes.