EAST LANSING, Mich. – The No. 17/17 Ohio State women’s basketball team (22-5, 14-4 Big Ten) beat Michigan State (14-14, 8-9 Big Ten) on Sunday afternoon by a 61-55 margin in the regular-season finale. The win, coupled with Iowa’s win over Michigan, clinched a share of the Big Ten Conference Championship for the Buckeyes and gives head coach Kevin McGuff his third Big Ten title to go along with one Big Ten Tournament crown.
Taylor Thierry totaled a career-high 11 rebounds and six steals. Jacy Sheldon picked up her second-double-double of the season with 13 points and tying a career-high 10 assists.
How it Happened
Michigan State scored first but Rebeka Mikulášiková responded immediately with a post move to tie the game and Taylor Mikesell gave the Buckeyes their first lead with a triple. Rikki Harris followed with a three-pointer to extend the lead to 8-2. Ohio State held the 12-9 advantage at the media timeout. The Spartans got within one with a pair of free throws, but Taylor Thierry capitalized on a three-point play on the next possession. Mikesell had the final seven points of the quarter for the Buckeyes as OSU was up 22-15 after 10 minutes of play.
Jacy Sheldon scored the first four points for the Buckeyes in the second quarter as Ohio State held the 26-18 advantage with eight minutes to play in the half. The Buckeyes led 28-22 at the media timeout. The Spartans scored the next five points to get within one, 28-27, with 3:40 remaining in the quarter to force an OSU timeout. A pair of free throws by Kateri Poole gave Ohio State the 32-29 lead going into the locker room.
Michigan State got onto the board first in the third quarter but an old-fashioned three-point play from Tanaya Beacham kept Ohio State in front. A Mikesell jumper sent the Buckeyes into the media timeout with a 37-33 lead. The Spartans tied the game at 37 and 39 and took their first lead since the first quarter on pair of free throws with 1:48 to play in the quarter. Sheldon tied the game at 41 with a driving layup and Poole made a buzzer-beating three-pointer to give Ohio State the 44-41 lead going into the final quarter.
Poole opened the fourth quarter with another triple as Ohio State built its lead back up to 48-41 with eight minutes remaining. The Buckeyes called timeout with 6:30 to play and a 50-47 lead. That score held at the media timeout with four minutes remaining. The Spartans took a 51-50 lead with 3:33 to play. Beacham gave Ohio State the lead back as the Buckeyes scored six quick points to lead 56-51 with 2:27 to play and forced a Michigan State timeout. Ohio State called timeout with one minute to play and a 56-54 lead. Sheldon got to the line and Thierry grabbed the offensive rebound on the miss. Thierry made both from the line to force a Spartans timeout with 31 seconds to play as Ohio State led 59-54. Michigan State made its first free throw and missed the second as Ohio State then called timeout to advance the ball with 22 seconds remaining and a 59-55 lead. Sheldon increased the lead to 61-55 with seven seconds remaining to cap scoring.
What They Said
Head Coach Kevin McGuff
On Taylor Thierry’s play down the stretch:
“She was huge. She played so hard and we might’ve won still, but I’m not sure if we win or not if she didn’t grab that offensive rebound and get two more points. It was an absolutely huge play and just kind of encapsulates who she is in terms of the extra effort, the discipline to do offense on the rebound and then to be able to make the play.”
Ohio State will have a top-four seed and a double-bye at the 2022 Big Ten Tournament this week in Indianapolis. Exact seeding and game times will be determined when all regular-season games wrap up later today.