Ohio State bounced back from its second loss of the season on Monday against Northwestern, taking down Iowa 92-87 for the first sweep of a home-and-home series against the Hawkeyes since 2008.
“Northwestern was a great team and they played a great game against us, but I think our main focus was kind of refocusing, talking about what we need to accomplish this game,” sophomore guard Jacy Sheldon said. “I think we definitely did a great job of kind of fixing what we did against Northwestern and putting that into play tonight.”
The Buckeyes led by as many as 16 points in the third quarter, but Iowa finished the frame on a 14-7 run to cut the deficit to just six, 63-57, going into the final 10 minutes.
The Hawkeyes relied on their star for the majority of the scoring, with true freshman guard Caitlin Clark tallying 30 points, 21 of which were in the second half, as well as nine assists.
“Incredibly gifted player, she’s going to have an incredible career at Iowa,” Ohio State head coach Kevin McGuff said. “She’s so good with the ball in her hands and she’s obviously extremely efficient when she shoots the ball from the three-point line but she can also drive it, and I thought tonight, too, she got her teammates involved and made them better as well.”
But, despite a slow start to the contest, junior forward Dorka Juhasz stepped up for Ohio State late, scoring 8 of Ohio State’s first 11 points in the fourth quarter, finishing the game with a double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds.
It wasn’t smooth sailing for the Buckeyes though, with the Hawkeyes consistently scoring to stay within striking distance. Ohio State then found a new focal point of the offense late in Sheldon, who had 14 fourth-quarter points to help secure the five-point victory.
After struggling to get her shot going in the past two matchups, Sheldon rebounded in a big way, finishing the game with a career-high 29 points on 8-of-12 shooting.
“She was really efficient offensively,” McGuff said. “She got out in transition, which allowed her to get to the rim, allowed her to get to the free-throw line, but overall, really good performance for her on offense.”
Sheldon credited her teammates for the reason she was so successful against the Hawkeyes.
“We moved the ball really, really well tonight, that was a huge part of it,” Sheldon said. “We got in the paint, kicked it out, we had a lot of offensive rebounds, which was also awesome, so that was all my teammates, they were making great passes.”
Ohio State has struggled with slow starts in both of its last two games, and did so again against Iowa, falling behind 9-2 after committing three turnovers and missing its first five shots from the field.
But the Buckeyes rebounded thanks to Sheldon, who had the team’s first nine points from the field. And Sheldon’s strong start helped build momentum, and Ohio State really started to get going after a three by senior guard Braxtin Miller to go up 17-15.
That three was the start of a 15-3 run that stretched into the second quarter, which ended with the Buckeyes up 11, a margin they would take into halftime up 41-30. Sheldon led all scorers with 15 points, while junior forward Aaliyah Patty added nine points and four rebounds.
Fouls were a big part of this matchup, with the teams combining for 42 (Ohio State 20, Iowa 22) in the game. The Buckeyes hit 22 of their 31 attempts from the free-throw line, while the Hawkeyes made 19 of 22.
“You’re asking the wrong person about fouls, let me tell you,” Patty said when asked about if the calls were due to a physical game or quick whistles. “I think it was a little bit of both, physical game of course, but some of them kind of were just, you know? Mhmm. I’ll leave it at that.”
Next up, Ohio State stays at home for its first matchup of the season against Minnesota. That game will take place at 1 p.m. Sunday.
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