After a shaky defensive performance in Ohio State’s season-opening win 71-48 against Bucknell, the defense made important strides in game two, dominating the visiting Norfolk State Spartans 86-48 on Nov. 14.
Alongside junior guard Jacy Sheldon, junior forward Rebeka Mikulasikova, and senior guards Braxtin Miller and Taylor Mikesell, sophomore guard Kateri Poole started for the first time this season after a strong tryout at point guard on Wednesday.
The new lineup got off to a quick start, giving Ohio State a 9-0 lead as Norfolk State missed its first five shots.
After a three-pointer by the Spartans, the Buckeyes embarked on another long run, this time 11-0, to make it 21-3 with under three minutes remaining in the first quarter. Ohio State would finish the period up 25-7.
The Buckeyes’ defense continued to clamp down in the second quarter, limiting Norfolk State to just eight points on 3-of-17 shooting. On the other end, Ohio State was 6-of-13 during the quarter as seven players scored.
Poole capped off the impressive half for Ohio State with a buzzer-beating three-pointer to give the Buckeyes a 47-15 lead going into the locker room.
The second half was much of the same as the Spartans struggled to score, though Ohio State kept its foot on the pedal offensively, scoring 39 points in the second half and getting a chance to clear out the benches.
In the end, Ohio State shut down Norfolk State to the tune of 18-of-62 shooting, just a measly 29 percent from the field and 21.7 percent from beyond the arc. The Buckeyes also won the battle on the boards, out-rebounding the Spartans 47-30.
Mikulasikova led the Buckeyes with 19 points and six rebounds, while Miller, Sheldon and freshman guard Kaitlyn Costner tied for the team lead with three assists each. In total, Ohio State shot 28-of-59 from the field, good for 47.5 percent. Mikesell paved the way at the three-point line, finishing 4-of-7 (4-of-9 overall) with 12 points in her second outing as a Buckeye.
Ohio State will take its home court next on Wednesday against Bowling Green, with tip set for 7 p.m.