No. 14 Ohio State is headed to the finals of the Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament after completing a furious 24-point comeback against No. 2 Indiana on Saturday, knocking off the top-seeded team in the conference by a 79-75 decision.
The Buckeyes trailed 46-22 late in the second quarter but dominated the second half, outscoring the Hoosiers 53-29, to pull off the miraculous comeback, which is the biggest in the history of the Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament.
The Hoosiers jumped out to a 10-4 lead before the Buckeyes responded with an 8-2 run to tie things up 12-all with 5:34 left in the first. Indiana responded by closing the frame on an 11-0 run, holding the Buckeyes scoreless for the remainder of the quarter and forcing misses on their last 10 shots entering the second.
Indiana’s run continued into the next frame, with guards Yarden Garzon and Sydney Parrish keeping the scoring going. Ohio State guard Taylor Thierry eventually broke through, scoring a layup off an offensive rebound with 7:54 left in the half, ending the run at 16-0. During that stretch, Ohio State missed 14 consecutive shots while Indiana was 7 of 13 from the field.
Ohio State was able to cut the deficit to 32-20 with 4:35 left in the second quarter, but Indiana responded with another significant run – this time 14-2 – that included a trio of three-pointers to lead 46-22 before going into the half up 46-26.
The Buckeyes then showed some fire coming out in the third quarter. After a triple from Parrish on Indiana’s first possession, Ohio State responded with a 19-4 run to cut the deficit to single digits, 53-45, with 3:47 left in the frame.
During that run, the Buckeyes connected on a trio of three-pointers, one each from guards Rikki Harris and Taylor Mikesell and forward Rebeka Mikulášiková, after going just 1 of 13 from deep in the first half.
After cutting the deficit to as few as six points, Ohio State went into the final quarter down just 63-53 after a third quarter in which the Buckeyes outscored the Hoosiers 27-17. Much of the run in the third was predicated by better execution in Ohio State’s defensive press, as the Buckeyes forced five turnovers in the frame and held the Hoosiers to just 4-of-10 shooting.
Ohio State was able to make it 63-58 with 8:43 left in the game after a free throw from forward Cotie McMahon, but Indiana responded with five unanswered points to push the lead back to double digits, 68-58. Following a later five-second violation by Indiana, guard Jacy Sheldon – who came off the bench for the second-consecutive game for the Buckeyes – scored back-to-back layups to make it 70-69 with 4:29 left.
The Buckeyes missed several chances to tie or take the lead until Mikesell completed an and-one opportunity to give Ohio State a 72-71 lead with 3:12 left, the first lead for the Buckeyes since they led 2-0. Indiana was able to retake the lead off a second-chance layup from forward Mackenzie Holmes with 45 seconds left, but Harris gave the 76-75 lead right back to Ohio State.
The Hoosiers missed on their next possession and, with under 30 seconds remaining, were forced to begin fouling Ohio State. Mikesell drew the call and split a pair at the charity stripe, putting the Buckeyes up 77-75, and Parrish missed the next shot for the Hoosiers before losing possession on a jump ball. Sheldon was then fouled with four seconds remaining, making both at the line to go up 79-75 and close the game out for Ohio State.
Thierry led Ohio State with 19 points, while Harris (13), Mikesell (13), McMahon (12) and Sheldon (12) all finished in double digits. McMahon and Thierry both tallied double-doubles, with McMahon boasting a game-high 14 rebounds, with Thierry adding 12. Indiana guard Grace Berger led the Hoosiers with 20 points, while Holmes was held to just 12 points on 3-of-7 shooting.
Fourth-seeded Ohio State will play in the finals of the Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament on Sunday, set to face either No. 2 Iowa or No. 3 Maryland at 4 p.m. This is the first appearance for Ohio State in the conference tournament finals since the 2017-18 season.