It was fitting that Ohio State’s first possession ended in a turnover.
The sloppiness continued for the Buckeyes for much of the game, eventually falling to No. 17 Maryland 85-65 despite a comeback effort in the third quarter.
“Pretty disappointed,” junior guard Braxtin Miller said. “We have to be better though, it’s really on us, we can’t really blame anybody but us.”
Maryland led Ohio State 45-23 at halftime, shooting 51.7 percent (19 of 37) from the field, led by 13 points from sophomore forward Shakira Austin. The Terrapins also held the Buckeyes to 26.9 percent shooting (7 of 26) and just two makes on seven three attempts. They also outscored Ohio State 28-8 in the paint and 13-4 on fast break points in the opening 20 minutes.
“Nothing was really clicking,” Miller said. “We at least normally have one — offense or defense — and I think both were really not matching up and so we didn’t make adjustments probably quick enough, we just got down a little too fast.”
But the Buckeyes came out firing in the second half, scoring 13 of the first 19 points, five of which came from Miller.
After multiple games of struggling from the field (2-of-22 shooting in the past four games), Miller finally got it going, finishing with 15 points on 5-of-11 shooting.
The improved play did not end there, with Ohio State ending the third quarter on an 8-2 run to make it 59-46 in favor of Maryland heading into the final frame. The Buckeyes began to make a dent into the big Terrapins lead thanks to a 16-7 rebounding advantage in the third.
Eventually, Maryland took the game back over, going on a 12-4 run to extend its lead to 19 points and seal the win.
“They played really well, really prepared,” Ohio State head coach Kevin McGuff said. “Their defense was really good early on, and we didn’t get a lot of good shots and I don’t think we reacted to that real well, and so we certainly, you have to play a lot better against Maryland if you want to have a chance to beat them.”
Kaila Charles, who led the Terrapins with 28 points the last time these two teams met, was again a matchup nightmare for the Buckeyes, finishing with 19 points on 8-of-12 shooting.
Another problem that reared its head once again for Ohio State was the turnovers. After a 25-turnover performance against Maryland last time out, the Buckeyes again coughed up the ball a lot, finishing with 20 turnovers on the evening.
“They switch off screens and they push us to the half court, they apply a lot of pressure,” sophomore forward Aaliyah Patty said. “That’s very impactful on our turnovers and us trying to get to the basket and then finding the right people to kick it out to.”
Maryland initially took charge of the game on an 18-3 run to end the first quarter up 23-8. The Terrapins forced nine turnovers in that quarter and committed only three, and outscored the Buckeyes 11-0 off said turnovers.
On the night, Ohio State shot 33.8 percent from the field (22-65) and 26.3 percent from three (5 of 19). It could not contain Maryland, who ended with 55.7 percent shooting (34 of 61) on the night.
“I have to help them be a lot better on offense, that’s my responsibility,” McGuff said, “and then they have to make sure we show up in the next couple of days and have great energy and focus to move on to the next game.”
Both Ohio State and Maryland were hit with key technical fouls in the fourth quarter. Austin was given a technical that moved her to four fouls early on in the final 10 minutes, while Ohio State freshman guard Kierstan Bell was given a personal foul, followed by a technical after disagreeing with the call, which gave her five and removed her from the game.
The Buckeyes fall to 11-9 on the season and 4-5 in the Big Ten, while Maryland moves to 17-4 and 8-2 in the conference.
Ohio State goes back on the road for a Sunday matchup against Nebraska at 3 p.m.
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