COLUMBUS On Jan. 10, Ohio State beat Michigan without two of its best players, Tomeka Brown and Courtney Coleman. Yesterday, the duo made up for lost time by each scoring 21 points and leading the Buckeyes to an 88-75 victory.
Michigan (4-8 Big Ten, 14-9 overall) fell behind by 18 points at halftime but cut the deficit to 12 after a jumper by Alayne Ingram midway through the second half. Ohio State (6-7, 11-13) immediately responded with an 11-5 run to push the lead back to 18 points and put the game away.
Michigan coach Sue Guevara was frustrated by the “wasted” performances of Stephanie Gandy and LeeAnn Bies. Gandy had a career-high 29 points, and Bies added 18 in the losing effort.
Michigan jumped out to an early 10-7 edge but the lead was short lived. Ohio State”s DiDi Reynolds, who had 22 points against Michigan on Jan. 10, hit two consecutive 3-pointers to the disbelief of Guevara.
“For DiDi Reynolds to get two 3-pointers in transition is just unbelievable because we know she can shoot the ball,” Guevara said.
Minutes later, with Michigan trailing by three points, Guevara was called for a technical foul after an offensive foul was called on Bies. Lauren Shenk made both free throws and started a 15-4 run for the Buckeyes, during which Michigan turned the ball over nine times. The Wolverines finished the half with 15 turnovers, one more than they had in their last game against Northwestern.
Ohio State” post players, Coleman and D”wan Shackleford, combined for 17 points in the first half and outplayed Michigan”s Bies and Jennifer Smith, who both got into trouble early with two fouls apiece.
“It didn”t matter if we went into a 3-2 (zone defense) or a 2-3, they were able to get the ball inside to Coleman or (Shackleford),” Guevara said. “It was more our lack of aggressiveness, our lack of defense. That, I think, is most disappointing because we have been working on it.”
Michigan tied a season high with 25 turnovers. Although turnovers have plagued Michigan all season, both coaches agreed that Michigan”s problems were a result of Ohio State”s pressure. The turnovers resulted in 12 fast-break points for the Buckeyes in the first half.
“We force turnovers,” Ohio State coach Beth Burns said. “For us, if we can force turnovers, we do a pretty good job in numbers. And that was the story of the first half. We didn”t have to score out of a half-court set much at all.”
Ohio State, which had lost three straight coming in, shot 53 percent from the field. After allowing more than 80 points for the seventh time this season, Guevara questioned whether she would stay with the starting lineup she has used the past the past four games.
“I thought I was going to stay with this starting lineup, but I”m going to find the best defensive unit we have to go against Iowa,” Guevara said.