The Ohio State women’s basketball team is better than its Michigan counterpart.
And that’s about all this afternoon’s 72-58 loss at the hands of the fifth-ranked Buckeyes came down to.
“Ohio State’s a great team; they’re very well coached,” Michigan coach Cheryl Burnett put simply.
Sure, the Wolverines didn’t play perfectly, but they did a lot right according to Burnett.
Burnett on her team’s early shooting:
“We just kept telling our kids early in the first half ‘Keep shooting’ because we really did get some really nice open shots.”
Bunett on Michigan’s defense of Ohio State’s All-American senior center Jessica Davenport:
“We felt like we were swarming the post, as we call it. We swarmed her as well as anybody can swarm.”
But in reality, the Buckeyes still drastically outplayed them in both areas.
Michigan missed its first 14 shots.
Davenport finished with 25 points (7-for-12 field goals, 11-for-13 free throws) and 15 rebounds.
And that was the difference.
Michigan (3-13 Big Ten, 10-19 overall) did something well. Ohio State still took advantage.
“Sometimes it’s our day; sometimes it’s not,” said senior forward Kelly Helvey, who was honored before the game, her last at Crisler Arena. “It always happens at home. The basket’s never open for us.”
By the time the Wolverines made their first basket (11 minutes and 52 seconds into the game), Ohio State had built a 17-2 lead.
After the bucket, Michigan finally seemed to get some consistent play going on both ends of the floor. The Wolverines actually outscored the Buckeyes by one after that early 15-point deficit.
Ohio State (15-1, 26-2) looked inside for five quick points to start the second frame. Then a four-point play by sophomore point guard Jessica Minnfield ignited a 13-2 run for the Wolverines. But Michigan was never able to make it a single-digit game after.
The Wolverines got a push from freshman LeQuisha Whitfield in the latter stages of the first half as she forced way to the basket for a few lay-ups.
Whitfield continued to attack the rim in the second half as part of the 13-2 run.
“(We were) just running through the plays, and once the play’s over with, if you had an open lane, you just take it at them,” said Whitfield, who finished with 13 points. “If you got your shot blocked – so what?”
Injury Update: Junior guard Janelle Cooper didn’t play today, ending a streak of eight straight starts. No reason was given for her absence from the lineup, but Helvey’s postgame comments hinted at an injury.
“Hopefully we’ll have Janelle back,” Helvey said answering a question about the upcoming Big Ten Tournament.