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On To the Sweet 16 for the Buckeyes - Ohio State Women's Basketball Round of 32 Recap

2023 Ohio State University

On Monday the (26-7) No. 3 seeded Ohio State women's basketball team played in their second NCAA Tournament game against (22-10) No. 6 UNC. There game was played in Columbus at Value City Arena. This was the second round of the Tournament and the winner advanced to the Sweet 16 in Seattle next Saturday, March 25th against the winner of Baylor vs UConn.

The Buckeyes got back into rhythm following a strong second half in the round of 64 against James Madison against the Tarheels at home this Monday. At the halfway point of the first quarter Ohio State was leading 13-4 thanks to strong defense which had forced five quick turnovers and two early three pointers on offense. But despite the good start for the Buckeyes, UNC would be quick to answer as they forced a couple turnovers right back and found there offense building up momentum as the two teams neared the end of the first quarter. At the end of the first quarter the score was 16-14 in favor of the Buckeyes following a 10-3 by UNC in the final three minutes to make it close. 10 of UNC's 14 points per scored by Deja Kelly.

The run from the Tarheels to end the first quarter would be quickly stopped to start the second quarter as the Buckeyes opened up with a 6-0 before UNC was able to get back in the scoring column. The Bucks continued to push out in front as Taylor Mikesell dropped in her third three pointer of the half to give the Buckeyes an eight point lead at the halfway point of the quarter. The Tarheels would again respond to the Buckeyes run with a small run of their own as both teams struggled to avoid the turnovers. 23 combined turnovers helped both teams get out on the fastbreak for easy buckets. At the half Ohio State led UNC 33-28.

Once again it was the Buckeyes in the scoring column first in the second half as they continued to hold on to their lead that they had held for the entirety of the game to this point. Cotie McMahon earned her ninth point of the game as she extended the Buckeyes lead to double digits for the first time in the game. But yet again the Tarheels were right back in the fight after two three's were knocked down Eva Hodgson and Deja Kelly dropped in a jumper. The Buckeyes continued to play strong defense and grabbed their large lead back. Both teams continued to go blow for blow and steal for steal to keep the lead were it was as the two neared the midway point of the third quarter. The Tarheels perimeter shooting and strong defense brought them within two points of the Buckeyes in the final minutes of the third quarter. At the end of the quarter Ohio State held on to a slim 51-46 lead.

Jacy Sheldon got the quarter started with an open layup and Cotie McMahon followed up the ensuing UNC missed shot with a fastbreak layup to extend their lead out to nine and forced a Tarheel timeout. Out of the timeout the Tarheels continued to miss their shots and the Buckeyes once again pushed out to double digits before UNC could get their offense started. A brief flash of offense was quickly put out as the Buckeyes were determined to put the game away as Taylor Mikesell dropped in yet another three to give the Bucks a 12 point lead, their largest of the game. The Tarheels would not allow the Buckeyes to ride off into the Sweet 16 without a fight as they went on a 9-0 run before the Bucks found their way to the free throw line to get back on the board. UNC worked their back right back into it as they made it a one point game three minutes to go. They then took their first lead of the game with two minutes to go as the Buckeyes struggled to hang on to their ball and couldn't find the bottom of the net. Jacy Sheldon go out on the fast break just as the game entered the final minute to put the Buckeyes back in front by one. UNC missed their shot and Sheldon was fouled sent to the foul line where she sunk both shots to take a two point lead with 30 seconds remaining. On the ensuing Tarheel possession there was an offensive foul which gave the Buckeyes the ball back. But Ohio State had a miscommunication on the inbounding play which gave the ball right back. UNC's Deja Kelly would pull up from the free throw line to the ball game at 69 points with 10 seconds to go. The Buckeyes final possession of the fourth quarter Sheldon dropped in the biggest shot of her career to give the Buckeyes the lead with just 1.8 seconds left to win the game.

Final Score: Ohio State Wins 71-69

Player of the Game: Jacy Sheldon

She didn't have the biggest impact on the game in the first few quarters, but she had the biggest impact on how the game ended. As she hit the game winning shot with under two seconds to go in the game to send the Buckeyes to the Sweet 16. She also put together 7 total points in the fourth quarter including the final shot to fight back against a Tarheel attack that saw the Buckeyes surrender the lead for the first time all game after being up by 12 points. Her rebounding and passing set up her teammate throughout the game for fastbreak opportunities and for the first time since the beginning of the season it seemed as though the old Jacy Sheldon was back in full force.


Ohio State

FG: 25-50

3PT: 5-15

FT: 16-23

REB: 33

AST: 16

STL: 10

BLK: 1

TO: 21

PF: 17

Leading Scorers: Taylor Mikesell (17), Jacy Sheldon (16), Eboni Walker (15),

Cotie McMahon (14)

James Madison

FG: 27-60

3PT: 5-15

FT: 10-12

REB: 29

AST: 8

STL: 12

BLK: 3

TO: 18

PF: 22

Leading Scorers: Deja Kelly (22), Alyssa Ustby (16), Kennedy Todd-Williams (16)



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