Ohio State women’s basketball beats Michigan for third time this season, 81-79, to advance to Big Ten Tournament semifinals

After sweeping the regular season between the programs, the fourth-seeded Buckeyes beat the No. 5 Wolverines, 81-79, behind a 28-point, 12-rebound, four-assist effort from Big Ten Freshman of the Year Cotie McMahon.







#4 OHIO STATE 24 23 18 16 81







Taylor Thierry had 20 points and Taylor Mikesell added 16 to help Ohio State secure the win. In just her second appearance since Nov. 30, Jacy Sheldon made a statement in her return for the Buckeyes, tallying five points, two assists and a steal in limited minutes.

With the win, Ohio State advances to face top-seeded Indiana in the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. The teams met twice in the regular season. The Hoosiers won the first game in Bloomington on Jan. 26 (83-59), and the second in Columbus on Feb. 13 (78-65), indicating Indiana may have Ohio State’s number. But, as mentioned above, it is difficult to beat a team three times in a row.

First quarter

Michigan scored the game’s first points when Jordan Hobbs converted a rare four-point play, connecting on a 3-pointer despite a foul by Rikki Harris. Ohio State was unfazed by the early two-possession deficit, however, as the Buckeyes battled back and forth with the Wolverines and went on several runs to end the quarter with a two-point lead, 24-22.

Sheldon checked into the contest for the first time after seven minutes. The Dublin, Ohio, native made an immediate impact with an assist to McMahon, who converted on a 3-pointer from the corner, and a steal that led to a score for the Buckeyes. Sheldon checked out after two minutes of action.

While Sheldon’s help in the frame was limited, McMahon’s was not. The freshman phenom played all 10 minutes of the first for Ohio State, making four of six shots for a team-best 11 points, three rebounds and one assist. Thierry and Mikesell also added six and five points, respectively.

Second quarter

Despite Rebeka Mikulasikova and Harris picking up their other fouls early in the second quarter, Ohio State extended its lead to nine points and entered halftime with a 47-39 advantage over Michigan.







31–59 (52.5%)


29–68 (42.6%)

8–15 (53.3%)

15:00-3PA (PCT.)

5–17 (29.4%)

11-13 (84.6%)


16-21 (76.2%)






















1. 3



While Ohio State head coach Kevin McGuff opted to bench Mikulasikova for the second half in favor of Eboni Walker, he let Harris stay on the floor and play through her foul trouble. McGuff’s decision paid off for the Buckeyes, as Harris began to heat up as the quarter wore on, making a 3-pointer and collecting three defensive rebounds that ultimately turned into points for his teammates.

Once again, Sheldon briefly entered the game for Ohio State early in the quarter. And once again she made her presence felt at both ends of the floor. The veteran guard helped force a turnover and added her second assist of the contest before returning to the bench after two minutes. She later returned to the floor and helped the Buckeyes close out the first half on a 6-2 run.

Thierry paced Ohio State with eight points on 3-of-4 shooting in the second frame with a 2-of-2 mark from the free throw line. She also collected two assists and an offensive rebound. Mikesell (four) and McMahon (three) combined to contribute seven points for the Buckeyes in the quarter.

Ohio State entered the break shooting an impressive 58.6% from the floor at a 75% clip from behind the arc, while Michigan connected on 45.5% of its shots and 42.9% of its threes.

Third quarter

McMahon appeared to take over the third quarter for Ohio State when she scored the team’s first points through contact, shaking her head and clapping her hands in celebration.

Michigan was able to keep the Centerville, Ohio, native at bay for a few minutes after that bucket. Still, McMahon came out in force as the quarter drew to a close, converting two layups with quick spin moves inside the paint — the second for an old-fashioned three-point play. McMahon finished the quarter with eight points, five rebounds and one assist.

Thierry continued his quietly dominant performance in the third frame, scoring six points on 3-of-4 shooting and adding three rebounds with an assist. The only downside was that she committed three fouls, forcing McGuff to bench her in the closing minutes.

The third quarter was the best for the Wolverines, who connected on eight of their 18 shots and six of their eight free throws to cut the Ohio State lead to four points, 65-61, as the teams entered the final quarter.

Fourth quarter

Ohio State and Michigan traded several punches in the final quarter, making for an entertaining final 10 minutes in Minneapolis.

Fortunately for the Buckeyes, McMahon remained the best on the court and willed her team to victory. She was a force in every aspect of the game, collecting points, rebounds, blocks and steals in the fourth to lead Ohio State to victory.

Mikesell and Sheldon were also crucial to the team’s effort to pull away from the Wolverines in the fourth. Mikesell made several key baskets from the beginning of the quarter to the end, but Sheldon had arguably the most important field goal for Ohio State — a 22-foot 3-pointer that ended up being the difference for the Buckeyes.

Game notes

  • Despite having Jacy Sheldon and Rebeka Mikulasikova available, Kevin McGuff chose Rikki Harris, Taylor Thierry, Taylor Mikesell, Eboni Walker and Cotie McMahon to start for the Buckeyes. That lineup has started for Ohio State for the past five games.

  • This week, Cotie McMahon was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year for her efforts this season. In addition, Taylor Mikesell, Taylor Thierry and McMahon earned All-Big Ten recognition, with Mikesell on the first team and Thierry and McMahon on the second team.

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