First Thoughts From an 88-58 Win Over Charlotte
By Tony Gerdeman
COLUMBUS, Ohio — It would be easy to excuse a lackluster performance on a Monday afternoon after playing the previous game out in California just two days prior, but the Buckeyes had no such excuses to make after their 30-point win today over Charlotte.
Tayler Hill and Samantha Prahalis once again set the tone, combining for 46 points while shooting 17-27 from the field and turning the ball over just three times.
They are as close to a perfect pair of guards as you can hope to have. They both have the ability to score at any given time, but neither has the selfishness to see such a thing come to fruition.
They may be the only three-point shooting the Buckeyes have, but at the moment it would appear to be enough.
Ohio State is now up to 11th in the latest AP poll with just two games to play before the Big Ten season starts. They are winning games in ways they never have before and it seems to suit them pretty well at the moment.
First Thought - I am really liking the power forward combination of freshman Kalpana Beach and sophomore Darryce Moore. Beach is the starter, but when Moore comes in there is no discernible drop off.
They are different types of players, but they are both intelligent players who put themselves in positions to succeed. Beach has the athleticism to get to balls that other players can't, and Moore has the savvy to get herself open in ways that other players don't.
However, what they both do that makes them interchangeable is hit open jumpers. As long as they can hit their jumpshots, they can actually be an effective counter to any future zone defenses that attempt to force the Buckeyes to shoot from the outside.
They combined to go 7-11 from the field, scoring sixteen points and pulling down ten rebounds. Together they played just 26 minutes, but they each made the most of the opportunities given, which has also become a trademark for both.
Stolen Thought - Few passes are safe right now against this Ohio State defense. The Buckeyes grabbed nine more steals on Monday, which will raise their average slightly. Even when they don't come away with the steal, they are still patrolling the passing lanes well enough to get deflections.
They came into this game ninth in the conference in steals per game at 8.4, but most of their damage comes from the trio of Prahalis, Hill and Amber Stokes. Today they combined for seven steals in limited minutes.
Even though they will be playing better competition during the conference season, their numbers should actually rise because they will all be playing more minutes.
As a post script to the thought about steals, make sure you keep an eye out for freshman point guard Maleeka Kynard in the future. She is supremely quick and has fast hands, and more than once this season she has appeared out of nowhere and simply snatched the ball away from an opposing player.
Playing Style Thought - Don't take this the wrong way, but Raven Ferguson plays like a dude. Like an old school playground regular. She's never in a hurry, but never loafing. She is economical with her movement, but also not afraid to mix in an elbow when she's going for a rebound.
She can handle the ball very well, and has the strength to get perimeter shots off quickly and with ease. There's very little lift on her shot because there doesn't need to be.
She is always calm, but you can just tell that she's got a technical foul or two in her future once she has a larger role on this team. That's just the type of player she seems to be.
She is passive right now, wisely deferring to the veteran guards on the roster, but one day this will be her team, and she seems like she will relish it.
Defensive Thought - The Buckeyes held Charlotte to 21-63 (33.3%) shooting from the field for the game. Many times, a poor shooting effort can be attributed to your best player or two having an off night. That's not the case with the 49ers, however.
Charlotte didn't have a single player shoot 50% from the field. In fact, the best shooting outing of the day came from Katie Meador who finished 0-0 from the field. She was the only 49er who didn't miss more shots than she made.
Field goal percentage defense like the Buckeyes saw today displayed a defensive pride that has been evident for most of the season.
Ohio State likes to run the ball, and clearly they have found that one way they can do this is by forcing misses and running out on the rebounds. Any time defense can lead to offense, it becomes easier to keep that defense going. Players just don't get tired as easily when they are constantly reaping rewards for the effort.
It's funny how that happens.
Final Thought - As a 6-5 post player, Ashley Adams should never shoot 3-9 from the field. However, when she does, it certainly helps when she grabs seven rebounds, dishes out four assists and blocks two shots to make up for it like she did today.
Adams will be a legitimate scorer as she continues on, but that will never be her sole contribution to this team because she has too many other skills to simply become a scorer.
Her ability to move the ball will likely always be her best strength, and fortunately for her teammates, passing appears to be something that she truly enjoys doing. All they have to do is continue to get open.
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