No. 18 Ohio State rode its defense and allowed its fewest points in a game this season to power past Wisconsin 59-42 on senior day Sunday.
Graduate forward Tanaya Beacham and senior guard Braxtin Miller were honored before tip-off for their dedication to the Ohio State (20-5, 12-4 Big Ten) women’s basketball program in its penultimate home game.
Beacham recorded 10 points and seven rebounds to help her team overcome the Badgers (7-19, 4-12 Big Ten). The Youngstown, Ohio, native shot 5-for-9 from the field, and said she was overjoyed with her senior day performance.
“I’m the happiest I’ve ever been in my college career right now,” Beacham said. “I just think to end it off at a place that I’m so happy, it’s the best feeling ever.”
Miller, a Dayton, Ohio, native, has started every game she has played in this season. Miller averages 6.8 points a game and has recorded 75 assists this season, the second most for the Buckeyes right behind junior guard Jacy Sheldon with 97.
Head coach Kevin McGuff said he is proud of the accomplishments Beacham and Miller have achieved individually and as members of the team.
“Two great kids, two great leaders. They’ve been kind of the heart and soul of our team from a competitive character standpoint the last couple of years,” McGuff said. “They play hard every day, they compete, they play to win. They’re great teammates, so they’ve been an incredible impact to us.”
Senior guard Taylor Mikesell was not recognized prior to the game because she has an additional year of eligibility. Due to the pandemic, NCAA student-athletes were given an extra year of eligibility.
McGuff said that Mikesell has not made a decision about her collegiate future.
“I think we’ll probably get to the end of the year and try to make sure we can give her some information, just some feedback that we can get from WNBA and all that just for her to make a decision,” McGuff said.
Sheldon led the Buckeyes off to a strong start, finishing with a game-high 19 points. She was responsible for 10 of the Buckeyes’ first 16 points, shooting 5-for-6 from the field with two steals. The Buckeyes edged the Badgers in the first quarter, 16-15.
The Buckeyes’ continued full court pressure was a success, causing five turnovers. Seconds before the end of the half, Beacham scored a buzzer-beater to extend the Buckeyes’ lead to 32-22.
Ohio State wenton a 10-0 scoring run in the third quarter. Junior forward Rebeka Mikulášiková finished three-consecutive layups, causing the Badgers to take a timeout. It was Wisconsin junior guard Julie Pospisilova who eventually put the Badgers back on the board.
The Buckeyes’ impenetrable defense caused the Badgers to go on another scoring drought, this time for 4:30. Ohio State allowed the Badgers to score an additional seven points in the third frame, giving the Buckeyes a 22-point lead heading into the fourth quarter, 51-29.
Turning to its reserves for much of the fourth quarter, Ohio State was outscored by the Badgers 13-8 during the final frame.
The “dub chain,” a bedazzled necklace awarded to the difference maker of the game after a Buckeye win, was not given to an athlete, but to the head coach, McGuff.
McGuff earned the “dub chain” after his 20th win of the season. This is McGuff’s sixth time reaching 20 wins with the Buckeyes. In his ninth season as head coach, McGuff has a record of 191-90.
Ohio State will tip off its final home game at 6 p.m. Thursday against Penn State (10-15, 4-11 Big Ten), which serves as a makeup game from Jan. 3. The game will be streamed on Big Ten Plus.