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No. 10 Ohio State snaps thee-game losing streak in 90-67 win at Wisconsin

Ohio State forward Taylor Thierry (2) scored a career-high 25 points in Ohio State's 90-67 win at Wisconsin on Wednesday.
Ohio State forward Taylor Thierry (2) scored a career-high 25 points in Ohio State's 90-67 win at Wisconsin on Wednesday.

The Ohio State women's basketball team desperately needed to get back on track.

After rising as high as No. 2 in the Associated Press top-25 poll and winning 19 straight games to open the season, the Buckeyes lost all three of their games last week — to then-No. 10 Iowa Monday, then-No. 6 Indiana Thursday and Purdue on Sunday. As a result, OSU dropped to No. 10 in the most recent AP poll, and the Buckeyes are ranked fourth in the Big Ten.

Wednesday's game at the Kohl Center against Wisconsin, which entered in 13th-place in the conference, offered a brief reprieve from opponents in the upper half of the Big Ten standings and presented Ohio State with a seemingly tailor-made opportunity to halt the losing streak.

It wasn't as seamless as the Buckeyes would have liked. The Badgers came back from a 15-point deficit in the first half to get within one point midway through the third quarter. But Ohio State quickly re-established its dominance down the stretch on its way to a 90-67 win.

"We had a really good practice yesterday, so I thought we would play better than we have played, and we did," coach Kevin McGuff said. "We still have to be way more consistent and get closer to 40 minutes playing the right way. But when we were good tonight, we were really good."

Sophomore Taylor Thierry scored a career-high 25 points to lead the Buckeyes (20-3, 9-3), shooting 7-of-8 from the floor and 10-of-14 from the free-throw line, and grabbed seven rebounds to go with three assists and three steals.

In a game where 40 combined fouls were called, Thierry's ability to both get to the free-throw line and convert from there helped Ohio State pull away after Wisconsin (7-16, 2-9) had narrowed the gap.

The Buckeyes took a 29-14 lead through the first 10 minutes and largely maintained that lead in the second quarter. Then the Badgers tightened things up over the first four minutes after halftime. They cut an 11-point deficit to one in that span with Serah Williams scoring seven.

That's when Thierry scored, drew a foul and converted the three-point play on two consecutive possessions. The Buckeyes' lead never fell below six points for the rest of the game.

"Just letting the game come to me, not forcing any shots and being confident in myself," Thierry said. "Making the easy shots and not forcing anything."

The lead stretched to 13 points by the end of the third quarter, on a late three from Taylor Mikesell. It brought her total as a Buckeye to 1,000 points. This coming just two games after she had reached 2,000 points for her entire college career, also including her time at Maryland and Oregon.

Mikesell finished with 21 points on 8-of-15 shooting, including 5-of-10 from the perimeter. She had made just six threes and was shooting 25% from beyond the arc in the last three games, so the return of her typically consistent shot from 3-point distance was comforting for a Buckeyes squad that will again face ranked competition this weekend.

Ohio State's next game is Sunday at No. 8 Maryland, which is third in the Big Ten.

McGuff hopes that the win will serve as a springboard into the game against the Terrapins, with his team finding its groove again after losing three games in a row.

"We talk about the process all the time and don’t focus on winning and losing so much, but we needed a win," McGuff said. "Everybody knows that. I just think, (when) you lose a couple games in a row, everybody loses a little confidence. We needed to get our mojo back a little bit. Hopefully, tonight was a step toward that."

bjohnson@dispatch.com

@BaileyAJohnson_

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This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Ohio State ends losing streak in Wisconsin win, led by Taylor Thierry