Ohio State women’s basketball advances to second round of NCAA Tournament with win over James Madison

The Ohio State women’s basketball team has had an up-and-down season. It started by breaking a program record by winning its first 19 games and rising to No. 2 in the national rankings. It then hit a bit of a skid because of some injuries and the competition level in the Big Ten, but ended the season again on a high note with a run to the conference championship game including a win over No. 2 Indiana before succumbing to Iowa with a Big Ten title on the line.

And now, as a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament, the Buckeyes did what they needed against James Madison to advance to the second round with an 80-66 win in Columbus Saturday.

But things didn’t start the greatest for Ohio State. James Madison came out and took it to the Buckeyes and actually led 26-14 after the first period. OSU was able to turn up the defensive pressure after some poor shooting early and get more success on the offensive end to win the second period, closing the half on a 15-2 run to close to 37-34 at halftime.

Ohio State continued to play solid defense in the second half, and both teams played pretty even in the third period before the Buckeyes went on a 9-0 run to gain a little separation and entered the fourth period up 54-50 after a mini-run by Dukes to close out the period.

The fourth period belonged to Ohio State. The Buckeyes started the final stanza on an 8-0 run to go up by 12 and finished the game up by double digits throughout, finishing things with a fourteen-point victory.

OSU freshman Cotie McMahon led all scorers with 18 points, but Jacy Sheldon (17 points), Taylor Thierry (15 points), and Taylor Mikesell (14 points) also notched double digits in the effort. Even more promising, Sheldon played 36 minutes coming as she still works her way back from injury. Spending that much time on the floor only makes Ohio State that much better if that trend continues.

Ohio State will now face the North Carolina Tar Heels on Monday in the second round for a chance to advance to the Sweet 16.

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Story originally appeared on Buckeye Wire