By Laura Vázquez David | @lauravazquezpr
Sports Capital Journalism Program
INDIANAPOLIS – As the top-seeded team in the Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament for the first time since 2018, the Ohio State Buckeyes advanced to the semifinal round with a 74-58 victory over Michigan State on Friday afternoon.
Ohio State (23-5) will meet fifth-seeded Indiana at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, its seventh semifinal appearance in nine seasons.
Jacy Sheldon, a junior guard, scored 19 points with four assists. Sophomore guard Rikki Harris scored 14 points with seven rebounds, five assists, two steals and one block. Harris, an Indianapolis native, marked her fifth double-digit scoring game.
Tanaya Beacham scored 15 points with eight rebounds for the Buckeyes.
Michigan State (15-15) was led by Matilda Ekh, who scored 21 points with seven rebounds.
The Buckeyes have a record of 165-29 when scoring at least 70 points since Kevin McGuff became coach in the 2013-2014 season. Ohio State held the lead for 34:54 minutes.
Ohio State’s offense had a shaky start, going scoreless for the first 2:46. But Sheldon and senior guard Taylor Mikesell led the Buckeyes. Mikesell, who led the Big Ten in 3-point shots per game with an average of 3.7, scored 18 points, including four 3-pointers. Sheldon ranks sixth in the Big Ten with an average of 19.4 points, and Mikesell ranks seventh with an average of 19.1.
Ohio State’s victory marked the 26th time Taylor and Mikesell each recorded double-digit scoring performances in the same game.
“The biggest goal was obviously to come here and win a championship,” Mikesell said, “and I think we did the first part of that.”
McGuff complimented his starting guard, saying “She finally got it right…. she wanted to make sure she finished her career at a place and a system where she felt more comfortable and could really thrive before she tried to move on to the next level.”