Advanced Stats Love Jackie Robinson

On Tuesday, Major League Baseball celebrated Jackie Robinson Day, honoring the 67th anniversary of Robinson eradicating baseball’s color barrier. The eponymous event, which fills baseball fields with the spectacle of countless players sporting No. 42, is a great reminder of Robinson’s legacy. It’s also a prime occasion to remind people that — despite his legendary small-ball artistry — yes, sabermetrics thinks he was an awe-inspiring ballplayer, too.The topic recalls a great Rob Neyer post from more than a decade ago. Writing during the height of baseball’s culture wars (“Moneyball” had been published a month earlier), Neyer attacked the notion that sabermetrics wouldn’t have appreciated the skills of Robinson and other speedy African-American players (such as Rickey Henderson, whose playing style and tremendous value made him, in many ways, Robinson’s spiritual descendant).“You can accuse Bill James and sabermetrics of many things, but you cannot accuse them of not appreciating Jackie Robinson and Rickey Henderson,” Neyer wrote. “Those two brilliant players — not to mention Joe Morgan and Willie Mays and Cool Papa Bell and Barry Bonds, and hey let’s not forget Henry Aaron and Frank Robinson and Tony Gwynn and Eddie Murray — could play for any general manager.“If you think that sabermetrics doesn’t have a place for them,” he continued, “then you don’t understand sabermetrics. Because there’s not yet been a sabermetrician born who wouldn’t drool at the thought of Rickey Henderson and Jackie Robinson at the top of his imaginary lineup.”Yes, Robinson ranks just 108th all-time among position players in lifetime wins above replacement. But that’s a function of the late start he got to his career (he was a rookie at age 28) and his relatively short playing stint. Robinson was the National League’s seventh-best position player by WAR in 1948, his second season, then led the senior circuit in the statistic in 1949, 1951 and 1952, while also finishing second in 1950 and fifth in 1953.By 1954, Robinson was 36 and his quickness was on the wane (that year he posted a career-low speed score of 4.6, the only time he was ever below the league average of 5.0). He would retire after two more seasons. But that 1948-53 peak was as good as anybody’s ever been. Literally. Only four position players in MLB history — Willie Mays, Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner and Lou Gehrig — had more WAR between the ages of 29 and 34. Numbers like that are why, despite Robinson’s short career, James ranked Robinson as the fourth-best second baseman ever in “New Historical Baseball Abstract.”So much for sabermetrics underappreciating Robinson’s skills.WAR can measure Robinson’s terrifying impact on the basepaths (he generated 31 more runs than an average player). WAR also takes into account his defensive value — total zone data estimates that Robinson saved 81 more runs than an average defender (primarily at second base, but with a little third base, first base and outfield mixed in). According to defensive WAR, Robinson saved the Brooklyn Dodgers 10 wins with his defense, combining his contributions relative to position and the importance of those positions in the overall structure of the defense.Most importantly, though, WAR accounts for the fact that Robinson was 261 runs better than average with his bat. Because of the highlight-reel baserunning plays, people often forget that Robinson was also an incredible hitter. He topped a .295 batting average eight times, winning the NL batting crown in 1949 with a .342 average. He also had the majors’ seventh-highest on-base percentage during the course of his career (1947-56), drawing a walk on 12.8 percent of his plate appearances in addition to his outstanding ability to hit for average. And his isolated power was 19 points better than the league average, so Robinson had some pop (even if his slugging percentage was driven in part by 54 career triples).In sum, Robinson was an all-around sabermetric star. There isn’t an area of the game where the advanced stats don’t consider him very good, if not one of the best ever. The notion that somehow Robinson has lost his luster as we learn more about what makes for winning baseball couldn’t be further from the truth. If anything, sabermetric stats help us appreciate Robinson’s greatness even more. read more

How Does Germanys Blowout of Brazil Compare to Those in Other Sports

On Tuesday morning, I called the World Cup semifinal between Germany and Brazil a very evenly matched contest.Yeah, about that …In an astonishing 18-minute span during the first half, the Germans opened up a 5-0 lead against a Brazil squad that seemed to have given up without its superstar striker, Neymar, who’d been knocked out of the previous match with a back injury. Germany would pile on two more goals before Brazil’s Oscar netted a meaningless marker in the 90th minute to set the final score at 7-1.How big is a six-goal margin of victory in the World Cup? Going into this year’s tournament, only 17 matches in Cup history had seen one side win by six or more goals — most recently when Portugal trounced North Korea 7-0 in the 2010 group stage. And just twice had it happened as late as a semifinal, depending on how you treat Brazil overpowering Sweden 7-1 in 1950 and Argentina’s 6-0 clobbering of Peru in 1978. (Both of those matches technically came in the stage directly preceding the final, but also in a format that used additional round-robin groups to filter teams into the final rather than the knockout-style bracket used today.)The bewildering scoreline in Tuesday’s match had me wondering what an equivalent margin would be in other sports. One approach to the answer is to use the standard deviations of scoring margins in each sport. Lucky for us, in his book “Mathletics,” Wayne Winston, a professor of operations and decision technologies at Indiana University, has done the heavy lifting for us with regard to pro football. Following up on the work of statistician Hal Stern, Winston found that the margin of victory for an NFL team can be approximated by a normal random variable with a mean of the Vegas line (or the margin predicted by a computer power rating) and a standard deviation of 13.86 points.Winston also wrote:For NBA basketball, NCAA basketball and college football, respectively, Jeff Sagarin has found that the historical standard deviation of game results about a prediction from a rating system is given by 12, 10, and 16 points, respectively.Applying Stern’s, Winston’s and Sagarin’s methodology to historical World Cup matches from 1930 to 2010, I found that the distribution of the scoring margin in a high-level international soccer match (relative to the pre-match prediction using Elo ratings and a home-field effect) is approximately normal with a mean of zero and a standard deviation of 1.83 goals. If Brazil and Germany were considered evenly matched going into Tuesday’s game (giving Brazil only credit for playing at home), we’d predict Brazil’s margin of victory to be about 0.5 goals, so Germany’s six-goal margin was 3.6 standard deviations above expected.Going by Winston’s numbers, a 3.6 standard deviation performance in the NFL would be the equivalent of beating an opponent by nearly 50 more points than expected. If you’re curious, you can find a list of the biggest postseason blowouts in NFL history on Pro-Football-Reference.com; if we (naively) assume all of those games were considered evenly matched aside from a three-point bonus for the home team, the closest analog to Germany’s win over Brazil might be the Jacksonville Jaguars’ 62-7 demolition of the Miami Dolphins in 2000 in Dan Marino’s final game.Put in soccer terms, the Jaguars’ margin would have been 6.8 more goals than expected. But that’s nothing compared to the the 1940 NFL championship game between the Chicago Bears and Washington Redskins, which ended with the Bears winning 73-0 (on the road, no less). By soccer standards, that would be like winning by 10 more goals than expected, a mark Germany would have needed to pour on about three more goals to match.In college football, Germany’s rout was the equivalent of winning by 57 more points than expected. That’s about the same as Tulsa’s 63-7 victory over Bowling Green in the 2008 GMAC Bowl (a game that carried just a little less importance than Germany-Brazil). In terms of bowls that had national championship implications, you’d have to go back to 1996 and the Fiesta Bowl between then-undefeated No. 1 Nebraska and No. 2 Florida. Favored by three going into the game, Nebraska won by 38, 62-24. But in soccer terms, that’d be a mere win by four more goals than expected — a far cry from the Germans’ performance.Shifting gears to basketball, the Germans’ victory would be like an NBA team winning by 43 more points than expected. Basketball-Reference.com has a list of most lopsided playoff contests in NBA history; assuming evenly matched opponents with a 3.25-point home-court advantage, Germany’s win would be most like the Los Angeles Lakers’ 118-78 win over the San Francisco Warriors in the 1969 postseason. (If you’re looking for an equivalent game in the conference finals or later — probably a more apt comparison for Germany-Brazil — the most comparable rout would be the Lakers’ 153-109 win over the Denver Nuggets in Game 5 of the 1985 Western Conference finals.) And the most dominant conference-finals-or-later win in NBA history, the Lakers’ 126-70 thrashing of the Golden State Warriors on the road in Game 3 of the 1973 Western Conference finals, would be like winning by nine more goals than expected in soccer.College basketball’s biggest NCAA Tournament wins have usually come in the early rounds of the tournament, which comes as no surprise. (For instance, poor 16-seed Prairie View got pasted by No. 1 seed Kansas, 110-52, in the 1998 opener.) Isolating Final Four games, we find a pair of 34-point blowouts that took place in the national semifinal. According to Sagarin’s research, Germany’s win would be like a college basketball team lambasting an evenly matched opponent by 35.9 points.In terms of impressive victories, Germany’s romp ranks among the most notable blowouts across sports more familiar to fans in the United States. A 7-1 win might not seem all that uncommon to baseball fans, so it might help to think of it as the equivalent of a 47-point NFL road playoff victory, or a 40-point win on the road in an NBA playoff game. It wasn’t something you see every day, especially considering it came on the cusp of the World Cup final. read more

Does Playing On Team USA Help NBA Players The Next Season

You’re the general manager of an NBA team, and come 2016, one of your star players wants to try out for Team USA. The squad just dominated the FIBA World Cup, he says, and he wants in on the next gold medal.What do you decide?One school of thought says that playing for Team USA will help a player’s NBA performance. Grantland’s Bill Simmons has cited Kevin Durant’s 2010 FIBA experience as a turning point in Durant’s career. Players have said they were “getting better while facing the best players in the world.” And others have described a confidence boost simply in being selected.On the other hand, some analysts, owners and players have expressed concern about giving up scarce summer rest to put on additional basketball miles, particularly for veterans coming off grueling June playoff runs. And what about injuries?The NBA first sent its players to compete in international play with the 1992 Olympic Dream Team. NBA players have since competed in 10 biennial international tournaments (the NBA did not send pros to the 1998 FIBA World Championships due to a lockout). Let’s look at how those players performed in win shares (WS), win shares per 48 minutes (WS/48) and player efficiency rating (PER) in the NBA season following their overseas experience (relative to their age-adjusted Simple Projection System estimates).The average change among all players was +1.6 percent in WS, +3.0 percent in WS/48 and -1.6 percent in PER. The results don’t seem to confirm nor deny the arguments for or against international participation.Breaking the results down by year, however, shows that some tournaments may have provided a larger performance boost than others.So, what happened to the gold-winning 2010 squad that competed in Turkey? Tyson Chandler had a monster 2010-11 year for a championship-winning team after coming off an injury-plagued previous two seasons. Stephen Curry, Eric Gordon, Kevin Love and Lamar Odom also made huge strides. Meanwhile, Russell Westbrook emerged as an All-Star, and Derrick Rose broke out to win the league MVP. (Durant was one of only two players from the 2010 squad to have a lesser-than-expected 2010-11 season.)What has caused the recent post-Team USA boost? Well, it could just be noise. But it’s worth noting that Mike Krzyzewski took over as coach in 2006, and his training may have helped spur the rate of improvement. Interestingly, the only years Team USA failed to take gold (2002, 2004 and 2006) are the years players performed worse in the following NBA season (excluding the original 1992 squad). This may be due to Team USA management selecting more of an “All-Star team” during those years, with many perennial All-Stars already at their peaks.When Jerry Colangelo took over as director of USA Basketball in 2005, he demanded more long-term commitments from players (but this requirement didn’t make the team younger; although older players largely made up the 1990s Dream Teams, the average age of Team USA declined in the early 2000s and has remained fairly constant between 24 and 26 since then).Assuming the average boost continues after the 2014 FIBA World Cup, here’s how Team USA players are expected to perform in the next NBA season.Of course, there are a few limitations to this analysis. First, Team USA members aren’t randomly selected, and it may be that the coaching staff now picks players they deem to be on the rise. It’s also worth noting that the Simple Projection System is a metric designed for use on the average NBA player, so it may need tweaking when applied to the stars of Team USA. Also, the system is probably too conservative about adjusting for a player’s age.Still, it appears instruction from Coach K and training and playing with peers atop the basketball universe may have positive, long-lasting effects. That may be reason for NBA teams to think twice before holding players out from international competitions. read more

March Madness UK UConn Ready to Vie For National

En route to tonight’s NCAA Tournament championship game, Connecticut, under second-year coach Kevin Ollie, knocked off the Nos. 2, 3 and 4 seeds and then conquered the No. 1-ranked and favorite to win it all in Florida to get to face Kentucky for the title at AT&T Stadium outside of Dallas.The Wildcats’ ride to the penultimate game was just as compelling and unlikely. Starting five freshman, UK, a No. 8 seed, knocked off Wichita State,  defending-champion Louisville and Michigan to make the Final Four and then took out No. 2 Wisconsin–the last three wins, remarkably, all on last-second three-point jump shots by guard Aaron Harrison.And so, there they are: two teams hardly anyone expected vying for college basketball’s top prize.Kentucky will again play without one of its key assets. Willie Cauley-Stein, the  sophomore center, called it ”heartbreaking” that he would have to watch the championship game from the bench. He hurt his right ankle in his NCAA tournament opener against Kansas State, played with pain in a victory over Wichita State and then aggravated the injury against Louisville.He did not play in a regional final victory over Michigan, and was forced to be a cheerleader for a dramatic 74-73 victory over the Badgers on Saturday night.The 7-foot sophomore said earlier in the week, ”Don’t count me out,” when asked whether he might play at some point during the Final Four. But even after he discarded the walking boot that doctors ordered him to wear, the ankle has never felt good enough to get on the floor.”That’s the only thing I can really do is encourage the team to stay positive,” Cauley-Stein said. ”Even though I can’t play, you know, I still serve a purpose of uplifting people and staying in people’s ear and cheering and stuff like that.”The matchup between small but dynamic UConn backcourt of Shabazz Napier and Ryan Boatwright against the larger and controlled twins Aaron and Andrew Harrison promises to be a battle worth watching and could determine who leaves as champions. read more

Ohio State womens soccer dominates but cant find the net against Northwestern

OSU senior defender Nicole Miyashiro battles a Northwestern defender for the ball on Oct. 1, 2016 at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. Credit: Aaron Tomich | Lantern reporterThe Ohio State women’s soccer team responded to the offensive challenge the Northwestern Wildcats’ offense presented with a thrilling match, but a disappointing finish Saturday night.The game ended in a 0-0 tie, after an overtime period, making the Buckeyes 7-4-2 (1-2-2 Big Ten); Northwestern 10-1-1 (3-1-1 Big Ten).The Buckeyes’ defense stifled Northwestern potent strikers, but the biggest impact of the game came out of a strong and dominating offensive attack from the Scarlet and Gray.  In an attack that included 28 total shots and 17 corner kicks, the Buckeyes’ offense was relentless towards the strong Northwestern back line of defenders.  With such high offensive statistics, there was a frustration when it came to the lack of scoring.  “I don’t know another sport where you can dominate an opponent as much as we did tonight and not find a way to get the result,” said OSU coach Lori Walker. “Obviously we feel good about our effort. We feel good about how much we dominated against Northwestern but we’re very disappointed that we couldn’t figure out how to put the ball in the rectangle, so that’s a bit frustrating.”At the beginning of the tightly contested overtime period, redshirt senior defender Morgan Wolcott had an opportunity from a cross into the goalkeeper’s box, deflecting off the left post opposite the goal in what could have given the Buckeyes the lead.  “I thought it was going to bounce the other way off the post but it didn’t and then after that I thought we were going to get another opportunity,” Wolcott said.  “But they were quick getting to the ball and getting it out, unfortunately.”The motivation for tonight’s strong play came from last week’s 3-0 victory over Iowa, along with the desire to record another conference win.  “I think this week, after coming off the win on Sunday, we wanted to get this win again here,” Wolcott said. “We definitely dominated the game here. They’re a good team, and we really came out today.”OSU’s defense made a statement, holding Northwestern to a total of 9 shots and three corners.  Senior defender Nicole Miyashiro emphasized the team’s domination while looking ahead to next week’s matchup, using the strong defensive play as motivation. “We’re frustrated but we’re going to take this momentum into Maryland,” Miyashiro said.  “I think it’s a really good build up for us into that game and also just for the defense to get a shutout, that really helps us a lot.”Miyashiro’s personal connection with Northwestern midfielder Kassidy Gorman created a fun and competitive twist to tonight’s game. “That 10 minutes we had against each other, it was so fun,” Miyashiro said.  “There was (a moment) over here (left side of field by the goal) where we were going against each other and she was dribbling, and I slid and kicked it out and there’s really no better feeling than that.”OSU hopes to learn from tonight’s offensive domination, using the scoreless draw as motivation for their road trip to Maryland.  “Some of it’s just repetition.  We have players that are capable of finishing a game at any time,” Walker said. “For whatever reason it just didn’t happen tonight.” read more

Ohio State inks Cincinnati lineman

The Buckeyes added a tenacious offensive lineman to their roster.Andrew Norwell, a Cincinnati native out of Anderson High School, is the No. 2 offensive tackle in the country according to Scout.com.   Norwell committed to the Buckeyes more than a year ago, but knew long before that he was born a Buckeye.At Anderson, he led the Redskins to the 2007 Division II State Title. The following season, the Redskins were Division II State runner-ups.“Norwell is the kind of player who always puts the team first,” Redskins coach Jeff Giesting said.  Norwell is an All-Ohio lineman and earned first-team All-State, All-Southwest and All-Fort Ancient Valley Conference honors.  However, the biggest honor he received came during his senior season, he said, when he was selected to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.  Norwell wasn’t able to play in the bowl and hasn’t seen the field since early September due to a season-ending injury.  Norwell broke his left tibia in a game against Columbus DeSales and underwent surgery just three days later. Since then, Norwell has been dedicated to getting to the weight room and keeping up with physical therapy.Doctors, coaches and Norwell agree: There is no question he will be ready in the fall.  Norwell has an immense amount of versatility in respect to his position. He is the “kind of player coaches dream about,” Scout.com’s Dave Berk wrote.He has the potential to gain speed, flexibility and, yes, even size. Norwell stands at 6-feet-7-inches and 275 pounds, but his frame stands to gain at least another 20 pounds.“I think I’ll be better at about 300 pounds,” Norwell said.  Norwell’s long arms hold defenders off and his pure size drives defenders to the turf. He’s a big guy in an even bigger family. Norwell is the youngest of four sisters and two brothers.“My family is my biggest support system,” Norwell said.Athleticism is in the family; his brother Adam played basketball at Northern Kentucky and his brother Chris played football in the Big Ten for Illinois.Norwell had offers on the table from the University of Cincinnati, Duke, Illinois, Indiana, Notre Dame and Stanford.“I chose Ohio State because it’s a prestigious school,” Norwell said.  OSU is also only two hours from his hometown, an easy trip for family to make, Norwell said.  It isn’t set in stone as to how much Norwell will see the field in 2010. He could redshirt until he puts on the weight and adjusts, but Buckeye fans may see him sooner than expected. Buckeye offensive linemen Michael Brewster, J.B. Shugarts, Mike Adams and Marcus Hall all received playing time as freshmen.Whether he makes an immediate impact or holds off into his second and third seasons, this high-caliber lineman should be a valuable asset to the Buckeye line. read more

Clippers Gimenez ready for Indians callup

At the Class AAA level in baseball, lineups can change significantly from one day to the next depending on what is happening with the parent organization. The Cleveland Indians have run into injuries at the beginning of 2010 that have forced them to call up a lot of the talent from the Columbus Clippers. An injury at the major-league level can quickly shift lineups throughout the whole farm system because when one player gets called up, there are players that are called up to replace him at each level of the farm system. When these circumstances arise, a utility player can be a savior. A utility player generally can play multiple positions on the field. Chris Gimenez has shown to be useful at several positions in 2010 for the Clippers. “Chris just has the versatility where he can play outfield, he can play first base, he can play third base and he can play wherever he is needed,” Clippers manager Mike Sarbaugh said. “He did that his first few years in the minor leagues and then we moved him to catcher, which really helped his value. But where we are now, he just moves all around.”A lack of offensive production from the Indians’ catcher position has fans anxiously awaiting the arrival of Clippers catcher Carlos Santana.If Santana leaves, it looks like Gimenez will be the Clippers catcher. “He’s our backup catcher,” Sarbaugh said. “He started the year catching here last year also.” Damaso Espino was the backup catcher for the Clippers for part of 2010, but was sent to the Class AA Akron Aeros. Espino played great defensively, but didn’t offer the offensive production that Gimenez brings. Gimenez has a .289 batting average with 20 RBIs and six home runs. He is among the top five on the team in on-base percentage and slugging percentage. If Santana gets called up to the Indians, they may send catchers Mike Redmond or Lou Marson to the Clippers. Otherwise, the Clippers may bring back Espino to be the backup catcher. read more

Ohio State field hockey advances to semifinals of Big Ten Tournament with

Senior midfielder Arielle Cowie (24) advances the ball during the first round of the Big Ten Tournament against Northwestern Nov. 7 at Buckeye Varsity Field. OSU won, 3-2.Credit: Kelly Roderick / For The LanternThe Ohio State field hockey team kept its dreams of a Big Ten Tournament title alive Thursday, defeating second-seeded No. 13 Northwestern, 3-2, in the first round of action at Buckeye Varsity Field.The seventh-seeded Buckeyes advance to the semifinals of the tournament Friday to take on third-seeded Michigan State.Three different players scored for OSU, who jumped out to a 3-0 lead before the Wildcats closed the gap with two goals within five minutes of each other. Second team All-Big Ten sophomore forward Peanut Johnson recorded the only score in the first half, followed by goals from freshman forward Brooke Hiltz and fellow second-teamer senior midfielder Mona Frommhold after the break.Despite two late goals by Northwestern, the Buckeyes managed to hold on for the remainder of the match for their first win against a Big Ten opponent this season.Coach Anne Wilkinson said her team was successful because of its chemistry on the field.“What really made the difference was that we played as a team and worked together,” Wilkinson said. “We executed our opportunities when we had the chance (and) we were able to put the ball away.”After Northwestern’s back-to-back goals, Wilkinson called timeout to allow her team to regroup.“I said, ‘Stay within our game plan and do what we do. Take care of it, recognize they are going to be putting more people up on attack so our forwards are going to have to find ways to win possessions and work with the clock,’” Wilkinson said.Johnson said after the first two goals, she was confident OSU could pull off the upset.“It felt amazing. Once we had a goal or two, we realized it was in our favor and we just had to work to keep it,” Johnson said. “It’s been kind of rare this season when it’s been in our favor so it was a great feeling.”Hiltz echoed Johnson, and said the Buckeyes rallied together after their second goal to secure the victory.“I was freaking out,” Hiltz said. “I think it really hit me that we’re going to do this and we’re going to make this happen no matter what we have to do. We all just pulled together really well as a team and we did what we had to do.”Johnson said the team isn’t ready for the season to be over and the game was proof of that.“We all just realized we didn’t want the season to end. It’s a great team dynamic so we are going to do everything we can to keep going,” Johnson said.The Buckeyes are scheduled to play Friday at 12:30 p.m. against No. 26 Michigan State. Top-seeded Penn State is set to take on fifth-seeded Iowa first at 10 a.m. in the other semifinal match. read more

Mens Basketball Ohio State and coach Chris Holtmann have not seriously considered

Ohio State sophomore guard JaQuan Lyle drives to the basketball against a Connecticut defender in a game on Dec. 10 at the Schottenstein Center. OSU won 64-60. Credit: Alexa Mavrogianis | Former Photo EditorWhen new Ohio State men’s basketball coach Chris Holtmann was asked by a fan at a Tuesday evening season ticket-holder event whether former guard JaQuan Lyle might return to the Buckeyes, he joked that he shouldn’t have said no questions would be off-limits.Even though the Buckeyes lack depth, especially at guard, a return of Lyle, who quit the team April 11, seems unlikely.“That’s not something that we have seriously considered at this point,” Holtmann said.On May 13, Lyle was arrested in his hometown of Evansville, Indiana, and charged with public intoxication, criminal mischief to a vehicle and disorderly conduct after an incident at Piston’s Bar & Grill. Later that day, an Ohio State spokesman confirmed that Lyle quit the team over a month prior.Former coach Thad Matta was fired June 5 and the Holtmann regime officially began June 9, so the new Buckeyes head coach has never coached Lyle. Because their time doesn’t overlap, he said he has involved the current team, who has played with and interacted with Lyle on a day-to-day basis, to have input on his situation.“We’ve also involved our entire team in some of those decisions that were made,” Holtmann said. “Obviously they were here and I wasn’t.”With the recent addition of graduate transfer Andrew Dakich, Ohio State will enter the 2017-18 season with five guards on scholarship – redshirt senior Kam Williams, junior C.J. Jackson, junior Joey Lane, freshman Musa Jallow and Dakich.Last season, as a sophomore, Lyle played in 31 games, averaging 11.4 points per contest and led the Buckeyes with 142 assists. read more

Womens Basketball Ohio State ends season with 7161 loss to Morehead State

Ohio State freshman guard Janai Crooms (3) dribbles the ball up court in the first half of the game against Rutgers on March 3. Ohio State lost 66-56. Credit: Casey Cascaldo | Photo EditorThe Ohio State women’s basketball team (14-14, 10-8 Big Ten) lost in the first round of the WNIT tournament 71-61 to  Morehead State (23-10, 13-5 Ohio Valley) 71-61. In their second appearance in the WNIT in program history, the Buckeyes struggled to keep up with the Eagles, who outscored Ohio State 46-30 in the second half.Freshman forward Dorka Juhasz led the team with 15 points and 10 rebounds, notching her 12th double double of the season right before rolling her ankle and leaving the court late in the fourth quarter.Redshirt senior forward Makayla Waterman, usually averaging 7.8 points per game, only added two points in 19 minutes of playing time, making 1-of-4 from the field. “It was definitely a tough game to go out to, I think that was a pretty bad game for us,” Waterman said. The Buckeyes tried to play catch up in the fourth quarter, but the Eagles 3-point shooting seemed to be unstoppable, making 7-of-14 in the second half. Morehead State started the game hot, coming out to a quick 10-4 lead. However, after a timeout, the Buckeyes answered with an 11-0 run.“I thought in the first half we had a chance to stretch out the lead and really impose our will on the game,”Ohio State  head coach Kevin McGuff said. The first half was the story of turnovers for both the Buckeyes and the Eagles. Both teams had nine turnovers by the end of the half. The Buckeyes made the most out of those turnovers, making 11 points off of turnovers while the Eagles only had five. After a 3-point make by freshman guard Janai Crooms, the Buckeyes took the lead and held it out until the end of the first half, leaving with a 31-25 lead. But Morehead State answered with three 3-point shots late in the third quarter by redshirt junior guard Aliyah Jeune that left the Eagles bench electrified with excitement and gave them back in the lead 48-45. Crooms finished the game with 13 points, making 5-of-10 from the field, but recorded eight of Ohio State’s 17  turnovers in the 10-point loss. Holding a three-point lead heading into the fourth quarter, Morehead State outscored Ohio State 23-14 in the fourth quarter, leading to a 10-point victory for the Eagles. In the second half, Ohio State shot 40 percent from the field, but made 2-of-10 from deep. In what ended Ohio State’s season, McGuff said his team did not play consistently enough to sustain the first-half lead or even stretch it out. “We weren’t the more physical team and we were going to need to be that to win tonight and we weren’t,” McGuff said. read more