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akoiki-passport2 – by Adesina O. Koiki
A Lot of Sports Talk editor-in-chief

 

INDIANAPOLIS — At the beginning of the business end of the 2022 Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament, the top-seeded Ohio State Buckeyes took the floor looking to reclaim a title that they hadn’t won in four years. Following them on the floor, the Maryland Terrapins, is the team who currently owns the crown the Buckeyes are desperately chasing after. Can both take care of what’s in front of them to set up a monumental semifinal?

We kick off our 2022 coverage March Madness in the basketball-mad state of Indiana, home to the Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament, and with the Buckeyes, who finished tied with Iowa at 14-4 atop the Big Ten standings and earned the No. 1 seed in the tournament for the first time since 2018 — the last time Ohio State won the conference tournament. Their quarterfinal matchup today, against No. 8 seed Michigan State, started out as well as it could have for the Buckeyes, racing out to a 22-8 first quarter lead.

Outside of that stretch, however, the game turned into a nip-and-tuck affair, with the shorthanded Spartans chipping away at the lead and, at one point, cutting a 20-point deficit down to six in the final five minutes of the game. Ohio State rebounded late, closing the game with a 10-0 run to finally put away the Spartans, 74-58, to advance to Saturday’s semifinals. Up 64-58, Taylor Mikesell had a hand in each of the first eight points of the run, hitting a runner in the lane before assisting on a Rikki Harris three-pointer to give the Buckeyes a 69-58 lead. After Harris’ three, Mikesell, who is second in the nation in threes made per game, nailed a three from the corner.

The second game of the day session in the quarterfinals featured the two-time defending champion Terrapins, the No. 4 seed, taking on the fifth-seeded Hoosiers, a rematch of a game played just one week ago. In College Park, the Terrapins hold on for a 67-64 victory, clinching the fourth and final double bye in the tournament at the Hoosiers’ expense. Indiana defeated Rutgers 66-54 in a second round game on Thursday.

*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Thursday’s quarterfinal games, with the photos taken by Detroit-area photographer Aaron J. Thornton. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are 20 pictures in total.

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Tags : Big Ten ConferenceIndiana HoosiersIowa HawkeyesMaryland TerrapinsMichigan State SpartansMichigan WolverinesNebraska CornhuskersNorthwestern WildcatsOhio State Buckeyeswomen's college basketball

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