COLUMBUS, OH — Miami’s Keyona Hayes stayed focused and calm when she was surrounded by a sea of scarlet and gray. She locked in and had a career night with 23 total points. Hayes and the No. 18 Hurricanes kept the energy into overtime and upset No. 9 Ohio State 94-89 in the opener of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.
“Nothing really [clicked], I just came out and played hard,” Hayes said. “My team needed me; I stepped up.”
The momentum grew and grew with every quarter. Starting off in the first, it was a slow, back-and-forth game, but Miami sat a few points ahead nearly the entire quarter. With 3:26 left, however, Asia Doss got a layup that put life back into the Buckeyes.
Doss’s bucket was followed by another layup by Makayla Waterman with 2:07 on the clock, then Kelsey Mitchell made both free throws to pull OSU ahead, 18-17, with 1:58 left in the first. Value City Arena erupted when Shayla Cooper grabbed a rebound and dropped it in the basket at the end of the first to make it 22-17.
The second quarter was not so similar for Ohio State. The Hurricanes bounced back in the second outscoring the Buckeyes 24-8. Not only was Miami cashing in buckets, but they also capitalized on Ohio State’s sloppy passing — forcing 10 turnovers in the second quarter to be exact.
“That’s as bad of a quarter I’ve seen since I’ve been here,” Ohio State head coach Kevin McGuff said. “It was bad offense, defense; you name it. I think we got a little tired mentally, and we didn’t have the ability to push through.”
Nigia Greene heated up early with a deep three-point shot to push Miami within one point of Ohio State. For the next few minutes, it was nothing but dominance by the Hurricanes. They went on to score 14 straight points, and the Buckeyes had no answers. Miami stayed strong the entire quarter and went into the locker room on top 41-30.
However, Mitchell and Co. came back onto the court rejuvenated and aggressive. Just over a minute into the third, Mitchell stole the ball, sprinted down the court and stretched out to nail a layup and a foul from Laura Cornelius. Mitchell converted the three-point play and suddenly the Buckeyes had life back in them.
“A herculean task defensively trying to stop a team that can score at will like [Ohio State] can, and when we needed a lockdown, I thought that we did it,” Miami head coach Katie Meier said.
Jayla Cooper, Alexa Hart and Mitchell went off for Ohio State. Collectively, the three scored 18 points in the third quarter. Mitchell stepped into her regular dominance with 11 of those points. The Buckeyes fought back and cut the deficit 60-59 at the end of the third quarter.
The atmosphere was intense going into the fourth. Miami set the tone when Keyanna Harris nailed a three just 30 seconds into the quarter, but Tori McCoy answered for the Buckeyes with a layup on the next possession. This seemed to be the pattern of the night – a back-and-forth battle.
The play was extremely fast-paced, and as the final seconds ticked away, Ohio State’s Sierra Calhoun hit a game-changing three-pointer at the regulation buzzer to send the game into overtime at 84-84.
“Honestly, that overtime play, [Ohio State] just hit a heck of a shot, and we just couldn’t get deflated by it,” Meier said. “Every time I went to my huddle my kids were just calm, and they were like ‘we got this coach.’ They didn’t need me to pump them up, they didn’t need me to calm them down, they just had it.”
Miami stayed in control and maintained the power. With 2:30 left, Hayes sank a three-pointer, and it put the Hurricanes ahead. A jumper by Emese Hof and five made free throws allowed Miami to prevail in a game that had 13 lead changes.
“I’m glad [the game] was a big focal point of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge because those are two very, very good teams that just went at each other and just kept trying to find a way,” Meier said.
Laura Cornelius added 11 points for the Hurricanes while Erykah Davenport had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Although the Buckeyes lost, four players ended the night with double-digit points. Mitchell inched closer to 2,000 career points with 29 on the night. Cooper scored 17 and had 11 rebounds. Hart and Kiara Lewis added 11 points apiece.
Up next: Miami returns home to face Old Dominion on Sunday, Dec.4, and Ohio State hosts Cincinnati.