Rori Harmon went 2-of-2 at the line with 10 seconds left to push the No. 2 seed Texas Longhorns’ lead to 66-63 and the No. 6 Ohio State Buckeyes were unable to get a clean look off before the buzzer, as the Longhorns held on to advance to their second-consecutive Elite Eight Friday night at Spokane Arena in Spokane, Wash.
Harmon, who was held scoreless through the first three quarters, made a clutch mid-range shot to put the Longhorns up three with 1:14 left. Tanaya Beacham then made a mid-range shot to bring the Buckeyes back within one and Longhorn Aaliyah Moore missed a layup on the other end, giving Ohio State the chance to take the lead.
Buckeye Jacy Sheldon missed a high-arching mid-range shot and her teammate Taylor Thierry got the rebound, but Thierry’s put-back attempt was blocked by Moore. This time, Texas got the rebound and Ohio State failed to foul right away. Harmon was able to dribble all the way to midcourt before Braxtin Miller fouled her hard with 10 seconds to go. The play was reviewed for a possible upgrade, but it was ruled a common foul. So Ohio State still had hope at that point, but would not advance.
The Buckeyes were down 10 midway through the fourth, but would not go quietly. Sheldon converted on a 3-point play with 4:41 to go and followed with a three six seconds later after a forced turnover in the backcourt to cut it to four. A Miller score inside then cut it to two with 3:28 to play. A Mikesell three off a broken play brought Ohio State within one with 1:50 to go.
Down 34-32 early in the third, the Longhorns went on a 12-2 run to take a 44-38 lead. Joanne Allen-Taylor, who went on a 7-0 run to close the first half, scored four points on the run and Aliyah Matharu closed it with a three from the left corner. It was her second triple and the second triple of the contest.
Speaking of the lack of threes, the second-most prolific 3-point shooter in the nation, Mikesell, finally made her first trey to cut Ohio State’s deficit to 44-43. However, Texas pushed its lead back to five quickly and led 50-45 entering the fourth.
Allen-Taylor led Texas with 17 points and also had three assists. Sheldon posted 17 points, six rebounds, four assists and four steals in defeat, while Mikesell had 19 points.
Ohio State went on a 6-0 run midway through the second quarter to build a 30-25 lead, but Allen-Taylor responded with her 7-0 run to give Texas a 32-30 lead at the break. She made two mid-range shots, the second of which came on a possession created by a backcourt steal, and then converted on a 3-point play off a floater.
After an Moore 3-point play gave Texas its largest lead of the first quarter at 12-7, Ohio State rattled off an 11-0 run featuring five points from Sheldon. Texas answered with a 9-0 run not long after to go up 23-20. Matharu highlighted the run with a three that cut it to 20-19 and a steal on an inbound turned fast break lay up that gave the Longhorns the lead.
It was closely contested early on. Texas opened on a 4-0 run and then Shay Holle threw up a wild floater that went down to make it 6-2 Longhorns. Ohio State brought full court pressure after a Rebeka Mikulasikova 3-point play cut it to 6-5. The pressure led to a turnover but no points.