The ninth-ranked Maryland women’s basketball team (9-2) hosts Ohio State (8-4) Dec. 29 at 7 p.m. in the Terrapins’ first-ever conference game as a member of the Big Ten. The Buckeyes upset No. 18 West Virginia 96-54 in their last outing.
Kelsey Mitchell leads the Buckeyes with 25.9 points per game and Ameryst Alston is averaging 21.9 points per game. They are Nos. 1 and 2 in the Big Ten in scoring.
OSU starts three freshmen, two of whom are likely to have impacts tonight. Mitchell leads the conference in scoring after torching West Virginia for 39 points Dec. 22. The only front court starter for the Buckeyes’ has been 6-foot-3 Alexa Hart. She leads the conference in shooting percentage with 66 percent. Hart averages. 11.5 points and 8.9 rebounds per game. She also averages 4.3 blocks per contest. The battle between Hart and Brionna Jones (11 ppg, 6.4 rpg) and Malina Howard (6.2, 5), who hails from Ohio, will be worth the price of admission.
Ohio State averages 80.6 points per game. Ameryst Alston scores 21.9 per contest. Another frosh, Asia Doss has been starting at guard. She is only shooting .265 from the floor, but she is second on the team in assists.
Georgetown transfer Shayla Cooper made her first appearance with the Buckeyes against West Virginia. She scored 13 points and had 6 boards coming off the bench. Cooper started two games as a freshman with the Hoyas. She scored 34 points and hauled in 17 caroms.
Maryland has the more balanced attack. Four Terps average between 10 and Laurin Mincey’s team-leading 13.5 points per game. Another five players average between 6 and 7 ppg. OSU has the worst defense in the Big 10; Maryland’s offense is ranked No.1.
Maybe the new year will be brighter for the Lady Bison, but Howard still has to finish 2014. Iowa State (7-2, 0-0 Big 12) hosts Howard, UC-Riverside and Brown for the annual Cyclone Challenge from Dec. 29-30. ISU hosts the Bison in the first game at 8:30 p.m. FYI: ISU assistant coach Billy Fennelly was on Brenda Frese’s staff.
The Cyclones are 1-0 all-time against Howard (1-11, 1-1 MEAC). ISU is looking for its seventh-straight home win this season.Iowa State is 4-0 all-time against teams in the MEAC. Iowa State will face the winner/loser of the Brown vs. UC Riverside game on Tuesday.
ISU point guard Nikki Moody is fourth nationally in assists per game with 7.4 and second in the Big 12.
Seanna Johnson is second in the Big 12 Conference with 9.4 rebounds per game. Johnson and Brynn Williamson average 13.3 ppg to lead Iowa State.
Te’Shya Heslip leads the Bison with nearly 16 ppg and 5.2 rpg. Cheyenne Brown (Springbrook) adds 11.6 and Sydni Johnson contributes 10.9. Howard has given the ball away 223 times while collecting only 128 assists.