COLUMBUS — After Michigan blew a lead in regulation and lost to Ohio State in overtime nine days ago, the Wolverines told coach Kim Barnes Arico they wouldn’t let it happen again.
They delivered on that promise Tuesday night.
Hallie Thome had 27 points and 10 rebounds, and No. 19 Michigan rallied to beat No. 8 Ohio State 84-75 on Tuesday night, handing the Buckeyes their first Big Ten loss.
“We were all in a group chat after (the Jan. 7 game), and I was texting every half hour saying ‘Did that really happen?‘” Thome said. “So I think we all took it to heart and knew when we stepped on this court we had a great opportunity to come back and show them who Michigan is.”
Katelynn Flaherty had 21 points for Michigan (16-4, 5-2), which trailed by five at halftime. Nicole Munger added a career-high 20, helping the Wolverines to their third straight win.
Ohio State (16-3, 5-1) shot 36.1 percent (26 for 72) from the field in its first loss since Nov. 30. Stephanie Mavunga paced the Buckeyes with 21 points.
“To be honest, we were real lackadaisical, especially to start the third quarter, so that’s on us,” Mavunga said. “We shot 36 percent as they shot 53 percent. It’s really difficult to beat a team when you’re shooting such a low percentage. That has to do with shot selection, that has to do with forcing up shots that maybe aren’t the best ones.”
The Buckeyes went 3 for 17 from the field in the third quarter. The Wolverines went ahead to stay on Flaherty’s 3-pointer with 1:34 left in the period.
“I just think the ball fell our way,” Flaherty said.
Kelsey Mitchell made two foul shots with 9:21 left to get Ohio State within two, but Michigan held on.
Mitchell scored 20 points for the Buckeyes, and Linnae Harper had 15 points and nine rebounds.
Michigan: The Wolverines haven’t been ranked this high since they were No. 18 on the final day of 2001. They could move up after a critical conference win.
“Our team shot the ball exceptionally well, and Ohio State didn’t,” Arico said. “Obviously, that was a big factor in the game. I’m really proud of how our team came out and played against a great Ohio State team tonight.”
Ohio State: The Buckeyes’ offensive struggles in the second half puts them in danger of dropping out of the top 10.
“We kind of just did that to ourselves, to be honest,” Mavunga said. “We dug ourselves in a hole, and ever since then it was hard to get back out. Credit to Michigan for executing and taking advantage of those opportunities.”
BUCKEYES OUT OF FOCUS?
Ohio State coach Kevin McGuff said his team didn’t have the focus needed to win.
“Way too many mental errors against a good Michigan team, and when we would make mistakes, they would make us pay,” he said. “Just in general, our mental approach to the game wasn’t good tonight.”
FOUL TROUBLE FOR KELSEY
Mitchell, one of the nation’s best players, picked up her third foul midway through the second quarter and then sat until halftime. Nearly half the third period was gone before she hit another shot as the whole team struggled around her.
“It’s something she’s got to kind of learn to deal with,” McGuff said.
Michigan: Hosts Illinois on Saturday.
Ohio State: At Maryland on Monday.
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