After No. 1 seed South Carolina fell in an upset to No. 4 seed Syracuse in the first game in Sioux Falls, S.D., it appeared the Buckeyes had finally caught a break.
However, the depleted Ohio State women’s basketball team could not overcome the loss of Cait Craft and a short bench, falling 78-62 to No. 7 seed Tennessee in the Sweet 16.
The Buckeyes, who rotated just eight players were out-manned and out-sized as the Volunteers dominated the boards, out-rebounding Ohio State 53-26 as Tennessee center Mercedes Russell dominated for the majority of the game.
Russell scored a career high 25 points, making 12 of her 16 shots and pulled down 15 rebounds, keeping the Ohio State offense off balance all night with her size in the paint. In addition, Bashaara Graves made her first five shots and scored 14 points in the win.
Kelsey Mitchell, who dropped in 45 against West Virginia in the round of 32, finished with 20 points on just 5-of-15 shooting.
Playing in her final game as a Buckeye, Ameryst Alston poured in a team-high 21 points as she got the start after coming off the bench in the win over West Virginia. She added three assists in her final game. She leaves Ohio State in the top five of the schools all-time leading scorers.
One of only three players to come off the bench for Ohio State was Makayla Waterman, who tallied 10 points and added five rebounds. In her final game as a Buckeye, Kalpana Beach played three minutes.
The Buckeyes finish the 2015-16 season 26-8, 15-3 with a bright future. Mitchell is set to return and Coach Kevin McGuff has signed three five star recruits, highlighted by Ms. Ohio 2016, Jensen Caretti.