Ohio State joins Dayton, Wright State in conference title driver’s seat

Ohio State moved into a first-place tie in the Big Ten women’s basketball standings Monday night by beating No. 2 Maryland 98-87.

Dayton and Wright State were like, “What took you so long?”

The Flyers, Raiders and Buckeyes are all in position to claim conference titles with wins this week.

Dayton (18-9, 12-3) is up first as coach Shauna Green’s team hosts Saint Louis on Wednesday night with a share of the Atlantic 10 crown going to the winner.

The Flyers and Billikens (22-6, 12-3) are tied with George Washington (19-9, 12-3) atop the standings as of this writing.

The Colonials close out the schedule at sub-.500 Richmond on Wednesday night.

Wright State lost last night at Detroit 85-80, but the Raiders (22-6, 14-2) are still a game ahead of Green Bay in the Horizon League standings with two to play.

Like Green, Wright State’s Katrina Merriweather is in her first season as a Division I college head coach.

This week the Raiders, led by Fairmont grad Chelsea Welch, received a vote in the Associated Press poll for the first time in school history.

They play host to Green Bay (22-5, 13-3) on Friday night before finishing out the regular season with Milwaukee on Sunday.

And what about the 12th-ranked Buckeyes?

Kelsey Mitchell scored 31 points Monday night as they beat the Terrapins for the third straight time.

While Dayton and Wright State have topped their league standings for much of the season, Ohio State had been chasing Maryland since a January loss at Michigan State.

No more.

Ohio State (24-5, 14-1) is still the only Big Ten team to beat Maryland (26-2, 14-1) since UM joined the conference three years ago. The Terps are 2-3 against the Buckeyes and 54-0 against everyone else in the league including conference tournament games.

Coach Kevin McGuff’s Buckeyes can clinch at least a share of the program’s record 15th Big Ten title by winning at woeful Rutgers on Sunday.

This marks the second season in a row the Buckeyes control their own destiny in the closing stretch of the conference race. They fell short last year with road losses to Michigan State and Minnesota, allowing the Terps to win the league outright despite being swept in the season series with OSU.

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