Ohio State women's basketball finished off the nonconference schedule with its fourth consecutive win on Monday night. The prodigious backcourt of Kelsey Mitchell and Ameryst Alston once again led the 9th-ranked Buckeyes to victory, 93-73 over Virginia at Value City Arena.
In the first half, Ohio State used suffocating defense to hold the Cavaliers to just 33 percent shooting and 29 points. Mitchell and Alston combined for 23 of the Buckeyes' 43 points in the first twenty minutes.
Five quick points from Mitchell spurred Ohio State to a 9-0 lead right out of the gate. The sophomore from Cincinnati finished the first quarter with seven, while Alston scored nine of her own, and Alexa Hart added six. Six late points from Virginia's Faith Randolph trimmed the lead to 26-18 after one quarter.
The Buckeyes looked to be running away with things in the second quarter behind the continued onslaught of Mitchell and Alston, pushing the lead out to 37-21. Back-to-back three-point makes by the Cavaliers' Aliyah Huland El and Mikayla Venson and a Venson layup got things down to an eight point deficit, but Hart and Shayla Cooper scored the final six points of the half for a 14-point lead.
Mitchell led all scorers in the first half with 12, and also had four assists. Alston added 11 points, two assists, and a steal, while Hart put up 9 points and pulled down five rebounds. Huland El led Virginia with 10 points thanks to 3-4 shooting from long range. Ohio State outrebounded the Cavaliers 23-16 and held a 22-8 advantage in points in the paint.
Ohio State turned the ball over four times in the first two minutes and Randolph came out firing to start the second half, knocking down three-pointers on three consecutive trips down the court and leading an 11-2 Cavaliers' run, cutting the lead to five, 45-40. The senior guard from Maryland had come into the game shooting just under 36 percent from distance on the season.
Cold shooting and more turnovers by the Buckeyes allowed Virginia to come all the way back to 51-47, and the two sides traded buckets the rest of the way in the third quarter. Mitchell canned a three-pointer to close things out, and Ohio State entered the final ten minutes with a 66-57 lead.
In the fourth quarter, the Buckeyes turned up the defensive pressure again, as the Cavaliers missed seven of their first ten shots. Alston made them pay for the cold shooting, scoring nine straight points and putting things out of reach. The senior from Canton McKinley High School finished the game with 24 points.
Randolph did all she could to try to will Virginia to an upset win, scoring a game-high 26 points. Venson added 24 as the Cavaliers shot 55 percent from three-point range in the game.
Mitchell scored 23 and led Ohio State with six assists. Hart put up a double-double with 19 points and 12 boards and Cooper contributed 13 points and nine rebounds off the bench.
The Buckeyes are now idle until New Year's Eve when they kick off Big Ten play against Michigan State in Columbus.