After suffering its first loss of the Big Ten season on Thursday to Northwestern, the Ohio State women's basketball team had very little time to sulk. The Buckeyes faced another tough test on Sunday afternoon in Columbus, as Purdue, undefeated in conference play, came to town. Ohio State used hot perimeter shooting to run away with a 90-70 win.
"We had to come out with some energy today [after losing to Northwestern], and that's what we did," said sophomore phenom Kelsey Mitchell after the game.
In an encouraging sign, Mitchell and senior Ameryst Alston each knocked down their first three-point attempts as the Buckeyes jumped out to a quick 8-2 lead in the game's first three minutes. The dynamic backcourt duo were both named to the midseason Wooden Award watch list earlier in the week.
But the Boilermakers are having a banner season for a reason, and fought back to take a 10-8 lead, thanks to long distance makes by junior Ashley Morrissette and senior April Wilson, the team's top two scorers.
The two sides traded buckets back and forth for a while, but the Buckeyes went on a 10-0 run to end the quarter, punctuated by three-pointers from Mitchell and sophomore Asia Doss. The score was 24-14 after the first ten minutes. Mitchell led all scorers with 10.
Junior Shayla Cooper kept the momentum, knocking down a three of her own to start the second quarter to push the lead to 27-14. Another three from Mitchell and a fall away jumper by Alston extended the lead 32-18 at the midway point.
Purdue endured a drought of five minutes without scoring, shot under 42 percent from the floor, and turned the ball over 11 times in the first half. But a 9-2 run to finish out the half helped cut a 16-point deficit to nine.
The Buckeyes, who shot 53 percent from the floor, took a 38-29 lead into the locker room, powered by 15 points from Mitchell and nine from Alston. Purdue did not have a double figure scorer, led by Wilson's nine and Morrissette's eight.
The Boilermaker pair came out firing to start the second half as well, scoring five points in the first minute, and Purdue cut the lead to four.
A swooping layup followed by a steal and layup by Alston, a deep three by Mitchell, and a pair of corner threes by Cooper stopped the bleeding for Ohio State, as a 16-4 run pushed the lead back out to 51-38 at the midway point in the quarter.
Behind Cooper's 11 points in the quarter, the Buckeyes held a 60-48 advantage heading to the game's final ten minutes. The Boilermakers turned it over six more times and went through a three minute stretch without scoring.
Alston and Mitchell started the fourth quarter just as they did the first, both knocking down triples to push the lead back out to 16 points. For the game, Ohio State was 13-for-23 (56.5 percent) from long range.
One of those long range makes came from senior Cait Craft at the midway point in the quarter, and was followed up by a pretty no-look dime from Alston to sophomore Alexa Hart, who converted an old fashioned three-point play. The rout was on, as the Buckeyes took their largest lead of the game at 77-60.
Purdue would not be able to come back from that deficit, but continued to play tough. Wilson finished the game with a team-high 19 points and six assists, while Morrissette added 17, including 4-for-9 from three-point range.
Mitchell led all scorers with 27 points, also dishing out six assists. Alston finished with 25 of her own, and Cooper scored 16 off the bench on 4-for-4 shooting from beyond the arc.
Next up, Ohio State will travel to that school up north for a 6:00 p.m. ET tip-off on Thursday. The matchup with the Wolverines will air live on BTN.