The Ohio State women’s basketball team took care of business in its season opener against Duquesne on Friday afternoon in Columbus. The Buckeyes used their signature relentless full-court defense and dominated the paint to bury the Dukes 89-69.
The new look rotation for head coach Kevin McGuff’s squad was on full display as ten different players saw minutes. Junior All-American Kelsey Mitchell overcame a mediocre shooting performance of 6-for-17 to score 18 points, while North Carolina transfer Stephanie Mavunga added a double-double with 15 points and 14 rebounds.
Sierra Calhoun and Shayla Cooper were also in double figures for Ohio State in a game in which the team’s size advantage paid dividends. The Buckeyes outrebounded Duquense 55-33.
The Buckeyes used a 17-4 run spanning the end of the first quarter and beginning of the second to race out to a 16-point lead that they would never look back from. During the run, Ohio State beat up the Dukes on the interior, getting a pair of layups from Cooper, and easy buckets from Kiara Lewis, Tori McCoy, and Mavunga.
Calhoun led an 8-2 run to end the first half, knocking down a jumper and a pair of free throws to give the Buckeyes a 46-26 advantage at the half. Mavunga led the team with nine points in the first 20 minutes thanks to 5-for-6 shooting from the free throw line, and added a team-high eight rebounds.
Mitchell got off to a sluggish start shooting the ball, going 2-for-7 from the field and uncharacteristically missing three of her five free throw attempts. She saw consistent double teams and finished the half with seven points, and also contributed two rebounds and two assists.
Duquesne’s Amadea Szamosi led all scorers with 11 points, and also hauled in a team-high five rebounds. No other member of the Dukes made more than two field goals, as they shot a frigid 30.6 percent from the floor.
In the third quarter, Ohio State scored nine quick points before going ice cold. A three-minute scoring drought allowed Duquesne to go on a 12-2 run and cut the lead to 57-41. Baskets from Mavunga and Cooper ended the Dukes’ momentum, though, and Mitchell scored four in quick succession to keep the advantage at 20, 65-45, headed to the fourth.
Two Calhoun three-pointers and a nine-point offensive outburst from Makayla Waterman in the fourth quarter capped things off for the Buckeyes, as they cruised through the final 10 minutes. Szamosi was held to just two second half points, ceding the majority of the Dukes’ offense to Chassidy Ommogrosso, who had 17, and Julijan Vojinovic, who finished with 16 thanks to 4-for-9 three-point shooting.
Next up for Ohio State is a Monday evening matchup with fourth-ranked South Carolina in Columbus. Tip-off is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. ET at St. John Arena.