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Ohio State women’s basketball holds off Florida Gulf Coast, 79-66

On a night when Kelsey Mitchell rewrote another record, the Buckeyes beat a scrappy Eagles squad.

Ohio State women’s basketball (https://twitter.com/OhioState_WBB/status/802290740097413120)

Kelsey Mitchell broke another record for the Ohio State women’s basketball team in Friday’s 79-66 win over Florida Gulf Coast in the Gulf Coast Showcase tournament in Estero, Florida. A long distance make with two minutes remaining in the third quarter by the All-American junior gave her the career mark for three-point field goals made.

Mitchell, who scored 25 points in the ballgame, now has 273 three-pointers in her Buckeye career, passing Caity Matter (2001-2005), who finished with 270.

Shayla Cooper and Stephanie Mavunga both posted double-doubles for Ohio State, which enjoyed a definite size advantage and beat FGCU on the boards 52-31 en route to improving its record to 4-1 on the season.

The Eagles were led by Nasrin Ulel and Taylor Gradinjan, each of whom scored 13.

Neither side was lighting up the nets in the early going, but Ohio State used its superior size to take an 11-7 lead through the game’s first six minutes. Mavunga led the way with six points and three rebounds in that time.

Florida Gulf Coast hung tough despite its early shooting struggles, holding the Buckeyes to just 38.9 percent from the floor, 1-for-8 from three-point range, and staying relatively even on the glass despite not having a single player over six feet tall. Jordin Alexander scored six points for the Eagles in the first quarter.

Cooper matched Mavunga with six points, and added five rebounds, as the scarlet and grey finished the opening frame with a 19-16 lead.

It wasn’t until two minutes into the second quarter that Mitchell made her first field goal, and it was a big one. Knocking down a triple from the left wing, she tied the program’s career mark for three-pointers made. The shot was part of a 8-0 run for the Buckeyes, who stretch the lead out to 27-21.

FGCU came back with a 7-0 run of their own, the last five points of which were scored by Gradinjan, to reclaim the lead 28-27.

The Eagles then went more than four minutes without a bucket, but Ohio State went cold for more than three of its own. A deep make by Mikala McGhee with just 13 seconds remaining sent the Buckeyes to the locker room with just a 36-35 lead.

Cooper and Mavunga had nine points apiece in the first half to lead the way, with Mitchell adding six. Ohio State was just 2-for-11 from the three-point arc, but managed to hold FGCU to 31.4 percent shooting. Gradinjan scored eight to pace the Eagles.

It was the same Mitchell-Cooper-Mavunga trio that staked the Buckeyes to a 47-39 lead by the halfway mark of the third quarter, scoring all 11 of the team’s points. Mitchell scored nine in the period, Cooper added seven, and Ohio State headed to the final 10 minutes with a 54-48 lead.

A 9-0 run in the first four minutes of the fourth quarter, punctuated by a deep Mitchell three, finally gave the Buckeyes some breathing room, as they pushed the lead out to 65-51.

FGCU roared back with a 9-0 run of its own to close the gap to just 70-63, but it was too little too late.

Ohio State will now play at 7:30 p.m. ET on Saturday against the winner of a Syracuse-George Washington being played later tonight.