In a matchup of two teams believed to be serious national title contenders, the Ohio State women’s basketball team lost to Baylor, 85-68, in the championship game of the Gulf Coast Showcase tournament in Estero, Florida on Sunday night.
The Buckeyes struggled mightily from the floor, shooting just 21-for-61 (34.4 percent) for the game, and having no answer for the Bears’ superior size. Head coach Kevin McGuff’s squad was outrebounded 52-29 and outscored 48-26 in the paint over 40 minutes of play.
Five Baylor players scored in double figures, led by Alexis Jones’ 20 and Beatrice Mompremier’s double-double of 13 points and 14 rebounds. The Bears improved their record to 7-1 thus far.
All-American Kelsey Mitchell scored 17 points, but hit just 5-for-20 from the floor and 1-for-6 from beyond the three-point arc. Sierra Calhoun added 12, while Shayla Cooper and Kiara Lewis had 11 apiece, as the team fell to 5-2 on the young season.
Ohio State was forced to call a timeout less one minute into the ballgame as Baylor sprinted out to a 6-0 lead. The lead was extended to 9-0 before Calhoun knocked down a three-pointer to get the Buckeyes on the board. Mompremier was having her way in the paint for the Bears, scoring seven first quarter points.
The scarlet and gray shot a woeful 6-for-19 (31.6 percent) in the first ten minutes, but fought back to within four points at 19-15 by the end of the quarter. Calhoun scored five and Mitchell four in the frame.
Baylor opened the second quarter with a 10-2 run to push the lead out to 29-17, as Ohio State once again came out cold. Jones scored nine in the frame overall and led all scorers with 12 at the intermission.
The Buckeyes went through a field goal drought that lasted the final 5:42 of first half, missing their final nine attempts, and went into the locker room trailing 38-25. Mitchell was just 2-for-12 from the floor, and failed to make any of her four three-point attempts, as the team was held to 10-for-36 (27.8 percent) shooting.
Cooper started the second half by scoring seven straight points for Ohio State, trying to will the team back into the game, and Mitchell got a quick four of her own to trim the deficit to 45-36 at the third quarter’s midway point.
The referees started calling the game much more closely in the third quarter, and the two sides combined to shoot 31 free throws in the frame. Baylor’s size and balanced attack made the Buckeyes’ hopes of comeback difficult, as Jones, Mompremier, and Brown combined to maintain a strong 62-46 lead headed to the final ten minutes.
The fourth quarter was more of the same, with the Bears shooting 8-for-13 (61.5 percent) from the floor and widening their lead even further. Mitchell fouled out with a little over four minutes remaining in the game.
The schedule doesn’t let up for Ohio State, as it will host No. 21 Miami on Thursday evening in Columbus as part of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. The game is scheduled to tip off at 7:00 p.m. ET and will be broadcast live on Big Ten Network.