Ohio State women’s basketball finished out 2016 on a winning note, claiming a 92-82 victory over Indiana on the road in Bloomington on Saturday afternoon. The Buckeyes, ranked No. 14 in the country, are now 2-0 in Big Ten play and 12-4 overall for the season.
Kelsey Mitchell did typical Kelsey Mitchell things for Ohio State, leading all scorers with 31 points while also contributing six rebounds and five assists. The junior guard from Cincinnati was complemented by a 14-point, 17-rebound effort from Stephanie Mavunga and double-digit scoring performances from Linnae Harper and Shayla Cooper.
The Hoosiers were paced by Amanda Cahill’s career-high 28 points, but could not overcome a rare off night from leading scorer Tyra Buss, who put up 13 points on a dismal 3-for-15 performance from the floor.
Cooper, the lone senior on Ohio State’s squad, opened the scoring for the Buckeyes with back-to-back three-pointers to begin the game. Layups from Mitchell and Mavunga followed as the scarlet and gray sprinted out to a 10-4 lead in the game’s first four minutes.
Indiana went 2-for-11 from the floor early on, including 0-for-4 by Buss, and after a transition bucket from Mavunga, Mitchell connected on a deep three from the left elbow while getting fouled. The ensuing free throw for the four-point play and another Mavunga layup on the fast break stretched the advantage for Ohio State out to 18-4.
Mitchell finished the first frame with 10 points as the Buckeyes shot 60 percent from the floor, en route to a 29-14 lead. By contrast, the Hoosiers managed just 26.3 percent shooting, including 0-for-7 from long distance, with Buss going scoreless on six shots.
The second quarter got off to a sluggish start as both sides struggled to make shots. Four minutes in, just three field goals had been made, and Ohio State led 33-16. Indiana finally broke through from behind the arc, though, getting three-pointers on consecutive possessions from Karlee McBride and Cahill, and Cahill’s subsequent transition layup forced the Buckeyes into a timeout ahead 37-24.
Ohio State committed six turnovers in the period, and Mitchell was held without a point until one second remained, but the Hoosiers had separate field goal droughts of over two minutes and over four minutes. The Buckeyes took a 48-29 lead into the locker room.
Mitchell had 12 points, five rebounds, and three assists to lead the way, while Harper and Cooper added nine points apiece and Mavunga closed in on a double-double with eight points and 12 boards. Cahill had 15 points to lead all scorers in the half, but Buss failed to score.
In the first two minutes of the third quarter, Mitchell took over, scoring nine points in rapid succession as Ohio State’s lead grew to 57-31. Buss finally got on the board with a pair of free throws and Alexis Gassion scored four straight points, sticking a pull-up 15-foot jumper and a layup on a hard take to the rim.
A 1-for-5 stretch from the Buckeyes coupled with a bucket from Jenn Anderson, a three from Cahill, and two more free throws from Buss added up to a 13-2 run and cut Indiana’s deficit to 59-44. Buss finally made her first field goal with 3:20 to go in the frame, and scored eight in the quarter, but six Hoosier turnovers prevented them from cutting much farther into the lead.
Mitchell knocked in two free throws to close out the quarter, giving her 27 points in the game, and Ohio State was on top 71-54 with ten minutes to go.
Indiana scored the first four points of the fourth quarter, cutting the lead to 71-58 and once again prompting a Buckeye timeout. Baskets from Cooper, Mavunga, and Harper out of the break as Ohio State put together a 5-for-5 streak shooting put the game out of reach for good, despite the Hoosiers last-ditch efforts.
The Buckeyes will be on the road once again next time out, traveling to Evanston to take on Northwestern on Tuesday night in the first contest of 2017. Tip-off is scheduled for 9 p.m. ET, with the game being broadcast live on Big Ten Network.