For the first 17 minutes, the Ohio State women’s basketball team appeared to be in danger of dropping its third straight game. After trailing visiting Cincinnati by 11 points with three minutes remaining in the first half, the Buckeyes surged on both ends of the floor, and cruised to an 80-38 win.
Ohio State shot 65.6 percent in the second half, while suffocating the Bearcats’ offense to the tune of just three made field goals, none in the fourth quarter, and 10 points after halftime.
Kelsey Mitchell led the Buckeyes with 23 points, and now sits just 23 away from eclipsing the 2,000-point mark in her career. Every player that saw action scored at least three points for head coach Kevin MCGuff.
For Cincinnati, Shanice Johnson had a double-double, scoring 10 points and pulling down 17 rebounds in the losing effort.
Ohio State started the game off listless and sloppy, missing its first seven shots from the field and eight of its first ten. Cincinnati wasn’t much better, though, going 3-for-12 in the early going, and at the midway point in the first quarter, the Bearcats held an 8-5 lead.
Three-pointers from Cincinnati’s Johnson and Maya Benham extended the lead, and after one the Bearcats were ahead 18-12. Ohio State shot just 4-for-17 (23.5 percent).
The poor shooting by both sides continued into the second quarter, and Cincinnati stretched the lead out to 24-17 halfway through. The Buckeyes went 5-for-17 in the frame, and had a scoring drought of just under four minutes, but rebounded to finish on a 10-0 run as the Bearcats failed to score for the final 3:11.
Cincinnati’s lead was just 28-27 heading into the locker room.
For the half, Ohio State was 9-for-34 (26.5 percent) shooting, with Mitchell’s 11 points pacing the scoring. Cincinnati’s 11-for-35 (31.4 percent) was only slightly better, with Johnson’s nine points leading the way.
The Buckeyes kept the momentum going in the third quarter, starting with a 12-0 run to claim its first lead of the game at 39-28. The Bearcats missed their first 11 shots, with their scoreless drought expanding to over nine minutes of game time.
Mitchell capped an eight-point quarter with a head-on three-point make from about five feet behind the arc to give Ohio State a 51-37 advantage heading to the final quarter. Cincinnati hit just three field goals in the third, and was outscored 24-9.
Another scoring drought for the Bearcats blew things open, as the Buckeyes dominated the fourth quarter with a 29-1.
Three-pointers by Mitchell, Asia Doss, Sierra Calhoun, and Jensen Caretti had the home crowd getting loud, as Ohio State cruised the rest of the way.
The Buckeyes will be back in action on Wednesday in Columbus, as they host Southern University. The game is scheduled to tip off at 7 p.m. and can be streamed live on BTN Plus.