Ohio State women's basketball continued to roll on Thursday night in Iowa City. Fresh off beating Maryland for the second time this season, the Buckeyes ran away from Iowa, 98-81, at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
The Buckeyes' two seniors got the scoring started, as Cait Craft and Ameryst Alston both connected on three-point shots. All five starters scored in the first five minutes of the game, as Ohio State went 5-for-8 from the floor out of the gate for an early 13-10 lead.
Meanwhile, the Hawkeyes forced three early turnovers and looked to get the ball into the paint. But Iowa could not take advantage of the miscues, with a 5-for-13 start, including 0-for-2 from long range.
Junior Shayla Cooper entered the game midway through the first quarter and got into the act immediately, knocking down a three-pointer and two free throws within her first minute on the floor. Cooper went on to make another from beyond the arc and finished the quarter leading all scorers with 10 points.
Sophomore Kelsey Mitchell hit two triples of her own in the first frame as the Buckeyes finished the quarter on an 18-5 run for a 28-15 lead.
In the early going of the second quarter, the Hawkeyes seemed to solve Ohio State's full-court defensive pressure. Passing over the top and advancing the ball ahead of the defense, Iowa, led by junior Ally Disterhoft, was able to get a number of high-percentage shots. But the Buckeyes continued to score in bunches, highlighted by a handful of highlight reel passes, and maintained a lead of 43-29.
Junior Alexa Kastanek made a pair of threes to cut the deficit back down to single digits at 47-39, but a layup by sophomore Alexa Hart, who finished the first half with 11 points, five rebounds, and four blocked shots, and a Mitchell jumper gave Ohio State a 51-41 lead heading into the locker room.
Mitchell led all scorers with 14 points, while Cooper added 12 of her own in a first half that saw the Buckeyes shoot 60 percent from the floor. Disterhoft led Iowa with 13 points, the only Hawkeye in double figures.
A 12-2 run propelled the Buckeyes to 67-46 lead in the first five minutes of the third quarter. Iowa turned it over on four of five possessions and Ohio State cashed in for its largest lead of the game. Cooper scored six consecutive points as the Hawkeyes had no answer for her.
Sophomore Chase Coley did all she could to keep Iowa in contact, scoring 10 points in the quarter, but the Minneapolis native also picked up her fourth foul and had to go to the bench.
With just over a minute remaining in the quarter, Alston achieved a bit of history. The former two-time Ohio Ms. Basketball from Canton McKinley became just the sixth player in program history to reach 2,000 career points.
The Buckeyes entered the fourth quarter with an 83-62 lead, and while they endured a nearly three minute scoring drought, had no trouble in putting the Hawkeyes away. The game marked the 11th time this season Ohio State scored 90 or more points.
Mitchell and Cooper each scored 20 points for the Buckeyes. Alston scored 18 and notched six assists, Hart had 13 points, eight boards, five blocks, and three steals, and sophomore Asia Doss scored 12 and led the team with seven assists.
Disterhoft scored 20 points, grabbed seven rebounds, and dished out five assists, while Kastanek added 15 points and freshman Megan Gustafson turned in a double-double with 13 points and 11 boards. The Hawkeyes shot just 4-for-15 from three-point range
Ohio State will remain on the road on Sunday, traveling to Happy Valley to take on a Penn State team that is fresh off an upset of nationally-ranked Michigan State. The game begins at 2:00 p.m. ET and will air on Big Ten Network.