Four late points by Stephanie Mavunga helped the Ohio State women’s basketball team overcome a nightmare first quarter and scratch out an ugly 61-56 road win over Purdue in West Lafayette on Sunday afternoon.
It was the second straight game in which the Buckeyes just weren’t clicking. The usually prolific offense was largely bottled up, shooting just 32 percent from the floor and 23 percent from beyond the three-point line.
Kelsey Mitchell, the Big Ten’s leading scorer, struggled with her shot once again as well. The junior All-American made just three of 17 from the floor, and relied on seven free throws to score 14.
Mavunga had a double-double, scoring 11 and pulling down 12 rebounds. Freshman Tori McCoy was the only other player in double figures, scoring 12 points, as Ohio State improved to 5-1 in Big Ten play, 15-5 overall.
The Boilermakers had four players score in double figures, led by Ashley Morrissette’s 13, but shot an atrocious 25 percent as a team in the second half, allowing the win to slip away.
Continuing the cold shooting that was on display in last Tuesday’s loss to Michigan State, Ohio State came out icy in this one. The Buckeyes were just 3-for-15 from the floor in the first quarter, turning the ball over seven times, as Purdue jumped out to a 20-6 lead. The six points were the lowest output in any quarter for the scarlet and gray.
Mitchell was 0-for-5 in the period, going scoreless, while the Boilermakers shot over 53 percent from the field and had a 12-4 advantage in the paint. Morrissette scored nine to lead the way for the home team.
Two minutes into the second quarter, Mitchell finally connected on a three-pointer, the first points scored by an Ohio State starter in the game. Morrissette also collected her second foul and went to the bench for Purdue.
The Buckeyes made a 14-4 run in the frame’s first four minutes, cutting the deficit to six, thanks to aggressively getting to the free throw line. Mitchell hit three from the charity stripe and Sierra Calhoun added two, and layups from Alexa Hart and McCoy made the score 26-20.
Were it not for the free throws, Ohio State would have faced an even larger mountain to climb going into halftime. Going nearly four minutes without a field goal, the Buckeyes’ 12 makes at the line and the Boilermakers’ six turnovers helped trim the lead to 36-34 heading into the locker room.
Half of those free throws came from Mitchell, who led the squad with 11 first half points. McCoy and Hart combined for 10 points off the bench to help compensate for the starters’ struggles. Morrissette led Purdue with 11 points while Dominique Oden added nine of her own.
Ohio State claimed its first lead of the game with a 6-0 run to start the third quarter. Mitchell, McCoy, and Hart all had buckets as the Buckeyes went up 40-36.
A 10-3 run for the Boilermakers as Ohio State once again went cold from the field put Purdue back on top 46-43 at the media timeout.
It got ugly from there on both sides, as the teams combined to shoot 2-for-17 over the final five minutes. The Buckeyes trailed 48-47 when the quarter’s horn sounded.
An 0-for-6 stretch from Ohio State led to a scoring drought of nearly three minutes, and Purdue took advantage, building its lead back out to 54-50.
But the Boilermakers then went frigid, failing to score for almost five full minutes, and the Buckeyes scratched together a 7-0 run to reclaim the lead 57-54 despite going scoreless themselves for almost four minutes.
With Mavunga’s two late buckets, it was just enough for Ohio State to hold on and escape with a road win.
The Buckeyes will be back in action at home on Thursday night against Wisconsin. Tip-off at the Schottenstein Center is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. ET, and the game will be televised on Big Ten Network.