The Ohio State women’s basketball team ran its winning streak to seven games with a dominating 96-68 win on the road against Wisconsin. Kelsey Mitchell, the Buckeyes’ All-American point guard, was red-hot, scoring 32 points to lead the way.
Mitchell, a junior from Cincinnati, shot 11-for-13, including six three-point makes, and also contributed four assists despite spending the fourth quarter on the bench. Stephanie Mavunga also notched her 11th double-double of the season with 13 points and 11 rebounds, and Tori McCoy hit double figures with 11 points.
The Badgers’ leading scorer Cayla McMorris scored 14, but all of those came from the free throw line as she missed all nine shots she attempted from the floor. Suzanne Gilreath added 14 in the losing effort.
Ohio State, ranked 14th in the country, now sits 11-1 in Big Ten action, 21-5 overall, and will now have an eight-day layoff between games. The Buckeyes remain in second place in the conference standings behind undefeated Maryland, which is currently the third-ranked team nationally in the AP poll.
Mavunga and Mitchell spurred Ohio State to a quick 6-0 lead, each scoring three apiece. Mavunga also had five rebounds in the game’s first four minutes. What followed, though, was a three minute Buckeye field goal drought that allowed Wisconsin to pull within 6-4 at the midway point of the quarter.
Shayla Cooper knocked down a three-pointer to end the cold spell, and was then the recipient of a pretty dime from Mitchell. A pair of Mitchell layups in rapid succession led to a 9-0 run and a 15-4 lead for Ohio State.
Mitchell’s scorching start continued with a pair of threes on consecutive possessions, two of the three she made in the opening frame en route to 17 early points. The Badgers struggled with the Buckeyes’ full-court pressure, turning it over six times and shooting just 23 percent, and trailed 25-11 after ten minutes of play.
In the second quarter, a Mitchell triple from the Kohl Center logo on the floor and another from about three steps behind the arc at the top of the key pushed the lead out to 37-17. Wisconsin continued to struggle shooting the ball, hitting just 4-for-18 from the floor, and couldn’t make a dent in the Ohio State advantage.
Compounding the Badgers’ problems was a field goal drought of nearly four minutes, which helped the Buckeyes hit the locker room with a 49-29 lead. Mitchell nearly equaled Wisconsin’s output with 25 points.
Gilreath was the lone bright spot for the home team, tallying 12 points on 4-for-7 shooting from three-point range. McMorris was held to just two points, both of which came from the free throw line.
Nebraska slowed things down to a halt in the third quarter, playing a deliberate half-court game and getting Ohio State into foul trouble quickly. The Badgers were in the bonus within three minutes.
It was Mavunga and Mitchell who once again paced the Buckeyes in the early going, combining for nine of the team’s first 12 points. The scarlet and gray then made five straight shots from the field as the lead ballooned to 69-40.
Mitchell was pulled by head coach Kevin McGuff with two minutes remaining in the third, but Ohio State just kept rolling. Linnae Harper, Asia Doss, and McCoy all contributed buckets, and the defense held Wisconsin without a make for nearly five full minutes to head to the final quarter up 77-48.
With the game in hand, McGuff gave the bulk of the fourth period playing time to the bench, and both sides had their struggles. But every player who saw the floor for the Buckeyes scored at least one point, and the squad notched its fifth straight game with at least 87 points.
Ohio State will not hit the court again until next Sunday, February 12, at home in Columbus against Iowa. That game is scheduled to tip-off at noon ET, and will air live on Big Ten Network.