In a tight contest, the Ohio State women’s basketball team defeated Virginia Commonwealth after pulling away late in the game.
OSU junior guard Ameryst Alston got the action started with a quick layup in the opening seconds of the 96-86 win. Both teams shot the ball well through the first six minutes as the game was tied, 20-20. Then a jumper from freshman guard Kelsey Mitchell sparked a 19-7 run over a span of nine minutes to take a 39-27 lead for the Buckeyes.
Virginia Commonwealth outscored OSU, 16-13, in the last 5:48 of the half to make the score 52-43 as the teams headed to the locker room. The Buckeyes shot 58 percent from the field in the first half, while holding the Rams to 37 percent.
The Rams opened the second half with an 8-0 run to cut the Buckeye lead to just one point. But OSU answered with an 11-2 run to bring the lead back into double digits. OSU went on to score seven unanswered points to take its largest lead of the game, 70-56.
Virginia Commonwealth cut the deficit to six with less than nine minutes remaining. After an 8-2 run by OSU, the Rams hit three consecutive 3-pointers to pull the game within three with less than four minutes remaining in the half. The Buckeyes closed out the game on a 14-7 run to get the 10-point victory.
OSU improved to 2-2 for the season. Alston led all scorers with 34 points while Mitchell added 29 of her own. Freshman forward Alexa Hart came off the bench to tally 12 points along with eight blocks.
Alston said the team excelled in finding an offensive rhythm throughout the game.
“I think we did a pretty good job, we got a nice little pace going,” Alston said. “We kind of got stagnant for a little while but I think we did pretty good offensively.”
Redshirt-senior guard Amy Scullion added three points and seven rebounds off the bench for the Buckeyes. Scullion was in action for the first time since the end of the 2013-14 season after initially forgoing her final year of eligibility to attend medical school. Scullion said that while she had some anxiety at the start of the game, it eventually wore off.
“Not going to lie, I was a little nervous, I felt like a freshman again,” Scullion said. “Once we started going up and down a little bit it wasn’t bad.”
Mitchell found herself in foul trouble, earning four throughout the game. Mitchell said that she’s still making the transition from playing defense in high school to college.
“I’m in the process of learning,” she said. “I know I’m at the collegiate level so stuff I used to get away with in high school, I’m not going to get away with. I know as I grow, my fouls have to stop.”
Coach Kevin McGuff said Mitchell’s fouls are a result of her effort on the court and sees them as something she’ll eventually overcome.
“She’s so competitive and is always trying to make a play for her team that sometimes she gets herself in a little bit of trouble, but she’ll grow through that,” McGuff said.
Up next for OSU is a trip to the Virgin Islands to participate in the Paradise Jam. The Buckeyes are scheduled to take on Clemson on Thursday at 1:15 p.m. in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands.