Behind 51.5 percent shooting and a solid defensive effort, the No. 12 Ohio State Buckeyes downed the Canisius Golden Griffins 89-56 on Sunday afternoon.
“I thought our effort, our attention-to-detail was better than it’s been,” OSU coach Kevin McGuff said. “We’ve practiced better.”
Both teams shot well out of the gate and the Golden Griffins took an 11-9 lead with 5:48 remaining in the first quarter. The No. 12 Buckeyes (8-3) would then outscore Canisius 22-7 the rest of the opening quarter, a stretch that included an 11-0 run and eight made field goals in a row. The teams played just about even in the second quarter, with the Buckeyes edging out Canisius 19-16 in the frame.
OSU missed its first four shots of the second half, but a field goal from junior guard Kelsey Mitchell with 7:11 remaining in the third quarter started an 8-0 run for the Buckeyes. OSU would take a 69-44 run into the fourth quarter and would outscore the Golden Griffins 20-12 in the final frame to claim the 33-point victory.
Mitchell led the Buckeyes with 19 points on 9-of-17 shooting. The Buckeyes buried 16-of-21 free throws, and despite converting on over half of its field goals, OSU was just 3 for 18 from three-point territory.
“We have good shooters, but we didn’t shoot the ball very well today from the arc,” McGuff said. “That’s something that we’ve got to get in the gym and work on a little bit.”
Canisius was led by 14 points from sophomore forward Sara Hinriksdottir. Senior guard Lauren D’Hont grabbed a team-high eight rebounds.
OSU put together one of its better defensive performances of the season on Sunday. Of the Buckeyes’ 21 forced turnovers, 15 were steals. Canisius shot well early from the three-point line – 7 of 16 in the first half – but they finished just 10 for 31 from beyond the arc and couldn’t get anything else going.
“I thought our press today was as good as it’s been in a couple weeks,” McGuff said. “We really gave Canisius problems.”
The Buckeyes didn’t allow the Golden Griffins to see the free-throw line at all and committed just eight team fouls. All nine Buckeyes who saw the floor had two personal fouls or less. McGuff praised his team for a solid defensive game, but acknowledged that there were still several hiccups.
“We had 4, 5, 6, 7 possessions where we had really good possessions and then just didn’t finish them out,” McGuff said. “We were close to having a really good day defensively.”
For the game, Canisius shot 34.8 percent (23-for-66).
Another Buckeye advantage came in bench points, where OSU outscored Canisius 40-6. The bench effort was led by freshman forward Tori McCoy, who scored 17 points on 7-of-8 shooting and grabbed 11 rebounds. She was also 3 of 3 from the free throw line.
Redshirt sophomore forward Makayla Waterman had one of her best games on the young season, adding nine points, nine rebounds and a team-high five assists. Freshman guards Kiara Lewis (10 points) and Jensen Caretti (four points) also contributed off the bench.
“As we go through the year, depth is going to be a real strength of ours,” McGuff said. “Today, I thought we had some really good minutes off the bench.”
OSU’s current depth has been well documented, but the Buckeyes are about to get even deeper. Redshirt junior guard Linnae Harper is just days away from regaining eligibility and will be available to play in OSU’s next game against Alabama State on Friday.
“She’ll bring a lot of defense, rebounds and points,” OSU junior guard Asia Doss said. “That means way more depth as far as our rotations and the pressing, I feel like, is going to be even more hectic.”
Harper decided to transfer from the University of Kentucky last fall.
OSU will finish off its current five-game home stand with a game against the Alabama State Hornets on Friday. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. at Schottenstein Center.