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Women’s Basketball: No. 5 Ohio State wins final exhibition 135-54 against Urbana

Ohio State redshirt senior forward Stephanie Mavunga shoots a layup during the Buckeyes’ exhibition win against Urbana on Nov. 5. Credit: Colin Hass-Hill | Sports Editor

In its final exhibition game before the regular season begins Friday, the Ohio State women’s basketball team decimated Urbana, an overmatched Division II team, winning 135-54 Saturday afternoon at the Schottenstein Center.

The No. 5 Buckeyes dominated in all facets of the game. Led by redshirt senior forward Stephanie Mavunga, who dropped 27 points and pulled down 14 rebounds, Ohio State held a 55-39 advantage in rebounds and finished with 70 points in the paint.

Urbana could not find any room to operate on offense as Ohio State forced 32 turnovers, which led to 57 points off turnovers and 47 fast-break points. Redshirt senior guard Linnae Harper led the full-court press, scoring 25 points and racking up six steals.

“I thought we played really hard,” head coach Kevin McGuff said. “That’s sometimes hard to do when you get up and get such a big lead like we had.”

McGuff said he thought his team’s effort against Ashland was inconsistent, so Ohio State’s relentlessness against the Blue Knights pleased the head coach.

“That was the hardest I’ve ever seen us play,” senior guard Asia Doss said. “Meaning hustle, we got the extra pass, took the extra shot. We did little things that we’ve probably never done which is good.”

Senior guard Kelsey Mitchell finished with a double-double as she scored 26 points and added 12 assists. She was perfect from the free-throw line, drilling all seven of her shots from the charity stripe. The Buckeyes went 28-for-38 from the line, while Urbana shot just two free throws, missing them both.

Urbana could not keep the game close for more than a minute as the Blue Knights relinquished their lead 1:27 into the game and never regained it.

Ohio State extended its 33-23 first-quarter lead by outscoring Urbana 46-14 in the second quarter, which included a run of the home team making nine consecutive shots. The Buckeyes crossed the 50-point threshold with six minutes remaining in the second quarter and continued to pour on points. They ended the first half on a 25-2 run and went into halftime with a commanding 42-point lead.

Ohio State continued extending its lead in the second half behind a 34-12 third quarter and low scoring 22-5 fourth quarter. All five starters for the Buckeyes finished with 20-plus points.

Harper said McGuff told the Buckeyes the should focus on improving what they have been working on in practice, rather than beating Urbana in their final exhibition game.

“Overall, we played well as a team,” Harper said. “Our energy was high, everybody was focused and it definitely showed up in the scoreboard.”

Forwards Alexa Hart and Makayla Waterman missed the Buckeyes’ first exhibition versus Ashland on Oct. 29 due to a sprained ankle and sore knee, respectively, but were back in action against Urbana. Hart scored four points in 14 minutes, while Waterman added six points in 25 minutes.

“I thought they both played pretty well given the fact they haven’t played yet this year,” McGuff said. “It was good to be able to get them on the court and kind of make sure their timing was back and kind of get the kinks out for those two.”

McGuff said Hart is feeling “really good,” but will not play long stretches since her conditioning level is not yet at full strength. Sophomore forward Jensen Caretti did not play back she was sick, McGuff said.

The Buckeyes open the regular season at 6 p.m. Friday when they take on No. 10 Stanford at St. John Arena.

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