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Women’s Basketball: No. 18 Ohio State handles Penn State 94-64

Ohio State senior guard Kelsey Mitchell dribbles the ball down the court during the Buckeyes’ victory against Penn State on Jan. 31. Credit: James King | Sports Director

The Ohio State women’s basketball team needed less than a quarter to run away with a victory Wednesday night against Penn State. The Buckeyes went on a 14-0 streak during a four-minute stretch in the middle of the opening frame to pull away. By the end of the first quarter, senior guard Kelsey Mitchell had 12 of Ohio State’s 24 points, more than the Nittany Lions’ entire team, which had just 10 points.

Ohio State progressively built its lead and cruised to a 94-64 win against Penn State at the Schottenstein Center behind a dominant performance in all phases of the game.

Even when things went wrong for the Buckeyes, the result went in Ohio State’s favor. Mitchell airballed one of her seven missed 3-point attempts, but redshirt junior forward Makayla Waterman grabbed the whiffed shot out of the air and put it back up to give the home team a 63-38 lead with 3:15 left in the third quarter.

The Buckeyes (18-5, 7-3 Big Ten) never trailed and outscored the Nittany Lions (13-10, 4-6 Big Ten) in every quarter. Ohio State made 46 percent of its shots, while Penn State hit just 27 percent.

Ohio State took advantage of Penn State’s frequent missed shots and missteps, scoring 21 points off turnovers. The Buckeyes had just seven turnovers, compared to the Nittany Lions’ 15 turnovers.

Mitchell followed up her strong first quarter by accumulating a game-high 27 points on 9-of-16 shots. She hit 5-of-12 shots from beyond the arc.

The Buckeyes had a season-high 23 assists. No one had more than Mitchell’s five assists, but four players had at least four. Penn State, which entered the game averaging the second-least assists per game in the Big Ten, assisted on only nine made shots.

Redshirt senior forward Stephanie Mavunga and the rest of the Buckeyes took advantage of an undersized Penn State front court, holding a 48-20 scoring advantage in the paint. Mavunga dropped 19 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Ohio State held a 46-37 edge in rebounds.

I thought our ball movement tonight and making the extra pass was as good as it’s been all season,” McGuff said. “The other thing that we’ve done the last two game that we weren’t doing as well at the beginning of the year, we’re getting the ball inside. That gives us a little bit more balance in our offense and everything seems to flow a little bit better at that point.”

Redshirt senior guard Linnae Harper added 13 points, snagged 10 rebounds and had three assists. Redshirt senior forward Alexa Hart added 12 points, the most in a game since November.

“That’s as good as [Hart has] been in a little while,” McGuff said. “Hopefully that gives her a lot of confidence, and it should.”

Redshirt sophomore guard Amari Carter led Penn State with 12 points and had a team-leading nine rebounds, as well. Nittany Lion starting guards Teniya Page and Jaida Travascio-Green combined for 27 points, but the pair went 7-for-22 from the floor.

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