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Women’s Basketball: South Florida routs No. 13 Ohio State 84-65

Ohio State senior guard Kelsey Mitchell (3) dribbles past defenders in the second quarter against Michigan State on Jan. 27 at the Schottenstein Center. The Buckeyes beat the Spartans 78-62. Credit: Alyssia Graves | Assistant Sports Director

The South Florida women’s basketball team gave No. 13 Ohio State a hint of what was to come for the rest of the Sunday afternoon’s game in the first quarter. The Bulls jumped out to a 31-13 lead by the end of the opening quarter behind 18 points from junior guard Kitija Laksa.

The Buckeyes pulled back within 12 points at the beginning of the third quarter, but could not complete a comeback and fell 84-65 to South Florida to end their four-game win streak. Ohio State has lost four of its past eight games.

Laksa made 15-of-27 shots, including 8-of-13 3-pointers, and scored 41 points, nearly half of her team’s points. Maria Jespersen aided her, dropping 20 points and grabbing 14 rebounds. Just two players scored more than eight points, despite South Florida scoring 84 points. Senior guard Laia Flores added 11 assists.

South Florida shot 46 percent from the field, compared to Ohio State’s 42 percent shooting. The Bulls did most of their damage from beyond the 3-point line and on second-chance opportunities.

The made 11-of-22 3-pointers, while the Buckeyes shot 6-for-20 from 3-point range.

The Bulls outrebounded Ohio State 46-26 and grabbed 15 offensive rebounds. South Florida had 17 second-chance points. No Buckeye had more than six rebounds, including redshirt forward Stephanie Mavunga, who averages a double-double.

Mavunga kept Ohio State in the game offensively, though. She went 13-for-16 from the field, scoring 28 points. Mavunga also blocked four shots.

No other Ohio State player managed to deal much damage offensively. The rest of the road team shot 13-for-45 and scored a combined 37 points. Senior guard Kelsey Mitchell scored 19 points, but hit just 6-of-15 shots and went 2-for-8 from beyond the arc. For the first time this season, redshirt senior guard Linnae Harper scored less than 10 points. She had five points on 2-of-10 shooting.

South Florida held a 19-13 assist advantage. Ohio State turned the ball over just six times, but forced the Bulls into 11 turnovers.

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