March 3, 2018
Box Score (PDF)
Ohio State Postgame Quotes (PDF)
Minnesota Postgame Quotes (PDF)
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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Stephanie Mavunga scored 26 points, grabbed a tournament record 21 rebounds and swatted seven shots as the top-seeded Buckeyes needed every one of them to hold on for a 90-88 victory over Minnesota Saturday night in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals.
Ohio State advances to the Big Ten Tournament championship game for the 10th time in program history and will face the winner of the game between Maryland and Nebraska.
Mavunga’s 21 rebounds were a Big Ten Tournament record and it was the first 20/20 game in tournament history. Her seven blocks were also a season-high and put her over 300 for her career.
Kelsey Mitchell also came up big for the Buckeyes as she scored a game-high 30 points and dished-out a career-high tying nine assists.
The game featured the No. 3 and No. 4 scoring teams in the country and it certainly lived up to its billing through the first three quarters. Minnesota led 77-75 at the end of three and the fourth quarter turned into a war of attrition. The teams combined to shoot just 22 percent in the final quarter (8-of-36).
Ohio State held the Gophers to just one field goal over the final 4:40 of the game. That make was a three-pointer with five seconds remaining. The Buckeyes weren’t able to put the game away as they were just 5-of-12 from the line in the fourth quarter. But none-the-less, Ohio State was able to survive and advance which is the name of the game in March.
The Buckeyes opened the game quick and grabbed an early seven point advantage. Minnesota then caught fire and ended the first quarter on a 19-4 run to take a 32-22 lead. Wagner had 19 of her 26 points in the opening quarter.
The back and forth play continued in the second as OSU went on a 13-2 run to start the quarter to retake a 35-34 lead. The teams traded buckets for the next five minutes and then traded late mini runs that left the Buckeyes with a 51-50 edge at halftime.
The third quarter alone featured four ties and six lead changes as it was played within a six-point margin. Minnesota scored at the buzzer to head into the fourth with a 77-75 lead.
Ohio State made two shots early in the fourth to tie the game but then went cold, missing eight-straight from the floor over a four minute span. That allowed the Gophers to build an 85-79 lead with 4:40 to play. But as stated before, Minnesota made just one three-pointer the rest of the way as the Buckeyes closed-out the game on an 11-3 run.
Big Ten Tournament Notes
Ohio State will face the winner of the second semifinal contest between Maryland and Nebraska. The championship game is slated for Sunday evening at 7 p.m. and can be seen on ESPN2.