Jan. 27, 2018
COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State women’s basketball team had been reeling for the last week and a half but in the fourth quarter on Saturday at Value City Arena, Michigan State found itself on the receiving end of a three-game stress relief.
The Buckeyes were 12-of-14 shooting (85.7 percent) in the final quarter which took a two-point game and turned it into a stress-free 78-62 victory over the Spartans. The win snapped not a three-game losing streak on the season but a three-game skid against Michigan State.
Kelsey Mitchell entered the game just 18 points shy of Rachel Banham’s all-time Big Ten scoring record of 3,093 points. Once she picked-up her fourth foul with 2:03 left in the third quarter, Mitchell had 15 points and it looked as if the record might hold for another game. But she hit back-to-back threes in a 17-second spurt to not only eclipse the mark but help the Buckeyes shove the lead out to 20 points with just over two minutes remaining. Mitchell finished with a game-high 23 points and also had four rebounds, three assists and two steals. She now has 3,098 career points which is seventh all-time in NCAA history.
— OSU W Basketball (@OhioState_WBB) January 27, 2018
Not to be out shadowed on the day was the play Linnae Harper and Stephanie Mavunga. Harper was 10-of-14 from the floor and finished with 22 points, 10 rebounds five assists and a season-high tying five steals. Mavunga nearly matched her as she was 8-of-10 shooting for 20 points, nine rebounds and three blocks.
Jenna Allen led three Spartans in double-figures with 16 points.
The Buckeyes had struggled shooting the ball over the past two and half games and they didn’t exactly light it up through the first three quarters on Saturday. But the fourth quarter hopefully lifted the lid on the basket and made basketball fun again.
OSU led by just one point at the end of one and used an Asia Doss three-pointer that beat the halftime buzzer to take a 32-29 lead into the break.
Mitchell scored five-straight points to give the Buckeyes a 50-42 lead, which was their largest lead of the game to that point, and force an MSU timeout midway through the third quarter. But the Spartans rebounded and cut the deficit to just three heading to the fourth quarter.
MSU would get to as close as two points early in the fourth and that’s when head coach Kevin McGuff reinserted Mitchell with her four fouls back into the lineup and the rest was history.
The Buckeyes remain at home next week as they will host Penn State on Wednesday, Jan. 31 at 7 p.m.