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COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State knew the task would be tall and they played No. 4 UConn toe-to-toe for the majority of the game but the more experienced Huskies pulled away down the stretch for a 73-62 victory Sunday afternoon in front of 8,909 fans at Value City Arena.
Buckeye freshman Kierstan Bell had her best game of the young season, shooting 50 percent from the floor and finishing with a season-high 16 points. She also added four rebounds and a couple of first half steals.
Aaliyah Patty was the only other Buckeye in double-figures as she made a career-high three three-pointers and finished with 11 points. Fellow sophomore Dorka Juhasz pulled down 11 rebounds and had eight points while Braxtin Miller added nine points, six rebounds and three assists.
The Buckeyes shot well in the opening half and the spread was never more than four points either way. The Huskies led 15-14 at the end of the first and 33-31 at halftime. Patty made her third three-pointer on the opening possession of the second half and the Buckeyes would build as much as a five-point lead three minutes into third quarter.
UConn then found their footing from the floor. The Huskies missed their first six three-pointers of the game and then went 8-of-15 from long range the rest of the way. They also hit a couple of big back-breaking buckets at the end of the shot clock which kept the moment in the visitors favor.
Bell knocked-down a three from the top of the arc and Miller stole an errant pass and hit Jacy Sheldon for a lay-in to bring the Buckeyes within six at 67-61 with 2:24 to play. But that was as close as they would get in the fourth quarter.
An early season point of emphasis for head coach Kevin McGuff and his staff was to limit the turnovers. On Sunday, the Buckeyes were as poised as they have been with the ball in any game this season and committed a season-low 12 turnovers. They also had nine steals and four blocks on the other end.
The Buckeyes have finished their Tour de Ohio to open the season and will leave the state for the first time as they head to the South Point Shootout in Las Vegas this week. Ohio State will take on South Dakota on Friday at 6:30 p.m. ET and then Northern Iowa on Saturday, Nov. 30 at 8:45 p.m. ET.