Ohio State's wunderkind Kelsey Mitchell, and their post Alexa Hart just wouldn't be denied on Saturday. They were on a mission against Maryland.
Following a 79-63 victory to open their Big Ten conference schedule Thursday, the Maryland Terrapins fell to the Ohio State Buckeyes 80-71 Saturday in front of their home crowd.
Kristen Confroy got the start for the Terps after a game-high 17 points against the Illini, but couldn't seem to find the same magic in Saturday's contest, finishing with six points and four fouls. Brene Moseley carried the Terps offensively, securing a double-double off the bench with 20 points and 10 assists.
On the other side of the ball, Buckeye duo Mitchell and Hart drove the bulk of the offense, combining to score 48 of Ohio State's 80 points.
The Terps held an 18-14 lead at the end of the first quarter after Ohio State missed eight shot attempts to open the game. Freshman Brianna Fraser made two free throws for Maryland with less than a second remaining to close the quarter.
A Buckeye double-team limited Maryland center Brionna Jones to just two points in the first half. She finished with 10 points and nine rebounds in 28 minutes, but her lack of offense in the opening frames left Maryland in a vulnerable position to open the second half.
An and-1 from Mitchell (28 points) and a jumper by Hart (20 points) in the waning seconds of the first half tightened the score, leaving Maryland with a 40-37 lead heading into the locker room.
Jones was forced to sit early in the second half after picking up her third foul around the 9:35 mark of the third quarter. The Buckeyes capitalized on the junior's absence, going on a 7-0 run to gain a 46-42 edge - their first lead of the game - before a Confroy three closed the gap to one.
With about 2:15 remaining in the third quarter, Mitchell tallied another and-1, bringing the score to 61-55, Ohio State. By the end of the third, the Buckeyes held a 61-57 advantage, with help from 18 Maryland turnovers.
The Terps looked to make a resurgence in the fourth quarter, trying to gain momentum after Ohio State's Shayla Cooper (11 points, 10 rebounds) fouled out with over eight minutes left in the game. A three from Shatori Walker-Kimbrough brought the Terps within one possession, forcing the Buckeyes to call a timeout with 3:09 left on the clock and a 72-60 lead.
The Mitchell-Hart team struck again to seal the deal with about a minute and a half remaining after Mitchell drove to the lane, drew multiple Maryland defenders, and flipped a no-look, over-the-shoulder pass to Hart for an easy bucket and a 78-69 lead. The Buckeyes held on to win, moving to 2-0 in Big Ten play.
The Terps look to bounce back from the defeat when they take on Nebraska in College Park on Thursday, Jan. 7 at 7 p.m.