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Mitchell, Buckeyes seize 1st; sweep Maryland in landslide

Ohio State's Kelsey Mitchell scored 33 points Monday en route to a rematch victory against the Maryland Terrapins. With the win, the Buckeyes secured the top spot in the Big Ten conference.

Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

The last time the Maryland Terrapins and the Ohio State Buckeyes met, Saturday, Jan. 2 in College Park, Maryland was ranked fifth, Ohio State was ranked ninth, and the Buckeyes handed the Terps their first Big Ten loss, 80-71.

"The great thing about the game is that it humbles you and keeps you hungry, and it allows you to come back and work harder," Maryland head coach Brenda Frese said after that game. "I know this team will bounce back. Ohio State helped us improve today."

Monday night in a rematch, the Terps had an opportunity to prove their resilience, this time taking on Ohio State on the Buckeyes' home court. The Terps entered the game ranked fifth and the Buckeyes entered ranked seventh.

Maryland's Shatori Walker-Kimbrough had racked up a combined total of 71 points over the Terps' last two games, setting a new Maryland record in the process. For the Buckeyes, Kelsey Mitchell led the Big Ten in scoring with 24.7 points per game. Both teams were coming off wins and looking to continue to exert their dominance in the Big Ten.

Mitchell opened the game with a three-point-play to give the Buckeyes a quick lead. The Buckeyes continued to get to the paint and jumped to a 7-0 advantage, forcing Maryland to call a timeout with about 7:30 remaining in the first quarter.

Walker-Kimbrough got Maryland on the board after a steal and score. Kristen Confroy hit a three a few possessions later but an answer from Mitchell deeper in the quarter gave Ohio State a 15-7 lead.

Ameryst Alston was hot from deep early for the Buckeyes, draining three long balls in the first quarter alone to lead all scorers in the frame with 11 points. The Terps, meanwhile, were plagued by turnovers in the quarter, committing nine to Ohio State's three. The Buckeyes led 24-19 at the end of one.

Maryland looked to attack from the get-go in the second quarter, bringing it to within three at 24-21, Buckeyes. A Walker-Kimbrough three brought it within two with about two and a half minutes left in the half. Mitchell followed with a two then sunk a long three seconds later to push the Ohio State lead to 43-36.

The Terps weren't able to get anything on the last possession of the half, so the Buckeyes held on to a 47-40 lead at the break. Through two quarters, Mitchell led all scorers with 18 points on 7-of-14 shooting including going 3-of-5 from deep. On the other side, Maryland's Tierney Pfirman had 10 on 4-of-4 shooting off the bench. The Terps out-rebounded the Buckeyes 27 to 12 and put back 12 second chance points to the Buckeyes' two.

Confroy saw her first and second free throws of the season in the third quarter and made them both. Another steal and score from Walker-Kimbrough brought the Terps within three about halfway through the quarter, but an Alston three on the next possession put the score at 57-51, Buckeyes.

Late in the third quarter, a 10-0 Ohio State run capped by an Asia Doss three broke open the lead to 64-51, the largest margin of the game up to that point. Doss knocked down another one from deep minutes later, marking the twelfth Ohio State three of the game. The Buckeyes led 75-61 through three quarters.

Maryland's Brene Moseley struck first in the fourth quarter with a layup, but two consecutive transition layups from Mitchell kept the Buckeyes ahead 79-63. A three by Pfirman with just under six minutes remaining in the game brought the Terps within 10.

Mitchell sunk two free throws with four minutes remaining to secure her 30th and 31st points of the game. Two more free throws a minute and a half later added to her total.

Maryland continued to turn the ball over on key possessions in the fourth, allowing Ohio State to maintain a double-digit lead. Brionna Jones put in the work down low for Maryland, scoring a career-high 28 points on 14-of-18 shooting. Pfirman finished with 16, Walker-Kimbrough had 14, and Confroy had 13. Mitchell dropped 33, Alston had 22, Alexa Hart had 17 and Shayla Cooper put up 11 for the Buckeyes.

At the final buzzer the Terps saw the result of 23 turnovers in the form of a 94-86 loss, just their second loss in the Big Ten. Ohio State secured the top spot in the conference with the win.

Next up for the Buckeyes is Iowa on Thursday, Feb. 11. The Terps look to take on Purdue the same day.