COLUMBUS, OH – Kelsey Mitchell didn’t stop making threes, even after one put Ohio State up by 20 points in the middle of the fourth quarter.
As No. 9 Ohio State looked to finish Quinnipiac on Friday, Mitchell hit two threes within 38 seconds of each other. The Buckeyes had control of the game – they were up by 20 points after she hit a three with 6:45 left.
In a game where the Buckeyes struggled to be consistent on offense, Mitchell scored a season-high 32 points in leading her team to a 95-63 rout over the Bobcats at Value City Arena.
With 4:09 left in the game, Mitchell made a three from the corner. That put the Buckeyes up 88-58, and when the clock read 3:30, she sat on the bench.
Mitchell didn’t even realize she finished the game shooting 6-of-9 from the 3-point line.
As she got into a rhythm through the game, she just kept shooting.
“It’s a flow,” Mitchell said. “Still try to play within the game system, try to play within the game plan, defensively and offensively. But whatever you see, try to go for it.”
The Buckeyes had four players score in double figures, including Mitchell. But the Buckeyes only led by 12 at the end of the third quarter; the Bobcats finished the quarter on a 7-0 run. A Sweet 16 team last season, the Bobcats played the Buckeyes tight inside, which forced the Buckeyes to look hard for quality shots throughout the game.
As a team, the Buckeyes couldn’t sustain a rhythm until the fourth quarter, when they began it on a 22-5 run. Coach Kevin McGuff knew he had to make sure his team wouldn’t falter in the fourth quarter.
“If we’re going to be a team that we’re capable of being, it’s gotta be a much more consistent mental effort for the course of 40 minutes,” McGuff said.
Ohio State finished the game shooting 45.1 percent from the field and 40.0 percent from three. The numbers went up and down throughout the game, but the Buckeyes earned better shots because of their rebounding efforts.
For most of the game, the Buckeyes were even with the Bobcats in terms of rebounding. But at the end of the game, the Buckeyes had a 14-rebound advantage over the Bobcats.
“That ended up much more like it was supposed to be,” McGuff said. “I don’t think it was necessarily physical effort on the boards, but mentally we didn’t all the block outs, we didn’t go to the offensive boards all the time.”
Before Ohio State played Quinnipiac on Friday evening, it was ranked No. 12 in the Big Ten for field goal percentage (40.9), but Mitchell and the Buckeyes shot above their average Friday.
Linnae Harper had a career-high 23 points to go along with 10 rebounds, but it was Mitchell wjmho was the difference maker Friday night.
"She (Mitchell) had a great second half and overall a great game for us tonight,” McGuff said.
Ohio State (3-1) will finish its five-game home stand to begin the season against Washington (1-1) on Sunday at 11 a.m. EST.