Las Vegas, NV — The second game of the Play4Kay Tournament on Mandalay Bay Events Center saw a special matchup between the No. 9 Ohio State Buckeyes and Memphis Tigers.
Behind a career effort from senior Stephanie Mavunga, the Buckeyes were able to coast to a 100-69 win, giving head coach Kevin McGuff a milestone victory.
The Buckeyes came out strong and took control of the game early with a 15-0 run. Memphis had some drives to keep them close in the game, but Ohio State was able to win multiple rebounds to give them more opportunities to score -- which is exactly what they did.
At the end of the first, Ohio State had a 35-17 lead.
Despite being down by early in the first period, Memphis kept their head in the game and was able to get momentum right before halftime. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough as the Buckeyes now where up 56-34 on the Tigers.
In the third period the Buckeyes were able to hold their lead, but the Tigers were able to create opportunities as Ohio State tried to trap them. Memphis was unable to get many points but created more shots from outside.
Despite creating more shots, Memphis was still trailing 86-49 going into the final quarter.
With less than three minutes left in the fourth quarter, the Buckeyes were able to hit 100 on the scoreboard with many points from different players.
Ohio State senior forward Mavunga led the Buckeyes with 35 points and 16 rebounds — a career high for her.
According to Mavunga, having fun was the key to her success.
“When you are having fun out there, you know I always say play hard, play smart, have fun,” Mavunga said. “I think the more fun you have out there the less pressure you have on yourself, you can focus better."
This was an extra special Thanksgiving win for the Buckeyes, especially for head coach Kevin McGuff, as he achieved his 100th win as a Buckeye. Being humble, he says that the amazing players he has had is the reason he has hit 100 wins.
“We have had really good players here, and at this point, everything has gone very quickly," McGuff said. "I can’t believe we are already at that point but we have had great players. Thats how you get wins, your players."
Mavunga chipped in, noting that his players enjoy playing for him and respect him because they know he will always be there for them.
“He’s really here for us. If there is anything he can do for us, he will do whatever it takes to make us better,” said Mavunga. “I am really excited for him to have his 100th win, he's a phenomenal coach and even better person.”
The Buckeyes will take on FGCU tomorrow in the semifinals of the Play4Kay Tournament at the Mandalay Bay Event Center tomorrow at 5:30 pm PT.