Bloomington, Indiana — The Hoosiers and Buckeyes were both fighting to keep win streaks alive Saturday afternoon in Assembly Hall. Indiana was at home with seven under their belt, and Ohio State came into town searching for their third straight win. The Buckeyes wasted little time in taking the lead after winning.
Riding on the backs of Stephanie Mavunga and Kelsey Mitchell, Ohio State shut down Indiana’s weapon, Tyra Buss, and secured their second straight Big Ten victory, 92-82.
Taking advantage of a slower paced Hoosier start, Ohio State jumped to a 29-14 lead at the end of one. Buckeyes’ Shayla Cooper sunk a pair of threes to get the momentum going, as Indiana was giving Cooper the open shot, and she made them pay.
“We had the right scouting report, right?” said Indiana coach Teri Moren. “I mean, in theory, we did. We were going to give her those and make her beat us from the outside. And then she hit her first and her second…”
Unfortunately for Indiana, Buss struggled from every vantage point and went into the locker room with zero points at the half as Ohio State led 48-29. She was 0-8 field goals and 0-3 from the three-point line.
However, it wasn’t only Buss that struggled. The Hoosiers couldn’t get early shots to fall going 5-for-19 in the opening quarter.
“They had a tremendous amount of confidence and momentum, and it just seemed like we tried to counter. And shots that we normally make, didn’t go in,” said Moren.
Once the third period began, Indiana started to sink some of their shots and make a comeback. The Hoosiers went 6-of-12 from the field in the third, however, six made attempts weren’t enough to close the gap.
Mitchell and Mavunga both knocked out season-highs, along with several other Buckeyes, who secured some impressive stats: Mitchell tied a season-high with 31 points, plus a season-high of six rebounds and five assists, while Mavunga notched her seventh double-double with 14 points and a career-high 17 rebounds.
Another Buckeye, who recorded another season best was Linnae Harper, who contributed 15 points.
Indiana had no answer for Mavunga inside the paint, and her dominating performance, caused so much havoc, as Indiana’s Amanda Cahill struggled to stay out of foul trouble.
However, Cahill was a bright light for the Hoosiers, and finished with a career-high 28 points paired with nine rebounds. Senior guard, Alexis Gassion, added in 14 points shooting 6-for-9 on the afternoon. Karlee McBride also hit double digits for the fifth time this season.
Despite Buss getting off to a rough start, in the third period, she still managed to make some move up the Indiana all-time school rankings. Buss extended her streaking of scoring in double-double digits to 52 straight games. Buss also picked up three steals, moving into the top-10 of all-time steals at 175.
Even with four players in double-digits, the Hoosiers couldn’t overcome their offensive struggles. Indiana shot a season-low of 39.1 percent, which never threatened the Buckeyes’ 50.7 percent.
“We have to have Karlee’s ability to shoot and stretch out the defense. When that happens, it opens up direct drives from Tyra and Lex…they know what I’m going to tell them, if you would’ve shot it better, it would’ve been a different outcome,” stated Moren following her team’s loss.
Both teams move on to Big Ten play for the new year. Indiana returns to Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall on Wednesday, Jan. 4 when it hosts Minnesota. Ohio State remains on the road to start the New Year as they will play at Northwestern on Tuesday, Jan. 3.