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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Stephanie Mavunga scored 26 points, grabbed a tournament record 21 rebounds and swatted seven shots as the top-seeded Buckeyes needed every one of them to hold on for a 90-88 victory over Minnesota Saturday night in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals.
Ohio State advances to the Big Ten Tournament championship game for the 10th time in program history and will face the winner of the game between Maryland and Nebraska.
Mavunga’s 21 rebounds were a Big Ten Tournament record and it was the first 20/20 game in tournament history. Her seven blocks were also a season-high and put her over 300 for her career.
Kelsey Mitchell also came up big for the Buckeyes as she scored a game-high 30 points and dished-out a career-high tying nine assists.
The game featured the No. 3 and No. 4 scoring teams in the country and it certainly lived up to its billing through the first three quarters. Minnesota led 77-75 at the end of three and the fourth quarter turned into a war of attrition. The teams combined to shoot just 22 percent in the final quarter (8-of-36).
Ohio State held the Gophers to just one field goal over the final 4:40 of the game. That make was a three-pointer with five seconds remaining. The Buckeyes weren’t able to put the game away as they were just 5-of-12 from the line in the fourth quarter. But none-the-less, Ohio State was able to survive and advance which is the name of the game in March.
The Buckeyes opened the game quick and grabbed an early seven point advantage. Minnesota then caught fire and ended the first quarter on a 19-4 run to take a 32-22 lead. Wagner had 19 of her 26 points in the opening quarter.
The back and forth play continued in the second as OSU went on a 13-2 run to start the quarter to retake a 35-34 lead. The teams traded buckets for the next five minutes and then traded late mini runs that left the Buckeyes with a 51-50 edge at halftime.
The third quarter alone featured four ties and six lead changes as it was played within a six-point margin. Minnesota scored at the buzzer to head into the fourth with a 77-75 lead.
Ohio State made two shots early in the fourth to tie the game but then went cold, missing eight-straight from the floor over a four minute span. That allowed the Gophers to build an 85-79 lead with 4:40 to play. But as stated before, Minnesota made just one three-pointer the rest of the way as the Buckeyes closed-out the game on an 11-3 run.
- Ohio State advances to the Big Ten Tournament finals for the ninth time and the first since 2015.
- With the win, Ohio State advances to their 10th Big Ten Tournament Championship game. The Buckeyes hold an all-time 5-4 record in Big Ten Tournament final games. Ohio State is now 42-19 in Big Ten Tournament play.
- Kelsey Mitchell scored 30 points and improved her career scoring total to 3,338.
- Mitchell ranks third on the NCAA career scoring list and is 55 points from moving into second on the list.
- Mitchell increased her NCAA record for career 3-point field goals to 485. Mitchell is 12 3-pointers from breaking the NCAA single season record.
- Mitchell has now attempted 2,500 shots in her career, breaking Minnesota’s Rachel Banham’s NCAA record of 2,496.
- Stephanie Mavunga scored 26 points and recorded 21 rebounds as she tallied her 15th double-double of the season and her 54th career double-double.
- Ohio State trailed Minnesota 85-79 with 4:40 to play in the fourth quarter and ended the game with a 11-3 run to win the game, 90-88.
Big Ten Tournament Notes
- Kelsey Mitchell now has 240 career points in nine Big Ten Tournament. That total ranks second most and is 17 points off the 257 by Ohio State alum Jantel Lavender (2008-11, 10 games).
- The 21 rebounds by Stephanie Mavunga are a new Big Ten Tournament record. The previous record was 19 by Jenna Smith from Illinois on 3/4/10 vs. Indiana.
- Mavunga shot 10-of-13 from the field (76.9 percent), which ranks ninth in tournament history for single game field goal percentage. Mavunga has a field goals percentage of 77.2 percent (17-of-22) for the entire Big Ten Tournament, which currently ranks second for an entire Big Ten Tournament.
- The seven blocks are Mavunga are tied for seventh in a single game in the Big Ten Tournament.
- The 26 points and 21 rebounds for Mavunga are the first 20/20 game in tournament history.
Ohio State will face the winner of the second semifinal contest between Maryland and Nebraska. The championship game is slated for Sunday evening at 7 p.m. and can be seen on ESPN2.
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