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ESTERO, Fla. -- The Buckeyes big three of Kelsey Mitchell, Shayla Cooper and Stephanie Mavunga all stepped-up on Friday night to help No. 8 Ohio State to a 79-66 victory in the opening game of the Gulf Coast Showcase at the Germain Arena.
Mitchell scored a game-high 25 points and became Ohio State's all-time three-point leader in the process with four threes on the night. Cooper scored 16 points and grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds for her first double-double of the season. Mavunga had 13 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks for her third double-double in four games this season.
Ohio State grabbed 52 rebounds in the game and has now grabbed 50 or more rebounds in four of the first five games. The Buckeyes also limited FGCU to just 29.9 percent from the floor but it was the 12 three-point field goals that kept the Eagles in the game.
It was a slow start shooting wise for both teams. The Buckeyes were just 1-of-8 in the period from long range and shot just 39 percent overall. FGCU was even worse, shooting under 30 percent. All of that led to an 18-16 Ohio State lead after one. Mavunga and Cooper each had six points in the quarter.
The second quarter was a back-and-forth quarter. The Buckeyes had the first run as a Makayla Waterman lay-up was followed by a Mitchell three and a Mavunga lay-up giving OSU a 26-21 lead and FGCU took timeout. The Eagles came back with seven-straight of their own on a couple of free throws and a lay-up and three-ball by Taylor Gradinjan. Now it was the Buckeyes turn to take a timeout trailing 27-26. The rest of the quarter was played nip and tuck. OSU led 36-32 and was looking for the final shot but Mitchell's turnover led to a Mikala McGhee three-pointer as time ran down. That sent the teams to the locker rooms with OSU in front 36-35.
Mitchell had seven points and Cooper had six points in the quarter as the Buckeyes built as much as a 54-42 lead. But Nasrin Ulel hit three-straight three-pointers in the last two and a half minutes of the quarter to bring the Eagles within six at 54-48.
After an Eagles three cut the lead to 56-51, the Buckeyes went on a 9-0 run thanks to a Mitchell lay-up, a Sierra Calhoun jumper and a deep three-pointer by Mitchell to force an FGCU timeout with 5:50 to play. The lead never got into single digits the rest of the way.
The Buckeyes advance to face the winner of the Syracuse and George Washington game on Saturday evening at 7:30 p.m.
Ohio State Postgame Notes
- Kelsey Mitchell broke Caity Matter's school record of 270 career three-pointers in the game. She now has 273 in her career.
- Stephanie Mavunga has played in four of the five games this season and has notched a double-double in three of those four games.
- Shayla Cooper grabbed 14 rebounds in the game which was her most rebounds since grabbing 15 last season on Dec. 2 at Notre Dame.
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