Ohio State Gets By Liberty 75-65
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. – The No. 11/14 Ohio State women’s basketball team survived a gritty effort from Liberty and came away with a 75-65 victory on Friday on the opening day of the South Point Shootout in Las Vegas, Nev.
The Buckeyes win their third game in a row and improve to 3-2 on the season while Liberty falls to 2-3.
The Short Story
It wasn’t the prettiest of games for either side. The Buckeyes shot just 40 percent and had 12 turnovers while forcing a season-high 29 Liberty turnovers. But down the stretch, Ohio State turned to All-American Kelsey Mitchell as well as forward Alexa Hart to pull out a tough victory. Mitchell made four free throws and Hart had six points over the final six and half minutes.
Mitchell led everyone with 20 points, marking her 30th 20-point game of her career. She is now just 14 points away from 1,000 in her career. Shayla Cooper was a force for the Buckeyes inside against the big front line of the Flames. Cooper had just seven points but grabbed 10 rebounds and dished-out a career-high six rebounds. She was limited only by foul trouble as she fouled-out late in the four the quarter.
After a slow start, the Buckeyes went on a 21-5 run over a four minute span in the second quarter to take an 11-point lead. Ohio State led by eight at the half 44-36. The Flames then came out of the break and evened the score at 44 just three minutes into the second half.
Liberty took its only lead of the second half 61-60 but Cooper countered with a jumper and Cait Craft created a steal which led to a free throw by Mitchell to swing the lead back to the Buckeyes for good. Ohio State’s defense, which was suffocating most of the day, limited the Flames to just four points over the final 7:29 of the game.
Liberty’s post players held their own in the paint as Ashley Rinninger scored 18 points and six rebounds and Catherine Kearney added 11 points and eight rebounds.
Ohio State Individual Notes
- Kelsey Mitchell had 20 points and is now 14 points away from 1,000 in her career. She has played 40 games in her career. The Big Ten record for fastest to 1,000 career points is 47 games by Penn State’s Kelly Mazzante.
- This was Mitchell’s 30th game with at least 20 points
- Forward Alexa Hart scored a season-high 18 points. She also blocked one shot, giving her at least one blocked shot in 25-straight games.
- Shayla Cooper dished-out a career-high six assists to go along with 10 rebounds. It was the 10th game in her career with 10 or more rebounds.
- With the win, head coach Kevin McGuff is one win shy of his 300th career victory.
Ohio State will face it’s third top-10 team in two weeks when it take on No. 10/9 Texas A&M on Saturday, Nov. 28. The Aggies opened the tournament with a solid 75-58 win over No. 15 Cal. The game will be streamed online at sporttourslive.net.