No. 9 Ohio State beats Idaho 99-56 for 1,000th victory
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Linnae Harper and Stephanie Mavunga helped No. 9 Ohio State bounce back from its first loss to beat Idaho 99-56 on Wednesday night for the 1,000th victory in program history.
At 1,000-428, Ohio State became the ninth Division I women’s program to reach the milestone. The Buckeyes split with a pair of top 10 teams in their first games — beating then-No. 10 Stanford 85-64 and losing 95-90 in overtime to Louisville, which was ninth at the time but moved to fifth in the latest AP poll.
“We really needed this win. It’s tough losing but we can’t dwell on it,” Harper said.
Harper had 18 points and a career-high 18 rebounds — 13 in the first half.
Mavunga scored 14 of her 17 points in the first half and had 14 rebounds for Ohio State (2-1). She had her 40th career double-double by halftime.
“She gives us that inside presence,” Ohio State coach Kevin McGuff said about Mavunga. “What she does is give us more balance. We can be shot-happy from the perimeter and we can get her the ball around the basket.”
Kelsey Mitchell added 16 points for Ohio State, Sierra Calhoun had 15, and Jensen Caretti 14.
“I have a lot more confidence than I did in the past. I feel more comfortable,” Caretti said.
Mikayla Ferenz led the Vandals (1-1) with 17 points. Idaho shot 37 percent from the floor, including 6 for 32 (19 percent) on 3-pointers.
Idaho opened the season tying the school record with 18 made 3-pointers in a 83-69 win over Colorado State. That’s not surprising because the Vandals were third in the NCAA last season for made treys. The Vandals kept firing against the Buckeyes but went 2 for 11 from beyond the arc in the first quarter and trailed 23-11. OSU went on an 18-0 run while holding Idaho scoreless for 6:36.
“It was too bad because we got the looks,” Idaho coach Jon Newlee said. “We got the ball to fall at Fort Collins (Colorado State). With those same looks we made 18 for 36. Tonight we had the same guys shooting, great looks. We just couldn’t put the ball through the hoop.
“You’re nerves are going and you’re playing the eighth team in the country or whatever it is, they deserved it. I thought we were rushing the shots because of who we were playing.”
Even though Ohio State played its first two games of the season in Columbus, neither was in their normal home, Value City Arena. The first game was at St. John Arena, the former venue for the program before the start of the 1998-99 season. The second was downtown at Nationwide Arena, site of the 2018 Women’s Final Four.
Although they had never played each other before Wednesday, they have shared history. Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer began her head coaching career at Idaho from 1978-80 before spending the next five seasons at Ohio State.
Idaho: The Vandals return their three top players from last season when they won their first postseason game in 31 years in advancing to the semifinals of the Women’s Basketball Invitational. Playing against a formidable opponent, despite the final score, provides more invaluable experience. “You can understand what it takes at least to compete at this level,” Newlee said.
Ohio State: The Buckeyes could have easily been complacent against Idaho after two tough games, but to their credit they stayed focused.
Idaho continues its five-game trip to open the season Saturday at Abilene Christian
Ohio State plays the second game in a stretch of three games in five days when it hosts Quinnipiac on Friday. The Buckeyes are home Sunday against Washington.