Mitchell, Harper help No. 9 Ohio State beat Quinnipiac 95-63
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Linnae Harper helped Ohio State get off to a fast start, and when Kelsey Mitchell going the ninth-ranked Buckeyes just ran away from Quinnipiac.
Mitchell scored 32 points, Linnae Harper had a second consecutive double-double with 23 points and 10 rebounds, and Ohio State beat the Bobcats 95-63 Friday night.
Mitchell was a perfect 3 for 3 in the fourth quarter, with all of her shots coming from 3-point range during a 13-0 run in the middle of the period that pushed the Buckeyes’ lead to 88-58 with 4:09 remaining. She finished the game 11 of 20 from the field and 6 of 9 on 3s.
“I just got in one of those flows, one of those rhythms,” Mitchell said. “But I didn’t know it was 6 for 9.”
Stephanie Mavunga added 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Buckeyes (3-1).
Harper led the way in the first quarter with 12 points and Mitchell picked up the slack in the second with 10. The duo combined for 28 points in the first half to give the Buckeyes a 46-32 lead at the break.
Mitchell was able to get the Buckeyes out in transition as the game went along and they began to rebound better, but Harper was a consistent presence on around the rim and a threat from deep throughout. At just 5-foot-8, the senior guard is averaging a double-double nearly 20 points and more than 11 rebounds through four games.
“Linnae is playing at an all-time elite level right now,” Mitchell said. “I hope it prolongs to the end of the season because she deserves it. She’s a really great player. She’s always helping me out and I just want to get it right back to her whenever she’s open or whenever she’s having a field day, so you got to reward her.”
Aryn McClure and Jen Fay scored 15 points each to lead the Bobcats (0-3). Fay also had nine rebounds.
Quinnipiac trailed by 12 heading into the fourth quarter, but Ohio State finished the game on a 20-5 run.
The game became out of hand late, but Quinnipiac disrupted Ohio State inside for the better part of three quarters, and trailed by just 12 points heading to the fourth. The Buckeyes then had a 30-point fourth quarter, finishing the game on a 20-5 run.
The Bobcats had 16 offensive rebounds and forced 14 turnovers, but Ohio State did finish with a plus-15 rebounding margin. Buckeyes coach Kevin McGuff acknowledged the team must be more consistent on the glass.
“I don’t think it was necessarily a physical effort on the boards, but mentally, we didn’t get all the blockouts, we didn’t go for the offensive boards all the time, and that’s mental stuff,” he said. “I just want our players to understand that mentally they’ve got to be more locked in to closer to 40 minutes.”
Ohio State: The Buckeyes have one more game before a challenging slate of three games in three days at the Play4Kay Showcase in Las Vegas beginning Thanksgiving Day.
Quinnipiac: The reigning Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference champions finally have their first home game next week after three games against Power 5 conference teams to open the season.
STAT OF THE NIGHT
Quinnipiac shot just 29 percent from the field Friday. That is the lowest opponent shooting percentage versus Ohio State since last Dec. 21 against Winthrop.
SHE SAID IT
McClure shot 56 percent and averaged 11.7 points per game in Quinnipiac’s run to the Sweet 16 for the first-time in program history. The Bobcats returned three of their top four scorers from last year, but have lost their first three games. McClure said those games have given the team an idea of what it takes to reach the tournament again.
“We take away a lot. We know what we need to do defensively,” she said. “We know we need to close out every quarter. We also learned our matchups and how we can get better offensively to get open. We are turning the next page ... the game is done, but these last three games have been learning. These aren’t bad losses, especially since we want to go back to the tournament, so these are the teams that we are going to be facing.”
Ohio State: Hosts Washington on Sunday.
Quinnipiac: Hosts Northern Colorado on Wednesday.