After playing three games in a three-day span, the Ohio State women’s basketball team finished in third place in the Paradise Jam tournament in the Virgin Islands.
OSU played in the final game in the Island Division of the tournament against the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles on Saturday. After a power outage delayed the game for about 20 minutes, the Eagles were able to convert 8-16 shots from 3-point range to get off to a hot start in the first half. Florida Gulf Coast took a 30-19 lead before OSU charged back with a 17-11 run to end the half.
The Buckeyes shot 54 percent from the field in the first half while the Eagles made 11-23 3-pointers to take a 41-36 lead into halftime.
The two teams traded baskets in the second half, keeping the game close. Junior guard Cait Craft hit a 3-pointer to give OSU its first lead of the game with less than seven minutes remaining. The Eagles would come back to hold on to a four-point lead with 30 seconds to go until junior guard Ameryst Alston made a 3-pointer to bring the game within one. After the Eagles split a pair of free throws, Alston grabbed the rebound and got fouled. She made both free throws to send the game into overtime.
With the score tied at 70 apiece, the Eagles went on a 5-1 run to take the lead with just over a minute to play. Freshman guard Kelsey Mitchell got fouled twice, making both free throws on her first trip to the basket and splitting a pair on her second to bring the Buckeyes within one. After Florida Gulf Coast split a pair of free throws, Alston drove down the court and found freshman forward Alexa Hart open for the game-tying lay-in to send the game into a second overtime.
The Buckeyes took control as Mitchell went on a 4-0 run to start the second overtime. OSU made 7-10 free throws with over a minute left to hold on to win 90-83.
Alston and Mitchell each scored 26 points for OSU. Mitchell added four rebounds, four assists, and three steals in the game and was named to the All-Tournament team. Hart had a season-high 20 points and a season-high 18 rebounds for her second double-double of the season.
OSU finished the tournament in third place while Florida Gulf Coast took the top spot Wichita State earned second place, and Clemson ended in fourth.
The Buckeyes ended up behind Florida Gulf Coast and Wichita State in the standings after OSU fell to the Shockers by 15 points. Florida Gulf Coast beat Wichita State a day earlier.
The Buckeyes took on Wichita State on the tournament’s second day.
The Shockers opened the first half on an 18-8 run to take control of the game early. Wichita State kept the momentum going to take a 34-23 lead at the half.
The Shockers continued their strong performance in the second half to pull away from the Buckeyes to win 70-55. Wichita State shot 10-20 from 3-point range while holding the Buckeyes to 37.7 percent from the field and caused 15 turnovers.
Alston hit a free throw early in the first half for her 1000th career point. She finished the game with 10 points, five rebounds, and four assists. Mitchell led OSU with 19 points and four assists while Hart shot 7-7 from the field to finish with 14 points and five rebounds.
OSU began the tournament on Friday with a comeback win against Clemson.
The Buckeyes opened the game with a 16-6 run after forcing seven turnovers in the first six minutes. Clemson kept pushing through the half to bring the game within reach and hit a shot at the buzzer to take a 36-35 lead into halftime.
The second half was back-and-forth until the Tigers went on a 13-7 run to take an eight-point lead with a little more than seven minutes remaining. Mitchell then scored 12 points to lead the Buckeyes on a 15-2 run with less than five minutes to play. OSU held on to the lead to win the game, 86-77.
Mitchell had a season-high 35 points, with 26 scored in the second half. Alston added 27 points for the Buckeyes.
OSU is now 4-3 overall after finishing 2-1 in the tournament.
The Buckeyes are scheduled to return to Columbus on Wednesday to face Pittsburgh at 7 p.m. at the Schottenstein Center.