The Ohio State women’s basketball team opened its season with a loss on the road to Virginia but bounced back with a win in its home opener against St. Francis, 113-97.
The Buckeyes kicked off the game with a 22-11 run to take the early lead against St. Francis. The offensive momentum continued for OSU as it held a lead of 15 halfway through the first half.
The Red Flash refused to go down, closing out the rest of the half with a 36-20 run. The Buckeyes entered halftime with a lead of 57-55.
Coach Kevin McGuff said he wasn’t pleased with what he saw from OSU on the defensive side during the first half.
“Our defense wasn’t good enough,” McGuff said. “We had a lot of breakdowns, they were getting too easy of shots.”
Both teams traded baskets early on in the second half until the Buckeyes started to pull away with a 14-4 run to take an 84-72 lead about midway through. The Buckeyes continued to ride the momentum for the rest of the half to close out their 16-point victory.
Junior guard Ameryst Alston led all scorers with a career-high 39 points to go along with six assists and nine rebounds. Freshman guard Kelsey Mitchell added 28 points, six assists and five steals while freshman forward Alexa Hart had 18 points to go with eight blocks.
St. Francis played a total of 11 players throughout the game compared to just seven for the shorthanded Buckeyes. Alston said the team had focused prior to the game on how it would handle the substitutions.
“They substituted a lot but it’s just a matter of mental toughness and getting back on defense,” Alston said. “We stressed that a lot in pre-game, they like to run and that’s what they did.”
Mitchell said that she felt much calmer about playing in her second game as a Buckeye and owes it to some of her older teammates.
“Now that I’ve got my first game out the way I’m really relieved actually,” Mitchell said. “With the help of (Ameryst) and Cait (Craft) and all the other veterans they just make it easier and better.”
OSU didn’t have the same success when they opened the season on the road against Virginia on Friday.
The Cavaliers started the half firing on all cylinders to take a 25-10 lead early. The Buckeyes scored 15 unanswered points to take their first lead of the game. OSU kept the momentum going to take a 43-39 lead at the half.
The teams traded runs in the second half but Virginia was able to make the most plays in the final minute to win the game, 87-82.
Alston put up 27 points in the loss while Mitchell scored 26 and had four assists.
OSU is scheduled return to the court against Georgia on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Schottenstein Center.