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Ohio State women’s basketball returns from abroad to face Pittsburgh

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Freshman guard Kelsey Mitchell (3) drives the lane during a game against VCU on Nov. 23 at the Schottenstein Center. OSU won, 96-86. Credit: Nina Budieri / Lantern photographer

Freshman guard Kelsey Mitchell (3) drives the lane during a game against VCU on Nov. 23 at the Schottenstein Center. OSU won, 96-86.
Credit: Nina Budieri / Lantern photographer

Coming off its trip to the Virgin Islands, the Ohio State women’s basketball team is set to return home on Wednesday to face Pittsburgh.

The Buckeyes are 4-3 overall after going 2-1 in the Paradise Jam tournament last week. Freshman guard Asia Doss said she was satisfied with the team’s performance in the tournament but still sees room for improvement.

“I think we all did pretty good,” Doss said. “We still have areas to get better, but I think we did well as a team.”

Doss said one of the highlights of the trip came in the final game of the tournament against Florida Gulf Coast on Saturday. OSU made a comeback at the end of the second half and eventually won the game in double overtime.

“The third game (against Florida Gulf Coast) I think showed that we can fight through adversity,” Doss said. “We all came together as a team.”

The Buckeyes hope to take the experience from playing in the tournament and apply it on the court against Pittsburgh. Coach Kevin McGuff noted that OSU shares similarities with the Panthers.

“They’re a little bit like us,” McGuff said. “They have some young kids so they have some up and down moments but I think they’re pretty good.”

Heading into the game, freshman guard Kelsey Mitchell leads OSU in scoring, averaging 27 points per game, and was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week on Monday. McGuff praised Mitchell for her ability to adapt at the collegiate level.

“She has really good instincts and feel for the game,” McGuff said. “I think that’s important because it’s a faster game in college than you’re used to, you’re seeing better defenses, so you have to have high IQ and good instincts to adjust quickly to that.”

Another key for the Buckeyes will be the play of freshman forward Alexa Hart. Hart recorded a season-high 20 points and 18 rebounds in the win against Florida Gulf Coast. Mitchell, who played AAU basketball with Hart, said she and Hart are on the same page when on the court.

“Our chemistry is really there,” Mitchell said. “When I know she’s playing and she’s ready to go, she’s ready to go.”

The Buckeyes might be without redshirt-sophomore forward Kalpana Beach for the time being. Beach suffered a leg injury during the Paradise Jam tournament and is listed as day-to-day. McGuff said Beach didn’t suffer structural damage and her status for the game is unknown.

Beach missed each of the past two seasons with ACL injuries.

OSU is scheduled to play the Panthers at 7 p.m. at the Schottenstein Center.

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