The Ohio State Buckeye women’s basketball team did not start off gameday the way it would have prefered.
Coach Kevin McGuff announced Monday afternoon prior to the Buckeyes game against Michigan State that redshirt-sophomore forward Kalpana Beach will undergo surgery on her right knee this Wednesday.
“It was devastating,” freshman guard Kelsey Mitchell said. “But she was happy about it and told us she wants to get up and get back out on the court with us.”
Beach, who has missed the past two seasons after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in that same knee, started all 30 games for the Buckeyes during her freshman season.
Despite this news, OSU (15-7, 7-3) turned a slow first-half into a 76-62 win against Michigan State in front of a fired-up crowd at the Schottenstein Center Monday night.
The Buckeyes were out-rebounded and shot a lower percentage than the Spartans (11-11, 3-8) from all facets of the court to start the game but were able to escape into halftime with a 30-29 lead.
“We were shot crazy,” Mitchell said. “We shot ourselves into a hole, coach told us to not stop shooting but to look for something different.”
OSU came firing in the second half after being fueled by quick buckets from Mitchell and junior guard Ameryst Alston.
The Buckeyes also forced the Spartans to take tough shots, allowing them to shoot only 26.3 percent from the field in the second-half.
Mitchell was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Week for her sixth time Monday morning and with 31 points led the way for the Scarlet and Gray.
“This kid is a stud,” Michigan State coach Suzy Merchant said of Mitchell. “I just wish she was in a Spartan uniform.”
However, with a more balanced scoring attack, including 19 points from Alston, it proved to be a team win.
“We were definitely more balanced tonight offensively.” McGuff said. “We have to have everyone do what they do for us to win in this league.”
The Spartans were powered by 25 points and 13 rebounds from redshirt-sophomore forward Aerial Powers.
The Buckeyes are set to hit the road, looking to advance their win streak to five straight, Thursday against Iowa in Iowa City. Tip is set for 8 p.m.