In the first-ever contest between the LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds and the Ohio State Buckeyes, it wasn’t much of a contest at all. The No. 7 Buckeyes (3-1) dominated on both sides of the ball to claim a 113-54 victory.
OSU’s energy was noticeable, and the Buckeyes used its advantages in size and athletic ability to rattle the Blackbirds from the beginning. OSU scored the game’s first 11 points in the first 1:25 of play and never looked back from there.
“We were really trying to focus on ourselves to get better, and we did that,” OSU coach Kevin McGuff said. “If we were going to make it about the score, or something like that, then we were going to get distracted and get caught up in some things that we shouldn’t be doing.”
Redshirt sophomore guard Sierra Calhoun led all scorers with 22 points. She had 18 of those by the end of the first quarter after burying her first six shots, including five from beyond the three-point line.
“My team did a great job of finding me once they saw I was hitting all those threes,” Calhoun said. “I feel like the ball was moving a lot more than it normally does.”
The Buckeyes jumped out to a 32-8 lead in the first quarter thanks to the hot shooting of Calhoun and a swarming presence on defense. OSU forced 10 LIU turnovers and allowed the Blackbirds to go just 3-for-13 from the field with one assist in the opening quarter.
OSU outscored LIU 27-12 in the second to take a 59-20 advantage into the half. In the second, the Buckeyes outscored the Blackbirds 54-34 to secure the win.
For the game, OSU outrebounded LIU 56-30. The Buckeyes forced 28 turnovers and gave the Blackbirds just 10 assists. OSU shot 50.6 percent from the field overall, while LIU managed just 31.5 percent.
McGuff said that the Buckeyes lost focus at times during the second half, but he chalked that up to playing some of his younger players more than usual.
“I wanted to give them a chance to not only play, but to have to push themselves when they’re a little bit tired,” McGuff said. “In those moments, we lost some focus and intensity and they made us pay.”
Junior guard Kelsey Mitchell added 21 points on 8-of-11 shooting. Redshirt sophomore forward Makayla Waterman tallied 15 points and freshman guard Kiara Lewis put up 12 points. All 10 Buckeyes to see the floor scored at least four points.
Drew Winter led the Blackhawks with 12 points on 5-of-15 shooting.
Mavunga sits, other bigs get time
Redshirt junior forward Stephanie Mavunga, usually a starter for the Buckeyes, did not play.
“She’s OK, I just wanted to give her a day of rest,” McGuff said. “I thought we could get by today.”
Junior forward Alexa Hart started in place of Mavunga and scored six points on 3-of-5 shooting from the field. Hart added seven rebounds and a pair of blocks.
Freshman forward Tori McCoy also saw extended minutes with Mavunga sitting. The extra floor time allowed her to work through some of her early season struggles.
“I’m still kind of shaky… but I think I’m fitting in really well,” McCoy said. “I’m starting to get used to the way they play.”
McCoy finished with nine points and a team-high 12 rebounds.
The Buckeyes will now head to Florida to participate in the Gulf Coast Showcase. OSU’s first game in the Sunshine State will be against Florida Gulf Coast at 5 p.m. on Friday.