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Women’s basketball: Buckeyes overcome early struggles to blow out Cincinnati, 80-38

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OSU then-sophomore forward Alexa Hart (22) posts up a Purdue defender inside the paint in a game against the Boilermakers on Jan. 17, 2016 at the Schottenstein Center. She had 10 points and 12 rebounds on Sunday agianst Cincinnati.  Credit: Kevin Stankiewicz | Oller Reporter

OSU then-sophomore forward Alexa Hart (22) posts up a Purdue defender inside the paint in a game against the Boilermakers on Jan. 17, 2016 at the Schottenstein Center. She had 10 points and 12 rebounds on Sunday agianst Cincinnati. Credit: Kevin Stankiewicz | Oller Reporter

Looking at the 80-38 final score of the Ohio State women’s basketball team’s win over the Cincinnati Bearcats on Sunday, one might not believe that OSU was down by 11 late in the second quarter.

The No. 9 Buckeyes were just 6-of-30 from the field when the Bearcats took a 28-17 lead on OSU with 3:11 remaining in the second quarter. OSU outscored Cincinnati 63-10 from that point forward.

“We played really well in the second half,” said OSU coach Kevin McGuff. “We played with a lot more energy and passion.”

OSU (6-3) struggled out of the gate, missing its first seven shots and shooting just 23.5 percent (4-for-17) in the first quarter. The Buckeyes’ up-tempo offense was disrupted by solid defensive play from the Bearcats, forcing OSU to settle for jump shots and get limited looks inside.

“We looked like we were a little tight coming off two losses,” McGuff said. “We didn’t have a lot of energy.”

After Cincinnati grabbed its largest lead of 11 in the second, OSU clamped down on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. McGuff used bigger lineups and the Buckeyes responded with separate runs of 22-0 and 32-0 to take over the game.

McGuff also switched OSU’s defensive strategy from man-to-man to zone midway through the contest, and the results were staggering. Cincinnati missed its first 10 shots of the third quarter and went 0-for-19 from the field in the final quarter. In the second half, the Bearcats were just 3-for-37 from the field.

“I thought our size really effected the game there in the second half,” McGuff said. “We really didn’t allow them to get in much of a rhythm.”

The Bearcats shot just 19.4 percent from the field and were 4-for-32 (12.5 percent) from the 3-point line. The Buckeyes managed 45.5 percent on 30-for-66 shooting and shot 24-for-36 (66.6 percent) from the field after starting 6-for-30.

Junior guard Kelsey Mitchell led all scorers with 23 points on 7-of-11 shooting, including a 4-for-6 mark from the three-point line. Junior forward Alexa Hart tallied 10 points and 12 rebounds, and all nine Buckeyes to see the floor scored at least three points.

Cincinnati junior forward Shanice Johnson led the Bearcats with 10 points and a game-high 17 rebounds.

Hart, McCoy step up with Mavunga out

OSU redshirt junior forward Stephanie Mavunga sat for a second straight game. That gave Hart and freshman forward Tori McCoy the chance to step up with increased minutes.

“It just gives us the opportunity to go out there and work hard and be effective on the court,” Hart said.

McCoy put up seven points on 3-of-4 shooting and added six rebounds. OSU finished with a 36-12 advantage in the paint and outrebounded the Bearcats 54-41.

Up next

The Buckeyes will play host to the Southern University Jaguars on Wednesday, Dec. 7 at 7 p.m.

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