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Women’s basketball: Penn State up next for Ohio State

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OSU coach Kevin McGuff during a game against Nebraska on Feb. 18, 2016 at the Schottenstein Center. Credit: Lantern file photo

The Ohio State women’s basketball might have played its best game of the season on Sunday against Nebraska. A season-high 23 assists led OSU to a 20-point win and the Buckeyes’ sixth-straight victory.

The extra pass helped OSU put up 95 points, its second most in conference play. The team shot 47 percent from the field and had 10 more shots than Nebraska because of 19 turnovers.

Coach Kevin McGuff said it’s not the number of possessions he wants. Rather, he looks for good shots off those possessions that has been a problem at times this season for the Buckeyes.

“(What) I try to focus on most (is) are we getting the right shots or not,” McGuff said. “With the talent we have, if we get the right shots over the course of a 40-minute game we’ll make enough of them.”

Up next for OSU is Penn State. Last year, the Buckeyes had little trouble with the Nittany Lions, leaving University Park with a 77-63 victory.

This year, the Nittany Lions are led in scoring by sophomore guard Teniya Page with 18.5 points per game and followed by senior guard Lindsey Spann averaging 11.3 ppg. Penn State is 14-7 overall and 4-5 in the Big Ten and is coming off a lost at home versus Illinois 88-69.

Junior guard Kelsey Mitchell could get a lot of the attention from the Nittany Lions, but sophomore forward Stephanie Mavunga could be the X-factor against Penn State. Mavunga is averaging a double-double with 11.3 rebounds and 11.7 points per game, while shooting 56.8 percent from the field. Her inside scoring could be a problem for the Nittany Lions.

“I try to focus on the rebounds, the points just kind of happen,” Mavunga said. “A lot of people worry about points, I just worry about rebounds second chance points are really the key or taking away other team’s second chance opportunities.”

Penn State will face the second-best rebounding team in the Big Ten, with Mavunga leading the conference in rebounding. Even with her own individual accomplishments, Mavunga credits team play for her success.

“We are playing good team-basketball,” Mavunga said. “Throwing that extra pass, and not being selfish is a key on big teams.”

Although Penn State hasn’t won a Big Ten game on the road this year, the Buckeyes are taking them seriously.

“I like Penn State’s roster. They’re very talented,” McGuff said. “I anticipate a very difficult game. They have a great program and a history of success and their kids are used to winning, and I know they will be excited to come here and compete.”

Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Wednesday.

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