Playing in the friendly confines of St. John Arena on the OSU campus in the first round of the women’s NCAA Tournament, 3-seed Ohio State (28-6) routed 14-seed George Washington 87-45. OSU forward Stephanie Mavunga had a game-high 22 points and 13 rebounds for head coach Kevin McGuff’s Buckeyes. She also added three blocks in an overall dominating effort Saturday afternoon.
“I think my teammates did a really good job of putting me in the right positions, Coach McGuff called the right plays, and the next thing I knew, I was wide open or my teammates would give it to me in the right position,” Mavunga said after the game.
“I kind of just know where my teammates are going and that comes with playing with them for a long time. As you play together more, you know what your teammates’ capabilities are and what their tendencies are. I just try to put myself in the right position to get a pass or get a rebound.”
Guard Kelsey Mitchell — Ohio State and the Big Ten’s all-time leading scorer — put just 11 points on the board against GW (19-14), but her seven assists led both squads.
“I thought she did a really good job putting other people in position to score,” McGuff said. “She had seven assists and played really efficient that way. That’s the thing that makes her really special, she’s capable at putting up 30 points on a given night or she can help other people.”
The Buckeyes never trailed in the game, and were only tied for 84 seconds.
OSU guard Linnae Harper had a busy day, scoring 10 points, grabbing six rebounds, dishing out four assists, and picking up a pair of steals in 26 minutes of action.
Ohio State had 20 assists on their 33 field goals, which was part of the plan.
“Especially against George Washington, they are really pesky defensively,” McGuff said. “They pack it in and they don’t give you anything easy and I thought we were a little impatient early with some quick shots. In the second half, I thought we moved the ball, we executed and made that extra pass that lead to a lot of great baskets.”
The Buckeyes outscored George Washington 48-18 in the second half, making 18-of-28 (.643) field goal attempts. They held George Washington to just 7-of-33 (.212) shooting in the second half.
Up next for Ohio State is a matchup with with 11-seed Central Michigan on Monday (6:30 pm/ESPN2). Central Michigan upset 6-seed LSU in the first game of the double-header at St. John.
[Kelsey Mitchell photo courtesy OhioStateBuckeyes.com]