Mitchell, Mavunga Have WNBA Fever

By Jeff Rapp, April 14th, 2018

In their two years together at Ohio State, All-American guard Kelsey Mitchell and standout post player Stephanie Mavunga formed one of the best outside-inside combos in women’s college basketball.

On Thursday night, they found out they will have an opportunity to continue their on-court synergy at the professional level.

Ohio State’s only four-time basketball All-American, Mitchell was the second selection of the WNBA draft as the Indiana Fever called her name at Nike Headquarters in New York City. The Fever then tabbed Mavunga with the second pick of the second round, 14th overall.

Along with the excitement of remaining teammates, Mitchell and Mavunga had reason to be thrilled with the geography of the situation. Mitchell is from Cincinnati while Mavunga, who transferred to OSU from North Carolina, hails from Brownsburg, Ind., about 20 minutes north of downtown Indianapolis.

Also, the Fever play at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, site of OSU’s Big Ten Tournament championship in March.

Meanwhile, Mavunga also has another personal connection with the Fever as her sister-in-law, Jeanette Pohlen-Mavunga, is already on the roster. She is married to Stephanie’s older brother, Julian.

The draft opened with the Las Vegas Aces selecting South Carolina power forward A’ja Wilson, the reigning National Player of the Year. But it didn’t take long for Mitchell to join the professional ranks as she was next in line.

A 5-8 lefty point guard, Mitchell left campus with 3,402 career points, which is second all-time in NCAA history, and 497 made three-pointers, which is the most by any collegiate female player. The three-time Big Ten Player of the Year holds 30 NCAA, Big Ten and OSU records and was the winner of the Dawn Staley Award this season as the country’s top guard.

A 6-3 center, Mavunga was a first-team All-Big Ten honoree as a senior after averaging 16.6 points and 11.0 rebounds per game. She is just the third Buckeye to average a double-double for an entire season and she has done it each of the last two years. She shot over 63 percent from the floor this past season and grabbed an OSU single-season record 385 rebounds.

Since 2000, Mavunga is one of just seven players to notch more than 1,700 points, 1,200 rebounds and 300 blocks in her career.

Mitchell and Mavunga led the Buckeyes to back-to-back Big Ten regular season crowns and the 2018 Big Ten Tournament title. Ohio State was 28-7 this season and made its fourth-straight trip to the NCAA Tournament.

This is the first year that multiple Buckeyes have been selected in the draft. Overall, Ohio State has now had 15 players drafted and at least one each of the last three seasons.

Not surprisingly, UConn had three players selected in the first round (top 12) of the 2018 draft – Gabby Williams at No. 4 overall, Azura Stevens at No. 6 and Kia Nurse at No. 10.