Women Jump To 5-0 Behind Mavunga Double-Double
A few years ago, it can be assumed that the coaching staff at Indiana University wasn’t happy when in-state standout Stephanie Mavunga decided to go elsewhere and signed with the North Carolina Tar Heels.
Now they have even more reason to be annoyed after Mavunga transferred to Ohio State and has become just the kind of inside presence the Buckeyes need to balance out their talent boon at guard led by Kelsey Mitchell.
On Saturday afternoon, the Hoosiers concentrated their defensive effort on Mitchell and Mavunga made them pay as she racked up 20 points and 16 rebounds in a 77-62 win in Bloomington.
It was Mavunga’s third double-double in three career games against Indiana.
The No. 10 Buckeyes (16-2, 5-0 in the Big Ten), who were coming off a prolonged rest with a break in the league schedule, also got a big output from guard Linnae Harper, who finished with 19 points, seven rebounds, five assists and three steals.
The nation’s leading scorer this season, Mitchell was held scoreless in the first quarter but managed 15 points and a team-high six assists. Her first bucket in the second quarter gave her 3,000 points for her career. She is just the 13th player in NCAA history to reach that lofty mark.
Sierra Calhoun and Asia Doss each made a pair of three-pointers in the game. Calhoun finished with 12 points while Doss chipped-in with eight points and five assists.
OSU held Indiana leading scorer Tyra Buss in check most of the game as she notched just 10 points and had four turnovers.
Mavunga scored the first seven points of the game to jump-start the Buckeyes. They would force seven IU turnovers in the first period while compiling a 22-9 lead. After not attempting a shot in the opening quarter, Mitchell made three three-pointers in the final 2:31 of the second quarter to put the Buckeyes ahead 43-27 at halftime.
Harper opened the third quarter with seven quick points but the Hoosier kept pace and after a Buss three-pointer, IU was within seven at 56-49. The Buckeyes called timeout and Harper again responded out of the stoppage, scoring five-straight points to restore order and give the Buckeyes a 61-49 lead.
Mitchell now has 3,013 points in her career which puts her in 12th place all time. She passed Cindy Blodgett of Maine (3,005) in the game.
The Buckeyes beat their Big Ten neighbors for the 12-straight time and are 5-0 in conference play for just the ninth time in school history and the first since the 2009-10 season
They return home and look to sweep rival Michigan on Tuesday (7 p.m., Big Ten Network).