Women’s basketball: Gophers routed at No. 13 Ohio State
Minnesota lost for the fifth straight game and fell to 9-15 overall, 2-11 in the Big Ten.
In their first meeting with Ohio State, the University of Minnesota women’s basketball team let the then-No. 2 Buckeyes know immediately they were in a game, even taking a lead into the fourth quarter before the game got away late in an 83-71 loss at Williams Arena.
It played out differently in the rematch in Columbus, Ohio. The 13th-ranked Buckeyes sent a message early on Wednesday. This time, it would not be a game.
Behind a full-court press and the scoring of Cotie McMahon and Taylor Mikesell, Ohio State roared out of the gate, opening a 21-4 lead with 3 minutes, 19 seconds left in the first quarter and never looking back in a 93-63 victory at the Jerome Schottenstein Center.
Mara Braun scored 19 points but was the only double-figure scorer for Minnesota, which lost for the fifth straight time and fell to 9-15 overall, 2-11 in the Big Ten. The Buckeyes improved to 21-4 overall and remained fourth in the Big Ten race with a 10-4 conference record.
Minnesota has five regular-season games remaining, starting Saturday with a 3 p.m. tip against Wisconsin (7-17, 2-10). The Gophers have lost their past five games by an average of 23.6 points.
Mikesell, who scored her 1,000th career point in a victory over Wisconsin last week, was 5 for 5 from 3-point range in the first half as the Buckeyes built a 52-33 halftime lead. McMahon finished with a team-high 25 points in 24 minutes, and Mikesell added 24 points and finished 6 for 6 from beyond the arc.
It didn’t help that Gophers center Rose Micheaux picked up her third foul early in the second quarter and fouled out with 1:54 left in the game with eight points and four rebounds. But Minnesota had other problems, as well, most notably on the defensive end.
The Buckeyes scored almost at will down low, outscoring the Gophers 46-30 on points in the paint and shooting 55 percent from the field. Minnesota also turned the ball over 23 times, leading to 27 Ohio State points.
The Buckeyes played most of the game without Rebeka Mikulasikova, their 6-foot-4 post who came in averaging 12.9 points a game. She left with an apparent injury after playing just four minutes. Still, the Buckeyes built a 31-point lead midway through the third period on back-to-back baskets by freshman McMahon, first on a turnaround jumper in the lane and then, following a timeout, with a layup that made it 68-37.
That lead bulged to 89-50 with 6:45 remaining, after which Ohio State coach Kevin McGuff started emptying his bench.
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