No. 14/13 Ohio State(10-4;0-0) vs. Minnesota(9-4;0-0)
Date: December 21, 2016
Time: 7:00 p.m. ET
Arena: Value City Arena
The Buckeyes finished their non-conference schedule with a convincing win against hapless Winthrop, who are now 1-11 on the season. Coach Kevin McGuff is now 77-41 as a coach at Ohio State and 332-140 over-all in 15 years as a head coach. Kelsey Mitchell now stands with 298 career three-pointers and will join elite company as there are only four players in B1G history with more than 300.
The Buckeyes finished up their non-conference schedule 10 wins, 4 losses and all four losses have come at the hands of teams in the top 16 and three in the top 6(#1 UCONN, #3 Baylor, #6 South Carolina). Stephanie Mavunga has recorded a team-best six double-doubles and scored her 1,000th collegiate point in the game against UCONN. Kelsey Mitchell(22.7), Stephanie Mavunga(13.5), Shayla Cooper(12) and Sierra Calhoun lead the team in double figures. Two Frosh in Kiara Lewis(7.8) and Tori McCoy(7.8) aren’t far off the pace. Transfer Linnae Harper is at 9.5 but just recently debuted as a player after becoming eligible.
Ohio State had a tremendous second half effort in its win over Cincinnati, limiting UC to just 10 points over the final two quarters and just one point in the fourth. The 10 points were the fewest points allowed in a half since 2012 and the one point was the fewest ever allowed in a quarter.
The Gophers navigated the non-conference portion if its schedule at 9-4, coming off a 92-62 victory over Kent State. They have lost to the four Power 5 conference teams it has played and shot over 41 percent as a team, averaging almost 78 points per game.
All-Big Ten guard Carlie Wagner(18.6), Guard Kenisha Bell(16.9) are the only players averaging double figures but Jessie Edwards is having a good season in the middle so far (7.9 rpg).
The Buckeyes should be able to continue their domination of lesser teams on the schedule. Minnesota typically plays the Buckeyes tough in conference play as they upset the Buckeyes at home in the Barn in OT last season.The Buckeyes couldn’t get out of their own way in that game and they will have to pay attention to Carlie Wagner if they want to improve defensively. She single handedly beat them in her own place last season hitting the shots that secured OT and the win.
The Buckeyes face off against Indiana on the road New Years eve(3:00PM) and the Hoosiers were picked to finish third in the conference.