No. 5 Ohio State (20-3, 10-1 Big Ten) improved its winning streak to 10 games on Thursday, coming away from a trip to Minnesota (14-9, 4-8) with a 71-47 victory over the Gophers.
The Buckeyes saw a well-rounded effort with four scorers – including guards Jacy Sheldon and Celeste Taylor and forwards Cotie McMahon and Rebeka Mikulášiková – all finishing in double digits, and forcing Minnesota – which was without guard Mara Braun – into 23 turnovers and 26 points for Ohio State.
Ohio State nearly led wire-to-wire in the contest, but Minnesota responded to an early basket with a three-pointer to go up 3-2. Mikulášiková answered with a three-pointer of her own, kickstarting a 9-3 run capped by another triple from Mikulášiková to go up 11-6 with 5:08 left in the first.
The Buckeyes later utilized a three-pointer off the bench from sophomore guard Emma Shumate to go up 14-10, but those were the last points of the quarter for Ohio State as it was held scoreless over the final 2:22 of the frame, eventually holding a 14-13 lead going into the second quarter.
Ohio State played strong defense out of the quarter break, forcing a turnover that forward Eboni Walker turned into a fast break jumper. Junior guard Taylor Thierry scored on the next possession to go up 18-13, and after a responding three-pointer from Minnesota guard Amaya Battle, the Buckeyes used a 7-0 run to go up 25-16 with 5:25 left in the half.
The Buckeyes were then held scoreless for the next 2:19, but the Gophers were unable to take advantage, nabbing only a layup during that period. Sheldon broke the score drought with a jumper, and following a layup from Taylor with just 48 seconds remaining, Ohio State went into the half up 29-24.
After a back-and-forth opening half, Ohio State broke things open early in the third quarter, beginning on a 9-0 run to take a 38-24 lead with 6:12 left in the quarter, and holding Minnesota scoreless until a layup with 5:45 left in the frame. But off that basket, the Buckeyes responded with another big run – this time an 11-3 stretch – to lead 49-20 with 2:23 left in the quarter. The Gophers knocked down a pair at the line, but guard Rikki Harris and Shumate knocked down back-to-back triples to extend the lead to 55-31 entering the fourth quarter.
Ohio State and Minnesota each notched 16 points in the fourth quarter as the Buckeyes shot 58.3 percent from the field in the frame, and were able to clear out the benches with several underclassmen all getting into the road win.
The Buckeyes were led by Taylor, who had 14 points on 7-of-16 shooting, while McMahon had 13 points, Sheldon scored 12 points and Mikulášiková pitched in 11 points. Minnesota was led by guard Janay Sanders, who had 16 points on 5-of-9 shooting.
The Buckeyes will return to the floor on Sunday, set to visit Michigan State for a 4 p.m. tip on Peacock.