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Winthrop women’s basketball falls to Ohio State

Winthrop’s bid for an upset win over Ohio State was thwarted by a game-high 26 points by Kelsey Mitchell and a hot second half 3-point shooting performance by the Buckeyes that resulted in a 66-52 victory at Value City Arena on Sunday afternoon.

The loss snapped the Winthrop women’s three-game winning streak as the Eagles fall to 4-3 overall and are now 0-2 against the Buckeyes, who improve to 5-4.

Aliyah Kilpatrick scored 16 points while Erica Williams finished with 13 to lead the Eagles while Schaquilla Nunn grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds, but was hampered by foul trouble and scored just four points. Mitchell scored 17 of her game-high 26 points in the first half for the Buckeyes while Ameryst Alston had 12, all coming in the second half.

OSU finished the game shooting just 30 percent from beyond the 3-point arc, but the Buckeyes were five of seven during the decisive second half run when they overtook Winthrop and stretched the lead to double digits. In overall field goal shooting, OSU shot 45 percent (24-53) compared to Winthrop’s 38 percent (22-58). The Eagles had trouble scoring inside the paint as the Buckeyes blocked nine shots, including six by 6-foot-3 freshman Alexa Hart. At the free throw stripe, the Buckeyes were 11 of 17 while Winthrop was 2 for 6 and did not get to the line until the second half. Winthrop did win the battle of the boards 36-34.

Winthrop led 27-26 at halftime on the strength of Kilpatrick’s scoring. She had 10 first half points. The Eagles’ lead could have been greater if not for the free throw line where Ohio State converted 6 of 9 in the first period.

Ohio State, which trailed for almost 15 minutes of the first half, finally overcame Winthrop on a 3-pointer by Mitchell that gave the Buckeyes a 32-29 lead with 18:28 remaining in the contest. Mitchell’s layup increased the margin to five at 38-33 with 15:29 before the Ohio State connected on three straight three balls to create some breathing room with 47-36 led. Alston knocked down two of the treys which were sandwiched around one by Asia Doss.

Winthrop was able to trim the deficit to five points after Ezinne Mbamalu scored inside to make it a 49-44 game with 9:32 remaining. However, the final nine minutes belonged to the Buckeyes who outscored the Eagles 16-2 over a stretch of seven minutes to take their largest lead of the game of 19 points at 65-46 with just under two minutes left to play. The Eagles scored six points in the final 55 seconds on back-to-back layups by Kilpatrick and another by Nuba Jackson.

After a slow start by both teams, the Buckeyes took a 9-3 lead five minutes into the game, but back-to-back 3-pointers by Zoe Vernon ignited a 10-0 run by Winthrop to give it a 13-9 lead. Williams scored on a mid-range jumper and Kilpatrick followed with a layup at the 12:12 mark to give her team a four-point lead at 13-9. Kilpatrick put the Eagles are on her back during a nine-minute stretch in which she scored 10 of Winthrop’s 14 points, including eight straight. Following a basket by OSU’s Mitchell, Kilpatrick scored on a short jumper and layup to give the Eagles their largest lead of the half at 17-11 just past the midway point of the half.

Winthrop will be back in action on Saturday when it hosts Davidson at 7:00 p.m. in the Winthrop Coliseum.