Kelsey Mitchell wasn’t nonplussed Friday after becoming the NCAA’s career leader in three-point field goals, but she wasn’t jubilant, either.
The Ohio State senior guard bested Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis’ career mark of 398 with a 7-for-11 effort beyond the arc in the Buckeyes’ 104-62 win over Florida Gulf Coast on Friday at the Play4Kay Showcase in Las Vegas.
It’s one of what will likely be several records set by Mitchell this season. Ohio State’s career points mark is in sight and the Big Ten’s career points record is reasonably close.
Mitchell knows the standard she sets for herself. She also knows how she feels about questions regarding her individual achievements. She’d rather talk about the 6-1 Buckeyes as a whole.
“People that know me know I don’t think about it too much, but when it comes to setting the bar high and setting goals for yourself, things that you don’t even know are coming happen,” she said. “I guess I’m happy about it. I don’t really feel to different about it, but I’m happy.”
And over the last two games, there has been plenty to her game beyond just three-point shooting. She is 66.7 percent from the field since Thursday and has nine assists compared to just two turnovers.
Mitchell took just one first-quarter shot Thursday as she helped facilitate a Stephanie Mavunga post mismatch. She effectively moved the ball throughout a first quarter Friday in which the Buckeyes put together a 24-0 run.
“It’s just a lot of growth and a lot of maturity. I took time to work on myself, work on wanting to be better if I want to play in the future, whether that’s playing professionally or coaching professionally, whatever the case may be,” Mitchell said. “I think with the growth that I’ve had, I’ve been able to see things beforehand. … It’s been really good for me to see things and break my own game down.”
Back on the boards
In Ohio State’s Nov. 12 loss to Louisville and in a narrow win over Washington last week, the Buckeyes struggled on the glass. It was particularly true in the loss to the Cardinals, in which the Buckeyes finished with a minus-18 rebounding margin, by far their worst result in that category this season.
The Buckeyes aren’t terribly deep at the forward position but they do have capable rebounders. It’s a matter of mental toughness, forward Stephanie Mavunga suggested this week, and on Friday the Buckeyes collectively showed it. Five players finished with five or more rebounds as the Buckeyes out rebounded the Eagles 47-29.
“It’s mental but I think also it takes a lot of heart,” said Mitchell, who had six boards. “Rebounding is something that you can’t teach.”
Said McGuff: “Our effort was really good on the glass and that’s the key. We have good personnel to rebound, but sometimes we’re a little lackadaisical in that area but we weren’t tonight.”
Rest for the weary
The Buckeyes will play their third game in three days and its eighth in 16 days Saturday against Stanford, but will do so without having experienced much of a strain Friday. Mitchell has averaged 30.5 minutes over the last two games after playing 34 or more in Ohio State’s first five games.
Asia Doss led the Buckeyes with 34 minutes, but she and Mitchell were the only Ohio State players with more than 30 minutes of game time as the Buckeyes were able to empty their bench late in the blowout win.
The Buckeyes also managed to stay out of foul trouble Friday after dealing with some Thursday in a win over Memphis. Jensen Caretti was the only Ohio State player with three fouls.
“That was important and I think playing some zone helped wit that, so that kind of protects some of our players and helps keep them out of foul trouble,” McGuff said.
Hart’s first half
Senior forward Alexa Hart finished with nine points on 4-of-5 shooting but had six of those points in the second quarter. She featured heavily for Ohio State that quarter to counter a FGCU team that at times rolled out a small, guard-heavy lineup.
Hart went 4 for 5 and finished with 10 points Thursday against Memphis.
“They (FGCU) play with five guards and Lex is good at talking through screens and switching onto guards and guarding them,” McGuff said of the 6-3 Hart. “Great performance by Lex. Really happy to see her playing so well.”