Junior guard Jacy Sheldon produced her second consecutive 30-point game to push Ohio State past Minnesota on the road.
Ohio State (13-3, 5-2 Big Ten) continued its four-game winning streak with an 83-75 victory against the Golden Gophers (9-9, 2-4 Big Ten), earning their 10th consecutive win over Minnesota.
A Dublin, Ohio, native, Sheldon started the night off strong as she reached double digits with 3:31 left to play in the first quarter.
Sheldon and junior forward Rebeka Mikulasikova led the Buckeyes to outscore the Golden Gophers 23-14, with 12 and eight points, respectively, in the first quarter.
During the second quarter, the Minnesota defense stepped up as they held Sheldon to just two points. The Golden Gophers closed the lead on the Buckeyes at the end of the second quarter 38-37.
At the end of the half, head coach Kevin McGuff thought his team needed to focus their attention on refining the basics.
“I thought we played hard. We were just making some silly mistakes and making things harder on ourselves,” McGuff said. “I thought we cleaned it up and did a better job in the second half, playing with a little more sense of the fundamentals.”
Coming out of the half, the Buckeyes and Gophers were neck and neck. Minnesota took the lead for a mere 15 seconds, sitting at 44-43 before senior guard Taylor Mikesell drained a 3-point shot to put the Buckeyes ahead 46-44, creating momentum for Ohio State.
Graduate forward Tanaya Beacham, who was a defensive powerhouse for the Buckeyes, was fouled hard as she drove to the hoop. Beacham collided with the back of the pole after getting hit in the face, resulting in a flagrant one foul on Minnesota’s Deja Winters.
Sheldon took Beacham’s two shots as she headed to the locker room. McGuff said he didn’t think it would be a long-term injury.
The Buckeyes ended the third quarter on a 9-0 run, which put Ohio State ahead of the Golden Gophers 64-49.
Sheldon, who played all 40 minutes against Minnesota, had 32 points, seven assists and three steals. She was just one point shy of tying her career-high, which she set Thursday against the Spartans.
McGuff said he has enjoyed watching Sheldon grow as a player and as a person throughout the past three years with the Buckeyes.
“She leads by example as well as anyone I’ve ever coached. She’s just a relentless worker,” McGuff said. “She’s grown now in terms of her communication with her teammates, and they all respect her because she’s a great player and her work ethic is impeccable.”
Sheldon credited a lot of her success to her teammates and the growth the team has made this season.
“I think we have a great group. We’ve been really working hard this year, every day at practice. Every game, obviously, we go out there and fight,” Sheldon said. “This team, it’s been fun to be around, fun to play with. I think we’re getting better every day. We’re really going out there playing, so I’m proud of everybody.”
Redshirt sophomore guard Rikki Harris got the start for the second game in a row for freshman guard Kateri Poole. Poole is still inactive due to a shoulder injury Sunday and remains day-to-day, according to McGuff.
The Buckeyes will head home for another Big Ten matchup against No. 8 Maryland (12-4, 4-1 Big Ten) at 6 p.m. Thursday on Big Ten Network.