The No. 16 Ohio State women’s basketball team extended its winning streak to six games after defeating No. 20 Tennessee 78-58 at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, Tennessee, Sunday evening.
Graduate forward Rebeka Mikulasikova made history becoming just the 37th player in program history to score 1,000 career points, finishing with 18 on the night.
The Buckeyes (6-1, 0-0 Big Ten) led for all 40 minutes as they forced 10 turnovers in the first half while the Volunteers (4-4, 0-0 SEC) struggled against pressure and could not find a scoring rhythm to get back into the game.
Head coach Kevin McGuff credited the team’s bond in the win.
“I thought we looked really connected out there today,” McGuff said. “On both ends of the court, we did a really good job playing together.”
Sophomore forward Cotie McMahon led the way with 19 points in 29 minutes of play. Graduate guard Celeste Taylor recorded her first double-double in a Buckeye uniform with 15 points and 12 rebounds.
Senior guard Destinee Wells went 4-for-9 from the field and finished with 11 points to lead the Volunteers. Junior forward Sara Puckett added 10 points and six rebounds.
The Buckeyes outscored the Volunteers 42-24 in the paint, which proved to be a key to their victory.
Mikulasikova said the team was well prepared when it came to defense and rebounding, knowing what the Volunteers were capable of.
“I just tried to focus on defense during practice days,” Mikulasikova said. “We had a really good week of practices, so that helped. Also, the guards are really helping, so that’s a great help from them when I’m guarding the post.”
The Buckeyes got out to a quick start as they led 18-7 midway through the first quarter. By the end of the quarter, Ohio State led 20-15 as the Volunteers scored the final 8 points of the quarter to cut the deficit to five.
Taylor said the press does not work the same every game as teams have different game plans and ideas on how to break it.
“I think every game is different,” Taylor said. “So, whatever they give us on offense, we just adjust in our press defensively.”
At the break, Ohio State led 43-28 with another half left to play.
In the third quarter, Ohio State continued to build its lead to put the game out of reach. The Buckeyes took a 63-44 advantage into the fourth and final quarter.
Both teams went back and forth in the scoring department. Halfway through the fourth quarter, Ohio State maintained a 20-point lead and finished strong with the 20-point victory.
The game marks the first ranked win for Ohio State on the year after dropping the season opener to USC. With their sixth straight win, the Buckeyes seem to have hit a good stride before conference play opens Sunday against Penn State.
Ohio State looks to make it seven straight wins Tuesday when it welcomes Ohio University to Value City Arena. Tipoff is set to begin at 7:00 p.m. on Big Ten+.