COLUMBUS, Ohio — For the first 14 minutes, the Stanford women were holding their own in a tough season opener at Ohio State, leading 33-32. After that, not so much.
Kelsey Mitchell and the fifth-ranked Buckeyes pulled away to an 85-64 victory over the No. 10 Cardinal on Friday.
Brittany McPhee scored 24 points to lead Stanford, but no one else was in double figures. Mitchell scored 30 points, and Stephanie Mavunga added 17 points and 26 rebounds for Ohio State.
Leading 46-40 entering the second half, Ohio State dominated the pace of play in the third quarter, outscoring the Cardinal 24-14, despite 6-of-22 shooting. The Buckeyes made 11 of 13 free throws in the period.
Returning just two starters from last season, Stanford struggled to find scoring against a defense that ranked 313th last season. The Cardinal shot 37 percent from the field and turned the ball over 15 times.
“This is baptism by fire,” said Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer, whose team faces top-ranked Connecticut in Columbus on Sunday.
“We’re taking a beating, but I personally think it will be better for our team in the long run to play Ohio State, to play Connecticut instead of playing maybe some other people that you’re able to beat,” she added. “But are you going to learn, are you going to grow?”