Transfer Mavunga helps No. 7 Ohio State beat Duquesne 89-69
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) It has been a while since Ohio State redshirt junior forward Stephanie Mavunga had played in real game. She nearly forgot how much the game had changed since she last played for North Carolina in the 2014-15 season.
Still, she managed to score 15 points and grab 14 rebounds to help the No. 7 Buckeyes beat Duquesne 89-69 on Friday in the opener for both teams.
Last season the women's game switched from two, 20-minute halves to four, 10-minute quarters. Mavunga was first team All-ACC for the Tar Heels before she sat last season per NCAA transfer rules.
''I remember asking my teammates, `We play quarters?' ” Mavunga said. ''Even though I watched it last year, it's different when you actually got on there and played quarters. That was a little change I wasn't used to.''
She was one of four Buckeyes in double-figure scoring. All-American guard Kelsey Mitchell managed 18 points; Sierra Calhoun had 13 points and Shayla Cooper 12.
Calhoun last played 13 games for Duke in 2014-15. She also had to sit out last season when the Buckeyes went 26-8 and reached the NCAA Sweet 16.
''Being a fan on the bench, that's fun, too, learning things,'' she said. ''But it's extremely fun to get out there on the court and playing with your teammates and having a good time.''
Mitchell played 34 minutes and finished 6 of 17 from the field, including 2 of 9 on 3-pointers. She was an AP first-team selection in 2016 when she was third in the nation in scoring at 26.1 points.
''Sometimes you have to remind her how good she is,'' Ohio State coach Kevin McGuff said. ''She's so hard on herself that she wants everything to go perfectly, and she wants to impact the team in such positive ways that she's not her normal self.''
Chassidy Omogrosso led the Dukes with 17 points. Julijana Vojinovic had 16 and Amadea Szamosi 13.
The Buckeyes led 46-26 at the half and increased the lead to 55-29 midway through the third quarter. Duquesne went on a 12-2 run to make it 57-41 before OSU pulled away.
''I hate to say this, there's no moral victories, but to be only 20 down to a team of that caliber with such youth that we have, I'm not overly disappointed,'' Duquesne coach Dan Burt said.
ON THE BOARDS
Ohio State held a wide margin in rebounds, 55-33, including 23 offensive boards. The Buckeyes had 22 second-chance points compared to nine for the Dukes. ''We made plenty of mistakes, but we played hard,'' McGuff said. ''We rebounded, so we limited their ability to get second shots.''
''When you graduate a backcourt like we had graduate and we literally had one guard with experience, you're always going to be concerned when you play a possible Final Four team,'' Burt said.
Duquesne: The Dukes are 24-20 in season openers. . Although Duquesne dropped to 1-6 vs. the Buckeyes, the Dukes won the most recent game against them, 71-67 on Dec. 18, 2010, in Columbus.
Ohio State: The Buckeyes returned to their original home for the game because Value City Arena hosted a men's hockey game. OSU first played in St. John Arena in the 1974-75 season and have won 265 games and lost 65. This was the Buckeyes 26th game in the building since the move to Value City Arena before the 1998-99 season.
Duquesne hosts Lehigh on Sunday.
Ohio State hosts No. 4 South Carolina on Monday.