LEXINGTON, Ky. - Ohio State's run in the 2017 NCAA Women's Tournament came to an end March 24 as Notre Dame used a deadly three-point attack to bury the Buckeyes, 99-76 at Rupp Arena.
The loss marks the second straight year the Buckeyes bowed out of the tournament in the Sweet 16, and the most points allowed by an Ohio State opponent this season.
The Irish buried 12 of their 24 shots from long range, as three players on Notre Dame buried at least four from deep. The No. 1 seed also made 19 of 20 shots from the free throw line. Notre Dame's Arike Ogunbowale finished with a game high 32 points, as she converted on 11 of 22 from the floor on the night.
After trailing 50-42 at halftime, the Buckeyes were able to cut the Irish lead to 55-51 after an offensive put-back by Sierra Calhoun early in the third, forcing Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw to call a timeout. That was as close as OSU would get in the second half.
The Irish outscored Ohio State 49-34 in the second half as the Buckeyes fell by 23.
After making five of her first six shots from the field, Ohio State junior guard Kelsey Mitchell missed her next five shots and was held scoreless in the third quarter. She finished with 18 points, 12 of which came in the first half. As a team, the Buckeyes shot 42.3 percent from the floor, and 37.5 percent from three-point range, but struggled to slow down Notre Dame's offensive attack.
The first quarter started slow, but quickly picked up thanks to stellar shooting on both sides. Trailing 10-7 at the first media timeout with 4:09 left in the first quarter, Ohio State ended the first frame by making seven of its final eight shots. The Irish nearly matched the Buckeyes basket-for-basket as Ohio State took just a 25-24 lead into the second quarter. Shayla Cooper, playing in what would be her final game as a Buckeye, grabbed OSU's first 10 rebounds of the game, nine of which came in the first six minutes of action. She finished with nine points and 13 rebounds on the night.
The opening frame also saw the return of Stephanie Mavunga for Ohio State. Mavunga had missed her previous eight games due to a foot injury, but entered the game with 1:41 to play in the first and promptly made her first shot from the floor, a turn-around fadeaway in the lane to give the Buckeyes a 19-17 lead.
The second quarter saw Notre Dame make its first seven shots from the field, five of which came from long range. The Irish opened the quarter on a 9-2 run on three straight three-pointers, forcing Ohio State head coach Kevin McGuff to call a timeout. The Buckeyes then cut the Irish lead to 33-31 on a pair of lay-ins from Cooper and Sierra Calhoun before Notre Dame went on a 17-6 run, building its lead to 50-37 before OSU closed the quarter with five straight points, going into the half down by eight.