The shots weren’t falling for the Gophers women’s basketball team in its Big Ten opener.
And when the opponent is No. 14 Ohio State, all those misses led to a blowout loss Wednesday night in Columbus.
Kelsey Mitchell — who was making her shots — scored 23 points and had six assists to lead the Buckeyes to an 87-62 victory. The junior All-America guard made nine of 21 shots from the field. She also was five of 12 on three-pointers and, with the second one she made in the first quarter, she became the fifth conference player with 300 career threes.
Ohio State (11-4) used an 11-0 run to take a 13-4 lead. And a Buckeyes’ 9-0 run at the start of the second quarter gave them a 20-point lead at 38-18.
The Gophers countered with a 12-2 run to cut the lead to nine at 42-33, but OSU got the last two baskets of the half to lead 46-33.
Minnesota (9-5) never mounted a serious rally after that.
“We got to the free-throw line a lot,” Gophers assistant coach Gail Striegler said in a postgame radio interview. “We just got to hit those open shots when they are there.”
Minnesota was 19 of 28 on free throws, but shot only 29.2 percent from the field.
Two starters especially struggled. Carlie Wagner, a junior guard averaging a team-high 18.6 points, had only 12. She was 5-for-23 shooting, including 0-for-9 from behind the arc. Forward Whitney Tinjum was 0-for-8 and had two points although she did have 11 rebounds.
Kenisha Bell led the Gophers with 14 points while Iowa State transfer Bryanna Fernstrom, a 6-5 junior center who just became eligible, had 12 points and 10 rebounds before fouling out with 6:45 to play. Jessie Edwards added nine points and seven rebounds.
The Gophers had won five of the past seven games against Ohio State, including the previous two on the road.
This time the Buckeyes shot better at 38.3 percent and had 12 turnovers to the Gophers’ 23.