Hawkeye women fall in OT vs. Buckeyes in Big Ten semis
HOFFMAN ESTATES, Ill. -- Freshman phenom Kelsey Mitchell didn't doom Iowa in either of her first two meetings with the Hawkeyes.
The Ohio State superstar spelled disaster for the Hawkeyes on Saturday.
Mitchell scored the Buckeyes' final eight points of overtime and had a game-high 29 as Ohio State (23-9) downed Iowa 91-85 in the semifinals of the Big Ten tournament on Saturday at Sears Centre Arena.
The win was the sixth straight for Ohio State and sends the Buckeyes into Sunday's title game, where it will face top-seeded and fourth-ranked Maryland at 6 p.m.
"Kelsey is a special player and special players make big plays," Ohio State coach Kevin McGuff said. "She certainly did that tonight."
Iowa (24-6) had a seven-point lead with under seven minutes to play but couldn't hang on. The Hawkeyes missed out on a second straight trip to the Big Ten tournament title game.
Iowa forced overtime when Bethany Doolittle hit a tying layup off an in-bounds play with 3 seconds left. But without senior point guard Sam Logic, who fouled out in the final seconds of regulation, overtime was all Buckeyes — and Mitchell.
Iowa made just one of nine field goals in the extra session without Logic on the floor.
"I think the worst thing that could have happened was that we go into overtime without Sam Logic," Bluder said. "We probably needed a 3 on that last inbound play that we ran, we got the two from Bethany to put it into overtime. But realistically, without our floor general and our most experienced player, our All-American, we probably needed to get a 3-pointer at that point to win it instead of pushing it to overtime."
Iowa had two plays prepared for the final play in regulation — one for a 3-pointer and one designed for Doolittle.
"We had a good high-percentage shot that put us into overtime," Bluder said. "Again, without Sam, we probably needed to get the 3 at that point."
Overtime was Mitchell's time on Saturday.
She scored the final eight points for Ohio State as the Buckeyes ended the game on an 8-2 run to reach the conference tournament title game for the eighth time, and their first since winning the 2011 crown.
Mitchell hit two 3-pointers in the final 1:22 of overtime as Ohio State won its second straight over the Hawkeyes.
A deep triple from the top of the key snapped an 83-all tie, and her fourth and final 3-pointer gave the Buckeyes an 89-85 lead with 13 seconds left.
"Those two 3s were just part of the game," Mitchell said. "That's what it was."
Mitchell, the Big Ten player of the year as voted by the league's coaches, scored just 15 and 17 points in the Buckeye's first two meetings with Iowa.
She nearly matched that combined scoring output in Saturday's third meeting.
Mitchell had 22 of her 29 in the second half and overtime making four of five 3-pointers during that stretch.
Ohio State missed its first 11 3-pointers on Saturday but made seven of its final 11 attempts from beyond the arc to rally from a seven-point second-half deficit.
"I don't think we made any 3s in the first half," McGuff said. "But we made them when we needed them."
Iowa appeared to take control of the game with a 7-2 run that turned a 65-63 lead into a seven-point Hawkeye margin.
Doolittle's jumper with 6:56 left gave Iowa its biggest lead of the game at 72-65 before Ohio State rattled off a quick 8-0 run to take a one-point lead.
"We had control, I felt like, at that point," Bluder said. "We just got into too much of a hurry and didn't really run our offense."
Iowa led 75-73 after a free throw by Ally Disterhoft but Mitchell buried a 3-pointer off an in-bounds pass to put Ohio State up 76-75, and Iowa never led again.
"I think we just kind of lost their personnel at certain times," senior Melissa Dixon said. "Kelsey Mitchell got a couple of open 3s that shouldn't have happened. I think it was just a matter of losing them a little bit."
Iowa had chances down the stretch but Ally Disterhoft missed a pair of free throws with 17 seconds left and Alex Hart made one of two on the other end.
Dixon had a team-high 22 points to lead five Iowa players in double figures and Doolittle added 21 points, eight rebounds and six blocks.
Logic had a double-double with 12 points and 10 assists and Kali Peschel added 12 points of the bench.