LAS VEGAS — Stephanie Mavunga made the most of her 24 minutes.
The Ohio State senior forward scored a career-high 35 points and had 16 rebounds to lead No. 9 Ohio State to a 100-69 win over Memphis in the Play4Kay Showcase on Thursday.
“My teammates were really finding me. All credit to them,” she said. “I had no idea coming into the game it was going to end like this.”
Mavunga had her fifth double-double of the season and tied her previous personal best in points with 27 in the first half to help the Buckeyes (5-1) to a 56-34 lead. She set her mark with a layup 24 seconds into the third quarter.
She was 15 for 20 from the floor and 5 for 5 on free throws.
“All of our guards are really good so they draw a lot of attention,” Mavunga said. “As they would drive, they would drop the ball off and make really good passes and put me in the right situations.”
Kelsey Mitchell added 20 points for the Buckeyes.
Brea Elmore and Alana Davis each had 16 points for Memphis (1-4).
The Tigers had no answers inside for the taller and more athletic Buckeyes and Mavunga (6-foot-3) took advantage.
Mavunga got off to a torrid start by scoring the Buckeyes’ first seven points and by the 6:42 mark of the first period had 19 points for a 27-8 lead.
“She played really hard,” Ohio State coach Kevin McGuff said. “As a result she was getting a lot of second chance points, a lot of offensive rebounds.”
THEY SAID IT
“I don’t know what to call it at the beginning of the game, whether it was a little bit lackadaisical or a little bit scared. I’m not quite sure.” — Memphis coach Melissa McFerrin.
FOR A GOOD CAUSE
The eight-team tournament supports the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, an organization that funds women’s cancer research. Yow was coach at North Carolina State from 1975-2009 and had more than 700 wins. She passed away from breast cancer at age 66 in 2009. Other participants in the tournament are Belmont, DePaul, Florida Gulf Coast, Gonzaga, Kent State and No. 14 Stanford.
Mitchell had three 3-pointers and is three treys away from tying Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis of UConn for the most in NCAA history at 398. … Ohio State is 2-1 all-time vs. Memphis. The Tigers won the first meeting 84-75 in 1979. The Buckeyes defeated the Tigers 97-75 in the first round of the 1996 NCAA Tournament. McFerrin was an assistant coach for Ohio State from 1990-97 and was on the bench for the latter game. . Memphis redshirt freshman guard Alyssa Dean is from Columbus, Ohio. She sat out last season because of an injury. As high school senior she was named to the 2015 AP All-Ohio Division II second team.
Memphis: The Tigers have been hampered by injuries as they continue looking for consistency to improve on last season’s 14-16 record. Playing a team the caliber of Ohio State will help them down the road.
Ohio State: The Buckeyes have rebounded nicely from their only loss to No. 4 Louisville, 95-90 in overtime in Columbus on Nov. 12.
Memphis plays DePaul, who lost 89-84 to Florida Gulf Coast on Thursday, in a consolation bracket game Friday.
Ohio State plays Florida Gulf Coast in a semifinal game on Friday. Looming is a possible rematch vs. Stanford in the championship game on Saturday if both team teams are victorious Friday. The Buckeyes beat No. 14 Stanford 85-64 on Nov. 10 in Columbus.