ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Toward the end, Ohio State didn’t necessarily need to call plays.
As long as the ball was in Kelsey Mitchell’s hands, the Buckeyes were fine.
Mitchell scored 37 points, carrying No. 10 Ohio State through the final minutes of regulation and leading the Buckeyes to a 78-71 overtime victory over No. 22 Michigan on Sunday. She scored Ohio State’s final nine points of the fourth quarter, then added nine more in the extra session, outdueling Michigan’s Katelynn Flaherty in a matchup of two of the nation’s best scorers.
“Take what you get, see it, and make a play,” Mitchell said.
The Ohio State star did that over and over down the stretch.
Flaherty gave Michigan a 64-62 lead with about a minute left in regulation, sinking a 3-pointer from the left corner. The Wolverines got a stop defensively, but Flaherty missed on their next possession. Mitchell got the rebound and took the ball all the way to the other end for the tying layup with 12 seconds left.
Then Mitchell opened the scoring in overtime with a 3-pointer to give the Buckeyes (15-2, 4-0 Big Ten) the lead for good. After a driving layup that gave Ohio State a 74-67 advantage, she appeared to hurt her left ankle on the basket support and walked gingerly off the court. She came back and added a couple of free throws before leaving the game again.
Her teammates were able to finish the victory without her.
“We really had done a great job all game. I think we kind of ran out of gas a little bit at the end,” Michigan coach Kim Barnes Arico said. “Jillian Dunston was incredible on her all game, but you give her any space, and she makes you pay for it.”
Mitchell is now just two points shy of 3,000 for her career. She and Flaherty are ranked 1-2 on the Division I career scoring list among active players.
Flaherty had 22 points and eight assists, and Hallie Thome added 27 points and eight rebounds for the Wolverines (13-4, 2-2).
Ohio State: The Buckeyes were held to six points in the second quarter, but they played some pretty good defense themselves. And they had Mitchell, who was able to create her own shot seemingly whenever she needed to at the end.
“She’s an unbelievable player,” Ohio State coach Kevin McGuff said. “Michigan did a good job bothering her throughout the game, but she really found her rhythm there late.”
Michigan: The Wolverines are still seeking a signature win. They came close against Ohio State but couldn’t overcome Mitchell. Thome was impressive inside and gives Michigan an option down low against opponents that can contain Flaherty.
“We’re so close,” Flaherty said. “I know the second quarter, we held them to six points, and that’s really hard to do with that team.”
McGuff said Mitchell had an ankle sprain but should be fine. She was also icing her forehead after the game.
After Mitchell tied it at 64 late in regulation, Michigan called timeout and had a chance to win it. The ball ended up with Flaherty, who was well guarded and took a difficult 3-pointer that missed.
“I think we all started to look for Kate and tried to have Katelynn try to make a play in that last possession, where I think any of our kids at that moment probably could have taken over, and Hallie had all game,” Arico said. “That’s something that we’ll talk about tomorrow when we watch film.”
Ohio State: The Buckeyes play at Indiana on Saturday.
Michigan: The Wolverines remain at home, facing Indiana on Wednesday night.
Follow Noah Trister at www.Twitter.com/noahtrister