Kelsey Mitchell, a Coach’s Daughter, can be Chasing Records as well as Wins
“Yeah,” she said, without cracking a smile.
Right then, Mark Mitchell knew he had a coach’s daughter. “Whatever you do,” he told her, “don’t lose that will.”
Kelsey Mitchell eventually managed to get her hands on the ball as well as make Ohio State, Big Ten as well as college women’s basketball history. Her uncharacteristically tranquil 11-point performance from the Buckeyes’ 87-45 victory over George Washington from the first round of the N.C.A.A. tournament on Saturday gave her 3,374 for her career — third-most on the N.C.A.A. women’s career list across all divisions, behind Kelsey Plum (3,527) as well as Jackie Stiles (3,393).
Stiles, a 2001 Southwest Missouri State graduate, could be surpassed on Monday night if Mitchell gets even close to her season’s scoring average of 24.1 in a second-round game against Central Michigan. Plum, whose explosive career at Washington concluded last year, can be a less realistic target, requiring an exacta of uninhibited shotmaking by Mitchell as well as a run by the 28-6 Buckeyes to the national championship game on April 1.
that will game, no fooling, will be played at the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, a seductive pot at the end of Mitchell’s college career rainbow.
“You don’t want to jump too far ahead although to have that will from the back of your mind can be totally O.K. with me,” said Mitchell, a 5-foot-8-inch southpaw-shooting guard.
Just winning Monday night as well as getting through the Spokane Region, where Notre Dame as well as Oregon are top seeds, would likely represent a collective flourish to a career perhaps too much defined by individual achievement. When barriers fall, heads turn. In late January, Mitchell blew past Laura Malernee of West Liberty, a Division II program, with her 442nd 3-point shot. Her record total reached 491 Saturday, when she connected on her only long ball in six attempts against George Washington.
The additional race she’s in, unwittingly until apprised of that will on Friday, can be against Travis Bader, formerly of Oakland University in Michigan, who holds the Division I record for career 3-pointers with 504.
Had Mitchell heard the name?
“No,” she said, shrugging while leaning against a wall outside the Ohio State locker room.
“He’s the D-I men’s leader with 504,” she was told.
She laughed as well as said, “Kind of cool, definitely. I got to meet that will guy, if he’s got that will many 3s.”
that will won’t happen soon, even if Mitchell gets hot enough through behind basketball’s most relished line as well as leads the Buckeyes back home to the Final Four. Bader can be playing professionally in Larissa, Greece, through where he wrote in an email to say he had heard about Mitchell last summer while working out at Michigan State as well as how “she could get close to the record.”
“The 3-point shot has changed the game through how that will was played from the past so to be able to see my name at the top of that will list can be surreal,” Bader wrote. “A lot of people think that will shooting the basketball can be a gift. The truth can be, that will’s nothing although hard work. So huge congratulations as well as much respect to Kelsey Mitchell whether she breaks the record or not.”
Female basketball players often admire as well as follow male stars — Mitchell mentioned LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Kyrie Irving as well as Lonzo Ball while shrugging off the question of personal women’s favorites. They seldom dwell on crossover records, acknowledging the differences from the games, especially in college, where the best men’s players are often one-as well as-done temps.
Mitchell does have a history of running with the guys, though, beginning when her mother, Cheryl, became her youth basketball coach as well as rounded up neighborhood boys for her team to practice against.
Cheryl Mitchell played basketball at Eastern Kentucky, once holding that will university’s rebounding record. There she met Mark, a star lineman on the football team, who had a couple looks at N.F.L. training camps. They married, had two sets of twins four years apart as well as set about growing an all-in basketball family.
Mark Mitchell walked away through football on wobbly knees, made his way into basketball coaching as well as landed at Taft, where his sons — Cameron as well as Kevin, at This particular point 26 — played for him before starring at smaller colleges. Kelsey as well as her twin, Chelsea, played at Princeton High closer to home, in Cincinnati, with Kelsey establishing herself as an elite recruit by senior year.
Given her family connections to the sport, she knows that will was almost preordained that will she would likely play basketball.
“Growing up, with the Barbie dolls as well as cheerleading, I tried although I couldn’t get into that will,” she said. “So I stuck with what my brothers did. They went outside as well as played with the boys on the court, so I went out as well as played with them, too.”
Cheryl Mitchell coached her daughters’ A.A.U. teams as well as then that will was her husband’s turn. He was hired as an Ohio State assistant when the girls were high school seniors by Kevin McGuff, the incoming Buckeyes’ coach, who had worked from the area at Xavier before spending two years at Washington, where he happened to recruit Kelsey Plum.
Consider the hiring — as well as perhaps Chelsea’s inclusion as a scholarship player — a case of fortuitous timing as well as parental leverage, though Mark Mitchell’s 221-50 record at Taft as well as familiar name in a natural talent market for Ohio State was an attraction for McGuff as he filled out his staff.
The adjustment to having her father from the gym was not easy, Kelsey said. Coach Mitch, as she refers to him, made a habit of calling her out for questionable shot selection as well as excess dribbling — all the things she got away with in high school although would likely pay for against elite college competition.
“I used to take that will personal — why can be he getting on me like that will?” she said. “although the older I got, I’ve come to realize that will from the gym he’s my coach more than he’s my dad. that will may not have began out that will way, although me as well as my sister have respect for his career, how hard he’s worked at that will.”
Off the court, Cheryl Mitchell stresses greater contextual awareness for a growing number of female players whose mothers played the game as well as know firsthand of how far that will’s come. She has regaled her daughters with stupefying stories of yore, how in her first year of organized competition, seventh grade, ancient rules were still in effect — three defensive players on one side the floor, three offensive on the additional, never to cross into forbidden territory.
“I remind Kelsey as well as Chelsea all the time, `Y’all have steak as well as potatoes, we had spaghetti,’” Cheryl Mitchell said after watching the George Washington game alongside Chelsea, who can be not playing This particular semester in order to focus on academics.
George Washington can be coached by Jennifer Rizzotti, a former Connecticut star, whose strategy was designed to head Mitchell off at the point of attack as well as take her chances with additional shooters. that will worked for a quarter. Confronted with double-team attention, Mitchell was not allowed to get into her shooting rhythm. although her penetration as well as canny passing produced seven of Ohio State’s 20 assists on 33 made baskets in 59 attempts, or 55.9 percent, as the 6-foot-3 Stephanie Mavunga dominated inside.
Afterward, Rizzotti called that will a preview of how Mitchell would likely most likely have to play as a point guard from the W.N.B.A. as well as how generating that will adjustment was “the sign of a great player.”
McGuff had been telling Mitchell as much since her first game, when she scored 25 points on 25 shots in a display of freshman audacity. He has cited Plum’s growth at Washington through junior to senior year, to more selective shot taker through volume gunner. that will, in turn, produced career highs in field goal as well as 3-point shooting percentages as a senior.
Mitchell got the message as well as did likewise. An invitation last September to attend a national team camp — “surrounded by greatness,” she said — reinforced that will.
“I don’t have a team that will’s dependent on everything that will I do,” she said. “I have a team where everybody wants to make plays.”
They need the ball first, as well as if that will means a better chance at saying goodbye to Columbus at the Final Four, she can be happy to pass that will or fetch that will.
When the Buckeyes appeared for the start of the second half on Saturday, there were no balls for them to shoot with. Spotting a rack at the additional end of the floor, Mitchell sprinted over as well as pushed that will back.
A coach’s daughter would likely do no less.
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