- Associated Press - Sunday, February 26, 2017

PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) - Kelsey Mitchell and Ohio State accomplished one of their main goals for the season - winning a Big Ten title.

The 12th-ranked Buckeyes clinched a share of the conference championship with a 73-45 win over Rutgers on Sunday as Mitchell scored 21 points. It’s the school’s first Big Ten title since 2010.

“We had to work really hard for it which makes it that much better,” Mitchell said, clutching a red Big Ten championship hat. “We have a lot of things we still have left to do.”

The Buckeyes (25-5, 15-1 Big Ten) finished in a tie with Maryland atop the conference, but earned the top seed in the tournament next week by beating the Terrapins last Monday. It’s Ohio State’s first conference regular season since the school won six straight from 2005-10. The Buckeyes have won 15 Big Ten titles overall, no other team in the conference has more than nine.

“It’s a great, great feeling and I’m really proud of our team,” coach Kevin McGuff said. “We wanted to make sure we improved this year and we got better each week.”

Ohio State trailed 3-0 before scoring 15 straight points, including the last seven by Mitchell to take early command. The Scarlet Knights (6-23, 3-13) couldn’t get within nine the rest of the game. Rutgers has dropped eight straight.

Trailing by 20 at the half, the Scarlet Knights played the Buckeyes basically even over the game’s final 20 minutes.

Shrita Parker led Rutgers with 16 points.

BIG PICTURE

Ohio State: The Buckeyes have been playing extremely well lately even without injured star Stephanie Mavunga, who injured her right foot in practice on Feb. 9. She hasn’t played since and isn’t expected back until potentially the NCAA Tournament. … Ohio State has won

Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights are suffering through the worst season in coach C. Vivian Stringer’s tenure at the school that began in 1995. The team was 9-20 in 2001-02 before turning it around the next season to start a string of 10 straight NCAA Tournament appearances. Stringer hopes for a similar turnaround to occur next year. The good news for Rutgers is the team only graduates one senior, Alex Alfano who has missed the eight games with a concussion.

NCAA SEEDING:

Ohio State hasn’t been mentioned among the top 16 teams in any of the NCAA reveals. The Buckeyes should have a shot at hosting the first two rounds.

“If you were watching us, I can’t think there are 16 better teams in the country than us,” McGuff said. “There aren’t 16 better teams in the country.”

UP NEXT

Ohio State: Top seed in Big Ten tournament and will open play on Friday.

Rutgers: Plays in Big Ten tournament on Wednesday.

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