The Ohio State women’s basketball team all won their first three games by double digits. Each win was a little less exciting than the last after the season against the then-No. 5 Tennessee Volunteers. The trend continues on Sunday as the Buckeyes play their first of three straight games at the Schottenstein Center.
There’s still a lot to take from the game as it gives the Buckeyes the perfect opportunity to correct areas ahead of their Nov. 30 trip to the sixth-ranked Louisville Cardinals.
The McNeese State Cowgirls from Lake Charles, Louisiana enter the Schott Sunday. Located about 200 miles west of New Orleans, McNeese State participates in the Southland Conference alongside smaller universities and two Texas A&M satellite campuses.
The McNeese State Cowgirls have two conference titles in their program history and made it to the NCAA tournament twice (2011 and 2012). Their national claim to fame came in a narrow loss to the then-No. 8 Kentucky Wildcats in the 2012 NCAA tournament 62-68, who eventually made it into the Elite Eight.
More recently, the Cowgirls have battled Power Five teams. Her last five games against top conference teams ended poorly for McNeese, losing by an average of 63 points. In each, they allowed at least 100 points, beginning with a 117-24 drubbing by current Ohio State guard Taylor Mikesell and the Oregon Ducks and ending on November 16, 2022, when fellow Big Ten school Illinois beat them 100-38 .
In other words, expectations for a landslide win for head coach Kevin McGuff’s side are high.
There are three areas to look out for McGuff and Ohio State. The first is shooting.
Nitpicking the Buckeyes shoot this season might feel like the equivalent of a loose string on a nice sweater. After all, Scarlet and Gray’s points advantage in their wins is +20, but sooner rather than later someone will come along and pull the strings.
Ohio State scores 44.8%, which isn’t a terrible level, but it’s gone down in every game. A second half of fluid points from the Buckeyes put the reigning Big Ten co-champs at 50.8% against the Vols, but Thursday’s 38% showed a side that was trending in the wrong direction.
A positive is in the space created for shooting. Guard Jacy Sheldon was asked if Ohio University’s defense was doing anything to make the shooting more difficult.
“No, no, we just had a bad day of shooting,” Sheldon said, laughing.
Although Sheldon right after Sheldon gave credit to the Bobcats for some of their defensive looks, it was a night of many candid shooting looks.
Sunday’s game against McNeese should give Ohio State plenty of time to tap the gridiron and find some good flow of shots at home.
The next focus is revenue capping. Ohio State responded to Sunday’s decision-making troubles, conceding 23 turnovers to Boston College, with a 13-turnover night against Ohio University. Chemistry is part of it.
As this Scarlet & Gray team, complete with two younger players up front, gets more minutes under their belt, they’ll get to the same end with passes and knowing teammate moves.
Last but not least, increase in minutes for transfers and players returning from injury. Especially forward Eboni Walker and guard Madison Greene. Both are part of McGuff’s plan this season, with the coach wanting help, particularly with livery. Walker and Greene suffered season-ending injuries last year, and Walker has the added hurdle of moving to Ohio State this offseason.
Solider minutes, like Greene’s 10-point night in 25 minutes against Ohio University, and the Buckeyes are gaining depth. If Sunday’s shots are more consistent, Walker and maybe even guards Kaia Henderson and Mya Perry can get more minutes into competitive minutes.
State of Ohio
- McGuff’s started the same five in the first three games of the season
- Taylor Thierry plays heavily in the starting line-up between guard and forward
- Walker has averaged 5.6 minutes on the bench this season, but McGuff hopes to increase that as the season progresses
- Nine of McNeese State’s 15 players are transfers and six are from Europe
- Stephanie Guihon spent the last two seasons with Rutgers and played four minutes against the Buckeyes last season
- Paris Mullins, a backup guard, leads the team at an average of 13.00 ppg
Not to mention the McNeese State Cowgirls, but Sunday’s game shouldn’t be difficult for the Buckeyes. Ohio State has proven their talent against a top-10 team, Power Five Conferences, this season, showing they can win even when their shots don’t come off.
Buckeyes will come out strong and avoid another slow start. Look for freshman forward Cotie McMahon, who had a difficult night against the Bobcats to have a big game. McMahon’s movement on the court is so fluid, covering a lot of space and not afraid to attack the basket. When the layups start hitting early in the game, you can expect them to carry consistently.
how to watch
Date: Sunday 20 November 2022
Time: 1:00 am ET
Where: Schottenstein Center – Columbus, Ohio
LGHL Prediction: 104 – 33 Ohio State Buckeyes
For the kids
After Sunday’s game, the Ohio State program is hosting a free youth clinic for girls in grades 3-8 and boys in grades 3-6. Admission is limited to just 100 participants who also have a ticket to the event.
There is no word from the team as to whether the players themselves will take part in running the clinic.
To register, visit here to complete a required waiver and learn more about the event.