Ohio State women's basketball currently sits at No. 10 in the AP poll, with a 6-3 record as the nonconference schedule winds down. The team's only losses have come at the hands of the top three schools in that poll, Connecticut, South Carolina, and Notre Dame.
As Big Ten play rapidly approaches, the Buckeyes also find themselves near the top of another set of rankings that bodes very well for the program moving forward. Head coach Kevin McGuff has one of the top 2016 recruiting classes in the country, which is a big key to establishing sustainable success for Ohio State.
According to ESPN's rankings, Ohio State has the 8th-ranked class in the country, consisting of three five-star recruits. ASGR, previously known as All-Star Girls Report and one of the largest scouting organizations of women's high school basketball in the country, has the Buckeyes in the top spot nationally, as it also takes into account the three transfer students that will be in the fold in Columbus next season.
The class is highlighted by Tori McCoy, a 6'4" power forward from Champaign, Illinois. McCoy is the No. 10 prospect in ESPN's rankings, and No. 4 according to ASGR. Though she missed most of her junior season with a torn ACL, the St. Thomas More High School standout averaged 18.3 points and 9.7 rebounds as a sophomore.
Joining McCoy are point guard Kiara Lewis of Chicago's Whitney Young High School, the 22nd-ranked player according to ESPN (17th by ASGR), and Jensen Caretti, a 6'1" forward from Hannibal, Ohio, who is ranked 31st (33rd by ASGR).
McGuff has raised the level of recruiting in his tenure at the helm of the program, and has done a nice job of adding transfer students in addition to high school recruits. The 2016 class includes three transfer students with experience playing at a high level.
Guard Sierra Calhoun comes from Duke, a former McDonald's All-American who averaged 10 points in 13 games as a freshman before leaving the program. Calhoun is one of the most celebrated women's players in New York City history, and will have three years of eligibility remaining.
Another guard, Linnae Harper, comes from Kentucky, where she was an All-SEC freshman and defensive team selection. Harper also played for Team USA in the 2015 Pan American games. The former McDonald's All-American from Whitney Young will be eligible to begin her junior season once the Autumn Semester of 2016 is completed.
Stephanie Mavunga, a forward from North Carolina and another former McDonald's All-American, was also on that Pan Am team with Harper. A first-team All-ACC performer for the Tar Heels, Mavunga averaged 14.4 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 2.6 blocked shots per game as a sophomore, and will have two years of eligibility remaining.
Ohio State has seen a dramatic turnaround since McGuff took the reins. A solid performance in Big Ten conference and tournament play is certainly expected, as is a run in the NCAA tournament in March. Coupled with the highly-regarded 2016 recruiting class, the Buckeyes look to be a program on the rise.