The Ohio State women’s basketball team is going dancing. The Buckeyes were announced as the No. 5 seed in the Lexington Regional of the NCAA tournament on Monday night after posting a 26-6 record on the season and coming in ranked 11th in the country according to the most recent AP poll. The team will play Western Kentucky in their first round matchup on Friday at 2:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2.
The seeding means that Ohio State will be going on the road for the opening weekend of the tournament in Lexington, Kentucky. In addition to the Hilltoppers, host Kentucky and Belmont will also play first round games at Memorial Coliseum. The winners of the two contests will then meet to determine who advances to the Sweet 16 the following weekend.
Atop the Buckeyes’ region is Notre Dame, who sits second in the national polls after posting a 30-3 mark.
The other three No. 1 seeds in the tournament are Connecticut, the top seed overall, South Carolina, and Baylor, while three other Big Ten teams also had their names called, in Maryland, Michigan State, and Purdue. This year’s final four and national championship game will be played at American Airlines Center in Dallas.
Ohio State would likely have had a stronger seed were it not for its quick exit from the conference tournament. Despite earning the top seed during regular season play, the Buckeyes were ousted in the semifinals by Purdue in one of their most disappointing performances in recent memory.
Junior Kelsey Mitchell, the Big Ten’s Player of the Year and leading scorer, who on Monday was also named one of five finalists for the Nancy Lieberman Award which honors the country’s top point guard, was held to just nine points on 3-for-22 shooting by the Boilers, marking just the second time in her career that she failed to reach double digits in scoring.
Despite the early exit in Indianapolis, this has been one of the most successful seasons in program history. A total of six players earned postseason all-conference recognition, and all of the squad’s losses came against tournament teams.
Last season, Ohio State was a 3-seed, but found itself eliminated in the Sweet 16 by 7th-seeded Tennessee. The Buckeyes haven’t made it past the Sweet 16 since 1993, when the club, led by All-American Katie Smith, made it all the way to the national championship game, ultimately falling to Sheryl Swoopes and Texas Tech.
The full bracket for the women’s NCAA tournament can be found here.