Ohio State women’s basketball had a solid year, winning a regular season Big Ten title and making a run to the Sweet Sixteen. Next year could be even more special, thanks to an announcement from last night.
Ohio State’s leading scorer, Kelsey Mitchell, announced she will return to Ohio State for her senior season, via a university announcement. From her statement:
Getting a degree from The Ohio State University was one of my top goals when coming to college and I look forward to completing my degree next spring. My teammates and I also have a number of goals we have yet to accomplish on the court. One of those goals is to play in the Final Four and we have a tremendous opportunity to do that next year here in Columbus. I'm excited to get back in the gym with my teammates and continue to work to get better.
Unlike the NBA or NFL Draft, players don’t leave early for the WNBA Draft particularly often. But as a three-time All-American, Mitchell was certainly talented enough to make the jump early. Last year, Aerial Powers from Michigan State left after her junior season. She averaged more than 10 points a game for Dallas last year in the pros.
Had Mitchell left early, based on draft projections, she likely would have made around $40,000 from the WNBA, but also could have potentially played overseas for another, more lucrative, deal. Not bad money when you’re right out of college, but with another year at the college level and a chance to improve her draft stock, Mitchell might be able to make another $10,000 or so next season.
Mitchell could leave Columbus as one of the most decorated college basketball players in Buckeye history. Mitchell is currently third in scoring in Ohio State history, and if she has a strong season, could make a run at the record (Jantell Lavender’s 2818 points).
Last year, Mitchell was sixth nationally in three pointers made, and ninth nationally in scoring per game, with 22.6. With her returning, the Final Four in Columbus, and the level that Ohio State has recruited over the last few seasons (among the best in the sport), expectations will be high for the squad. As it should be.