While much of the hardcourt attention this season has been paid to the the up-and-down campaign of Chris Holtmann’s inexperienced men’s team, what Kevin McGuff and his staff have done with OSU’s women’s team is nothing short of heroic.
Even though the Buckeyes won the regular season and Big Ten Tournament crowns last year, the 2018-19 squad looks incredibly different, as McGuff lost his top-six scorers (five to graduation, one to a graduate-transfer), including all-time great Kelsey Mitchell.
Despite that fact, the Buckeyes finished the regular season 14-13 overall and 10-8 in conference. That mark was good enough for them to earn the fifth seed in the B1G Tournament, which will get underway on Wednesday, March 6.
No. 5 OSU will face the winner of the No. 12 Penn State vs. No. 13 Wisconsin matchup (1:30 p.m. ET, BTN). The Buckeyes will kick off their tournament on Thursday afternoon on the Big Ten Network, 25 minutes after the No. 8 Northwestern vs. No. 9 Michigan State game ends.
Ohio State swept both potential opponents in the regular season (PSU 76-71 (OT), 78-73; UW 70-68, 61-50), however, they dropped their only game to their potential quarterfinal opponent, No. 4 Michigan, 62-58 in Ann Arbor.
Despite a disappointing loss on Senior Day to Rutgers, OSU has been hot in recent weeks, winning four straight before Sunday’s 66-56 defeat to the Scarlet Knights.
Without the star power of Mitchell and Linnae Harper, the Buckeyes have been getting results this year far more by committee than they have in the recent past. Dorka Juhasz leads the team in scoring with 11.9 points per game, while Carly Santoro is right behind her with 11.5; Juhasz also is sixth in the B1G in rebounding, with nine per game.
Though she has only been in Columbus this season, Ball State grad-transfer Carmen Grande is the NCAA active assist leader for men or women with 827. She is currently tied for second in the conference with 5.0 per game.
All of the Big Ten tournament games will be broadcast on BTN, except for the final, which will be on ESPN2 on Sunday, March 10 at 6 p.m. ET.