When the 2022-23 season tips off for the Ohio State women’s basketball team, over half of the starting lineup feels predictable. The Buckeyes return four of five from their group who began all the games in their stretch run to the Sweet 16, including First Team All-B1G stars Jacy Sheldon and Taylor Mikesell.
That now open spot, formerly held by forward Braxtin Miller, is an area to watch with the regular season looming. A name with potential to challenge for that spot is next on Land-Grant Holy Land’s player preview series — Ohioan Cotie McMahon.
Name: Cotie McMahon
High School: Centerville High School (Centerville, Ohio)
In Feb. 2020, Ohio high school teams were battling in the state tournament. Not part of that excitement was McMahon, who was on campus with the Scarlet & Gray as Ohio State battled in their Big Ten schedule. McMahon graduated early to join the Buckeyes in preparation for her first year of eligibility, with games beginning Nov. 8.
That didn’t mean McMahon hasn’t been playing basketball.
This summer, McMahon swapped scarlet and gray for red, white and blue with Team USA’s U18 team. Alongside nationally known recruits like UCLA’s Kiki Rice and UConn’s Isuneh Brady, McMahon and Team USA did what America usually does in women’s basketball — win, and make it look easy.
McMahon was part of a small group of players leading the way. In six games, McMahon averaged 14.2 points, 7.5 rebounds and 3.2 assists. Those stats were good enough to land the forward third, sixth and seventh overall amongst all players in the tournament.
In the championship game, after Team USA won by an average of 52.4 points in the five matchups leading up to the title game, they faced a tough Team Canada. Up 10 entering halftime, Canada battled back, cutting USA’s lead to four with a quarter to play.
The final 10 minutes of the game saw McMahon take the game over. McMahon scored eight of her 22 points with an assist to hold off their neighbors to the north, winning gold for Team USA, leading the team in points in the game and being named to the tournament’s All-Star 5.
What to Expect
There’s a reason ESPN named McMahon the fourth best forward in their 2022 class. McMahon can do just about everything. The 5-foot-11 player can shoot, rebound and defend.
Head coach Kevin McGuff plays a high energy system, and tries to control the pace of games and force opponents to make mistakes. When those mistakes happen, like missed shots and poor passes, McMahon knows where to be to clean it up. While her size won’t stand up against the centers and fives within the Big Ten, McMahon’s energy and court knowledge gets her to the right places at the right time.
Offensively, McMahon won’t be shooting threes like the group of Buckeyes starting guards, but will be a force to be reckoned with when she charges at the basket. Each high school season McMahon improved offensively, going from 15.8 ppg as a freshman to 20.2 in her final full season.
ESPN recruiting experts said McMahon is, “among the elite prospects in the class of 2022.” McMahon’s addition to the Buckeyes is a sign that Ohio State’s firmly moved on from the issues of the past few years, and is reestablishing itself as the team for in-state talent.
The old adage “the sky’s the limit” fits nicely for McMahon. McGuff isn’t going to show his cards this early in the offseason, but its hard to imagine McMahon not being on the court, and often.
McMahon should challenge for a spot in the starting five, and if not one of the first off the bench. The most likely competition for McMahon are forwards Eboni Walker and Taylor Thierry, a transfer and sophomore respectively. McMahon has the edge over both because of the international experience, knowledge of McGuff’s system over Walker and possessing a much more confident offensive game than surprise role-player Thierry from last season.
With that said, if Thierry improved in the offseason, like McGuff said she did in media availability, it’ll be a toss-up on who starts.
Either way, expect McMahon to make her presence known on this Buckeyes roster. In the upcoming years, when players like Mikesell and Sheldon leave, it’ll be McMahon stepping up as the leader of Ohio State.
Here’s a double-dose of highlights. In the first video, McMahon’s (23) moments from her time at Centerville. The second features McMahon (9) hitting shots deep, assisting and cutting through defenses during this summer’s FIBA Americas U18 Championship.
Miss any other player previews? Here’s the list so far: