Last season, only three Ohio State Buckeyes women’s basketball players started every game. Up next in the Land-Grant Holy Land series previewing every player on the 2022-23 roster is one of those three players — Rebeka Mikulášiková.
The forward filled big shoes in the Scarlet & Gray’s 2021-22 title season. With reinforcements in the paint now on the roster, does Mikulášiková push her game to solidify her spot in the starting lineup?
Name: Rebeka Mikulášiková
High School: Piaristické Gymnasium
2021-22 Stats: 9.4 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 0.8 apg, .459 FG%, .288 3FG%, .791 FT%
Entering the 21-22 campaign, the Ohio State Buckeyes were thin in the forward department due to two transfers: Dorka Juhasz, who won back-to-back First Team All-B1G in 2020 and 2021, and Aaliyah Patty, who started alongside Juhasz in all but two games in her last two years in Columbus, as the pair moved on to UConn and Texas A&M, respectively.
That left a big hole for the Buckeyes to fill. Graduate Tanaya Beacham moved from a starting position to a sixth player role, and junior Rebeka Mikulášiková, who started one game in her first two seasons as a Buckeye, was thrust into the starting five. Mikulášiková played and started in all 32 Ohio State games, leading the team in rebounds per game with 5.0 and finishing third in scoring, averaging 9.4 points per contest.
Normally, Mikulášiková’s offensive production was as inconsistent as commentator’s pronunciations of her last name. At the turn of the 2021 calendar, the Slovakian didn’t score a point in three-straight games. Once Ohio State hit their conference schedule, Mikulášiková hit double-digit points in consecutive games just twice. Looking at individual games though, Mikulášiková’s impact grows — especially in games against the Nebraska Cornhuskers and the Iowa Hawkeyes.
After a tough string of performances to start the calendar year, Mikulášiková went up against center Monika Czinano and the Iowa Hawkeyes in Iowa City. Mikulášiková was able to forget past troubles and score 17 points, her highest of the conference and postseason schedule. On top of that, it was in a game that ultimately gave Ohio State a share of the conference title.
Then, 10 days later, Mikulášiková had another tough matchup against 2022 Big Ten Freshman of the Year Alexis Markowski and the Cornhuskers. Like she did against Iowa, the forward stepped up, scoring 15 points — nine from beyond the arc — and grabbed seven rebounds in an 80-70 home victory.
As the year wound down, maybe it was the stress of starting and playing in every game, but Mikulášiková finished the season in a more subdued role, scoring double figures in only one of the final seven games of the season, and only three against the Texas Longhorns in the Sweet Sixteen.
What To Expect
Mikulášiková is a big who plays both in the paint and deep. Coming from a European basketball upbringing, Mikulášiková isn’t afraid to shoot from three, making 21 shots from deep last season, including five against the Hawkeyes.
That ability gives teammates in the post more room to move and create mismatches on the court. If an opposing forward or center goes up against Mikulášiková near the three-point line, the Jacy Sheldons and Madison Greenes on the Buckeyes can attack the basket. If teams switch, it gives Mikulášiková the height advantage over most guards on a deep or mid-range shot.
In the paint, Mikulášiková is a presence, but not as much as you’d expect on the boards. Mikulášiková hit double-digit rebounds only three times last year. However, this season the Academic All-B1G and OSU Scholar Athlete sees her increased responsibilities as the senior post player as a means to grow.
“This season, I’m trying to be a bigger leader on the team,” said Mikulášiková. “Just trying to communicate, especially with the post players that we have, and just explain to them the way we play and what do we need from them.”
That group of post players strengthened in the offseason. Not only does explosive forward Taylor Thierry return, but two transfers in Eboni Walker and Karla Vres joined the Buckeyes. Also, fourth-ranked forward in the 2022 recruiting class, Cotie McMahon, makes her Scarlet & Gray debut. With that increased presence around her, Mikulášiková can have a better, more consistent, 2022-23 season.
Mikulášiková will learn from her first full season starting and grow alongside a lineup that includes two other teammates who started every game last year in Sheldon and Taylor Mikesell. With those two and Greene in the guard group, Ohio State has more offensive might than they had last year, giving Mikulášiková space to move.
If Mikulášiková can hit shots more consistently, the three single-digit losses the Buckeyes had on the 2022 calendar could swing the other direction. Unless head coach Kevin McGuff opts to play a smaller lineup, or Vres surprises this year, expect Mikulášiková to start a majority of the Buckeyes’ games this season.
Watch Mikulášiková’s highlights from the 92-88 victory over the Hawkeyes on Jan. 31, 2022.
Miss any player previews? Here’s the list so far: