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Ohio State women’s basketball player preview: Rikki Harris

The former five-star recruit enters the season making an already strong group of guards even more impressive

NCAA Womens Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Spokane Regional-Texas Longhorns vs Ohio State Buckeyes James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

The beginning of the Ohio State women’s basketball season is upon us. On Election Night, Nov. 8, the Buckeyes lobby to start the season on the right foot against a tough Tennessee Volunteers squad.

Ohio State has toughness of their own, represented best by the next player in the Land-Grant Holy Land series previewing the 2022-23 roster. Guard Rikki Harris enters the season coming off a successful, and healthy, 21-22 season. Can the guard repeat that success and build upon it?

Name: Rikki Harris
Position: Guard
Class: Redshirt Junior
High School: North Central High School (Indianapolis, Indiana)

2021-22 Stats: 7.1 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 2.5 apg, .392 FG%, .333 3FG%, .557 FT%

Last Season

The Buckeyes had a guard crisis to start the season. If you’ve read the player previews up to this point, you know its from the season-ending injury to starting point guard Madison Greene before the season even began.

Harris knows all about injuries. Before joining the Scarlet & Gray out of high school, Harris suffered an injury that limited time in her final high school year. That difficulty was followed up with a season-ending shoulder injury before the start of Ohio State’s 19-20 season.

Last season, Ohio State started one game with Heyvnne Bristow as point guard, before Kateri Poole, who now plays with the LSU Tigers, took over starting duties. That made Harris a spark off the bench, coming in second to forward Tanaya Beacham in most games. After playing only eight minutes in the first game of the season, Harris never played single digit minutes again, proving her place on the court and health wasn’t an issue.

On Jan. 9, against Northwestern, Poole left the game injured, and starting Jan. 12 Harris entered the starting lineup and never left it. Teammate Jacy Sheldon slid from the shooting guard role to point guard, and Harris came in as a player who bridged the pair of dynamic shooting guards and forwards Braxtin Miller and Rebeka Mikulášiková.

In that first start, Harris didn’t take the chance for granted. The Indianapolis-area guard hit above her 7.1 points per game average with nine but impressed more off the ball. Harris had three blocks, three steals and four rebounds, a foreshadowing of the defensive impact that followed through the end of the season.

Against the Hawkeyes, Harris had three steals and six rebounds on top of nine points. A couple weeks later, on the road to the Fighting Illini, Harris couldn’t seem to miss from beyond three, hitting a shot from the far corner of the court, for a season-high 17 points with four steals defensively.

Harris didn’t show her full potential offensively, but when Ohio State needed energy and defending, there she was. Against Penn State, to end the regular season, Harris held First Team All-B1G guard Makenna Marisa to her lowest point total of the season (10). In addition to the poor shooting night, going .154 from the field and missing all four three-point shots, Marisa also had six turnovers for the Nittany Lions.

On March 21, in the Buckeyes second round game against a home LSU team, Harris showed that Ohio State wasn’t intimidated by the raucous Tiger fans. Before the tip, Harris was singing a song, almost looking like she was singing to LSU starting point guad Khayla Pointer, as if to show that Ohio State wasn’t worried.

Head coach Kevin McGuff and the Buckeyes silenced the crowd, beating the SEC side by 15 points on their home court, 79-64. Harris hit her season average with seven points, but added seven rebounds.

What to Expect

After halftime in that NCAA Tournament game against LSU, Harris had a play that summed the guard up perfectly. At the top of the arc, Harris took a three that hit off the rim. Harris charged into the paint, grabbed her own rebound and hit the lay-up. That’s the kind of player to expect on the court for Ohio State.

“Has a very high basketball IQ, is a good communicator on the court in helping others be in the right positions,” said McGuff about Harris. “She’s got some toughness to her that we’re going to need on the defensive end, especially she gets tough rebounds and she dives on the floor. We’re gonna need a lot of that with Braxtin (Miller) gone.”

Expect Harris to be on the court a lot. In what capacity is a question to watch this season. Harris has the capability to play in Miller’s four-role. After all, Miller did move from guard to forward later in her NCAA career when she came to the Buckeyes from Oklahoma State.

Also, Harris is a perfect candidate to be Ohio State’s sixth player. Last season, Beacham held firmly onto that role, as a forward, giving Mikulášiková rest and giving the Scarlet & Gray a shot of energy and leadership.


Last year, Harris didn’t show what she’s capable of offensively. A player isn’t the sixth rated guard in the country simply for defense. On the ESPN recruiting trail, Harris was heralded as someone with “playmaking skills” and “consistent offensive production.”

This year, Harris should get consistent minutes but likely in that first player off the bench role. That will still get the guard consistent minutes each game, and even move into a starting position if McGuff opts to let a guard rest a game, which he wasn’t able to do last season.

Harris will have her best offensive year with the Buckeyes in 2022/23 and her leadership and defense will make her an indispensible piece of the Ohio State team again this year. A Defensive All-B1G Team spot wouldn’t be a surprise.

Stay healthy, and Harris will be a piece of why Ohio State continues to compete and stay near the top of the Big Ten conference.


Enjoy highlights from Ohio State’s Valentine’s Day victory over the Illini. Watch Harris’ (1) big shooting night, including at the 2:00 mark where the guard banks a shot off a tough angle on the corner of the court.

Miss any player previews? Here’s the list so far: