For the first time since Mar. 25, the Ohio State women’s basketball team competes on the court for fans and media to see. All-in-all, it’s a game that won’t matter in the regular season standings, and won’t be against a team that is likely to challenge the Buckeyes. Regardless, there’s a lot to take from Monday night’s exhibition.
Here are three storylines to watch for during Monday night’s spooky Halloween exhibition.
Madison Greene’s Return
The biggest attention will fall on Buckeyes point guard Madison Greene. Feb. 10, 2021 is the last time Greene’s suited up for the Scarlet & Gray for a competitive basketball game. That 628-game gap likely ends Monday, with fans finally getting a small glimpse of what Ohio State can look like with their best players on the court.
Greene’s played with many of the names still on the roster like fellow guards Jacy Sheldon and Rikki Harris, along with forward Rebeka Mikulášiková, so chemistry won’t be a problem. It’s more about getting back into the pace of the game.
According to head coach Kevin McGuff, Greene stayed with the team over the summer as an intern, continuing to work out and practice, and enters this season motivated by a year of watching the title-winning Buckeyes from the bench.
It’ll be interesting to see how she works alongside guard Taylor Mikesell, who Greene played alongside in their AAU days. The faster those two get on the same page and know each other’s movements, the more dangerous the Ohio State offense becomes.
McGuff said there’s an open competition for spots entering the season, but it feels more likely inside the paint. Last year, Mikulášiková and now-graduate Braxtin Miller took four and five spots but this year it’s a toss-up.
Mikulášiková has a strong chance to return as a starter. Last year was the Slovakian’s first year starting a majority of her games with the Scarlet & Gray. Mikulášiková knows the system and she could make a leap this year in consistency of performances. If so, it leaves one spot open on the court.
The other forward spot could go a few different ways, with Monday showing where McGuff is leaning. He has returning sophomore Taylor Thierry available alongside three new names: Cotie McMahon, Eboni Walker, and Karla Vres.
McMahon is a freshman but enters the season off a summer competing with Team USA’s youth team, and she’s been with the Buckeyes since Jan. 2022, opting to graduate early from high school.
Walker — a senior — and Vres — a graduate senior — each bring experience. The duo transferred from Syracuse University and American University, respectively.
Vres follows a similar road to Mikulášiková, growing up playing in Europe before taking their craft to the United States, but it doesn’t seem likely that McGuff starts them both. Mikulášiková and Vres could both play center, switching off throughout games.
The way that the minutes are split on Monday will be something to watch closely, especially in the first half. Thierry, McMahon, and Walker are all likely to play. Whoever gets early-game minutes could be who McGuff favors to start on Nov. 8, when the No. 5 Tennessee Volunteers come to town.
Monday’s exhibition and early non-conference games against smaller schools are a great time to look ahead. The Buckeyes have three freshmen this season. Outside of the aforementioned forward McMahon are guards Mya Perry and Kaia Henderson.
Their play on Monday, and in the coming year, is important because the Scarlet and Gray’s guard group is its strength. Also, it could have a big changeover in the coming seasons.
Mikesell is in her final NCAA year and Sheldon could be close behind, especially if this year is better than her last and she tries her hand at the professional ranks. That means players like Greene and Harris will lead the guard group and the current crop of underclassmen will fill in those spots.
Giving minutes to Perry, Henderson, and transfer Emma Shumate gives a glimpse into who can be those key starters for the next four years.