The Ohio State women’s basketball team started the week off on a good note; more accurately, two good notes. Firstly, after a double victory week at home — Monday against Rutgers and Thursday against Nebraska — the Buckeyes moved up from No. 21 to No. 18 in the Associated Press Top-25 poll.
Ohio State’s move into the 18th spot is their highest AP ranking since the preseason edition had them at No. 17. The Buckeyes dipped out of the poll for three weeks at the end of 2021, but have steadily moved themselves back up. While the ranking doesn’t impact conference play, a strong poll position gives the Buckeyes a better chance at a higher seed in the 2022 NCAA Tournament.
Alongside the Buckeye’s rise in the rankings was another accolade for shooting guard Taylor Mikesell. The Big Ten included Mikesell in the league’s Weekly Honor Roll for the third time in the 2021-22 season. This weekly award comes six days after the Ann Meyers-Drysdale Award committee added Mikesell to their list of 10 finalists for the best shooting guard in the NCAA.
Mikesell’s honor roll is warranted after her role in a pair of big Ohio State conference victories. On Feb. 7, Mikesell was the only Buckeye to shoot over 50% from the floor — which also included shooting 50% from three — in a 26-point performance against Rutgers. Then against Nebraska three days later, Mikesell’s 21-point night led the Buckeyes for the second game in a row. Mikesell’s also averaged 3 rebounds per game, 2 assists per game and 1.5 steals per game in the same span.
On the season, Mikesell leads all NCAA women and men in three-point percentage, hitting 49.71% from beyond the arc. In the past week of games, Mikesell was an astounding 11-of-19 from three, and even moved her season percentage up to 50% momentarily during the team’s win over the Cornhuskers.
So far in 2022, the Buckeyes have won 9-of-10 in the B1G with their lone loss coming against the Michigan Wolverines on Jan. 27. The Buckeyes’ new-year form puts them in third place in the conference with five games remaining in the regular season schedule.
If Ohio State can hold onto a top-four finish, they’ll receive a bye into the quarterfinal round of the B1G Women’s Basketball Tournament, tipping off March 2 in Indianapolis, Ind.
On Monday night, the Buckeyes travel to Champaign, Ill. to face the Fighting Illini. Illinois has lost five-straight and sit in 13th place out of 14 conference teams. Despite the disparity in the standings, Ohio State’s trip has all the makings of a trap game given what looms next for the Buckeyes.
On Thursday, Ohio State travels to Maryland in the team’s biggest test on their remaining schedule. Maryland is hot right now having won six straight. Their last loss? A 95-89 defeat at the hands of Mikesell and the Buckeyes back on Jan. 20.