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Taylor Mikesell wins Big Ten Player of the Week award

The Ohio State graduate senior guard wins the award for the first time

Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch Joseph Scheller/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

Sunday, the Ohio State women’s basketball team played a second half to remember. After going down 17 points with 6:56 left in the third quarter, the competitive character of the Buckeyes hit a new level, and the Scarlet & Gray erased the deficit in just under five game minutes. Then, they went on to win 87-81 against the now No. 24 ranked Illinois Fighting Illini.

Monday, a key name in that win, guard Taylor Mikesell, won her first Big Ten Player of the Week award.

In two games this past week, Mikesell averaged 26.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game. Sunday especially, Mikesell was big.

Against the Illini, Mikesell hit 7-for-14 from deep and led the Buckeyes with her top scoring game of the season, putting 31 points on the board. Her performance made Sunday’s win the largest second-half comeback in program history.

This season, Mikesell is picking up where she left off in the 21/22 campaign. The guard from Jackson High School, in Massillon, Ohio averages 18.8 points this season, leading the Buckeyes. Last year, Mikesell’s 18.6 was good for second on the team behind fellow guard Jacy Sheldon.

An impressive feat considering last season was Mikesell’s first with the Scarlet & Gray. The guard who started at Maryland transferred to the Oregon Ducks for a season before coming back to Big Ten country, and her home state.

While Mikesell’s season last year was important, helping lead the Buckeyes to a share of the regular season conference title, there’s an argument to be made that the 22/23 season is even better.

That’s because Mikesell is doing it without Sheldon or fellow guard Madison Greene. Playing with three different point guards, Mikesell’s all-around impact has increased. Mikesell’s assists, steals and blocks are up compared to last year, with the graduate senior stepping into the point guard role now, alongside Rikki Harris, with both starters at the position out long term.

Sunday was Mikesell’s second 30+ point game, after getting 30 against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights to start the Big Ten calendar on Dec. 4. Against her former Oregon Ducks team, Mikesell scored 25 points with six assists and five rebounds.

Thursday, against the Minnesota Golden Gophers, Mikesell scored 22 points with seven rebounds, seven assists and three steals in another Buckeyes comeback. Until Sheldon returns from her lower leg injury, Mikesell’s taking on multiple roles and excelling across the board.

Mikesell is crucial for the upcoming stretch of games. After this weekend’s trip to Nebraska, Ohio State welcomes the Northwestern Wildcats before a main event-style pair of matchups against the No. 12 Iowa Hawkeyes followed by a trip to Bloomington, Indiana three days later for a game against the No. 6 Indiana Hoosiers.

The win is the second weekly honor that the guard’s won, after earning a Freshman of the Week honor back in her freshman season with the Maryland Terrapins.