For basketball fans paying attention to the preseason awards dished out by the Big Ten and NCAA, one name hasn’t come up for Ohio State women’s basketball. It’s someone who’s the backbone of the Buckeyes on offense and defense. She’s somebody whose consistency and versatility make her a must-start for head coach Kevin McGuff.
It’s Taylor Thierry, the 22/23 Second Team All-B1G and All-Defensive Team guard/forward who could end the season as not only a star for Ohio State but across the Big Ten and beyond.
Name: Taylor Thierry
High School: Laurel High School (Cleveland, Ohio)
2022-23 Stats: 13.5 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 2.3 apg, 2.1 spg, .625 FG%, .387 3FG%, .667 FT%
Last season’s opening game against the Tennessee Volunteers featured what some could consider a surprise starter for the Buckeyes, except Land-Grant Holy Land who predicted that very thing happening. It was Thierry starting.
It came after a season where the Northeast Ohioan didn’t start a single game. It wasn’t until January 2022 that Thierry entered games outside of the end of quarters or the game when there was much-needed rest for the starting five. However, through those freshman minutes, the ability of Thierry was starting to show.
The quiet and reserved Thierry off the court is a different person in the game. Last season, Thierry was crucial for Ohio State; she was consistent enough to set your watch by. Thierry was an outlet in the paint off of screens and when the defense closed down on the Taylor Mikesells and Cotie McMahons of the world.
Thierry was third in the Big Ten and sixth in the country in field goal percentage at 62.5%. Those came mostly through runs to the basket and hitting layups usually connected to power forwards and centers. She rebounded like one too, leading Ohio State with 233 (104 on offense which no Buckeye was within 50 of Thierry’s total). It was all done under the ruse of Thierry starting at “guard.”
Even so, Thierry also exhibited the play of a guard, taking more three-point attempts as the season went on and using ballhandling to run past defenders. Also, unlike the 6-foot-4 and taller centers and forwards, Thierry played in the press in the backcourt and led the team in steals (75).
To pick one game that best represented Thierry, it’s the semifinal of the Big Ten Tournament, against the Indiana Hoosiers. Down 23 points entering the second half, Thierry was everywhere. In the third quarter, Thierry had 8 points, 5 rebounds, and 1 steal, assist and block. Thierry added another three rebounds and four points in the fourth quarter to help give Ohio State a historic 24-point comeback victory. The forward led the team with 19 points, adding 12 total rebounds for her second double-double of the season.
What to Expect
Thierry is part Illinois forward Kendall Bostic’s rebounding in the paint, Indiana forward MacKenzie Holmes’ offensive ability near the basket, and former Maryland guard Diamond Miller’s drive to the hoop. All that and the hard-working, athletic, Thierry is also improving her shooting from the perimeter.
Basically, expect everything from Thierry. The Cleveland, Ohio native will start every game for the Buckeyes, when healthy. So far, the forward hasn’t had too many injury concerns, outside of the usual wear and tear of playing a physical game under the rim. A blow to the face did require Thierry to wear a mask towards the end of last year.
Because of Thierry’s versatility and athleticism, she played the second most minutes on Ohio State last year, below outstanding shooting guard Taylor Mikesell. That’s likely to continue as Thierry and forward Cotie McMahon are every-game starters. If recent injuries to Buckeye guards over the last couple of seasons continue, Thierry could log even more.
With all the good, also expect Thierry to foul out. It comes with the territory of the position, but last year the forward fouled out six times. The good thing for the Buckeyes is the fouls don’t slow down the work of Thierry.
This season, Thierry is going to be better. Last season, Thierry went from a freshman coming off the bench, lacking confidence and losing energy when calls didn’t go her way to the most consistent player on the 22-23 Buckeyes squad.
Thierry puts in the extra work outside of practice, often joining former teammate Mikesell in taking shots over an hour before tipoffs. Like Mikesell, Thierry is going to hit more threes this season.
In the Buckeyes Elite Eight season of 22-23, Thierry took 31 threes and hit 12. Not bad for the hybrid guard/forward who makes a living in the paint. With Mikesell gone, Thierry will be a part of filling that offensive gap. Increasing points per game up to 15 or 16 points per game wouldn’t be a surprise.
Also, when guard Madison Greene returns from injury, there could be more opportunities for Thierry to slide into the No. 5 center-like role for Ohio State, playing alongside McMahon and the three dynamic starting guards at the Buckeyes’ disposal in Greene, Jacy Sheldon and Celeste Taylor.
A Big Ten All-Defensive Team and Big Ten All-First Team selection is a good group to lump Thierry into for the 23-24 season.
Gathering one highlight of Thierry is unfair. Here are the vastly different ways Thierry impacts games for the Buckeyes. Steals, blocks, scoring, etc.
Miss a player preview? Here’s who you can read about so far: