In Sunday’s 108-58 win for the Ohio State women’s basketball team, the halftime entertainment included an under-appreciated group of people: Players’ parents. Lined up along the length of the court, each player’s family in attendance was highlighted for the outstanding work in getting their kids to their spot in NCAA basketball. Announced in the group were the parents of graduate senior forward Karla Vreš, even though they weren’t in attendance.
“They were back home in Europe,” said Vreš. “Mom is in Croatia and dad is in Sweden.”
Even though Vreš’ parents couldn’t make it, there was an overflow of family support inside the Schottenstein Center late in the game.
With six minutes remaining, the forward got her first minutes of the 23-24 season, with the Buckeyes up 94-45. After joining Ohio State from American University before the start of the 22-23 season, Vreš has played mostly in these situations, whether it being the scarlet and gray light years ahead of opponents or the rare inverse.
Up big, the scarlet and gray didn’t relent, and Vreš got involved offensively early, earning an assist to fellow player off the bench, guard Kaia Henderson. It was two minutes later that Vreš had her moment — scoring her first points as a member of the Buckeyes.
Receiving a pass from fellow graduate senior forward Eboni Walker, Vreš posted up against IUPUI’s Faith Stinson. After taking a step, the Croatian Vreš turned on the defender and hit a smooth hook shot near the rim. The crowd was loud. Not just excited-to-get-another-point-loud, but knowing what the moment meant. The same can be said about Vreš’ teammates on the bench.
“It felt great, amazing. It’s something that obviously I’ve been working on for a long time,” said Vreš. “Having the team there to support me to that extent was amazing. Knowing everybody wanted as much as I did.”
Fellow European, Slovakian forward Rebeka Mikulášiková, showing the most excitement as the player who understands Vreš’ journey more than anyone. The rest of her teammates out of their seat, throwing their hands up in celebration of the forward.
Although minutes on the court aren’t always there for the Big Ten Scholar Athlete, she’s an important piece of the Buckeyes.
“She’s a great kid,” said head coach Kevin McGuff. “The team really likes her and you can see how excited they were seeing her score a couple baskets.”
That’s right, soon after Vreš added another. Still posted up near the paint, Vreš received a pass from a big who’s on the other end of their NCAA journey, freshman center Faith Carson, finding the Croatian for another two points in the paint.
It was four points in a game with 166 combined points, but they’re a fantastic reminder of a team being more than the biggest names getting the most minutes on the court. After the game, it wasn’t a team high points by forward Cotie McMahon or a perfect shooting game by forward/guard Taylor Thierry getting the honorary “dub chain.”