In one week, the Ohio State women’s basketball team has its second top-25 matchup of the season, traveling south for a game against the Tennessee Volunteers. Before the Big Ten and SEC can battle on national television, the Buckeyes have visitors Sunday, welcoming the Cornell Big Red of the Ivy League.
It's a game that gives the Scarlet and Gray a chance to tune things up, in what is likely an easier day for Ohio State.
This week, the Buckeyes played two games in three days, down in the Bahamas. Both games featured physical competition, with Ohio State going up against a full-court press of the East Carolina Pirates and a stifling half-court set from the Oklahoma State Cowgirls.
Each game ended the same, giving head coach Kevin McGuff’s side two more wins, bringing its current streak to four games. However, it's four games against opponents that the Buckeyes should be winning. Sunday will feature more of the same.
The Cornell Big Red isn’t a side that’s battling near the top of a competitive Ivy League. Finishing last season 10-17, Cornell is 2-3 to start the season and is predicted to finish seventh in the conference of eight teams.
For the Buckeyes, Sunday is a game to work on things that have hurt the side over the past few games. The first is staying consistent on offense.
Against Oklahoma State, Ohio State came out with outstanding offense. Sophomore forward Cotie McMahon had 10 points in the first minutes, and the Buckeyes outscored its opponents 24-13. Credit to changes made by the Cowgirls who made rebounding more difficult in the second quarter, but the scarlet and gray slumped to scoring 12 second-quarter points, outscored by five points.
On top of defensive adjustments, what hurt the scarlet and gray is the chemistry between the starting five for the Buckeyes and the first players off the bench. With McMahon on the bench with early fouls, shooting for Ohio State slumped to 29.4% and the team had three total assists.
It’s early in the season, but the single-quarter drop in offense followed the scarlet and gray through other games this season. Against the USC Trojans on Nov. 6, the Buckeyes’ second quarter featured 10 total points on 2-for-10 shooting. Plus, OSU gave away seven turnovers and USC scored 10 points off those takeaways.
Cornell won’t offer the same kind of test as USC or Oklahoma State, sure, but in the early season, it's about getting reps. Sunday will give guards Rikki Harris, Diana Collins, Emma Shumate, and forward Taiyier Parks more time on the court with the likely core of starters.
While Harris doesn’t need the extra time, being a staple of the team for the past three seasons, the remaining three are either freshmen, new this season, or not used to large chunks of minutes in scarlet and gray.
- Forward Taylor Thierry had the best rebounding game of her career against Oklahoma State. Thierry had a career-high with 14 total rebounds and nine on the offense.
- Guard Celeste Taylor hasn’t had a breakout game in points scored but consistently provides assists and rebounds for the Buckeyes, leading the team with 3.2 assists per game.
- In 31 appearances for Ohio State last season, Emma Shumate had two games where she hit two shots from deep. In four appearances this season, Shumate already has two, including an NCAA career-high three against Boston College on Nov. 16.
- Leading Big Red in scoring is guard Kaya Ingram averaging 13.2 points per game, with no one else on Cornell’s roster averaging double-digit points.
- Freshman Azareya Kilgoe starts for Cornell and in a win over the Southern Illinois Salukis, Kilgoe had 11 points and six assists in only her second NCAA game.
- An unusual roster note is that Cornell doesn’t have a single transfer on its roster.
Offense will be in Ohio State’s favor on Sunday. The Buckeyes will rack up points in a lopsided win, featuring a big game by McMahon, Thierry, and freshman Diana Collins. The new 2023 Buckeye and Swedish international Collins has shown glimpses of her offensive ability to take it to the rim and leverage her great ball handling.
Expect bench players to log more minutes, to help build that needed chemistry with scarlet and gray starters.
How to Watch
Date: Sunday, Nov. 26, 2023
Time: 1 p.m. ET
Where: Schottenstein Center, Columbus, Ohio
LGHL Prediction: 101-52 Ohio State Buckeyes
Cornell Player Comes Home
It hasn’t been a long time away from home for Cornell freshman guard Clarke Jackson but the Gahanna Jefferson High School graduate gets the chance Sunday.
The Gahanna valedictorian of her 2023 graduating class, Jackson also excelled on the court. Jackson was part of four straight Ohio Capital Conference championships with the Lions. Following her senior season, Jackson was named an honorable mention to the 22-23 All-Ohio Team.
This season, Jackson averages 4.2 points and 3.0 rebounds per game, off the bench, averaging 21.8 minutes per game.