When it comes to in-state games, Ohio State women’s basketball doesn’t lose too often. In the past 20 years, it's happened three times in 38 games. The latest was against the Ohio Bobcats back on Nov. 17, 2019. Last year, the scarlet and gray avenged that defeat in Southeast Ohio, and Tuesday, the Buckeyes take on those same Bobcats again looking to continue its in-state dominance.
In what looks like a tune-up game before the start of Big Ten basketball, Ohio State needs to avoid looking too far into the future.
Tuesday night looks like a chance for the Buckeyes to put up a lot of points and continue working towards the team it wants to be come March.
Last season, head coach Kevin McGuff’s side traveled to Ohio University and defeated the Bobcats 86-56. This season, Ohio returns only 25% of the scoring from last year, and are off to a 2-3 start for head coach Bob Bolden. However, this matchup is likely the game Ohio University players are most looking forward to, which means anything could happen if the Buckeyes are caught in an off night.
The likelihood of that happening is fairly slim. So far this season, outside of the first game of the year, Ohio State’s looked like a team on the same page. Plus its an improved side defensively, while the Bobcats lost a key piece on the offensive end of the court.
Guard Yaya Felder stood out in a big way against the scarlet and gray last year, scoring 21 points and leading all scorers from either team. Now the junior is in Big 12 country, transferring to Baylor University following the Bobcats’ 6-23 season. Who does that leave then for Ohio on Tuesday?
A bulk of the scoring will land at the hands of Jaya McClure. The 5-foot-6 sophomore leads Ohio, averaging 14.5 points per game. The sophomore has flourished this year after a debut season averaging eight points.
However, McClure and the Bobcats haven’t faced a team of the Buckeyes’ caliber so far this season. Ohio’s lone wins come against the Dayton Flyers and a team Ohio State took care of handedly in the IUPUI Jaguars.
For the Buckeyes, Tuesday is a brief hiatus from Power Five conference competition, sandwiched in the middle of a win over the Tennessee Vols and its first Big Ten opponents in the No. 25 Penn State Nittany Lions.
- Guard Celeste Taylor enters Tuesday coming off her best game as a Buckeye, scoring 15 points and grabbing 12 rebounds in the victory over the Tennessee Volunteers. It won Taylor the Big Ten Player of the Week award.
- Sunday’s win against the Vols featured a quieter performance by uard/forward Taylor Thierry, who had nine points and four rebounds. The first game this season where Thierry didn’t get to double-digit scoring.
- Last season, guard Jacy Sheldon led the Buckeyes with 16 points against Ohio University, but it was one of her last games before a foot injury kept her out most of the regular season.
- Ohio is likely to start two transfers: Junior forward Kennedi Watkins from Southeast Missouri State and guard Bengisu Alper. The Turkish guard Alper is on her fourth team in five years, after stints with Maine, Colorado State and Northwestern State.
- The 14-player Bobcats roster features only three seniors who play minutes and seven underclassmen, of which five are freshman.
- McClure’s 21 points in a win against IUPUI is a season high for Ohio.
Ohio State won’t have too many wholesale problems against the Bobcats. Sunday’s win showed a Buckeyes’ team hitting its stride, which is bad news for the MAC side. Expect Thierry and forward Cotie McMahon to have big games against a unit that’s not strong in the paint.
If there are multiple starters playing for the scarlet and gray in the fourth quarter, something has gone terribly wrong.
How to Watch
Date: Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2023
Time: 7 p.m. ET
Where: Schottenstein Center, Columbus, Ohio
LGHL Prediction: 98-51 Ohio State Buckeyes
Penn State Stumbles
While multiple teams fell out of the AP Top 25 in the Big Ten, the story lately has been focused around a surging Penn State Nittany Lions team. After amassing a 7-1 record, with the lone loss coming against the USC Trojans by a single point, Penn State was back in the top 25 for the first time since 2014.
Then Monday night happened.
Playing away against the West Virginia Mountaineers, the Nittany Lions struggled to score against a strong Mountaineers defense, losing 83-65. It was PSU’s first loss against WVU since 1989.
Were the Lions looking ahead to the Buckeyes game on Sunday?