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No. 13 Ohio State women’s basketball vs. Minnesota: Game preview and prediction

The Buckeyes have one game to sort things out before No. 2 Indiana comes to town.

Ohio State University athletic department

To say it's been a tough couple of weeks for the Ohio State women’s basketball team is an understatement. The Buckeyes lost four of their last five games, with three of those coming against top-10 Big Ten teams. Of those defeats, Sunday was by far the worst, with head coach Kevin McGuff’s side going to College Park and losing by 34 points to the No. 8 Maryland Terrapins.

Wednesday, Ohio State returns to the court to take on Minnesota. On Jan. 5, the Scarlet & Gray needed a second half comeback to beat the Golden Gophers up in Minneapolis.

Can the Scarlet & Gray get closer to their potential and not need more comeback basketball?


Since that Jan. 5 game, both the Buckeyes and Gophers have had a tough journey. Minnesota’s lost seven of their last eight, with a lone victory in a trip to Happy Valley, beating the Penn State Nittany Lions.

After starting the year with a record of 8-7, the Golden Gophers’ team full of young players began to show signs of wear. Minnesota is also 1-7 on the road this year, and come to Columbus to face a team can’t be in a great mood following Sunday’s lopsided defeat.

In January, the way the Buckeyes beat the Gophers was through outlasting them. With 3:58 remaining in the third quarter, Minnesota increased their lead to 10 points, their highest of the game, and had Ohio State on the ropes. Minnesota couldn’t keep running in the fourth quarter. Ohio State went on a 14-point run in the fourth quarter, and the home side shot only 20% from the field, with the Buckeyes winning 83-71.

This time around, Minnesota doesn’t have that same momentum as they did at the turn of the calendar. Shooting’s gone south for Minnesota, now averaging 35.9% from the field after shooting 50.9% before entering their defeat to Ohio State.

Also since then, the names who’ve led Minnesota this season have slowed down of late. Guard Mara Braun is scoring three less points per game, now averaging 14.5 per game and fellow freshman forward Mallory Heyer’s offensive impact’s diminished, but only slightly.

Instead, sophomore forward Alanna Micheaux stepped up to lead. Micheaux is ranked fourth this year in offensive improvement from season-to-season. The forward jumped 10 points per game, now leading Minnesota with 14.7 points and 8.4 rebounds per game. Micheaux is becoming a dangerous forward in the conference, and still has two years remaining on her eligibility.

Ohio State can’t have light defense inside the paint with Micheaux and Heyer occupying space. Sunday, the Buckeyes allowed 48 points to the Terrapins in the paint, compared to only 54 total points scored for Ohio State.

Fortunately for the Scarlet & Gray is the return of guard Jacy Sheldon. Although foul issues caused forwards Cotie McMahon and Taylor Thierry to miss chunks of the game, and allowing Maryland guard Diamond Miller to dominate, Sheldon looked good in the 25 minutes she put in on the court.

Sheldon had five points, five rebounds, three assists and a steal. If Ohio State’s abysmal 33.9% shooting on the day is closer to their 47% shooting, the Gophers shouldn’t be a big problem for the Buckeyes.

Projected Lineups

Ohio State

P Name
P Name
G Jacy Sheldon
G Taylor Mikesell
G Taylor Thierry
F Cotie McMahon
F Rebeka Mikulášiková

Lineup Notes

  • Forward Cotie McMahon accounts for 22.6% of the Buckeyes’ free throws this year, taking 110 in 24 starts.
  • Guard/forward Taylor Thierry averages 16.5 points and 7.75 rebounds in her last eight games.
  • Thierry’s 3-for-3 from three-point range shooting day against the Terrapins is the first time she’s hit multiple three-point shots in an NCAA game.


P Name
P Name
G Mara Braun
G Amaya Battle
G Maggie Czinano
F Mallory Heyer
F Alanna Micheaux

Lineup Notes

  • Guard Maggie Czinano, sister of Iowa center Monika Czinano, has begun starting for Minnesota over the past week, the only sophomore guard starting for the Gophers
  • Guard Amaya Battle had a career high three blocks on Feb. 1 against the Indiana Hoosiers
  • Minnesota sits in 12th place out of 14 spots in the Big Ten standings.


This should be a game where the Buckeyes can put Maryland behind them. It’s the best way to wipe the slate clean, and a struggling Minnesota team is the way to do it.

Guard Taylor Mikesell will be back to a stronger shooting form, giving Sheldon a chance to provide more of an impact offensively than her return over the weekend. Also, being back at home might give McMahon a better day in terms of whistles. The forward had one free throw, the lowest McMahon has had since Dec. 21 against the Oregon Ducks where she had none.

If the Buckeyes don’t come away with a convincing win, and play more cohesively defensively and offensively, Monday’s game against Indiana might be another tough night.

How to Watch

Date: Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2023
Time: 7:00 p.m. ET
Where: Schottenstein Center, Columbus, Ohio
Stream: B1G+

LGHL Prediction: 86-67 Ohio State Buckeyes

King James Approved

Joining Land-Grant Holy Land in their views on guard Taylor Mikesell is Ohio-native and soon-to-be NBA scoring record holder LeBron James. During the Buckeyes defeat on Sunday, the four-time NBA champion spoke highly of another star who’s played with three teams in Mikesell.

James is no stranger to Mikesell’s game. The Los Angeles Lakers’ star watched Mikesell when she was still competing in high school with Massillon, Ohio’s Jackson Polar Bears. Since then, the two have been seen talking on the sidelines of Ohio State football games and in Instagram stories.