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No. 3 Ohio State women vs. No. 1 Virginia Tech: Preview, prediction and projected lineups

The Buckeyes are back in the Elite Eight for the first time since 1993, facing the ACC Tournament champions

NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament - Seattle Regional Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

Monday night, Ohio State women's basketball aims to continue their run in the NCAA Tournament. Following an upset win over the UConn Huskies, the Scarlet & Gray look for their second-straight upset of the Seattle 3 regional — this time against the Virginia Tech Hokies.

While the two sides don’t have a deep history, playing just once, the teams each aim to make program history.


In 1993, the Buckeyes made it all the way to the NCAA Championship game in Atlanta, Georgia. Ohio State fell to Texas A&M, led by future 1996 Olympic gold medal-winning guard Sheryl Swoopes. The Caitlin Clark-like player of her day, Swoopes was heralded as the Michael Jordan of women’s basketball.

The Buckeyes lost 86-84, a tough defeat for Ohio State. With many senior leaders leaving Ohio State following that season, guard Katie Smith played her most important college basketball her freshman year.

Saturday night, the Scarlet & Gray punched their ticket to the Elite Eight for the first time since that run 30 years ago. Up next is Virginia Tech, the No. 1 seed in their first Elite Eight in program history.

A game against the Hokies feels like a game against the Indiana Hoosiers. Like the Hoosiers, Tech features an impressive big in the paint surrounded by role-players and lethal shooters.

In the paint is 6-foot-6 center and Naismith National Player of the Year finalist Elizabeth Kitley. Like the Hoosiers’ MacKenzie Holmes, Kitley uses her size in the paint to hit layups over opponents. Also, the Virginia Tech offense runs screens not only on the perimeter but within the paint, using picks strategically near the paint to give the center mismatches.

Against Ohio State, Kitley doesn’t have a comparable player who can step up to the ACC Player of the Year. Forwards Eboni Walker, Rebeka Mikulášiková, Cotie McMahon and Taylor Thierry will have their hands full.

While Kitley doesn’t have the same finesse near the rim as Holmes, the center is dangerous away from the paint too. Stretching out near the three-point line, Kitley can hit longer midrange shots, which pulls defenses away from the paint.

Away from post presence is guard Georgia Amoore. The Australian will shoot from deep, averaging close to 10 attempts per game. What’s most impressive is Amoore’s move before shooting. Amoore moves into the perimeter before a quick step back, combining it with a quick release.

The guard shoots quickly too, not waiting for teammates to get down the court or necessarily set up plays. Ohio State thrives on playing with pace. Guard Jacy Sheldon and McMahon especially get down the court quickly, which might make the Hokies either slow down or take bad shots.

If shots don’t fall, there’s always the option of dumping the ball to Kitley. The Buckeyes can’t afford to get lazy on the perimeter or in the paint.

Defensively, a press from the Buckeyes is expected at this point of the season. Conditioning for Ohio State is strong, as evidenced by the 25 turnovers they forced on UConn after playing since the beginning of November.

Ohio State’s press is also like nothing Tech’s seen this year. Sure, Virginia’s played teams with a press over the season, a few actually, but the effectiveness of the Buckeyes’ press hasn’t bee replicated.

“You can’t scout it. We don’t know — if you ask the regular team, they’re just like, we just move and run,” said guard Rikki Harris. “We play off each other, so if I see somebody else do something, I’m like, okay, I see her move. Let me slide over. But mainly it’s just scramble and we just run.”

Sunday, the Hokies sounded confident that they could handle the press, but so did the Huskies before Saturday’s defeat.

Projected Lineups

Ohio State

P Name
P Name
G Jacy Sheldon
G Taylor Mikesell
G Taylor Thierry
F Cotie McMahon
F Eboni Walker

Lineup Notes

  • Guard Jacy Sheldon’s improved not only in steals this year, averaging 3.8 per game, but turnovers are also down to 2.4 per game, compared to 3.1 in the 21-22 season
  • Guard Taylor Mikesell’s +15 +/- led the Buckeyes, showing the impact the guard has even without a scoring night closer to her 17.2 points per game
  • It wasn’t Sheldon leading Ohio State in steals Saturday but forward Taylor Thierry grabbing four steals in the victory

Virginia Tech

P Name
P Name
G Georgia Amoore
G Kayana Traylor
G Cayla King
F Taylor Soule
C Elizabeth Kitley

Lineup Notes

  • Virginia Tech was taken aback by the Tennessee Volunteers’ press on Saturday, allowing 18 turnovers in the victory
  • Guard Georgia Amoore’s 110 three-point field goals made this season is first in the ACC and second in the NCAA
  • Forward Elizabeth Kitley led the ACC with 10.7 rebounds per game


There’s no ending to Monday’s game that would be especially surprising. The matchup suits the Buckeyes but the Hokies are dangerous in many areas on the court. However, guard Taylor Mikesell is going to standout for Ohio State.

Even through what appears to be an injury, Mikesell will either hit shots or give space for others like McMahon or Sheldon to attack the lane. The Buckeyes will have a better offensive start than they did in the first five minutes against the Huskies.

It’ll be a close game with the Buckeyes pulling out a narrow victory, upsetting the Hokies and putting at least two Big Ten teams in the Final Four.

How to Watch

Date: Monday, March 27, 2023
Time: 9:00 p.m. ET
Where: Climate Pledge Arena, Seattle, Washington
Television: ESPN
Stream: ESPN App

LGHL Score Prediction: 77-74 Ohio State Buckeyes

Big Ten History

Before any Elite Eight game was played, the Big Ten conference already made history. With the Buckeyes, Maryland Terrapins and Iowa Hawkeyes winning Sweet Sixteen matchups, it’s the first time three teams from the conference made the Elite Eight.

Now, the Big Ten has its eyes set on the Final Four. Sunday, the Hawkeyes stamped their ticket to Dallas, Texas when guard Caitlin Clark and Iowa defeated the Louisville Cardinals. Iowa’s win means that the Big Ten has a team in the national semifinal for the first time since the Terrapins reached it in 2015. Monday night, the Buckeyes and Terps can join the Hawkeyes in the Final Four.

Both Ohio State and Maryland have tough challenges ahead, each facing a No. 1 seed. Maryland faces overall No. 1 South Carolina Gamecocks.