The Ohio State women's basketball team’s been quiet since the end of their Elite Eight playoff run. On Thursday, it got a lot louder when former Duke Blue Devils guard Celeste Taylor announced her move to Ohio State.
On Twitter Thursday afternoon, Taylor shared a message to her former Duke Blue Devil teammates and fans about the decision.
Taylor joins the Scarlet & Gray following a two-year collegiate start with the Texas Longhorns and the last two seasons with Duke. Although Taylor has only one year of eligibility remaining, the guard brings strong defense to an Ohio State team that was one win short of reaching the 2023 Final Four.
Head coach Kevin McGuff adds a National Defensive Player of the Year finalist in Taylor. With the Blue Devils last season, Taylor led the ACC in defensive efficiency, and eighth overall in the NCAA. The guard won the ACC Defensive Player of the Year award and still led Duke scoring 11.4 points per game.
While the number of points doesn’t compare to the Buckeyes’ four players averaging more than that in scoring, Taylor played for a Duke team that played much differently than Ohio State. The Blue Devils averaged 63.6 points per game, good for 209th in all of NCAA women's basketball, but were second in the country in points allowed at 51 points per game.
Also, twice this season, Taylor was within two assists and a shot of hitting a triple-double.
The guard will go from a team playing full court one-on-one to a Buckeyes team that causes chaos of their opponents in a half court press that includes one or two players rushing at whoever gets the ball. That will create scoring opportunities for Taylor and Ohio State in the transition.
Before transferring to the ACC at the beginning of the 21-22 season, Taylor played two years with the Texas Longhorns. After Taylor’s first season landed her on the All-Big 12 Freshman Team, the guard was second on the Longhorns in scoring averaging 12.4 points per game.
Taylor’s addition to the Buckeyes puts her in the starting lineup for her final season, likely playing alongside Jacy Sheldon and Taylor Thierry in the guard role. While Taylor isn’t going to fill the scoring shoes of now Indiana Fever draftee Taylor Mikesell, the consistent scoring over four seasons and outstanding defense has the ability to propel Ohio State and increase their defensive effectiveness.
Now the guard group for the Buckeyes is up to eight players. Outside of Taylor, Sheldon and Thierry, Ohio State will have five players fighting for minutes, with guard Rikki Harris likely filling the sixth player role.
Last season, the guard position suffered injuries and had a revolving door of starters with Sheldon and guard Madison Greene each going down long-term. With their absences, Harris and Mikesell predominantly filled the one and two-guard roles with Hevynne Bristow and Emma Shumate providing support with sporadic minutes.
Should Greene return from her knee injury that took her out of the rest of the season on Dec. 20, and Sheldon come back to full strength, it’ll create one of the strongest defensive group of guards in not only the Big Ten but the NCAA.