The Ohio State women’s basketball team doesn’t have summers off. While most of the Buckeyes are taking part in summer conditioning and practice, a few spent time overseas representing their respective nations in international competitions. Here’s how each performed before returning to Columbus.
Of the new members of the 2023-24 Scarlet and Gray, the most hype surrounded the addition of National Defensive Player of the Year finalist Celeste Taylor. The guard who transferred to Ohio State by way of the Texas Longhorns and then Duke Blue Devils competed in two competitions in the growing 3x3 basketball world.
For the uninitiated, 3x3 basketball is half-court basketball with each team fielding four athletes, with three on the court competing. For Taylor, the guard played both tournaments with Team USA’s U24 team.
Taylor played alongside fellow NCAA athletes: Guard Kayla Wells (Texas A&M), forward Madison Scott (Ole Miss), and fellow highly touted 2023 transfer guard Alexis Donarski (North Carolina). Unfortunately for the U24 squad, in both tournaments, the young side fell in the quarterfinals.
In Orléans, France, Taylor’s side fell to Spain, the eventual tournament champions. Then, four days later, the U24 side lost to China in the quarterfinals in Poitiers, France. China also made it to the championship game but lost to Canada by one point.
A highlight for Taylor came against Lithuania in the first game of the Poitiers Women’s Series stop. With only two seconds remaining, the guard received the inbounding pass and charged the basket. Taylor hit the layup and forced overtime, although Lithuania came away with the ultimate victory.
In June 2022, before McMahon stepped onto the court for her first start as a Buckeye freshman, the Centerville, Ohio native helped lead Team USA’s U19 squad to an Americas Championship.
McMahon returned with the U19 squad for one last run, this time in Madrid, Spain for the U19 FIBA Women’s World Cup.
Team USA won its first six games by an average score of 49 points, with the opening game against Mali proving to be the closest with a 19-point difference. All of those lopsided wins didn’t continue in the tournament championship, that’s when McMahon and the red, white, and blue faced off against Spain.
Overall, McMahon averaged 8.9 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 2.4 assists per game. None of the stat lines led Team USA’s roster full of fellow NCAA standouts like Notre Dame guard Hannah Hidalgo and Oregon’s Grace Van Slooten, but McMahon did what McMahon does best in the championship game.
The B1G Freshman of the Year led Team USA with 16 points, her highest point total of the tournament. McMahon did it on 8-for-10 shooting and with 22 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, the dynamic forward scored the championship-winning shot.
With the game tied at 66, Team USA took a timeout. Off that stoppage in play, the ball went to McMahon and her teammates stepped aside to let the forward attack the rim. With two bodies blocking the paint, McMahon did a spin move and bounced off the bodies of the defenders to hit the layup, a play Buckeyes fans have seen countless times in one season with Ohio State.
Check out the play here:
Team USA held on and lifted the championship trophy. McMahon wasn’t named to the first or second tournament team but showed the international basketball world what those in the NCAA know well.
However, in the end, McMahon received the most important trophy of all, accepting the World Cup trophy for Team USA.