- Sep 9, 2015
- Reaction score
The 2020-21 season ended abruptly for Ohio State which finished a respectable 13-7 (9-7 in conference). A self-imposed sanction banned OSU from the post season. During the regular season, a February 5th meeting with Minnesota showcased the Buckeyes at their best.
The Gophers traveled to Columbus to take on the 11th ranked Buckeyes. OSU opened the game with an 11-2 run and took a 25-14 first quarter lead. A 15-2 run opening the second half propelled OSU to a 64-36 advantage with 2:20 remining in the third. From there, the Buckeyes coasted to an 83-59 win. Ohio State’s two starting post players, 6’5” Dorka Juhasz (18 points and 10 rebounds) and 6’3” Aaliyah Patty (14 points and 10 rebounds) outbattled Minnesota’s starting posts: Kadi Sissoko (13 and 5) and Klarke Sconiers (12 and 2). There was also a turnover gap. Ohio State scored 25 points off 27 Minnesota turnovers while the Gophers turned 18 OSU turnovers into only 10 points.
In addition to Juhasz and Patty, the other starters for Ohio State were guards Jacy Sheldon (17 points), Madison Greene 8 points and Braxtin Miller 5 points. For Minnesota, the other starters were Sara Scalia with 12 points, Jasmine Powell 5 points and Alexia Smith 2 points. The victory gave OSU an 8-2 conference record. Then the Buckeyes sort of zombied their good work into a dumpster with a 1-5 finish to the season. Subsequently, in the off-season, their starting lineup was tossed into the same dumpster.
Dorka Juhasz left Columbus to be a teammate of Paige Bueckers at UConn and Aaliyah Patty joined Destiny Pitts at Texas A&M. The transfers left the Buckeyes with three post players: Rebeka Mikulasikova, Gabby Hutcherson and Tanya Beacham. Only Mikulasikova was much of a concern to the opposition. Just as troubling, the starting lineup took another hit in the preseason when guard Madison Greene underwent season ending knee surgery. Two weeks before last season’s Gopher game, Greene had posted 24 points and 7 rebounds in a win over Maryland. That’s three large holes to fill.
So, short of posts, Kevin McGuff added another guard, Taylor Mikesell. As much as McGuff’s Buckeyes love to run up points off turnovers, they love to knock down threes. This season the long-range missile is their defining weapon. And Taylor Mikesell is its prime practitioner hitting at a .488 clip.
The three guards joining Mikesell in the starting lineup are no slouches from distance. Jacy Sheldon hits .431 of her threes, Braxtin Miller .393, and Kateri Poole .333. In Big Ten Play, the Buckeyes are 58-136 (.426) which is first in the Big Ten. As are their 9.7 threes per game average. Through their first 6 games they have held B1G opponents to a .246 average from behind the arc. Minnesota are no slouches from behind the arc either. The Gophers are 4th in conference games at 7.4 per game and third in percentage at (.389). There should be some sizzle a Williams Arena on Saturday.
Ohio State is 4-2 in conference with wins over Purdue, Illinois, Northwestern and Michigan State. The losses to no one’s surprise were to Indiana and Michigan. It’s a solid start that wouldn’t have been likely without help arriving through the portal in the familiar form of 5’11” guard Taylor Mikesell. Mikesell began her career with a two-year stint at Maryland before traveling west for a season with Oregon. The Ohio native, happy to be home, is scoring 18.9 ppg and is as deadly as advertised from the behind the arc. Mikesell knocked down 32 points in the win versus the Illini going 8-14 from three.
Mikesell is part one of a two-part Buckeye scoring punch. Part two is 5’10” guard Jacy Sheldon who was last season’s leading scorer. Sheldon is also averaging 19.7 ppg. In addition to being an excellent three-point shooter, the junior is durable. She started every game last season and has not missed a game during her career. Sheldon is also an effective defender and leads the team with 29 steals. Sheldon netted 33 points against Michigan State.
5’11” guard Braxtin Miller is in in her third season at Ohio State after two seasons at Oklahoma State. Miller started 41-43 games as a Junior and Senior and every game this season. She scored 16 versus Purdue (2-4 from three).
5’8” guard Kateri Poole has settled in at the point. The sophomore started the last five games of her freshman year and has stepped up this year. Poole leads the team in assists with 50 although that’s only two more than Sheldon and four more than Miller. The Buckeyes like to share the ball. Poole suffered a left arm injury in the Northwestern game and did not play against Michigan State.
Finally, there’s 6’4” junior Rebeka Mikulasikova. Mikulasikova is averaging 10.9 points and 6.2 rebounds per game. She can have her moments. She had 16 points and 12 rebounds in the win over Northwestern. And there are disappointments. Indiana’s post player Mackenzie Holmes went off for 30 points and 7 rebounds. Mikulasikova still fancies herself as three point machine; but she’s only knocks them down at a .233 pace. Still, she’s a threat to hit a couple of threes just through blind luck.
Backing up Mikulasikova is 6’1” Graduate Tanya Beacham. Beacham who played three years at Toledo wasn’t that noticeable with last season’s Buckeyes. This season she needs to step up in the 18 plus minutes per game that she’s playing. Beacham has made some contributions with 15 points versus Illinois and 10 versus Northwestern.
The guards are backed up by 5’10” Rikki Harris. Harris is second in steals with 28 and averages almost 7 points and four rebounds a game. Harris started against Michigan State in place of the injured Kateri Poole. Harris, in 36 minutes, scored 9 points (1-2 from three). She also had three steals and 4 rebounds.
It should be fun. Kadi and Rose will be the best posts on the court and Sara’s floater will get a workout. And there will be a vicious battle for the three point line.
OHIO STATE B1G RECORD (4-2):
Wins: @ Purdue 70-53, Illinois 90-69, Northwestern 74-61 and Michigan State 89-83
Losses: Indiana 66-86, @ Michigan 71-90
Taylor Mikesell Last Six Games Big Ten Games:
Team Pts Reb Asst Min Foul Purdue 16 10 5 37 0 Indiana 15 3 2 38 1 Michigan 25 4 0 40 0 Illinois 32 3 2 35 2 Northwestern 13 5 6 38 0 Michigan State 25 5 2 39 2
Jacy Sheldon Last Six Big Ten Games:
Team Pts Reb Asst Min Foul Purdue 12 4 0 37 2 Indiana 23 4 2 37 4 Michigan 26 2 5 34 4 Illinois 11 2 6 26 1 Northwestern 20 1 4 39 2 Michigan State 33 6 6 39 1
HGT POS YR PLAYER MIN AVG REB 5’11” G Sr Taylor Mikesell 30.7 18.9 3.5 5’10” G Jr Jacy Sheldon 31.5 19.7 3.3 5’11” G Sr Braxtin Miller 27.8 7.2 3.5 6’4” G Jr Rebeka Mikulasikova 20.6 10.9 6.2 5’5” G So Kateri Poole 21.1 7.1 3.3
HGT POS YR PLAYER MIN AVG REB 5’10” G RSo Rikki Harris 22.9 6.7 3.9 5’11” G/F Fr Taylor Thierry 12.4 2.8 3.0 6’1” F GS Tanya Beacham 17.7 6.6 3.9 6’2” F So Gabby Hutcherson 10.9 2.3 3.5