The Ohio State Buckeyes women’s basketball team is making its way onto the 2023 calendar after a near-perfect first half of the season. With a 15-0 record, Scarlett & Gray are the only undefeated team in the Big Ten and are in the spotlight as they are ranked No. 3 nationally.
The next team that could end the streak is the Minnesota Golden Gophers. It’s a game in favor of the Buckeyes, but there are no guarantees in conference play after both the Indiana Hoosiers and Iowa Hawkeyes lost to unranked Big Ten units last week.
Ohio State won the game against Minnesota. The Buckeyes, led by head coach Kevin McGuff, are on his 10th straight win against the Gophers. The last time Minnesota defeated Ohio State he was on February 24, 2016.
Still, if there is a group that will shock the Buckeyes, it might be the youth of the Golden Gophers. Lindsay Warrenhead, who was hired by Minnesota three days before his coach McGuff in April 2013, his coach uses junior teams to compete.
The Golden Gophers have a 14 player roster. Half are freshmen, and the remaining seven are seniors, three graduates, and three sophomores. Their starting lineup alone has four freshmen and sophomores. So far it’s working as expected — inconsistent results and he’s an 8-6 record.
Some of those six losses are losses to the Iowa Hawkeyes and the Maryland Terrapins. Both Iowa and Maryland outscored the Gophers by 22 points in their respective conference matchups.
But the future in Minnesota is bright, with freshman Mara Brown. Brown led Minnesota in scoring, averaging 17.4 points per game. The young Minnesota native is a confident shooter with the ability to attack the basket and hit free throws with a powerful clip.
To open the play for the Big Ten, Brown hit five free throws in the final 1:18 of the game. Three of the five were fouled by guards over the arc at the end of regulation, hitting all three to tie the score. Despite being a freshman, Brown possesses the maturity to boost less experienced teams across the roster.
She is not alone either. Her sophomore Alanna Micheaux and her freshman Mallory Heyer, both forwards, are averaging 12.5 points and 11.4 points and 6.9 rebounds and 6.3 rebounds respectively. They lead a Minnesota team that leads the conference with 43.5 rebounds per game.
The Golden Gopher is strong both offensively and on the board, but it goes back to the youth factor. The area they struggle with is defense. Take those rebounds, for example. They also lead the conference in the most rebounds allowed per game.
Offensive opportunities abound when Minnesota plays. Minnesota ranks him 7th in conference scoring and 12th in points allowed. If that’s what Thursday’s game is going to look like, Ohio State’s scorer will have a chance.
If Scarlett & Gray’s press can frustrate a mostly junior team, it could be many scoring runs from the Buckeyes.
- The Buckeyes’ current starter is averaging 63.5 points per game compared to Ohio State’s total of 87.3 points per game.
- Guard Emma Shmate has only appeared in 13 games, averaging 11.3 minutes per game, but leads Ohio State with 13 blocks.
- Guard/forward Taylor Thierry still leads the nation in field goal percentage, despite a slight drop from 73% to 71.2%.
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- Brown’s 17.5 points-per-game average is high for a freshman and 9th overall in the Big Ten.
- Sophomore Alanna Micheaux led the team with 6.7 rebounds per game and increased her scoring to 8.5 points per game.
- Minnesota allowed 71.1 points per game, the third-highest in the Big 10.
This will be a game where the Buckeyes leverage their experience. Even without guard Jaycee Sheldon, who has been sidelined every week with a lower leg injury, the Buckeyes roster has enough energy and intensity to upset Minnesota.
Ohio State pushed for 20 or more turnovers for the 15th time in 16 games, and forward Coty McMahon is a strong scoring force. Also, if forward Rebeka Mikrasikova can force an early foul on a young presence in the Golden Gophers’ paint, it would go a long way in securing a confident win for the Buckeyes in third place. .
date: Thursday, January 5, 2023
time: 8 afternoon EST
where: Williams Arena, Minneapolis, Minnesota
LGHL Prediction: 89-72 Buckeyes, OH
illinois fighting illini on the horizon
So far, Scarlet and Gray’s schedule has been to play against tougher opponents immediately after playing lower teams. This gives players the opportunity to look beyond their current challenges. Thursday’s trip to Minnesota is no exception.
Ohio State will return home for Sunday afternoon’s game against the Illinois Fighting Illini. They haven’t had a winning record in almost 10 seasons, but this year is different. Shauna Green, the Illini head coach in her first year, was one of the best rebounders in the conference and a rising star for North Carolina State-transferred Genesis Bryant.
If Ohio State lacks focus in part of its game against Minnesota, it happened early in the season and could be the big orange distraction sitting three days ahead of the Buckeyes’ calendar. not.