Ohio State women’s basketball has made a habit of rewriting the program’s record books this season.
On Monday, the Buckeyes checked in at No. 2 in the most recent AP Poll, matching the best ranking in program history previously set by Ohio State when it was ranked second from Jan. 31-Feb. 14 in 2004-05 and from March 6-13 in 2005-06 under then-head coach Jim Foster.
Ohio State’s 18-0 start to the season – including wins over four then-ranked teams in Tennessee, Louisville, Oregon, and Michigan – is a program record that keeps improving by the game. The previous best start to a year was a 15-0 mark achieved in the 2010-11 season under Foster.
Led by sharpshooter Taylor Mikesell and stretch-five Rebeka Mikulasikova, Ohio State’s offense has been one of the most efficient in the Big Ten and the NCAA. Mikesell has averaged 18.6 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 2.8 assists through the Buckeyes’ first 18 games, while Mikulasikova has contributed 14.4 points and 5.3 rebounds per contest.
In the absence of star guard Jacy Sheldon, who has played in only five games for Ohio State as she recovers from an undisclosed ailment in her foot, Cotie McMahon and Taylor Thierry have also seen more prominent roles for the Buckeyes. McMahon has 12.6 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game and Thierry has 12.3 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game for the scarlet and gray.
Head coach Kevin McGuff’s squad has its work cut out for them if they are to continue their dominant run to start the season, as two of their next three games will come against top-10 opponents. The Buckeyes have only one game this week and will host Northwestern on Thursday. But next week, the test begins with back-to-back contests against No. 10 Iowa at home on Jan. 23 and No. 6 Indiana on the road on Jan. 26.
Should Ohio State and McGuff, an NCAA Coach of the Year candidate according to ESPN, navigate this stretch unblemished, the Buckeyes’ already substantial hype of being a future Final Four team will grow even stronger. Still, there’s a long way to March, which means the program’s mindset must remain as it has been all season – one game at a time.