#5 Ohio State Women's Basketball 2016-2017 Preview

Ohio State Buckeyes
Overall Rank: #5
Conference Rank: #1 Big Ten
Ohio State continued its rise in the Big Ten Conference last season as they beat Maryland twice and now are a true threat on an annual basis to the Terrapins in the race for the conference championship. Head Coach Kevin McGuff and his staff employ an up-tempo style of play that should always attract top offensive players on an annual basis. The key for them moving forward is whether or not they can play just enough defense in the NCAA Tournament to get to Final Fours, which can be accomplished if they stay healthier and can become more of a force down low in the post.
2015-16 Record: 26-8, 15-3
2015-16 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Kevin McGuff
Coach Record: 67-37 at Ohio State, 322-136 overall
Key Departed Players (starters in bold)
Ameryst Alston, Guard, 18.3 ppg
Cait Craft, Guard, 4.6 ppg
Key Returning Players (starters in bold)
Kelsey Mitchell, Junior, Guard, 26.1 ppg
Alexa Hart, Junior, Forward, 10.8 ppg
Shayla Cooper, Senior, Forward, 13.3 ppg
Kianna Holland, Redshirt Junior, Guard, 7.3 ppg
Asia Doss, Junior, Guard, 7.0 ppg
Makayla Waterman, Redshirt Sophomore, Forward, 3.1 ppg
Theresa Ekhelar, Sophomore, Center, 1.3 ppg
Chelsea Mitchell, Redshirt Sophomore, Forward, 1.4 ppg
Key New Players
Tori McCoy, Freshman, Forward
Kiara Lewis, Freshman, Guard
Jensen Caretti, Freshman, Guard
Linnae Harper, Redshirt Junior, Guard, Transfer from Kentucky
Stephanie Mavunga, Redshirt Junior, Forward, Transfer from North Carolina
Sierra Calhoun, Redshirt Sophomore, Guard, Transfer from Duke
Kelsey Mitchell is a preseason first-team all-American and rightfully so as Mitchell has been absolutely electric scoring the basketball during her first two seasons in Columbus. Heading into her junior season, Mitchell has already scored 1,762 points in her career. Shayla Cooper and Alexa Hart should take on even bigger roles with the loss of Ameryst Alston to graduation. Hart and Cooper are lights out shooting the basketball. Hart shot 61.5 percent from the floor last season and Cooper shot 52.2 percent. If the trio of Mitchell, Hart and Cooper can combine for around 60 points per game, then the Buckeyes will be in great shape. South Carolina visits Columbus on November 14th for an early season showdown that will challenge the Buckeyes ability to defend because the Gamecocks will be relentless for four quarters. Connecticut, Miami and potential a matchup with either Syracuse or George Washington highlight the rest of the non-conference schedule. The Big Ten schedule worked out well for Ohio State as they play Maryland once at home in Columbus in what should be a high scoring affair. This team plays a very exciting brand that will always be fun to watch and they will be right in the conversation for a spot as a number one seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 86.0 (3rd in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 74.6 (331, 13)
Field-Goal Percentage: 47.1(7, 3)
Field-Goal Defense: 41.8 (276, 7)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 8.5 (14, 2)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 37.2 (13, 4)
Free-Throw Percentage: 75.8 (21, 3)
Rebound Margin: -3.5 (273, 12)
Assists Per Game: 14.8 (61, 8)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.1 (25, 2)
Madness 2017 WNBA Draft Rankings:
#5 Kelsey Mitchell
#17 Shayla Cooper
Madness 2016 Women’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#10 Tori McCoy
#18 Kiara Lewis
#43 Jensen Caretti