#4 Ohio State Women's Basketball 2017-2018 Preview

Ohio State Buckeyes
Overall Rank: #4
Conference Rank: #1 Big Ten
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Ohio State dominated the Big Ten last season, going 15-1. They reached the NCAA Tournament for the third straight season, but once again stalled out at the Sweet 16. With four starters returning, led by Kelsey Mitchell, the Buckeyes should be able to do better than the Sweet 16 this year. Mitchell averaged 22.6 points and 3.9 assists. She connected on an impressive 115 three-pointers and shot 43.7 percent from the floor. The two-time Big Ten player of the year is the odds on favorite to take home the honors again in 2017-2018.
2016-17 Record: 28-7, 15-1
2016-17 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Kevin McGuff
Coach Record: 95-44 at Ohio State, 350-143 overall
Key Departed Players (starters in bold)
Shayla Cooper, Forward, 10.5 ppg
Tori McCoy, Forward, 8.1 ppg
Kiara Lewis, Guard, 6.7 ppg
Key Returning Players (starters in bold)
Kelsey Mitchell, Senior, Guard, 22.6 ppg
Stephanie Mavunga, Senior, Forward, 11.4 ppg
Sierra Calhoun, Junior, Guard, 9.5 ppg
Asia Doss, Senior, Guard, 5.7 ppg
Linnae Harper, Senior, Guard, 8.4 ppg
Alexa Hart, Senior, Forward, 4.8 ppg
Makayla Waterman, Junior, Forward, 3.3 ppg
Jensen Caretti, Sophomore, Guard, 2.4 ppg
Chelsea Mitchell, Junior, Forward, 1.5 ppg
Key New Players
Karlie Cronin, Sophomore, Guard, Transfer, SMU
Savitha Jayaraman, Freshman, Forward
Mitchell will get plenty of help from backcourt mates Sierra Calhoun, Asia Doss and Linnae Harper. Calhoun is the shooter of the bunch and will knock down plenty of shots while the opposition is worried about Mitchell. Harper was the Sixth-Player of the Year last season and averaged 8.4 points per game. The frontcourt will be led by Stephanie Mavunga, who averaged 11.4 points and 10.8 rebounds as a junior. Mitchell and Mavunga may prove to be the best inside-outside duo in the country. However, it is the play of Alexa Hart and Makayla Waterman in the frontcourt that could make all of the difference. Those two have plenty of experience and will need to replace the lost production of Shayla Cooper and Tori McCoy. The potential problem for Ohio State is their overall depth. This team can go seven deep with a load of experience and talent, but an injury here or there could put pressure on the lack of depth.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 85.7 (4th in nation, 2nd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 71.5 (313, 12)
Field-Goal Percentage: 45.4 (18, 4)
Field-Goal Defense: 37.6 (64, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 7.8 (33, 1)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 35.0 (45, 4)
Free-Throw Percentage: 69.3 (176, 11)
Rebound Margin: 4.5 (65, 4)
Assists Per Game: 16.3 (22, 6)
Turnovers Per Game: 13.8 (56, 4)
Madness 2018 WNBA Draft Rankings:
#2 Kelsey Mitchell
#18 Stephanie Mavunga