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The Scholarly Spotlight: Ohio State Buckeyes Women's Basketball

For the women's college basketball game, March is the greatest month for fans everywhere. Not only is it great for them, but it's also great for the Ohio State Buckeyes. They made it to the Elite 8 last season before losing to Virginia Tech, and are well on their way to another run. The 2024 Big 10 regular season champions are currently ranked 4th in the country with conference tournament play approaching. As Selection Sunday draws closer, the Buckeyes aim to do all they can to boost their resume to earn a # 1 seed in March Madness.

Ohio State has multiple players contributing to their success, including star Jacy Sheldon (Jay-CEE Shell-don). The senior point guard is averaging 18.2 points, 3.8 assists, 2.1 steals, and she's shooting career-high splits of 51.3/39.3/86.8% this season. Sheldon's success has earned her multiple awards including Unanimous All-Big Ten First team, All-Defensive Team (Big 10), and she is a finalist for the Nancy Lieberman (LEE-Ber-Man) Best Point Guard of the year award. In an overtime win against conference foe Iowa, Sheldon scored 24 points, adding 7 rebounds, and 3 assists. She has been a huge part of the Buckeye's success, but it hasn't been done alone.

The other guard excelling next to Sheldon is Celeste Taylor (SELL-Est Tay-Ler). She is averaging 10.3 points, 4.2 rebounds, and tying a career-high with 2.2 steals per game, which also leads the conference. Taylor is a defensive anchor for Ohio State, earning All-Big Ten Defensive team, All-Big Ten Second Team, and the Big Ten Defensive Player of the year. She transferred after two years at Duke, and it's clear she wants to help take the Buckeyes to the next level. The guard duo of Taylor and Sheldon has been big for Ohio State's season, but they also get daily consistent production from one of their star forwards.

Cotie McMahon (Co-TEE MICK-Man) has been another star for the Buckeyes this season. She is averaging 14.1 points, a team-high 6.4 rebounds, and 1.2 steals per game. The sophomore guard has never shied away from the bright lights, as shown in their game against # 10 Indiana. McMahon scored 20 points, and added 7 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals in the win. Her productive year has been nationally recognized as she is a finalist for the Cheryl Miller award, which is given to the top small forward. With so many stars wanting to step up for their team in the postseason, McMahon is among them looking to prove she can go against anyone. In the aforementioned win against the Iowa, she had her most impressive double-double of the season with 33 points and 12 rebounds. McMahon seems to step up the most against the best competition, and that's something that could help the Buckeyes in the NCAA Tournament.

Ohio State plays in a star-studded Big Ten conference, which provides lots of scoring and chances to compete against championship contenders. The Buckeyes rank fourth in the conference in offensive production, averaging 80.4 points per game. However, they are tied for first (with Michigan) in defensive points allowed only giving up 63.2 points per game. Ohio State is the definition of a "two-way team". They pride themselves on their defense with the elite ability to score. Their top players McMahon, Sheldon, and Taylor exemplify the team's identity, put forth by head coach Kevin McGuff. He is no exception to the Buckeyes' success, earning the Big Ten Coach Of The Year after leading them to 16-2 in the conference, and 25-4 overall. Despite the national spotlight focused on their rival Iowa Hawkeyes and superstar Caitlin Clark, Ohio State has proved they deserve to be a top seed in the Big Dance. 


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