The Ohio State women’s basketball program got an early boost to its 2014-15 season Thursday.
Coach Kevin McGuff announced the signing of two transfers from the 2013 class in guard Kianna Holland from Duke and forward Shayla Cooper from Georgetown.
Both players will be eligible for competition the day after final examinations of 2014 Fall Semester, per NCAA transfer rules.
“We didn’t necessarily come into this time of year looking to add anyone but we were certainly excited about the opportunity when specifically Shayla and Kianna became available because both of them bring the right type of character that we want in the program as people, and certainly as basketball players,” McGuff said Thursday. “They fit our style of play, and kind of where we’re trying to go with the program.”
OSU (11-7, 1-1) currently has three seniors on the roster in forward Martina Ellerbe and centers Ashley Adams and Darryce Moore, and one redshirt-senior in center Aleksandra Dobranic. This season’s leading scorer, sophomore Ameryst Alston is set to return.
McGuff said he’s excited to have both players in the program moving forward, adding that Holland’s ability as a shooter is huge for the team.
“(Holland’s) a good athlete, she’s quick,” McGuff said. “She really shoots the ball well. She can really make shots from the perimeter. She can score.”
Holland originally committed to OSU in March 2011 before rescinding that decision in August to attend Duke. She did not play in a game for the Blue Devils this season, though. She is coming off surgery for compartment syndrome in her leg, but McGuff said she practiced for the first time Wednesday and is “not limited in any way.”
Cooper, who McGuff likened to be similar in size to current junior guard Raven Ferguson but calling her “a little bit bigger,” played in two games at Georgetown this season, totaling 32 points and 17 rebounds.
“(Cooper’s) got a great motor and she plays really hard and she plays with a lot of aggression,” McGuff said. “She’s a tough kid and she can make shots too. The good news about her too is that her game’s still evolving in a positive way.”
McGuff said Cooper’s decision to transfer was after her coach at Georgetown, Keith Brown, resigned following an investigation into allegations that he verbally abused his players.
No matter how they got to OSU, McGuff feels lucky to have them.
“We were very fortunate. I think both of them look at Ohio State in a very positive light because of what we did in the fall and what we’ve been able to accomplish with some of the kids we have here. Kind of like, you get some momentum going with the program and it certainly helps in these situations,” he said.
Neither Holland, Cooper nor anyone else on the women’s basketball team was made available for comment on the transfers Thursday.