With a young and depleted roster, the Ohio State women’s basketball team is set to start its regular season this weekend.
The Buckeyes are coming off a 92-73 win in an exhibition game at home against Eckerd College on Sunday. Coach Kevin McGuff said he liked the effort he saw from the team on offense, but still has concerns about defense as OSU gets set to travel to Charlottesville, Va., to play Virginia on Friday before taking on St. Francis (Pa.) at home Sunday.
“I thought we did some good things on offense, shared the ball, played fairly aggressively on that end,” McGuff said. “(We) didn’t play as well defensively as we needed to.”
McGuff noted that the team’s defensive issues weren’t caused by a lack of effort, but a lack of discipline and execution. McGuff said the team will have to work on managing every possession moving forward.
“We’ll have to have a really good week of preparation,” McGuff said. “I think we’re close on a lot of possessions, we just have to get a little bit better to finish those possessions out the right way.”
With redshirt-freshman guard Kianna Holland and freshmen forwards Chelsea Mitchell and Makayla Waterman out for the season with injuries, OSU is hoping for help with the return of redshirt-senior guard Amy Scullion. Scullion had decided to forgo her senior season in order to attend medical school, but is expected to return to the team soon.
“We’re still working out some of the logistical issues in terms of what her schedule is,” McGuff said. “There will be some days where she misses practice or in some cases maybe miss a game, we’re still fine-tuning that stuff, but it’s going to happen.”
McGuff added that the current plan is for Scullion to travel with the team on Friday.
The Buckeyes are also looking forward to the return of redshirt-sophomore forward Kalpana Beach, who missed the last two seasons because of knee injuries. Beach said she sees room for self-improvement but was excited to play in the exhibition game.
“I still feel like I have a lot of work to do but it felt good getting back out there,” Beach said. “I think I’m just going to keep getting better from here, but it’s definitely good to get that experience.”
Beach scored four points on 1-of-8 shooting in 22 minutes against Eckerd College on Sunday.
OSU has a young roster that includes three freshmen in the starting lineup and no current seniors, as Scullion has not yet been officially added on the roster. Freshman forward Alexa Hart said she’s looking forward to playing in her first official collegiate game, even though she’ll have a bigger role than she initially expected.
“I’m actually kind of excited because now I can actually get the real feeling of playing college basketball,” Hart said. “I was expecting to come off the bench but I guess it is kind of exciting to start for a college team.”
OSU is set to open its season against the Cavaliers on Friday at 7 p.m. The Buckeyes are then scheduled to play St. Francis on Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Schottenstein Center.