For the Ohio State women’s basketball team, a weekend win has been followed up by even more positive news.
After Sunday’s 69-60 victory against Penn State, freshman guard Kelsey Mitchell was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week for the fourth time this season.
To top it off, the Buckeyes (12-7, 4-3) had a full week off leading into their game at Purdue (9-9, 2-5) on Sunday. That means an entire week of preparation before player a Boilermaker team that is facing a four-game losing streak.
After snapping a two-game losing streak of their own, it was all smiles for the Buckeyes at Tuesday’s practice in the Schottenstein Center. That being said, coach Kevin McGuff said he knows exactly what areas he will have his team focus on during its week off.
“Transition defense,” McGuff said. “We have to be able to really guard them, they are a really good team offensively.”
OSU gave up 100 points for the first time in a Big Ten game since 1991 in its Jan 11. loss to Michigan.
“We need to develop more consistency with our defense and rebounding,” McGuff said. “We just need to really dig in and get better defensively and on the boards.”
The Buckeyes’ defense has been the issue for much of the season, despite being coupled with a strong offensive attack. Mitchell has lead the way by averaging 25.3 points per game, putting her at No. 1 in the country.
“I have just been trying to be a positive teammate,” Mitchell said. “Our coaches just put us in big time positions to make big time plays. I don’t think I’m doing anything in particular to help us win.”
Mitchell’s 28.5 point average over the last two games has helped OSU regain some momentum heading into its showdown with Purdue.
Having just one senior and with a freshman leading the way, McGuff said his favorite part about his team is its youthful spirit.
“I like their youth more than anything,” McGuff admitted. “I love the energy and passion we normally play with.”
Even though the Boilermakers have struggled over all, they’ve been tougher to beat at home, with a 6-4 record so far this year.
“Mackey Arena is a tough place to play,” McGuff said. “They have great support there so I’m definitely expecting a big crowd on Sunday.”
The Boilermakers are led by 6-foot-2-inch redshirt-senior forward Whitney Bays, who averages 14.9 points per game.
Tip-off is set for Sunday at 2 p.m. in Mackey Arena.