The Craft family legacy at Ohio State has finally reached the end of the road.
After 103 starts wearing scarlet and gray, following her older brother Aaron’s 112, senior guard Cait Craft will miss the remainder of the women’s basketball team’s season — however many games that might be — with a broken hand, OSU announced Thursday.
She had started 102 straight games that she played in from her sophomore to senior years, only missing one game with a foot injury earlier this year. The Findlay, Ohio, native finishes her senior year averaging 4.6 points per game in 34 starts, shooting 34.8 percent from the field.
The injury was sustained in practice, the team announced. The injury comes at an inopportune time for the No. 3 seed Buckeyes, as they have a Sweet 16 matchup with No. 7 seed Tennessee scheduled for Friday evening. The team has already been dealing with the injury bug to a fellow senior guard, as Ameryst Alston has been limited with a wrist injury, missing one game and struggling through two others.
With Craft sidelined, it appears likely that OSU coach Kevin McGuff will reinsert junior forward Shayla Cooper into the starting five, giving the Buckeyes a bigger lineup. That could prove beneficial for an OSU team that was outrebounded by an average of 2.9 per game. Cooper leads the team with 8.1 boards per contest.
However, the loss of Craft will leave the Buckeyes without their chief perimeter defender, as she often checked up the opposing team’s top backcourt scoring threat. The Buckeyes have already proved to be thin in the backcourt when players miss games or get in foul trouble, as redshirt freshman Kianna Holland has only played three games and freshman Kaylan Pugh left the program in early December, transferring to Georgia Tech.
In her final collegiate game, Craft scored seven points in OSU’s second-round win over West Virginia, including a 2-of-2 mark from beyond the 3-point line.
Even with Craft watching from the bench with a cast on her left hand, the Buckeyes will gear up for their appointment in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, on Friday to take on the Volunteers. Tipoff is scheduled for 9:30 p.m.