The Ohio State women’s basketball team has returned to central Ohio after its first road trip of the season. Following two wins and a loss in the Gulf Coast Showcase this past weekend in Estero, Florida, the No. 9 Buckeyes’ tough non-conference schedule will continue with a contest against the No. 18 Miami Hurricanes.
The Hurricanes will come to Columbus with a 5-1 record on the year. After falling in its season opener to then-No. 19 Kentucky, Miami has rebounded to win its last five. The Hurricanes have an average margin of victory of 23.2 in that span, although all five victories have come against unranked opponents.
Miami features four players who are scoring more than 10 points per game. Senior guard Jessica Thomas leads the way with 13 points per game with senior guard Adrienne Motley, sophomore guard Laura Comelius and junior forward/center Erykah Davenport also in double digits. As a team, Miami is shooting 44.8 percent from the field and averaging 74.7 points per game.
OSU also has four scorers above 10 points per game, but the Buckeyes’ leader, junior guard Kelsey Mitchell, is seventh in the nation with 23.3 points per game. Redshirt sophomore guard Sierra Calhoun (13.4), redshirt junior forward Stephanie Mavugna (12.0) and senior forward Shayla Cooper (11.4) follow Mitchell. OSU is averaging 86 points per game, shooting 45.1 percent from the field.
OSU may have a slight advantage when it comes to offensive abilities, but the Hurricanes may pose some challenges defensively. OSU’s defensive issues have been well documented this season, and it has shown in the form of 73.7 points per game from opponents. Miami has allowed just 58 points per game this season, but it should be noted that OSU has faced three ranked opponents compared to the Hurricanes’ one.
The difference in this game might come down to interior play. One of OSU’s biggest advantages this season has been rebounding and the ability to get high-percentage shots. Mavunga is averaging a double-double at 12 points and 10.7 rebounds per game, and Cooper has found success inside as well. Freshman forward Tori McCoy is starting to find her way after early season struggles.
But it’s not just the forwards that have seen action around the basket for the Buckeyes. Mitchell and freshman guard Kiara Lewis have a knack for driving to the hoop and converting difficult, well-covered shots.
Miami has allowed opponents to grab 34.7 rebounds per game, and the Buckeyes are pulling down 46.6 per game. If the Hurricanes are able to limit OSU’s second-chance opportunities, Miami will have a great chance to leave Columbus with a victory. But if OSU continues to have its way inside, it could be a long night for the Hurricanes.
Tipoff between the Buckeyes and Hurricanes is set for 7 p.m. on Dec. 1 at Schottenstein Center.