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Game Preview: No. 4 Women’s Basketball Ohio State vs. North Alabama

In the holdover of Ohio State’s statewide rivalry game against the Michigan Wolverines on Saturday, the Ohio State women’s basketball team takes the court. Finally an answer to the popular and now outdated battle cry “We want Bama”. The Scarlet & Gray welcome a team from Alabama to the Schottenstein Center – the University of North Alabama.

Who is North Alabama? Will the horse chestnuts be in full force for Wednesday’s trip to Louisville? Can Ohio State score 100 points in two straight games?


preview

It feels like it’s been forever since the Buckeyes have played in one of basketball’s truly significant quarters, about 15 straight quarters that Ohio State has been in the driver’s seat against four different opponents.

Since the first quarter against Boston College on Nov. 13, head coach Kevin McGuff’s side have outscored their opponents by 355-199. Of the four teams, three came from teams outside of a Power Five conference such as MAC’s Ohio University or Southland Conference’s McNeese State.

Sunday is the final game against another smaller conference opponent before Wednesday’s ACC/B1G Challenge and the start of conference games on Sunday, December 4 against Rutgers University.

While the games weren’t all that difficult for the Buckeyes, that doesn’t mean the 40-minute affairs weren’t worth it. Sunday provides another opportunity for depth players to find their playing legs and help Ohio State prepare for a Big Ten season with a goal on their backs.

Part of this group is forward Eboni Walker and guard Hevynne Bristow. Walker is part of a forward group that is talented with starters Taylor Thierry, Cotie McMahon and Rebeka Mikulášiková but lacks depth beyond the starting five. The Syracuse transfer Walker has played well in the last two games and will likely get enough minutes to continue down that path.

In Bristow’s case, the senior guards typically played behind the Buckeyes’ group of four standout guards in Jacy Sheldon, Taylor Mikesell, Madison Greene and Rikki Harris. However, ahead of Wednesday’s matinee win against Wright State, Sheldon and substitute Emma Shumate both missed the game with lower leg and undisclosed injuries, respectively.

Bristow has played more like a forward in the minutes she’s seen the court, tacking 13 rebounds and 18 points in the last two home games for the Buckeyes. After missing much of last season through injuries, Bristow looks hungry on the pitch and pleads for getting more minutes as the season progresses. Sunday is another good opportunity.

North Alabama (3-2) comes to Central Ohio to end the long holiday weekend. As part of the ASUN conference, home of reigning Florida Gulf Coast University champions, the Lions have maintained a quieter off-conference schedule. Aside from a 77-40 loss to the SEC’s Mississippi State, North Alabama held onto smaller schools in the Southeast.

Voted by ASUN media to take sixth place in the conference this year, they shouldn’t cause much trouble for the Buckeyes with one exception. A standout player in the Lions roster is guard/forward Skyler Gill.

A sophomore, Gill has already racked up honors in her second season. In Gill’s freshman year, the 5-foot-11 athlete won ASUN Freshman of the Year and Defender of the Year. Gill is averaging 9.7 points, 9.0 rebounds and 3.3 blocks per game and so far this year Gill has been playing better. In five starts, Gill increased her shooting average to 12.4 points per game and kept her rebounds and blocks just below last year’s average.

The Buckeyes face a challenge in Gill, who is coming into good positions to play defensively and offensively. Their awareness of block grabbing and bouncing will keep an Ohio State team in check that needs improvement at board grabbing.


Planned starters

State of Ohio

P Surname
P Surname
G Madison Green
G Taylor Mikesell
G Taylor Thierry
f Cotie McMahon
f Rebeka Mikulasikova

Deployment Notes

  • Guard Greene could make her second straight
  • Mikesell leads the team this season with an average of 16.8 points per game
  • Thierry’s 69.4% field goal percentage leads the team, with the forward consistently making layup attempts and shots within the paint

north alabama

P Surname
P Surname
G Hina Suzuki
G Jade Moore
G Alexis Callin
f Skyler Gil
f Cameron Jones

Deployment Notes

  • Freshman guard Alyssa Clutter started four games before missing the Lions’ last game
  • Guard Jade Moore is someone to watch closely, requiring 47 tries in her five games played
  • Guard Hina Suzuki is second in the ASUN with 6.3 assists per game

forecast

For the fourth straight season and third straight home game, the Scarlet & Gray should have no trouble picking up a win. A slip could only happen when eyes are already on Wednesday’s game against the No. 10 Louisville Cardinals.

Expect Greene to have a big game starting at point guard, assuming Sheldon doesn’t get a start again. Even if she’s available to play, Greene’s start could be the smart move that will give Sheldon more peace of mind ahead of the ACC/B1G challenge.

However you slice it, the Buckeyes should pull out a big lead and retain their place as the top team in the country.


how to watch

Date: Sunday 27 November 2022
Time: 1:00 am ET
Where: Schottenstein Center – Columbus, Ohio
Electricity: B1G+


LGHL Prediction: 97-52 Ohio State Buckeyes


ACC/B1G Challenge looms

As the football season comes to an end, the basketball season picks up a different gear after the Sunday game. There will be 14 matches between November 30th and December 1st, with Ohio State and Louisville starting on November 30th.

Then Sunday begins the conference schedule with a trip to Rutgers.

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