Despite the loss of a coach and an all-conference guard, the Ohio State women’s basketball team is still determined to win.
OSU has welcomed new coach Kevin McGuff to the sidelines after two seasons at the University of Washington and nine seasons at Xavier.
McGuff replaces former coach Jim Foster, who was terminated by OSU March 19. Foster spent 11 seasons in Columbus and garnered a 279-82 record.
Coach Foster was “terminated without cause,” an OSU athletic department spokeswoman told The Lantern in March.
McGuff must lead a team that has to fill an offensive hole left by former All-Big Ten guard Tayler Hill. Last season, Hill averaged 21.1 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 2.9 assists and was selected fourth overall by the Washington Mystics in the WNBA Draft.
McGuff said a team effort is needed to fill that void.
“I don’t mind having a team that has to share the ball,” McGuff said. “We have to pass the ball, play aggressively and create shots for our teammates to score. I’m fine with that.”
Sophomore guard Ameryst Alston said the whole team needs to step up in place of Hill.
“Not so much just myself, but the whole team needs to bring something to the table,” Alston said.
The Buckeyes return three starters in Alston, junior guard Raven Ferguson, and senior center Ashley Adams. There are no true freshmen on the roster.
“We do have kids that have been through the grind of a season,” McGuff said. “I’m hopeful that’ll carry us through the year. So we don’t have to worry about anyone hitting the proverbial freshmen wall.”
OSU went 18-13 overall and 7-10 in conference play a year ago. This season’s schedule sees the team matched up against eight preseason ranked teams. Of those eight, four are conference opponents (Penn State, Nebraska, Purdue, Michigan State) and four are non-conference opponents that include preseason No. 1 Connecticut.
Adams said the tough schedule will help OSU prepare for difficult conference play.
“We’re excited about playing teams that show us we can play in the Big Ten,” Adams said at OSU Media Day Oct. 18. “People may think we’re going to be a nobody, but if we measure up to these teams, it will make it easier in the Big Ten.”
OSU is set for its season to start Friday in Morgantown, W.Va., against West Virginia. The home opener is scheduled for Sunday at 2 p.m. against Florida Atlantic at the Schottenstein Center.