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Women’s basketball: Former Duke transfer Sierra Calhoun finding her niche at Ohio State

Ohio State redshirt junior guard Sierra Calhoun takes a shot during the Buckeyes’ game against Washington on Nov. 19. Credit: Colin Hass-Hill | Sports Editor

Moving from one place to another can be a difficult process.

In redshirt junior guard Sierra Calhoun’s case, however, it was not.  

When Calhoun decided to transfer from Duke to Ohio State in 2015, she felt she had an idea of what awaited.

Having already known some of the players and coaches at Ohio State, it only made the move that much easier.

“I really liked the culture at OSU,” Calhoun said. “I knew a couple of players prior to transferring here, so it didn’t take long to gel with them. I also knew a couple of the coaches here prior to my visit. I thought it was a good fit in terms of coaching staff, personnel, atmosphere, stuff like that.”

A product of Christ the King High School located in Queens, New York, Calhoun was the top prospect in the state and committed to Duke in 2013.

As a freshman, she posted 10.1 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game.

Despite starting the first 13 games for the Blue Devils, Calhoun abruptly left the program midseason, deciding Ohio State would be the best place for her.

“It was a lot of things, but it just didn’t work out,” Calhoun said. “It wasn’t a bad transition at all. It was actually pretty easy. The universities are very different. Obviously, coming from a small university to a bigger university is a change. I’m from New York, so moving to a bigger university wasn’t really that hard of a transition.”

After sitting out the 2015 season due to transfer rules, the former Blue Devil emerged as one of Ohio State’s best players during her first season in Columbus.

She started every contest during the 2016-17 season for Ohio State, averaging 9.5 points per game as the Buckeyes’ resident sharpshooter. Calhoun averaged a team-best 38.6 percent shooting from beyond the arc and made the second-most 3-pointers (68).

Watching the previous season unfold beforehand wasn’t easy for Calhoun, but it not only provided invaluable experience, it helped her see the game from a different perspective.

“Last year, sitting out a while was hard, but I also got to look at the game from a different perspective,” Calhoun said. “I feel like that helped me last year in terms of looking at things from a different angle and seeing what other people are doing well, so I can help my teammates out more. This year, I definitely have more experience under my belt. We’re gelling more.”

The 2017-18 campaign began inconsistently for Calhoun in her second season on the court as a Buckeye. She hit worse than 27 percent of her shots in four of the first five games of the season. But as the season has progressed, so has her shooting stroke. Calhoun has hit 12-of-27 triples in her last four games.

Through 10 total games this season, Calhoun is averaging 10.8 points — on 37-of-111 shots from the field for a 33.3 percent field goal percentage — and three rebounds, while shooting 29 percent from 3-point range (18-for-62).

At this point in her Buckeye career, Calhoun is more than proving her worth to the 12th-ranked team in college basketball.

In a starting lineup featuring seniors at every position except her own, Calhoun has managed to carve out her own niche as a leader, which can only help Ohio State in Calhoun’s eyes.

“I definitely want to show that I have more experience,” Calhoun said. “I don’t want to make any sophomore or rookie mistakes. I just want to be a leader out there. We have a lot of leaders on our team. I think it’d be a great to have a lot of coaches on the floor. It’ll help us have a great season.”

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