For the 12th time in 14 years, the Ohio State women’s basketball team will compete in the NCAA tournament for a shot at a national title.
The Buckeyes will be the No. 3 seed in the Spokane regional and will face No. 14 George Washington in the first round of the tournament at 1:30 p.m. Saturday in Columbus. No. 1 Notre Dame is the top seed in the regional.
If Ohio State is able to get past the Colonials, it will face the winner of the first-round matchup between No. 6 LSU and No. 11 Central Michigan in the second round. The Buckeyes will host both games at the Schottenstein Center.
This is the third consecutive NCAA tournament appearance for Ohio State under fourth-year head coach Kevin McGuff. His team has never lost in the first round of the tournament, but also has yet to advance past the Sweet Sixteen.
After winning both the outright Big Ten regular-season and tournament titles, the Buckeyes will be looking to lock down the elusive national championship that has evaded the program throughout its history.
With four seniors in its starting lineup — including guard Kelsey Mitchell, the third-leading scorer in women’s basketball history — all graduating after the end of this season, the Buckeyes’ window for claiming that title appears to be closing.
Though they bring in four-star guard Janai Crooms, three-star forward Aaliyah Patty and four-star guard Dorka Juhasz, the Buckeyes will lose five current members of its roster. Of the returners, only redshirt juniors Makayla Waterman and Sierra Calhoun averaged double-digit minutes per game in the 2017-18 season.
These games will be the final ones in Mitchell’s historic collegiate career. She is currently 30 points from tying former Southwest Missouri State guard Jackie Stiles for second on the all-time scoring list and is 164 points shy of former Washington guard Kelsey Plum.
If the Buckeyes are able to advance to the final four or go as far as the finals, they will return home to Columbus for the two games in Nationwide Arena.