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Women’s Basketball: Ohio State faces North Carolina following three-week hiatus

Ohio State then-redshirt junior forward Makayla Waterman (24) looks to pass to a teammate in the fourth quarter of the Buckeyes’ semifinal game against Rutgers on March 2 at Banker’s Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. Ohio State beat Rutgers 82-57. Credit: Alyssia Graves | Former Assistant Sports Director

The Ohio State women’s basketball team (1-2) will play North Carolina (5-2) on Thursday for its first game since Nov. 11.

The previous two contests, No. 8 Stanford and Sacramento State, were postponed due to the conditions in northern California that resulted from wildfires affecting the area.

The Buckeyes are looking to get back in the win column after taking a 32-point loss to UConn in their last game.

Ohio State will be facing a fast-paced Tar Heels team coming off a loss to No. 25 Kentucky on Saturday in the Paradise Jam Tournament.

Redshirt junior forward Makayla Waterman said North Carolina is still an energetic team that likes to get out on the break.

“I know that they are really fast and they like to score a lot in transition,” Waterman said. “We’ve really been working on transition defense. They’re a great team.”

Waterman missed the game last season against the Tar Heels due to injury but expects to play on Thursday.

UNC won its previous contest against UCF, a common opponent who the Buckeyes previously lost to in the first game of the season.

UNC junior guard Stephanie Watts had a game-high 24 points that day, propelling the Tar Heels to a two-point victory.

With the long layoff the Buckeyes have experienced, there have been questions about how ready and sharp Ohio State head coach Kevin McGuff’s team will be for its next matchup.

“It’s such a long break and it’s hard,” McGuff said. “We focus on trying to get better but it’s not easy to show up every day and do that with such a long break. You know kids like to play games, coaches like to coach in games but it kind of is what it is so hopefully this has been a productive time for us.”

This break isn’t something the players are accustomed to; it is the longest time off from the game that some have ever had during the middle of a season, Waterman said.

The Buckeyes will face off against UNC at 7 p.m. on Thursday in Columbus.

 

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