The Ohio State women’s basketball team will play its second top 5 team in as many weeks.
The Buckeyes (4-3) take on No. 2 Louisville (8-0) at Value City Arena as part of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge Thursday.
“We’ve played a lot of tough games already, and we have a lot coming up,” freshman guard Jacy Sheldon said. “I think it’s only going to make us better. I think we’ve had some losses too that we didn’t come into the game ready, and I think we’ve learned from those.”
Ohio State enters the contest off a split pair of games at the South Point Shootout in Las Vegas. South Dakota handed the Buckeyes their third loss of the season 68-53 Friday, but Ohio State rebounded with a 64-46 victory against Northern Iowa Saturday.
Head Coach Kevin McGuff said it showed the maturity and toughness of this Ohio State team.
“You don’t want to totally forget what happened with South Dakota because you want to learn from it,” McGuff said. “At the same time, you have to get your mind right for the next game, and that loss can’t carry on to the next day.”
Louisville had four players score in double digits in their win against then-No. 1 Oregon, and its top player senior forward Kylee Shook had 18 points and 15 rebounds.
One of Ohio State’s focal points, McGuff said, will be rebounding against Louisville. The Cardinals out-boarded the Ducks 41-39.
Sheldon said Ohio State’s back-and-forth game against UConn proved that the Buckeyes can compete with the best.
Freshman forward Rebeka Mikulášiková said Ohio State recognizes the challenge that Louisville brings, but sees it as an opportunity.
“I think it’s really good for our team to have these hard games because we can get better,” Mikulášiková said. “We can compare with them, and I think it’s really cool to play one of the best teams in the United States.”
One advantage Ohio State holds is depth; it plays 10 players compared with the usual 7-9. McGuff said the ability to play so many players throughout a game will help them evolve.
Tipoff is at 8 p.m. Thursday in Value City Arena.