The Ohio State women’s basketball team has a knack for offense.

The Buckeyes finished the 2016-17 season fourth in Division I scoring at 85.7 points per game and were in the top 25 in several other offensive categories, including field goal percentage (18th), three-pointers made (17th), assists (21st) and scoring margin (16th).

Outshooting opponents and burying teams in transition should be a strength again this season. But the subject of coach Kevin McGuff’s talk in Ohio State’s post-practice huddle and a common theme discussed by players at media day on Tuesday was instead devoted to a team weakness: consistency on defense.

The senior-laden team has plenty of athleticism, but the Buckeyes know that for the season to end on a high note, they will have to do a better job of preventing opponents from lighting up the scoreboard.

“We were just up and down in those areas at the end of last year,” McGuff said. “We won a lot of games, but for us to aspire to do more and to go farther, then we have to be really sound in those areas.”

Ohio State went 28-7 last season and reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive season, but it often struggled to defend the perimeter. The Buckeyes allowed 71.5 points per game, which ranked 313th of 345 Division I teams last season.

A few offensive concepts haven’t needed as much reinforcement, giving the Buckeyes more time to focus on defense since fall practices began last Wednesday.

“The first couple practices have been really all defense. I feel like it’s easier for us to jell right now because we have a lot of veterans that have experience,” junior guard Sierra Calhoun said. “We really don’t have many newcomers, and even the newcomers are getting it pretty quick, too. So I feel like defense is going to be a big key this year.”

Senior guard Kelsey Mitchell pointed out a few performances from the 2016-17 season in which the Buckeyes struggled on defense and lost as a result.

Ohio State’s only loss in the Big Ten regular season came in a 94-75 defeat at Michigan State, in which MSU senior Tori Jankoska scored 42 points. The Buckeyes struggled to get stops in a 71-60 loss to Purdue in a Big Ten tournament semifinal and had problems closing out in a 99-76 loss to Notre Dame in the Sweet 16.

“Overall, our defense has not been good. I’m not gonna lie, it’s been bad all four years I’ve been here,” Mitchell said. “We’ve been good in spurts, but it’s bad because we can’t piece it together the whole season.”

More than technique, sound and consistent defense comes down to heart, Mitchell said. How much the Buckeyes show in key moments could play a large role in determining how late into March they play.

“You either have (heart) or you don’t. I think my team has it,” Mitchell said. “I think every person on my team can play defense, and it’s just a matter of doing it.”