The multicolored confetti was falling from the ceiling of Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis on Sunday as Ohio State women’s basketball players hugged the Big Ten tournament trophy, posed for pictures and talked to family and friends before the nets were cut down.
All of them, that is, except for one.
Asia Doss, a senior guard who sat out the tournament, was removing a protective boot from her sprained right ankle and putting on a sneaker before joining the fun.
Doss had played in 134 straight games and started all 30 this season before the tournament.
Coach Kevin McGuff said Wednesday that Doss would be held out of practice until Monday, when the NCAA Tournament bracket is announced. He said Doss could have played last weekend had the team “really, really, really" needed her.
“I’m not a doctor, but I’m very, very optimistic that we’ll have Asia back when we play again,” McGuff said. “I’m optimistic she’ll be at 100 percent. There were stretches when we got tired (during the tournament), and adding another person to the fold will be good for us.”
Doss was in good spirits Wednesday.
“I’d say I’m 95 percent, but I said that before,” she said. “I feel like I can go, but they want me to strengthen. This is for the best. I was angry not being able to play, but I understood.”
Doss was injured late in a victory over Penn State in the regular-season finale. She continued to play, but the ankle became swollen once she took off her shoe.
“I was setting a screen and I guess my foot got kicked and twisted out,” she said. “I was hobbling, but went back in and it was fine.”
She said she felt empty not playing in Indianapolis, “but my teammates did a really good job making things easier by pepping me up. I tried to pester the trainers into playing, but it was in my best interest not playing.”
In the Big Ten tournament, Minnesota and Maryland at times victimized the Buckeyes when they didn’t get back on defense quickly after missed shots. Doss has been in charge of stopping the ball on breaks.
She averages 8.0 points and ranks third on the team with 35 three-pointers, but her value is defense. She has 173 steals in her career, including 51 this season.
As a 13-year-old, Doss learned from her coach with the Detroit-based Michigan Crossover AAU team that if you don’t get stops, you don’t play.
“She did take me out at times,” Doss said. “I learned, and that desire to play defense never left me.”
It hurt center Stephanie Mavunga that Doss couldn’t play during the championship run.
“She never missed a game in her career (until the tournament), so you remember you can’t take anything for granted,” she said.
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