With a little over seven minutes left in the second quarter of its opener Sunday against Valparaiso, the Ohio State women’s basketball team brought out the full-court press defense. Although the Buckeyes led 23-13, the change was done so they could see what their press looked like in a game.
If it was any indication, the Buckeyes will be running the full-court press often.
After outscoring Valparaiso 17-9 the rest of the second quarter, the Buckeyes put the game away in the third, outscoring the Crusaders 31-4 thanks in large part to their lockdown play on defense. Ohio State went on to win 89-38.
The main reason coach Kevin McGuff is able to run the press for long stretches is because of the team’s depth.
“(The depth) is good but you’ve got to get everybody focused and ready to come off the bench,” he said. “You also have to make sure that everybody’s out there playing as hard as they can.”
And that depth is available thanks in part to the freshman class. Six freshmen played, combining to score 48 points while also holding their own on defense. Although McGuff knows there might be some growing pains for them, he was impressed with what he saw from the newcomers.
“All of the freshmen (are from different defensive systems), so getting used to our system and how we do things is probably the biggest adjustment,” he said.
Freshman Madison Greene had seven points and played 25 minutes, almost all of which were spent at the top of the press on defense.
“She does a really good job on the ball full-court,” McGuff said of Greene. “I thought she was really good defensively. We have some depth in the guard position, and (the press) is a good way for us to take advantage.”
For Greene, the Buckeyes' press is a good way to quickly turn defense into offense.
“We have two different presses and we switched between those two,” Greene said. “I think it really helped get us steals and fast-break points.”
Although the Buckeyes had 11 steals and four blocks, McGuff still sees some room for improvement.
“I just think we get so anxious and try to make plays early in the possession,” he said. “It’s the equivalent of the defensive back trying to go for the interception every single time and giving up long plays every single time.”