When coach Kevin McGuff called the Ohio State women’s basketball team into an impromptu meeting a week ago, Braxtin Miller didn’t know what to think.
While some of her teammates figured it was about the Buckeyes’ impending season opener, Miller — who transferred from Oklahoma State in the offseason — went into the meeting nervous the team was going to be punished in some way. Her anxiety only heightened when McGuff started the meeting by calling her name.
What occurred, however, was the opposite.
After an offseason defined by waiting, McGuff let Miller know that the NCAA had ruled her eligible to play this season. Two days later, Miller started for Ohio State, scoring five points in an 89-38 win over Valparaiso.
"It felt great," she said. "I hadn’t played in a while and I wasn’t really expecting to play, so it was really exciting."
Miller comes to Ohio State after two productive seasons at Oklahoma State. She averaged 13.1 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 62 games there. In addition to being two-time honorable mention all-Big 12, Miller made 105 three-pointers, a mark good for ninth in school history.
Still, up until last week, McGuff and his staff had no idea whether or not they’d have to wait a year to see Miller in scarlet and gray. While McGuff was "cautiously optimistic" that Miller would be able to play this year, he sat her out of the Buckeyes’ exhibition against Urbana. As the rest of her teammates shook off the offseason rust against the Blue Knights, Miller watched.
Now, she’ll be one of the key pieces on one of the youngest teams in the country.
"We need her experience as much as anything," McGuff said. "She’s been through two seasons at Oklahoma State where she was playing at the highest level. We just need her experience."
While Miller said that there were many factors that went into her decision to transfer, one of the biggest reasons was Ohio State’s proximity to her hometown of Dayton. In her two years at Oklahoma State, Miller almost never had any family at her games, a result of playing more than 800 miles from home.
After the Buckeyes’ season opener, Miller finally got to celebrate a win with her family, who made the drive to watch her play against Valparaiso.
"I think it’s really been great," she said of her time in Columbus. "I think that because we’re so young we’re learning, but each day we’re getting better. We fit together really well."
While Miller didn’t know about the influx of freshmen until after she had decided on Ohio State, she’s enjoyed not being the only new face on the team.
"In all honesty, I didn’t realize how many freshmen we had until I committed," she said. "It worked out for me because I came onto a mostly new team, so we’ve all got to know each other as opposed to me coming into a team where everyone knows each other.
"It worked out really well for me."