Buckeyes' transition defense key in WNIT opener

Jeff Thitoff The Columbus Dispatch

Ohio State found out Monday that it would play Morehead State on Wednesday night at Value City Arena in the opening round of the Women’s NIT.

That didn’t give coach Kevin McGuff a lot of time to prepare for the Eagles, but he knew one thing when he looked at their stats. Morehead State scores 76.7 points per game, 22nd in the nation.

“One of the biggest things for us will be transition defense. They are kind of small, but they really drive the ball effectively and they can really score,” McGuff said. “They are so good with the ball after a miss or a steal.”

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Morehead State (23-10), from the Ohio Valley Conference, has an Ohio flavor. Darianne Seward (9.2 points per game) is a 5-foot-4 senior who won a state title at Africentric. Ashley Moore is a 5-6 junior from Felicity and Ellie Jo Johnson a 6-1 freshman from South Webster.

Miranda Crockett, a 5-8 senior, leads the Eagles in scoring at 18.4 points per game, and 6-3 senior Tierra McGowan leads in rebounding with 9.0 per game and a high of 19.

The Buckeyes (14-14) were playing their best basketball down the stretch, but they haven’t played since getting bounced from the Big Ten tournament by Wisconsin 73-63 on March 7.

“I told the team this time of year you have to bring your best every night,” McGuff said. “I’m excited for our seniors to get a chance to play in the postseason.”

This is the third meeting between the schools. Ohio State won consecutive games in a home-and-home in 1982-83. The last time the Buckeyes played in the WNIT was 2001, when they won five straight games to take the title.


Next game

Ohio State vs. Morehead State

When: 7 tonight

TV: None

Streaming: BTN2Go

Radio: WBNS-AM (1460)