McGuff doesn't want exhibition rout to go to young players' heads

Henry Palattella
Ohio State freshman forward Jacy Sheldon had 25 points, eight rebounds and five steals in an exhibition win against Urbana on Nov. 3. [Barbara J. Perenic/Dispatch]

In the eight women’s basketball exhibitions that Ohio State has played in since 2013, the Buckeyes have won by an average of 43 points.

Some of the victories have served as primers for successful seasons — such as in 2015 when they opened a 27-8 season with a 113-61 drubbing of Ursuline — and others have been forgotten in lost seasons, like last year when the Buckeyes finished 14-15 despite opening with a 72-50 exhibition win over Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

So, while coach Kevin McGuff is happy with a 131-50 exhibition win over Urbana on Nov. 3, he’s not letting the Buckeyes get ahead of themselves.

“You can get a lot of fool’s gold in a game like that,” he said. “I think some of the things that came so easily in that game won’t come that easily during the season.”

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The biggest reason that McGuff is tempering expectations is because his team features seven freshmen.

“I don’t want them to get this false impression that it’s going to be easy because each game is going to be really tough for us, especially with how many newcomers we have," he said.

The five freshmen who played in the exhibition combined to score 90 points, with Jacy Sheldon and Kiersten Bell leading the way with 25 each. There's no debating the scoring ability of the freshmen, but one of the more impressive parts of the exhibition was how well they played on defense, with Sheldon and Bell combining for seven steals.

“I think with younger players especially, they’re used to a more individual defense in high school, where now it’s more of a system,” McGuff said. "The better we play in the system and the less fouls there are, the better we are defensively.”

Freshman point guard Madison Greene, who had seven points and two assists against Urbana, said the team is having no trouble keeping the victory in perspective.

“Coach (McGuff) was just talking about how we’re not doing this just for beating Urbana,” she said. “We’re preparing for when we play tougher teams and for the end of the season when things get tougher.”



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