Ohio State ready to try again to begin 2020-21 women's basketball season

From staff reports
Ohio State women's basketball coach Kevin McGuff is among many coaches in college basketball keeping tabs on games lost to the coronavirus.

In recent weeks, a buzz of Kevin McGuff’s cellphone has been a telltale sign that a women’s college basketball team from the area needs another game. 

“We have a text thread with about 25 other coaches in the Midwest,” McGuff, the eighth-year Ohio State women’s coach, explained last week. “Every time someone gets a game dropped, they send a text out (with) the dates they need a game.” 

Text thread or not, McGuff had no chance to find another game on Tuesday afternoon, when the Buckeyes’ opener against Akron scheduled for Wednesday was canceled because of COVID-19 concerns among the Zips. 

That pushed Ohio State’s 2020-21 season opener to 4 p.m. Sunday, against Duquesne in the Covelli Center. 

“As it relates to our players, I let them know when I know, and we’re always emphasizing that we’re really going to have to be flexible this year,” McGuff said. “Some games are going to get dropped, some are going to get added. That’s just the way it’s going to be this year.” 

McGuff is eager to see his No. 22-ranked team play. The Buckeyes return all five starters from a team that rallied late in the 2019-20 season to win 10 of their final 13 games and advance to the final of the Big Ten tournament. 

Ohio State and Duquesne will play for the eighth time, with the Buckeyes owning a 6-1 lead in the series. The teams last met in the 2016 opener, when OSU captured an 89-69 victory in St. John Arena. 

The Dukes are led by all-Atlantic 10 guard Libby Bazelak, who led the team in scoring, rebounding, assists and steals a year ago. 

The cancellation of the Akron game as well as a prior canceling leaves the Buckeyes with only three nonconference games currently scheduled before they begin a 20-game Big Ten schedule on Dec. 19 against Iowa. 

The game against Duquesne, as well as the men’s basketball team’s game against Massachusetts-Lowell at noon, is being played in the Covelli Center because the Ohio State men’s hockey team is scheduled to play Michigan State at 5:30 p.m. Sunday in Value City Arena.

sports@dispatch.com