Ohio State women's basketball adjusting without Madison Greene in lineup

Joey Kaufman
Buckeye Xtra
By averaging 11.5 points and 6.5 assists in two starts, Ohio State freshman Kateri Poole (5) has filled in nicely in relief of point guard Madison Greene, though the Buckeyes still miss Greene's floor presence.

At times throughout this season, the Ohio State women’s basketball team has been short-handed because of injury or illness, including players missing games after testing positive for COVID-19.

The Buckeyes have most acutely felt the latest absence, as guard Madison Greene has missed the past two games, presumably for testing positive for the coronavirus before a Feb. 14 game against Northwestern, prompting that game to be postponed.

Freshman Kateri Poole has performed nobly in place of Greene, but the sophomore point guard has been Ohio State’s offensive engine all season, and No. 15 OSU missed clearly her in a 75-66 loss to Michigan on Sunday.

Madison Greene has been averaging 13.4 points and 3.5 rebounds a game for Ohio State and leads the Buckeyes with 65 assists while committing only 28 turnovers.

“We execute significantly better with her on the floor,” coach Kevin McGuff said of Greene after the loss. “As much as anything, that’s what we really missed.”

Greene and shooting guard Jacy Sheldon were the only Buckeyes to start each of the first 15 games this season. Greene averages 13.4 points, 3.5 rebounds and leads the team with 65 assists while committing only 28 turnovers.

Assuming Greene did test positive — the university’s policy is to not announce test results among student-athletes in all sports — she would have to miss at least two more games before returning to the lineup. The Big Ten requires players to sit out 17 days after being confirmed positive.

Ohio State (13-4, 9-4 Big Ten) plays at Penn State (8-11, 5-10) on Wednesday and then hosts Indiana on Saturday before finishing its season on March 5 at Rutgers. Greene would be eligible to return for that game. OSU will not play in the Big Ten and NCAA tournaments because of a self-imposed ban for NCAA violations.

Despite Ohio State suffering its third-lowest scoring total of the season against the Wolverines, Sheldon thought the Buckeyes missed Greene more on the defensive end on Sunday.

“I think all aspects of her game help us big time, but I think defensively she’s key,” said Sheldon, who scored 26 points against Michigan. “I think we did an OK job without her, but we’ve got to continue to get better.”

McGuff and the Buckeyes are working to find positive aspects about Greene’s absence. He noted that it creates an opportunity for an increased role for Poole to determine “how good Kateri is and will be in the future.”

A former five-star recruit from New York, Poole has averaged 11.5 points and 6.5 assists in her two starts.

“Kateri is a great player, a great contributor and she can score, too,” Sheldon said. “She’s been great.”

Penn State enters the matchup on a four-game losing streak, its last win coming on Feb. 7 against Wisconsin. Ohio State beat the Nittany Lions 82-69 in the teams’ meeting in Columbus on Jan. 4.

jkaufman@dispatch.com

@joeyrkaufman

No. 15 Ohio State at Penn State

When: 5 p.m. Wednesday

TV: Big Ten Network

Radio: WBNS-AM (1460)