Fast-Paced Offense Leads OSU Women's Basketball Team Resurgence
The Ohio State women's basketball team is having a great season. The Buckeyes are ranked seventh in the country ,, they just routed Big Ten power Purdue, and they take on rival Michigan Thursday night. For WOSU's sports show After the Score, Steve Brown and Thomas Bradley spoke with head coach Kevin McGuff.
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The below transcript is an automated transcript of the above conversation. Please excuse minor typos and errors.
Steve Brown: The Ohio State women's basketball team is having a great season. The Buckeyes as are now ranked the seventh in the nation and tied for first place in the Big Ten. They take on a rival Michigan tonight. For WOSU's sports show After The Score, Thomas Bradley and I spoke with head coach Kevin McGuff. We started by asking what's the big difference over last year.
Kevin McGuff: We've got a great group of young women. We've got a lot more depth than we had last year. We were really kind of thin so we are playing more people. We've taken another step with our style of play. We have one of the fastest most aggressive styles of play in the country, and we've really evolved from that standpoint a little more so than last year. So a lot of things coming together for us. I like where we are right now but a long way to go in the season.
SB: The faster style of play talking and up and down the court you're on more of a fast break kind of offense.
KM: Yeah absolutely. We've got some kids that really fit the system. We've recruited to and we make or miss we try to be one of the fastest teams in the country. We're leading the Big Ten in scoring right now and one of the tops in the country. So we really like where we are on the offensive end.
Thomas Bradley: Your schedule might be one of the hardest schedules I've seen in a while. You've played every team that was in the Final Four last year talk about the strength of schedule you've seen so far.
KM: Yeah. We've played like you mentioned all four Final Four teams last year, we played the number one team, number two team number three teams in the country. Two of whom are on the road. And really tough in the beginning because we lost a couple close games to those those top teams, but it's really been instrumental in the growth of this team because we really challenge yourself we figured out where we had to get better as a team. We develop some toughness and I think that's really serviced us well as we hit Big Ten play.
SB: As Thomas said you have played the four Final Four teams from last year. You lost to three of them, is there a worry that you're a good program but not an elite program at this point?
KM: Well. I'm at first I think you've got to play those teams to see where you are. And when I came here I knew we had a lot of work to to go to build the program and part of that wanted to be aggressive scheduling. And so you know I like the fact that we kind of measured ourselves against the best we know where we have to to get better.
We know what we have to do to be one of those teams, and I think until you have that knowledge it's hard to be one of those teams. So you know even though we didn't win all those games I think it was a big step for this program, and I think it's going to really be good for us as we continue to build.
TB: Kelsey Mitchell has won multiple national player of the week awards. What does she mean to your program as far as leadership on-and-off the court?
KM: You know she's a great kid. She's one of most talented basketball players in the country. As fast as anyone you'll ever see with the ball in her hand. She makes other people better. Off the court she's extremely humble. She's a great teammate. She sets a great example for her teammates and you know it's just a real joy to have in our program.
SB: We try to cover women's sports as much as possible. We do sometimes fall into the trap of covering the men's teams more than the women's teams. Sell people on women's college basketball. Why should they come to Value City Arena to watch an OSU women's game?
KM: It's a great sport. It's a very, very team oriented sport. Most women's basketball teams at the top you'll see play a great brand of basketball where they really share the basketball. They play extremely hard. It's a little more below the rim than the men's game. Which I like. You know I think there's a little more into strategy and execution rather than just raw talent.
I also think that if you bring your children to a game our kids are very accessible after games, they're great role models. They spend time with the fans, they sign autographs and you know we have a great thing going, and I would love to see more people come out and support us. We've had great fans here, great great crowds here recently. We have a really loyal intense fan base and we just need to continue to grow.
SB: Kevin McGuff is the head coach of the Ohio State women's basketball team they are currently ranked seventh in the country and they play at Michigan tonight. Kevin McGuff thanks again. KM: Thank you. SB: You can hear more sports coverage and analysis on After The Score tomorrow night at 6:30 here on 89.7. You can also find the show on iTunes, on our mobile app and at WOSU.org.
You can hear more local sports coverage and analysis on After the Score Friday nights at 6:30 on 89.7, NPR News. You can also find the show on iTunes, using the WOSU Public Media mobile app, and at wosu.org.