Busy five-day stretch will test Buck­eyes

The Columbus Dispatch - - Women - By Josh Hor­ton — Josh Hor­ton jhor­ton@dis­patch.com @josh­hor­ton22

Al­though it’s not two top 10-ranked op­po­nents com­ing to Colum­bus as over the past week­end, the next stretch of games for the Ohio State women's bas­ket­ball team will be an­other sig­nif­i­cant test.

The Buck­eyes will play three games in five days at Value City Arena: Idaho on Wed­nes­day, Quin­nip­iac on Fri­day and Wash­ing­ton — where Kevin McGuff coached be­fore tak­ing the OSU job in 2013 — on Sun­day.

A win against Idaho on Wed­nes­day would be the 1,000th for the pro­gram, mak­ing the Buck­eyes the ninth team in Di­vi­sion I to col­lect 1,000 wins.

“I just hope we can rely on our ex­pe­ri­ence and ma­tu­rity with this group and them rec­og­niz­ing that we need to go from game to game,” McGuff said of the re­cent stretch. “It’s a re­ally tough stretch. You don’t know ex­actly where you are as a team un­til you start play­ing games, and quite frankly I wish we had a lit­tle bit more time in prac­tice to shore up the things we learned in the first two games.”

McGuff would es­pe­cially like the prac­tice time to work on de­fense, which he said was solid at times in a win over Stan­ford and an over­time loss to Louisville, but lack­ing for some stretches.

That raises the ques­tion: Why didn’t McGuff and the Buck­eyes staff space out their sched­ule more to al­low for more fine­tun­ing in prac­tice?

It isn’t that sim­ple.

Non­con­fer­ence sched­ul­ing can be tricky for a pro­gram like Ohio State. The Buck­eyes typ­i­cally rely on “buy games,” in which they pay pro­grams to travel to Colum­bus. McGuff said it’s been harder to sched­ule these games due to the Buck­eyes’ re­cent suc­cess, and they have to be flex­i­ble on dates.

Per­sonal re­la­tion­ships come into play, too, and that’s a ma­jor rea­son why Idaho is on the sched­ule. McGuff played a home­and-home se­ries with the Van­dals in his two years with Wash­ing­ton.

He said he and Idaho coach Jon Newlee are friends who “go way back.”

As a re­sult of fit­ting "buy games," as well as sched­ul­ing Wash­ing­ton to fill an un­ex­pected open­ing, OSU has a front-loaded non­con­fer­ence sched­ule, with the Buck­eyes play­ing nine games from Nov. 10 to Nov. 31 but only four from Dec. 3 to Christ­mas.

The up­com­ing stretch won’t be easy. Idaho is fresh off an im­pres­sive win at Colorado State and re­turns the Big Sky’s lead­ing scorer from last sea­son, Makayla Ferenz (18.5 Value City Arena WBNS-AM (1460) None

Ohio State 1-1, Idaho 1-0

Ohio State guard Asia Doss posted ca­reer highs in points (19) and three-point­ers (five) in a 95-90 over­time loss to Louisville on Sun­day. … Car­di­nals guard Asia Durr recorded a school-record 47 points and was 9 of 15 from three-point range. … Idaho made a school­record 18 three-point­ers in a sea­son-open­ing 83-69 win at Colorado State on Fri­day. … The Van­dals' Mikayla Ferenz was the Big Sky Con­fer­ence's lead­ing scorer last sea­son.

points per game). Quin­nip­iac is 0-2 but made a Sweet 16 run as a No. 12 seed last sea­son. Wash­ing­ton re­turns only one G Kelsey Mitchell, 5-8, Sr., 28.0 G Sierra Cal­houn, 6-0, Jr., 11.0 G Lin­nae Harper, 5-8, Sr., 18.0 G Asia Doss, 5-7, Sr., 11.0 F Stephanie Mavunga, 6-3, Sr., 10.5

F Hart, 6-3, Sr., 4.5; F Wa­ter­man, 6-2, Jr., 4.5 G Tay­lor Pierce, 5-7, Jr., 24.0 G Al­li­son Kirby, 5-7, Fr., 14.0 G Mikayla Ferenz, 5-10, Jr., 22.0 F Geral­dine McCorkell, 6-0, Sr., 11.0 F Ne­jra Solo, 6-5, Sr., 0.0

F Is­abelle Had­den, 6-4, So, 7.0; F Natalie Klinker, 6-1, Fr., 5.0; G Sarah Ber­sang, 5-6, Jr., 0.0 starter from last year’s Sweet 16 team.

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