More than 10,000 people officially joined the ranks of Ohio State alumni over the weekend, a group that included more than 150 scholarship athletes.
Out of the latter group, three names stood out above the rest: Aaron Craft, John Simon and Katie Smith. Two defensive standouts and the player who has scored more points as a pro basketball player than any other woman in the U.S.
(Should note Smith already received her undergrad degree a few years ago as part of OSU’s degree completion program.)
Stanford’s win over North Carolina in the second regional final game played Tuesday night means a fourth Final Four in five years for Beavercreek’s Mikaela Ruef, who redshirted because of a foot injury early in her career.
Ruef joins Malina Howard (Twinsburg) and Chloe Pavlich (Cincinnati Sycamore) of Maryland as the three players from Ohio to earn a trip to Nashville.
Meanwhile, Stanford head coach Tara VanDerveer is headed to her 11th Final Four with the Cardinal since leaving Ohio State after the 1985 season, when she led the Buckeyes to the Elite 8.
VanDerveer coached Ohio State as women’s basketball became an officially sponsored Big Ten sport and led the Buckeyes to the first conference title.
Her top assistant at Stanford is Amy Tucker, the captain of the 1982 Ohio State squad that played in the first NCAA women’s basketball tournament.
Ohio State came in second for Ruef, who has family on the West Coast and was also swayed by the opportunity to get a Stanford education. Interestingly, back then Ruef’s father told me VanDerveer talked to them about what great memories she had of her time at Ohio State.
The Buckeyes also went hard after Howard, who was ESPN’s No. 1 center prospect in her class two years ago, but she did not have Ohio State among her finalists when she chose the Terrapins.
Ohio State 2014 signee Makayla Waterman personally tied Springfield 11-11 Wednesday night in Greater Western Ohio Conference girls’ basketball action. Meanwhile, Waterman’s Kettering Fairmont teammates outscored the Wildcats 91-0 as the defending Ohio Division I state champions improved to 14-1 on the season (H/T).
As you might expect, the 102 points for the Firebirds is their season high, but they have rolled early in GWOC play with an average margin of victory of 43.2 points during a 5-0 start.
Their level of competition will ramp up considerably this weekend when they head to Berlin, Ohio, for the annual Classic in the Country, where they are scheduled to play Toledo Notre Dame and Solon. TND (despite what ESPN might think) is led by Tierra Floyd, one of the top junior prospects in Ohio.
New head coach Kevin McGuff inherited an Ohio State women’s basketball roster with only 13 players for this season, and it shrank to 11 available after one decided to transfer and another suffered a likely season-ending injury.
He signed five players in November for the 2014 class, and this week added two more who were part of the 2013 class when top 50 recruits Kianna Holland and Shayla Cooper decided to transfer to Ohio State from Duke and Georgetown, respectively.
Tierra Floyd is a highly regarded junior guard from Toledo who figures to get plenty of looks from big-time programs between now and next fall when she can sign a national letter of intent.
Hopefully big-time schools already recruiting her such as Ohio State don’t rely on information from the ESPN database to find her, though, because the Worldwide Leader erroneously lists the Notre Dame Academy standout’s school as St. John’s (Actually it says, “Saint Johns,” but we’ll assume that’s a typo).
A new season is almost ready to start, so I thought I would share this analysis of where the Ohio State women’s basketball program has been over the past decade under former head coach Jim Foster and where it could be going in the future under new head coach Kevin McGuff.
Like most of our women’s basketball coverage, it appeared in the print edition along with our annual team preview.