We wrap up the Buckeyes regular season with a get together to discuss our feelings about multiple topics. We’re pleased to have Marty Bannister from The Fan in Columbus and the voice of the Buckeyes join us and give his thoughts on the regular season. We also have women’s basketball season ticket holder and superfan Jeff Howell joining us with his insight to our Q&A. I have included links in the participant’s names for their twitters, please follow if you aren’t already! Let’s get started.
Marty - Two things pop to mind right away, the signing of the highly rated freshman recruiting class, led Cincinnati Princeton’s Kelsey Mitchell and Kettering Fairmont’s Makayla Waterman, and then that same week, opening with a win at then 12th ranked, and now 7th ranked, West Virginia. That win came without Raven Ferguson, suspended for the first 3 games, and the Buckeyes played the final 1:20 with only 5 eligible players. That same Mountaineer team won at Baylor this past weekend,snapping the defending champs 35 game home court win streak.
Jeff - To me the highlight of McGuff’s first season was the ability of he and his staff to “coach up” this team. There have obviously been more talented Lady Buckeye teams in the past, but in my 12 years as a season ticket holder I have never seen a Lady Buckeye team with more heart and effort than this year’s team. Let’s face it – other than Ameryst Alston, this team was largely made up of role players, who provided a specific area of expertise: a rebounder – Moore/Adams, a defensive stopper – Craft, an energy person – Scullion, a person who can take someone off the dribble – Raven, a person who can hit an open shot – Ellerbe. None of these had the all around, everything game of Alston. McGuff and his staff were able to get the most out of nothing from this group and for the most part were competitive in every single game. His whole approach to practices, warm-ups prior to the game start, his engaging energy on the bench, etc. were refreshing and will bode well going forward.
Ken - The season opening win against West Virginia. In their first game, they visited a very good team and won an away game. Good times were ahead for us.
Mali - We beat Michigan at Michigan. That’s never ever a bad thing.
Charles - This is a tossup between the season opening win on the road against a good West Virginia team, always good to get a win in your first game as head coach, and the upset of 17th ranked Purdue in the first Big Ten game. Beating a ranked conference foe is a big deal and was made better because it was against Purdue who I possibly hate more than Michigan in women’s basketball.
WVaBuckeye - I have two that are ties from my perspective. First, was the way this team came out and performed to his expectations and that definitely became the catalyst for players who just weren’t going to handle the improvement. I think that’s a positive thing. Second, is the tireless work in which he and staff put in with regards to the class that’s coming in and the two stars transferring. The season and recruiting is a testament to him because he did a lot with very little so to speak.
Head coach Kevin McGuff has has some more work to do this season but his first three All-B1G honorees have been named and the streak of All-B1G first team honorees continues for the Buckeyes as Ameryst Alston has been so honored.
I tweeted the Canton McKinley product yesterday, @am_bam14 that she had been sending a message to the B1G coaches and media all season, and evidently they got it. Her honors on both lists marks the 10th consecutive season that at least one Buckeye has earned first team honors and is the 12th overall selection since 2005.
Alston, who’s just a sophomore, finished the regular season third with 20.3 ppg and led the team with 99 assists and 36 steals. She lit up the nets from the outside as well at opportune times in key upsets and had 33 total trifectas during the season. She will have plenty of help next season and should repeat as an All-B1G performer.
Junior guard and former Columbus Africentric star Raven Ferguson, who earned honorable mention honors by the media, was a front runner for Big Ten Sixth Player of the Year honors. @ThatsSORaven_31 was second on the team in scoring with 12.8 ppg, the sharpshooting guard led the Buckeyes with 19 three-point field goals in conference play and was a force on the glass at both ends of the court. There were many moments during the season that she was the team leader in scoring or rebounding and has cemented her spot on the team when the fresh talent comes in next season.
Salem Ohio Red-shirt junior Amy Scullion was Ohio State’s recipient of the Big Ten’s Sportsmanship Award and has elected to forego her senior season to focus on med school. One of the more consistent players this season she started 31 of 32 games. She averaged 3.3 ppg and 4 rpg and had a career high 19 points against UT-Martin this season. Her leadership will be missed moving forward, but she obviously left an impression on the rest of the conference for the type of person she is.
Congratulations to the honorees and the best of luck keeping your season going in the B1G tournament this week!
Ohio State First Team All-Big Ten selections (since 2005);2005 – Jessica Davenport; 2006 – Jessica Davenport; 2007 – Jessica Davenport; 2008 - Jantel Lavender; 2009 - Jantel Lavender; 2010 - Jantel Lavender, Samantha Prahalis; 2011 - Jantel Lavender; 2012 - Tayler Hill, Samantha Prahalis; 2013 - Tayler Hill; 2014 - Ameryst Alston