I hope all my readers had an enjoyable Fourth of July yesterday. This was my second Fourth of July in Australia and it is sort of strange to spend the holiday that marks the US’s defeat of the British in a country where a major portion of the population still has such a fondness for the British that the Queen is still the head of state and appears on their money. While the Fourth of July isn’t a holiday in Australia that does not mean that there aren’t celebrations for it here; the American expat group in Sydney hosts a major party each year which attracts a couple hundred people looking to celebrate Independence Day (I was greatly amused that the bar hosting the party this year decided that appropriate America themed stuff to show on the bar tvs were ESPN commercials and Happy Days reruns).
This time of year most Ohio State fans are counting down the days until the start of football season, eagerly anticipating the end of the dead period in college sports that is summer once the College World Series is over. We here at tBBC are no different as evidenced by our ongoing countdown to the start of the 2013 season. Despite the tendency to think about football at this time of year, for the second week in a row I will be talking about basketball; not because I do not like football but because variety is supposed to be the spice of life or something. Last week I talked about the rule changes which will be taking effect for the 2013-2014 season; this week I provide some updates on things related to Ohio State women’s basketball.
Since being hired to replace Jim Foster, new OSU women’s basketball coach has been very busy building a new staff and hitting the recruiting trail hard, going after the amazing pool of talent available in the coming senior class in Ohio high schools. Even with all the time consuming demands that face him as a new coach, McGuff has also realized the need for him to reach out and engage fans and he has tackled this job in an impressive fashion. On Friday, June 21st the Ohio State women’s basketball program hosted a town hall meeting at the Fawcett Center on campus to give fans the chance to meet the new coach and his staff for the first time. Approximately 500 fans turned up for the event which also featured former players, cheerleaders, and of course Brutus. The turnout seemed to excite McGuff who said “We have some amazing people who are really invested in our program and it was great to see this kind of a turnout tonight. I think we’re just starting to scratch the surface of what we can do from a fan standpoint.”
I guess in a way you could say it was fate that drew me to Katie Smith. Born Katherine May to John and Barbara Smith and with two brothers John and Tom who both played college sports. I started following her just prior to her signing with Ohio State while finishing a stellar high school career at Logan High School.
I say fate because right away, I was a fan of women’s basketball – mostly because of her. There were other reasons and the big one came in the size of my own daughter playing guard and reminding me of her in just about all aspects of women’s basketball. Hustle, tenacity, intensity and talent all express what makes up my daughter’s basketball identity. They also remind me of my favorite parts of Katie’s game.
This is the first in a two part series about Ohio State women’s basketball and it’s bookend dominance of the B1G since play began in 1982. I will be highlighting the B1G champs during their dominance as well as some very special players and coaches at OSU in the last thirty years.
Let’s get things started with the eighties and how the Lady Buckeyes led the way. They won 7 of the first 8 titles in the B1G and 8 overall in the early era. If you include the ones that aren’t officially counted by the B1G they won 11 since the 1975-76 seasons.
The Lady Buckeyes really got started in the 1965-66 season under the direction of Phyllis Bailey as they made the transition from an intramural team to big time college basketball. The ERA movement was in full swing and the ladies were moving into the sports realm with basketball being one of the first and most popular of college sports to see this growth.
They struggled to find their way in the early years until OSU hired a young lady who would turn things around and eventually leave coaching to become a renowned psychologist. Debbie Wilson led the Buckeyes from 1972 thru 1980 season and even thought there wasn’t a B1G tournament officially, she led them to three straight titles in 1976, 77, and 78 and thus set the standard for what would become the most dominating team in B1G basketball history. Read More
Thank you Sammy Prahalis for four wonderful years as the point guard for THE Ohio State women’s basketball team. You are going to be missed!!!
As Sammy starts her next phase of basketball in her life with the Phoenix Mercury, she’ll playing with arguably the best in the game in Diana Taurasi. We revisit my article from February 16th. Then a recap of her career and what she’ll mean to the Mercury. Thank you to Grant Edgell for the artwork.
If all you ever knew about Ohio States starting point guard was that she was the only player in tOSU women’s basketball history to score 1,000 points and give out more than 700 assists? It would probably be more than enough. One things for sure, she has definitely given a great lesson in point guarding.
Sammy stepped in as a freshman and let people know she was serious. She went on to become the B1G freshman of the year and set a new freshman assists record with 203 that season. Prahalis also led all B1G freshmen in scoring at 10.2 points, assists at 5.8, and steals at 1.9 per game.
Her sophomore year would be even better as she became just the second player since the 1999-2000 season in D1 to average 16 ppg and 8 apg. During her run that season she set a school record with 48 straight made free throws and set a new tOSU single season assists record with 289. She was the B1G leader and second in the nation with her 8 assists per game average. Finally, she set a new tOSU NCAA tournament record with 13 assists against St.Francis and finished as a unanimous first team all-conference selection. Read More