Ohio State women’s basketball: 5 things to know about second-ranked Buckeyes

Ohio State has been climbing in the Associated Press women’s basketball poll for weeks.

With the Buckeyes reaching No. 2 — matching the highest in program history — this week, here are five things to know:

1. Kevin McGuff is in his 11th season at the helm.

A Hamilton Badin grad, McGuff came to Ohio State in 2013 after two seasons as head coach at Washington and nine at Xavier.

He has a career record of 448-202 as a head coach, including 193-103 at Ohio State.

2. Cotie McMahon is the Buckeyes’ No. 2 scorer.

A 6-foot sophomore from Centerville, McMahon averages 13.8 points and 6.5 rebounds per game.

The reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Year is among 10 candidates for the Cheryl Miller Award, which goes to the top small forward in the country, and won multiple national honors after scoring 33 points and grabbing 12 rebounds in an upset of Iowa last month.

3. They hope to have some staying power.

The six different teams have been ranked No. 2 this season, including Big Ten rival Iowa.

The Hawkeyes dropped to No. 4 this week after being upset at Nebraska on Sunday.

Ohio State also made it as high as No. 2 for two weeks last January.

The Buckeyes host the Cornhuskers on Wednesday night.

4. Ohio State is aiming for its 17th Big Ten championship.

At 12-1 in conference play, the Buckeyes have a one-game lead on Iowa and Indiana with five to play.

They rallied from a 12-point deficit to beat the Hawkeyes in the first meeting, setting up what most assume will be a season finale that decided all or part of the regular season championship in Iowa City on March 3.

That will also be Senior Day for Iowa star Caitlin Clark, who figures to be the all-time leading scorer in women’s college basketball by then.

5. The Buckeyes are hoping this all builds to a Final Four appearance in Cleveland.

They enjoyed a breakthrough last season when they beat Connecticut in the Sweet 16 to advance to the Elite Eight for the first time since 1993.

That is also the last — and only — time the Buckeyes made the Final Four.

They beat Iowa in the national semifinals that season before losing to Texas Tech in the championship game.

ESPN’s Charlie Creme projects Ohio State to be a No. 1 seed if the tournament started today.

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