Ohio State women’s basketball is amid an off week before closing the season with 10 Big Ten games before the conference tournament.
The Buckeyes are a little over halfway through what has been a season of ups and downs for their young squad that includes only one junior and one senior on the 12-player roster.
OSU has enjoyed two three-game winning streaks, but beyond that has experienced steady challenges while its youth adapts to a challenging schedule.
Sophomore forward Dorka Juhasz has led her team so far, shooting just under 50 percent and averaging 12.5 points per game. Juhasz has only missed one game and has started in every other one.
Guard Kierstan Bell is also making an impact, despite being a freshman, scoring 10.6 points and averaging just 20.2 minutes per game. Bell -- the only player besides LeBron James ever voted Ohio's player-of-the-year three times, -- had a career-high 19 points in the Buckeyes' recent win over Illinois, 77-47.
Her success and those of OSU's other freshmen is not surprising, considering five of the seven were part of the No. 3 recruiting class in the country.
Bell, Kaelynn Satterfield, Jacy Sheldon, Ricki Harris and Aixa Wone, a top international recruit, made up a recruiting class that ranked No 3 in the nation. They are the foundation of Coach Kevin McGuff's rebuild of the program from the Kelsey Mitchell era.
Junior Braxtin Miller played her freshman and sophomore seasons at Oklahoma State, so this is also her first season with the Buckeyes. Miller averages 6.9 points and leads the team in minutes at 30.8 per game. She has 30 steals and 62 assists this season.
Ohio State's season highlight so far came in an upset of No. 2 Louisville on Dec. 5.
Juhasz scored 15 to help the Buckeyes claim their 13th win in program history over a Top 5 opponent.
Since then, OSU has gone 6-5, falling Thursday night at No. 19 Iowa, 77-68. The Hawkeyes are tied with Northwestern for first place in the Big Ten.
The Buckeyes are focusing on their last 10 games before the Big Ten and NCAA tournaments.
They are one of four teams tied for sixth in the conference at 4-4 and will need a strong finish to get into the NCAA tournament.
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