Ohio State Buckeyes to host NCAA women’s tournament opening games

Ohio State is headed to the women’s NCAA Tournament for the 27th time.

The Buckeyes are the No. 3 seed in the Seattle 3 region and will play host to No. 14 James Madison on Saturday at Value City Arena.

Coach Kevin McGuff’s Buckeyes are making back-to-back Big Dance appearances after having none from 2019-21.

The Buckeyes last hosted the first two rounds of the tournament in 2018 when they beat George Washington in the first round but were upset by Central Michigan in the second round. That was the last game of Big Ten all-time leading scorer Kelsey Mitchell’s career for the Scarlet and Gray.

Last year, they were a six seed and topped Missouri State before upsetting No. 3 LSU on the Tigers’ home floor. They pushed No. 2 Texas but came up three points short in their bid for the program’s first Elite Eight since 1993, when the Buckeyes also made their only Final Four.

If Ohio State beats the Dukes, the Buckeyes will see No. 6 North Carolina or No. 11 Purdue or No. 11 St. John’s. The Boilermakers and Red Storm play a First Four game at VCA on Thursday.

Also in the Buckeyes’ half of the bracket are No. 2 seed UConn, No. 7 Baylor, No. 10 Alabama and No. 15 Vermont.

Senior Taylor Mikesell leads Ohio State in scoring at 17.3 points per game while Centerville High School grad Cotie McMahon is next at 14.7.

McMahon was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year after adding 5.3 rebounds per game along with 82 assists and 53 steals. The 6-foot guard also shot 51.5 percent from the field.

The Buckeyes started the season 19-0 but lost six of their last 10 games in the regular season.

The return of star guard Jacy Sheldon from injury bolstered them for a run to the final of the Big Ten Tournament last weekend, but they were blown out by Iowa in the championship game.

Ohio State has made five NCAA Tournament appearances under McGuff and been to three Sweet 16s in his nine previous seasons.

The Buckeyes are 6-0 all-time against JMU and 2-0 against the Dukes in the NCAA Tournament with wins in 1989 in Columbus and 2015 in Chapel Hill, N.C.

Ohio State has hosted the women’s NCAA tournament games 12 times, but this will be the first year the games will be played at Value City Arena, their full-time home since 1999.

They have previously hosted games at St. John Arena and Nationwide Arena because of conflicts with other tournaments.

All-session and single-session tickets for the games in Columbus will go on sale to the public at 11:00 a.m. ET on Monday online at OhioStateBuckeyes.com and through Ticketmaster.

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