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Ohio State Tops Big Ten Women’s Basketball Preseason Rankings

Buckeyes’ Kelsey Mitchell chosen as Preseason Player of the Year

 

ROSEMONT, Ill. – Ohio State has been selected as the preseason Big Ten women’s basketball favorite by the conference’s 14 head coaches and a select media panel, the conference office announced Monday. OSU’s Kelsey Mitchell earned Big Ten Preseason Player of the Year honors from both groups for the third consecutive season.

Indiana’s Tyra Buss and Amanda Cahill, Iowa’s Megan Gustafson, Maryland’s Kaila Charles, Michigan’s Katelynn Flaherty and Hallie Thome, Minnesota’s Carlie Wagner, Ohio State’s Stephanie Mavunga and Penn State’s Teniya Page joined Mitchell in garnering Preseason All-Big Ten recognition from the coaches and the media. Flaherty and Mitchell were selected unanimously by both groups while Buss and Thome were chosen unanimously by the coaches. In addition, Michigan State’s Branndais Agee was voted to the coaches’ preseason squad.

Mitchell is a three-time consensus All-America selection and two-time Big Ten Player of the Year, earning her second conference honor last season after leading the Big Ten and ranking ninth nationally in scoring at 22.6 points per game. She is already the conference record holder for career three-point field goals (368) and with 2,553 career points, she ranks fifth in conference history and is in position to challenge the Big Ten all-time scoring record held by Minnesota’s Rachel Banham (3,093 from 2012-16). A three-time first-team All-Big Ten choice, Mitchell has also earned Academic All-Big Ten honors twice (2016 and 2017) and was a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar last year.

Reigning Big Ten co-champion Ohio State, which was the unanimous No. 1 selection in the Big Ten’s preseason media survey, has four starters and nine letterwinners back in the fold from last year’s squad that went 28-7 and advanced to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen for the second consecutive season. Along with Mitchell and Mavunga (a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar and second-team All-Big Ten selection last year), Ohio State also welcomes back 2017 Big Ten Sixth Player of the Year Linnae Harper and 2016 second-team all-conference honoree Alexa Hart.

Three-time defending Big Ten regular season and tournament champion Maryland was the No. 2 choice in the preseason balloting of the conference’s head coaches and media panel. The Terrapins went 32-3 last year and joined OSU in the NCAA Sweet Sixteen, with Charles, a Big Ten All-Freshman Team selection last year, and senior guard Kristen Confroy, a 2017 Big Ten Distinguished Scholar and College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) Academic All-District honoree, leading a group of two starters and seven letterwinners returning this season.

Michigan tied Maryland for second in the preseason media voting and was picked to finish third in the Big Ten this season by the conference coaches. Led by Big Ten Coach of the Year Kim Barnes Arico, the Wolverines went 28-9 last year (setting a school standard for wins in a season) and won the Women’s National Invitation Tournament (WNIT) Championship after finishing third in the Big Ten and narrowly missing a berth in the NCAA Tournament. Michigan has three starters and eight letterwinners back in uniform this season, including two-time All-Big Ten and Academic All-Big Ten selection Flaherty and Thome, who earned all-conference and academic all-conference plaudits last year.

The 2017-18 Preseason All-Big Ten Teams and rankings can be found below.

2017-18 COACHES BIG TEN PRESEASON RANKINGS

1. Ohio State

2. Maryland

3. Michigan

2017-18 COACHES PRESEASON ALL-BIG TEN TEAM*

TYRA BUSS, Sr., G, Indiana

Amanda Cahill, Sr., F, Indiana

Megan Gustafson, Jr., F, Iowa

Kaila Charles, So., G, Maryland

KATELYNN FLAHERTY, Sr., G, Michigan

HALLIE THOME, Jr., C, Michigan

Branndais Agee, Sr., G, Michigan State

Carlie Wagner, Sr., G, Minnesota

Stephanie Mavunga, Sr., F, Ohio State

KELSEY MITCHELL, Sr., G, Ohio State

Teniya Page, Jr., G, Penn State

2017-18 COACHES BIG TEN PRESEASON PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Kelsey Mitchell, Sr., G, Ohio State

2017-18 MEDIA BIG TEN PRESEASON RANKINGS

1. OHIO STATE

2. (tie) Maryland

2. (tie) Michigan

2017-18 MEDIA PRESEASON ALL-BIG TEN TEAM

Tyra Buss, Sr., G, Indiana

Amanda Cahill, Sr., F, Indiana

Megan Gustafson, Jr., F, Iowa

Kaila Charles, So., G, Maryland

KATELYNN FLAHERTY, Sr., G, Michigan

Hallie Thome, Jr., C, Michigan

Carlie Wagner, Sr., G, Minnesota

Stephanie Mavunga, Sr., F, Ohio State

KELSEY MITCHELL, Sr., G, Ohio State

Teniya Page, Jr., G, Penn State

2017-18 MEDIA BIG TEN PRESEASON PLAYER OF THE YEAR

Kelsey Mitchell, Sr., G, Ohio State

Unanimous selections listed in ALL CAPS

* – additional honoree due to tie in voting