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The number four is magical for Ohio State women

Ohio State guard Kelsey Mitchell, right, dribbles the

Ohio State guard Kelsey Mitchell, right, dribbles the basketball while defended by Maryland guard Kaila Charles during an NCAA college basketball game in the finals of the Big Ten conference tournament on March 4, 2018, in Indianapolis. Ohio State won 79-69. Credit: AP / R Brent Smith

The number four figures prominently for Ohio State in the women’s NCAA Tournament.

It is 4 miles from Value City Arena to Nationwide Arena, where this year’s Women’s Final Four is being held. The Buckeyes, who have four senior starters, also need to win their next four games in order to make their first Final Four trip in 25 years.

In a tournament where UConn, the other top seeds (Notre Dame, Mississippi State and Louisville), perennial powers (Baylor, Tennessee and Texas), rising power Oregon, and defending champion South Carolina figure to get most of the attention, the Buckeyes are one of the field’s under-the-radar teams.

Kelsey Mitchell, who needs 31 points to move into second place on the NCAA women’s career scoring list, says the Women’s Final Four in Columbus is not being overlooked.

“You’re not human if you don’t think about it. I don’t care who you are. If you’re not thinking about it, you’re crazy,” Mitchell said following the selections.

Ohio State (27-6) won the Big Ten regular-season and tournament titles en route to being the third seed in the Spokane Region. Ohio State plays No. 14 George Washington in a first-round game on Saturday afternoon in Columbus. The Buckeyes’ road back home, however, will likely have to go through the top-seeded Irish and No. 2 Oregon.

Even though Ohio State has only made it as far as the Sweet 16 two of the past three years, coach Kevin McGuff thinks his club has momentum going into the tournament.

“We’ve been playing our best basketball as of late,” he said. “This year does take on special meaning that it is here, but we are not about to get too far ahead of ourselves.”

The women’s NCAA Tournament opens Friday with 16 first-round games at campus sites across the country with Notre Dame, Louisville, South Carolina, Baylor and Oregon among the teams playing.

New York Sports