For a conference-best 12th straight season, Ohio State has a first team All-Big Ten honoree. This year, is has two – senior Ameryst Alston and sophomore Kelsey Mitchell.
Alston is the team's second leading scorer. She averaged 19.5 points per game in the regular season and led the team with 113 assists. She also leads the team in minutes played, totaling 1,065 over 29 games — an average of more than 36.7 minutes a game. This is Alston's third-straight first team All-Big Ten selection.
Mitchell is a unanimous first team selection by both the media and coaches. She leads the team in scoring this season, averaging 25.3 points per game and broke the program's single game scoring record twice, scoring 42 points against Texas A&M and later 48 against Michigan State. She is second in the conference in scoring, trailing only the Big Ten Player of the Year, Rachel Banham. Mitchell also leads the team in 3-pointers made (105), 3-point shooting percentage (40.2 percent), free throw percentage (84.8 percent), and steals (51).
Alston and Mitchell, the stars on what head coach Kevin McGuff calls "the best backcourt in the country," were ff course quick to deflect any attention from themselves to the team.
"With individual accolades, I think it says a lot about our team," said Alston. "We wouldn't be able to do that without our team."
Mitchell seemed blissfully unaware she'd even received the honor, evidently hearing the news for the first time from the media contingent.
"I'm pretty sure people know this about me, I'm just not into it," said Mitchell in regards to the accolades. "It's just not my thing. But hats off to the people who got awards, and I'm fortunate enough to be apart of it."
While Mitchell may not focus on the post-season honors herself, she'll undoubtably celebrate the successes of a few of her teammates. Along with Alston and Mitchell's first team honors, Buckeye forwards Alexa Hart and Shayla Cooper were named second team All-Big Ten by the media.
Cooper, who typically comes off the bench for the Buckeyes, received her first-ever All-Big Ten honors. She's third on the team in scoring, averaging 13.5 points per game and leads the team in rebounds per game at 8.4.
Hart was also named to the five-person Big Ten All-Defensive team. She led the team in both blocks and rebounds, swatting a staggering 74 shots and pulling down 236 boards, bolstering the inside for an otherwise undersized Buckeye team. She doesn't put up a ton of points, but when she puts up a shot it's usually a good one. The sophomore is shooting 66.5 percent from the floor – good for second in the country.
The awards mark the end of the regular season and the beginning of the team's real mission. Ohio State head coach Kevin McGuff has been clear since the start of the season that mission has always been to win March – Tuesday starts March.
The Buckeyes' post-season journey begins Friday in Indianapolis as they look to take home their first Big Ten Tournament title since 2011.