Ohio State Women's Basketball Adds Former Duke Guard Celeste Taylor From Transfer Portal

By Chase Brown on April 20, 2023 at 5:01 pm
Celeste Taylor
Matt Cashore / USA TODAY Sports

After the program's first Elite Eight in 30 years in 2023, Ohio State women's basketball added a premier player from the transfer portal to prepare for another deep tournament run next season.

Former Duke guard Celeste Taylor committed to head coach Kevin McGuff and the Buckeyes on Thursday. The Valley Stream, New York, native averaged a team-best 11.4 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.2 steals for the Blue Devils last season and received first-team All-ACC and ACC Defensive Player of the Year honors for her efforts.

A graduate transfer, Taylor brings one year of eligibility to the Buckeyes.

Taylor's college career started at Texas in 2019 after she was named a McDonald's All-American and a five-star prospect in the class of 2019. As a freshman, Taylor appeared in 30 games and made 26 starts for the Longhorns, recording the fourth-most minutes of any player on the roster. In 2020-21, Taylor paced Texas with an average of 12.3 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.1 steals per contest and received honorable mention All-Big 12 recognition.

The Taylor File

  • Class: Fifth-year senior
  • Size: 5-11
  • Pos: Guard
  • School: Duke, Texas, Long Island Lutheran (New York)
  • STATS (2022-23): 11.4 PPG, 2.5 APG, 2.2 SPG

Rather than return to Texas for a third season, Taylor transferred to Duke to play for head coach Kara Lawson, a former WNBA and Olympic champion hired the year prior. Under Lawson, Taylor shined on both ends of the floor. However, it took time for her to become acclimated to the new environment.

In 2021, Taylor started in 22 of 23 games for the Blue Devils but missed seven games due to an ailment in her upper body at the midway point of the season. When Taylor returned to full health, she was one of Duke's most consistent sources of offense, scoring in double figures in five of the team's final six matchups. Taylor finished the season with an average of 11 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.8 steals per contest.

This past season, Taylor performed at a level not yet seen from the veteran guard, starting in all 33 games as part of a breakout season for the Blue Devils. Not only did Taylor become a first-team All-ACC honoree and ACC Defensive Player of the Year, but she also etched her name in Duke and NCAA Tournament history during the team's win over Colorado on March 20.

In her team's matchup with the Buffaloes, Taylor collected eight points, eight assists, 10 rebounds and 10 steals, becoming the first women's player to record an 8/8/8/8 stat line in the NCAA Tournament since 2000 and the only player to collect at least 10 steals and 10 rebounds in a contest. The 10 steals were also a Duke program record.

At Ohio State, McGuff and his staff won't expect record-breaking performances on the regular from Taylor. However, they will ask the 5-foot-11 guard to provide a consistent spark on both ends of the floor, something she has proven capable of since her college career began. With McGuff's tendency to use a full-court press early and often against the Buckeyes' opponents, Taylor will have ample opportunity to provide that boost in 2023-24.

Taylor will replace Taylor Mikesell, the No. 13 overall pick in the 2023 WNBA draft, in the Ohio State backcourt, where she will likely accompany All-Big Ten guard Jacy Sheldon in the starting lineup. Rikki Harris and Emma Shumate will provide depth behind Taylor and Sheldon. Madison Greene is coming off her second straight season-ending knee injury but could also make a big impact in the backcourt once she is fully healthy, while four-star freshman point guard Diana Collins will also join the Buckeyes this summer.

In the frontcourt, Ohio State returns All-Big Ten forwards Taylor Thierry and Cotie McMahon, who was also named Big Ten Freshman of the Year last season. Rebeka Mikulasikova and Eboni Walker could use pandemic-related eligibility for a fifth college season with the Buckeyes in 2023-24. McGuff and his staff also added Faith Carson, a 6-foot-4 center from Buchanan, Michigan, in the class of 2023.

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