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Women’s Basketball: McMahon becomes first Buckeye selected in 14 years to Women’s U19 National Team

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Sophomore forward Cotie McMahon was one of 12 members to be named to the official roster of the 2023 USA Women’s U19 National Team. Credit: Caleb Blake | Photo Editor

It’s been 14 years since an Ohio State women’s basketball player was selected to the USA Women’s U19 National Team.

It was in 2009 when decorated freshman guard Samantha Prahalis was considered one of the most prolific passers in the country. But Monday afternoon, this changed as USA Basketball announced sophomore forward Cotie McMahon was one of 12 members to be named to the official roster of the 2023 USA Women’s U19 National Team.

It’s another accolade the 19-year-old can now add to her lengthy basketball resume. Head coach Kevin McGuff had high praise for McMahon after a 23-point performance victory against then-No. 2-seeded UConn, which sent the Buckeyes to the Elite Eight for the first time in 30 years.

“I haven’t been around a player in a long time [who’s] got such a joy for the game,” McGuff said. “She loves to play the game. She practices hard every day and really works at it, which gives me great optimism that we’re still scratching the surface of the player she’s going to end up being.”

McMahon, who played 3 1/2 seasons at Centerville High School before graduating early to enroll at Ohio State, had a breakout freshman year last season. She averaged 15.1 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 36 starts, all of which ranked second on the team — including steals and field goal percentage.

The Centerville, Ohio native upped her play during the Big Ten  and NCAA Tournament runs, scoring in double figures every postseason game, all of which came just a few days after McMahon was named 2023 Big Ten Freshman of the Year.

McMahon, who was only 18 years old at the time, said the award was one of the goals she wanted to achieve that had led her to graduate high school early.

“I was excited and happy to accomplish one goal, but I have so many others that I want to accomplish,” McMahon said. “So just one day at a time, but I am very blessed and thankful I got that accomplishment.”

While McMahon and the Buckeyes came up short in the NCAA tournament, she isn’t a rookie when it comes to USA basketball. She helped lead the USA Basketball Women’s U18 National Team to gold at the 2022 FIBA WU18 Americas Championship, averaging 14.2 points, 7.5 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game.

This year, McMahon was selected for the second time straight as one of 23 players who enrolled early or were college freshmen in 2022-23 and members of the high school graduating classes of 2023 or 2024, to participate for Team USA, following three days of trials in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

The team will get back together for training camp on July 2 to prepare for the 2023 FIBA U19 Women’s World Cup, taking place July 15-23 in Madrid, Spain. Texas A&M University head coach Joni Taylor will lead Team USA alongside DeLisha Milton-Jones from Old Dominion University and Teri Moren of Indiana University.

Moren is familiar with McMahon’s style of play, having designed schemes for the freshman as they met three times last season, the most memorable being in the Big Ten tournaments as the Buckeyes erased a 24-point deficit from the Hoosiers in the semifinals.

Moren credited the Buckeyes’ defense and McMahon’s athletic ability as Ohio State capped off the largest comeback in Big Ten women’s basketball tournament history.

“They went small,” Moren said. “They started playing small. Obviously [Rebeka Mikuláśiková] played a few minutes, and she hurt us on a couple of threes that she hit. You saw [McMahon] try to front her from time to time.”

McMahon will have plenty of time to showcase her defense as she once again looks to lead Team USA to a gold medal. The competition features 16 teams, and the U.S. has won the gold medal in eight of the past nine editions, including the latest two.

Team USA is set to take on Mali in Spain on July 15.

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