Ohio State senior guard Jacy Sheldon announced Wednesday that she will be returning for a fifth and final season with the Buckeyes.
Sheldon recently completed her fourth season at Ohio State but has an additional year of eligibility granted by the COVID-19 waiver afford to all student-athletes, and she will utilize that for one last run with the Buckeyes instead of opting for the WNBA draft.
Sheldon looked the part of a WNBA draft prospect through the first seven games of the season (with six played), averaging 16.0 points, 3.4 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 6.0 steals per game on 48.5 percent shooting, but her season came to a screeching halt as she suffered a lower-leg injury that would force her to miss 22 of the next 23 games for the Buckeyes.
She returned to the court in the Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament, coming off the bench in three games and averaging 6.0 points, 2.0 assists and 2.0 steals in just 15.3 minutes per game as she was brought back slowly from her injury.
Her return to the starting lineup came in Ohio State’s first-round NCAA tournament matchup against James Madison, and it started a run for the ages for Sheldon. She scored 17 points against the Dukes and, dished out nine assists and went 9 of 9 at the free-throw line, and she followed it up in the next round against North Carolina with 16 points on 6-of-14 shooting, including the game-winner with just seconds remaining to send the Buckeyes to the Sweet 16.
Sheldon was also pivotal in Ohio State’s upset of UConn in the Sweet 16, scoring 17 points and going 10 of 10 at the line while adding seven rebounds and five assists. Though the Buckeyes suffered an 84-74 loss to Virginia Tech in the Elite Eight, their first appearance in that round since 1993, Sheldon still finished with 19 points.
Across four tournament games, Sheldon averaged 17.3 points, 5.8 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 2.3 steals on 40.0 percent shooting, and went 27 of 29 at the line. For the season, she was still able to appear in 13 games, averaging 13.2 points, 3.6 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 3.5 steals on 43.2 percent shooting.
Sheldon held off until after the tournament on making an announcement on her future plans, but asked about the possibility of returning for another season following Ohio State’s loss to Virginia Tech, her answer provided a hint toward her eventual decision.
“To be honest, I’ve been so worried about winning games and getting healthy, I haven’t even gave that much thought,” she said. “We had a great team this year and we’re going to build off that next year, and obviously, losing Taylor is going to be big shoes to fill because she’s an amazing player and a great teammate.”
Sheldon’s return is an important one for the Buckeyes given that fifth-year guard Taylor Mikesell’s eligibility is exhausted following the recently concluded season, though Ohio State does welcome back guard Taylor Thierry and will see guard Madison Greene returning coming off her second season-ending injury in as many years.