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Dec. 30, 2002

TIP OFF

New Year’s Eve afternoon, Ohio State opens their regular-season conference play against the Wildcats of Northwestern at 2 p.m. in Value City Arena.

THE NORTHWESTERN SERIES

The Buckeyes lead the series with Northwestern 23-15. Ohio State was 2-0 last year vs. the Wildcats.

THE LAST TIME VS. NORTHWESTERN

The last time Ohio State and Northwestern met, the Buckeyes captured an 87-69 victory in Evanston, Ill., Feb. 17, 2002. Ohio State guard Tomeka Brown led a defensive assault against Northwestern, recording a career-high 10 steals en route to the Buckeyes’ win. Ohio State wasted little time in solidifying its lead, building a 17-5 advantage with12:04 yet to play. Defensively in the half, the Buckeyes blocked three shots, collected 12 steals, beat Northwestern 12-6 in second-chance points and 8-0 in fast break opportunities. The Wildcats clawed their way back in the game before halftime with the help of four three-pointers in the time remaining, including a buzzer-beater from half-court by Samantha McComb, cutting their deficit to eight, 36-28, heading into the locker room. Ohio State topped Northwestern in the second half 51-41. OSU freshman guard Amber Stokes recorded her first points since joining the roster Jan. 25 as a walk-on, putting the Buckeyes up by 20 (87-67) with a triple and 10 seconds left to play. OSU, dominating the paint, 40-26, and capitalizing on points off turnovers, 42-20, shot 48 percent from the floor and collected a season-high 20 steals. Northwestern shot 43.6 percent and turned the ball over 28 times. Buckeye Courtney Coleman led four players in double-figure scoring with 21 points. D’wan Shackleford marked her seventh career double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds, Lauren Shenk finished with 17 points and Brown tallied 14. Sarah Kwasinski led Northwestern with 25 points and 10 rebounds.

MAKING 76 A HABIT

The Buckeyes have scored exactly 76 points in the last two games, which both resulted in victories. Ohio State beat Youngstown State, 76-45, and Austin Peay, 76-70.

BIG TEN ALL-STAR CONNECTION

Northwestern’s head coach June Olkowski lead the Big Ten All-Star team through Belgium and Holland this summer. Buckeye sophomore Caity Matter was a member of that team, which earned a 5-0 record throughout their 12-day trip. Matter averaged 10 points an outing for the conference team, including a game-high 24-point effort in the final contest.

LAST GAME OF THE YEAR MARKS BEGINNING

The Dec. 31, Buckeye battle with Northwestern is the final game of 2002. However, it marks the beginning of Jim Foster’s tenure in the Big Ten as the head of the Ohio State program.

BIG TEN ALL-TIME RECORD

Today’s battle with Northwestern opens regular-season conference play for the Buckeyes. Ohio State is 271-156 all-time vs. Big Ten opponents.

THERE’S NO PLACE AT HOME

As of Dec. 21, the Buckeyes have successfully defended their home court this season with wins over Wayne State (100-57), Arizona (84-65), Virginia (73-60), Youngstown State (76-45) and Austin Peay (76-60).

FIVE IN A ROW

Ohio State is on a five-game winning streak. Since they fell to Wisconsin-Green Bay (74-64) who is currently No. 23/24, the Buckeyes have put together five solid wins in a row. They beat Ohio (64-36), Arizona (84-65), Virginia (73-60), Youngstown State (76-45) and Austin Peay (76-60).

AUSTIN PEAY ATTENDANCE

The attendance Sunday afternoon to watch the Buckeyes beat Austin Peay, 76-60, was the largest crowd this season to watch an Ohio State women’s basketball game in Value City Arena.

FOUR IN FOUR

Four Buckeyes scored in double digits against Austin Peay. Ashley Allen, Caity Matter, D’wan Shackleford and LaToya and Turner tallied 11, 18, 15 and 10 points, respectively. In six of Ohio State’s eight wins, including the last four games in a row, four Ohio State players have scored at least 10 points.

SHACK’S SEASON HIGH

Senior D’wan Shackleford scored 15 points against Austin Peay, which tied her season-high mark set at Ohio Dec. 13.

CONTROLLING THE BOARDS

Ohio State continues to control the boards this season. The Buckeyes have outrebounded every opponent they have faced so far this season. Jim Foster’s team is averaging 35.9 boards an outing; Ohio State opponents are grabbing 26.1 rebounds per contest, which is the top mark among Big Ten competitors.

ALLEN ALL BUSINESS

Sophomore Ashley Allen is taking care of business this season for the Buckeyes. Most recently, Allen scored 11 points and earned three steals against Austin Peay. Three steals ties Allen’s personal best record.

Last week, Allen had two solid nights against Virginia and Youngstown State. Against the Cavaliers, Allen scored 14 points, was 6-for-6 from the free-throw line, grabbed three rebounds and tallied two steals and two assists in the 73-60 victory over Virginia. Allen netted 15 points, collected seven boards (ties her personal best), handed out six assists, blocked one shot and earned one steal against Youngstown State.

CHRISTENSON’S FIRST GAME

Junior Erika Christenson, a transfer from Indiana, suited up in Scarlet and Gray for the first time vs. Youngstown State. She played two minutes and was 1-for-2 from the free-throw line. Christenson was recently granted a redshirt season and will have the remainder of this year and next year to play for the Buckeyes.

MATTER ADDS TO VICTORY OVER APSU

Caity Matter scored a team-high 18 points against Austin Peay Sunday afternoon. She was 7-of-9 from the field, which ties her personal-best percentage mark of .778 (7-9), 3-for-5 behind the three-point arc and made the only free throw she took for the night. Matter also grabbed three boards, dished out three assists and earned one steal against the Lady Govs.

Matter is first in the Big Ten in the category of three-pointers made per game. The Dec. 18 contest against the Cavaliers of Virginia marked the only time this season Matter has not hit a bucket from beyond the arc.

SJA, HERE WE COME

After Northwestern, the next battle for the Buckeyes will be against No. 15 Texas in the Big Ten/Big XII Challenge at 5 p.m. Jan. 5 in St. John Arena.

DEFENSE, DEFENSE, DEFENSE

The Buckeyes are holding opponents to a league-leading 55.2 points per game. Additionally, Ohio State is averaging a winning scoring margin of +20.1.

BULLSEYE

Senior Courtney Coleman is setting the standard for the Big Ten with a .776 (66-85) field-goal percentage. Notably, the next closest player, Janel McCarville from Minnesota, owns a .672 (39-58) average.

THREE-POINT LEADERS

Two Buckeyes top the individual three-point Big Ten lists. Sophomore Ashley Allen is the highest shooter in the league from behind the arc with a .457 (16-35) stroke. Classmate Caity Matter leads the conference by averaging 2.80 treys an outing.

MATTER PERFECT

Sophomore Caity Matter is 18-for-18 on the year from the charity stripe.

HEAD BLOCKER

Junior LaToya Turner is the current Big Ten leader with 2.00 blocked shots per game. Turner has 20 total rejected shots this season.

ST. JOHN ARENA

Two games this season that will be held in St. John Arena. After the Buckeyes open their Big Ten season in Value City Arena against Northwestern at 2 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, they will participate in the Big Ten/Big XII Challenge game vs. No. 15 Texas in St. John Arena at 5 p.m. Jan. 5. The second event in St. John Arena will be the final regular-season game against Michigan at 7 p.m. Feb. 27. The 1993 Final Four team will be commemorated during the battle with the Wolverines.

AUSTIN PEAY STATE RECAP

The Ohio State women’s basketball team (8-2, 0-0) beat Austin Peay State University (5-3, 0-0), 76-60, Dec. 29 in front of a season-high 2,793 people in Value City Arena. Four Buckeyes scored in double digits against the Lady Govs. Sophomore Caity Matter, senior D’wan Shackleford, sophomore Ashley Allen, and junior LaToya Turner tallied 18, 15, 11 and 10 points, respectively. “”We took care of the ball well in the second half,” Ohio State head coach Jim Foster said. “That always helps when you want to win a game. We are starting to understand our offensive cuts better, which is leading us to take higher-percentage shots.” Ohio State jumped out to a 5-0 lead to begin the game, but Austin Peay came back to lead by four (11-7) at the 16:36 mark off a Brooke Armistead free-throw. That would prove to be the Lady Govs’ highest lead of the game. Allen tied the contest at 11 off a layup and sent her Buckeye squad up by two the next possession. Ohio State never trailed again the remainder of the afternoon. However, Austin Peay stayed within striking distance most of the first half as they kept the Ohio State lead to under eight points and went to the locker room down four (34-30) to the Buckeyes. Ohio State took control of the ball game in the second half. The Lady Govs pulled to within one point twice in the first minute-and-a-half, but the Buckeyes came alive and ended up winning the game with an even scoring effort from Matter, Shackleford, Allen and Turner, seven points from senior DiDi Reynolds and six points a piece from senior Courtney Coleman and freshman Kim Wilburn. OSU was 13-for-15 (.867) from the free-throw line, shot .625 (5-8) from behind the three-point arc, and was .518 from the field (29-56). As they have done in every game this season, Foster’s squad beat Austin Peay on the boards, 30-28. Austin Peay’s Armistead was the game’s leading scorer with 20 points. Teammate Gerlonda Hardin added 16 points for the Lady Govs.