Former Buckeye Beth Howe, a four-year letterwinner from 2002-05 and a current Personal Account Executive in the Ohio State ticket office (be sure to email her for tickets! email@example.com), will be keeping a online blog throughout the 2009-10 basketball season to help give Buckeye fans an inside look at the Buckeyes and to share her thoughts on hot topics around the Big Ten and college basketball this season.
Thursday, March 4
It never gets old! Nearly 5 years to the day, last Thursday night I found myself in Value City Arena celebrating yet another Big Ten Championship. However, this time I wasn’t donning a jersey and wasn’t climbing up a latter cutting down nets … I was standing by the team bench with former teammates Candace Dark, Jessica Davenport, Alice Jamen and Marscilla Packer. As we were watching the trophy presentation we knew the feelings and emotions those 4 seniors and the rest of the Buckeyes were going through – between us there are 14 Big Ten Championship rings! So as the 2009-2010 Buckeyes celebrated their 6th consecutive Big Ten Championship by showing of their dance moves and locker room addition shirts and hats, the atmosphere was familiar but the accomplish was as gratifying as the first!
As Coach Foster always said after the regular season, we now have a week to prepare and work on the fundamentals to get ready for our second season. And as that week has now come to an end and the Buckeyes had their last practice at 7 a.m. Thursday morning, they are on their way to Indianapolis and Conseco Fieldhouse for the Big Ten Tournament. Once they arrive in Indy and get checked into the hotel the coaches, players, and staff will all be going together for a team dinner tonight (I sure do miss those meals!). Then it’s on to game day. These days seem to go by so fast. We have it scheduled and planned hour by hour that before you know it, it’s game time! They will have the team breakfast then go straight to study hall (which I do not miss). From there everyone will take the team bus to the shoot around where they will do a lot of shooting drills and walk through the opposing team plays (we will play winner of Indiana/Illinois game). We always eat 4 hours before tip-off, so by 2 p.m. they will be back to the hotel for the pre-game meal. The team will have a couple hours to do all their pre-game rituals and get mentally ready before loading up and heading to Concesco Fieldhouse.
I remember as a player, there is a different feel come March. It’s that time of year, when all those days in the weight room, countless hours in the gym all summer and shooting thousands of shots pay off. It’s a time when every team in America is hungry and no one wants the next game to be the last! So when the Big Ten Champion Buckeyes and the Big Ten Player of the Year Jantel Lavender take the floor tomorrow night to start their quest for a Big Ten Tournament title, either be there or tune in to the Big Ten Network at 6 p.m. to cheer on the Buckeyes!
GO BUCKS! O-H…!!
Monday, Feb. 8
With a three-game lead and five games to go the Buckeyes look to be on the road to a 6th consecutive Big Ten title! After starting off 8-0 in the Big Ten, they dropped the next two out of three (both in the state of Indiana, at Purdue and at IU). The Iowa Hawkeyes came to town looking to knock of the Buckeyes at home and gave them a scare early. Leading 44-43 at halftime, the Buckeyes came out strong in the second half behind 13 points from Brittany Johnson, made 28 of 34 from the free throw line for the game, and saw two key steals in the final minute from reigning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Shevelle Little to seal the 86-82 victory.
This past weekend they were on the road once again to play Penn State (15-7, 7-5) who sat in second place heading into the game. After a sluggish start in the first half, the Buckeyes connected from about every spot behind the arc in the Bryce Jordan Center, making a Big Ten-record 17 three pointers!!! Sammy led the way with 26 points and 12 assists, while seven other Buckeyes also put points on the board. The Buckeyes’ previous four victories in State College had all been decided by seven points or less. I played on two of those teams and I remember it was always a tough place to play. Anytime you go on the road in this league and come away with a win, team chemistry and confidence continues to build, which this time of year can take you a long way!
With five games remaining in the regular season, and if the Buckeyes stay on course, they should be cutting down the nets on February 25th, their final home game against Northwestern (we can actually clinch a share of the Big Ten with a win Thursday) …. but first things first. They must be ready to battle the Boilermakers for the second time in nearly three weeks and this time come away with a victory! Purdue comes to town this Thursday, February 11th at 7:30p.m. There will be free Scarlet and Gray camouflage bandanas in honor of military appreciation night and four-time Big Ten Player of the Week Samantha Prahalis will be available post game signing autographs. Hope to see everyone there! Until next time …
GO BUCKS! O-H…!!
Thursday, Jan. 21
First off, my apologies, as it’s been a while since I’ve had time to update my blog. Hope everyone had a great holiday and your New Year is off to as good of start. Since our first Big Ten game against Wisconsin on December 6th we are on an 11-game winning streak, 7-0 in the Big Ten, and on the road to a 6th consecutive Big Ten Title! The #4 ranked Buckeyes were led last week by Samantha Prahalis, who earned her second consecutive Big Ten Player of the Week honor, while averaging 23 points, 5 assists, 4 steals, and 2 rebounds in wins against Illinois and Indiana. On the season, she currently leads the Big Ten and is ranked second nationally with nearly 8 assists per game. Surprisingly, she is third in the Big Ten with 19.3 points in Big Ten play!
Coach Foster has also passed a milestone in his coaching career, recording 700 wins on December 31st. And with the win over Indiana on January 17th, he became only the second coach, men’s or women’s at any level, to win at least 200 games at three different schools (St. Joseph’s, Vanderbilt, and Ohio State). In Coach Foster’s eight seasons at Ohio State, over half of those wins have come at home, posting a remarkable 123-9 record.
The Buckeyes are learning quickly that earning that sixth-straight title won’t be easy, as every team in the Big Ten is gunning to knock us off. We started off 2010 with a 59-56 win over a feisty and much-improved Michigan team, before coming back from 11 down to beat No. 19 Michigan State at the Breslin Center. They seem to have found their groove once again with convincing home wins last week. Now they must take that same mentality on the road at Michigan tonight and at Purdue Monday, which is never an easy place to play.
The Big Ten has been a difficult conference to figure out this season. Penn State (5-2) and Wisconsin (5-3) currently sit in second and third place with Minnesota and Purdue, both at 4-3, tied for fourth. Michigan State, picked second in the conference in the preseason, is 2-5 in the league and in the middle of a three-game losing skid. But you can bet the veteran Spartans will be heard from again before the season is over. They are too talented and experienced not to be and will still be a dangerous team come March. Northwestern is another team that has caught some people’s attention with a 3-4 record in the Big Ten and 12-6 overall as they have their eyes set on the postseason as well.
As mentioned, the Buckeyes will be on the road for the next two Big Ten games with Monday’s game at Purdue on ESPN2, part of Big Monday. They will be back at home on Thursday, January 28th when they host Minnesota. If you are at the game, stick around as senior guard Cherise Daniel will be doing a postgame autograph session.
GO BUCKS! O-H…!!
Thursday, Dec. 10
The Buckeyes tipped off the Big Ten season this past Sunday with a 70-55 win against the Wisconsin Badgers. The win extended the Buckeyes home game winning streak to 15! They got off to a slow start and were down eight points at the half. Thinking back on some of the games I played in when we were in a situation like that at halftime, shooting 24 percent from the field and not making up for it by fighting for every loose ball and playing hard on the defensive end, the players had to come together, hold each other accountable and play like they want to be the Big Ten champions. And as a result they came out scoring on 7 of their first 8 possessions and going on to score 50 second-half points and holding the Badgers to 27. Four players scored in double figures with Jantel Lavender leading the way with 23 points and 10 rebounds, her 42nd career double-double.
The Buckeyes started this week with two days off on the basketball court and focused much of their time on the classroom for final exams. They were back on the court Wednesday, starting to prepare for SEC opponent Ole Miss. The 9-1 Buckeyes will play in Oxford on Sunday, December 13th at 2 p.m. They will fly out of Columbus into Memphis, Tenn., Saturday. Coach Foster likes to take advantage of any educational experiences he can while traveling, so the team will be making a visit to the Civil Rights Museum in Memphis once they arrive. One of the Ohio State Memphis Alumni Clubs will be there to welcome the team on Saturday and will also be making the hour and half drive down to Oxford on Sunday to cheer on the Buckeyes.
The team will return back to Columbus immediately after the game as they will have a day of preparation before tipping off against Wright State here in Value City Arena on Tuesday, December 15th at 7 p.m.
GO BUCKS! O-H…!!
Monday, Nov. 23
Well, the third-ranked Buckeyes are off to a great start!! They played five games in 10 days with a 5-0 record and winning the WNIT tournament yesterday against Oklahoma State. Jantel Lavender and Samantha Prahalis have been everything and more that Ohio State fans were hoping they would be, as they were named co-Most Valuable Players of the preseason WNIT. However, they were not the only ones that paced Ohio State to averaging over 90 points in the first five games.
In the season opener against Eastern Illinois, Sarah Schulze started off her junior year on a career best night, nearly having a double double with 18 points and 9 rebounds. In just her second collegiate game, freshman Tayler Hill picked up right where she left off as Minnesota’s all-time leading scorer with 19 points against Bowling Green. Two-time defending Big Ten defensive player of the year Shavelle Little proved she can also be counted on to score, going 5-5 from the field finishing with 11 points against West Virginia. And against Oklahoma State, Brittany Johnson had a career high 23 points, knocking down 7 of her 8 three-point attempts – which was one off the school record.
The team is so exciting to watch and I have had a great time cheering them on with a few of my former teammates, Caity Matter and Candace Dark. It’s fun for us to reminisce on our careers and think back to running out of the locker room to the fight song, playing in front of all those great Buckeye fans, and at the end of the day enjoying a win together…..and we all agree this team is going to have a lot to celebrate throughout the season!
The Buckeyes will be back in action this Wednesday, November 25th at 7 p.m., when they host UNC Greensboro. Following a short Thanksgiving break, California, Southern, and IUPUI will be coming to town as the Buckeye Classic will be this weekend November 28th and 29th in St. John Arena.
GO BUCKS! O-H…!!
Friday, Nov. 13
It is an exciting time to be a Buckeye as the 2009 Preseason WNIT starts this weekend and we are in the 16-team field that tips off the 2009-2010 women’s basketball season. As the preseason #3 team in the country we are once again on the road to a 6th-consecutive Big Ten title! It has been a great month of practice and the team is ready to take the court for the season opener tonight, Friday, November 13th against Eastern Illinois.
I’ve stopped by practice over the past few weeks and the team looks great. With the two-time Big Ten player of the year (Jantel Lavender), reining Big Ten freshman of the year (Samantha Prahalis), two-time Big Ten defensive player of the year (Shavelle Little), and 5-time defending Big Ten Champions (2005-2009) hard at work, the gym is extremely intense and competitive! Everyone is working hard and anxious for the games to start. Having been through all those 5 a.m. preseason morning workouts, hours of weight training sessions, competitive nights of open gym and endless moments of blood, sweat, and tears … it’s enjoyable for me to be on this side of the court, to see the final product of all that hard work!!
We had a tip-off event last week and it was a great opportunity for our Buckeye fans to watch practice, meet the team and coaching staff, take pictures and get autographs. It was fun to see the excitement in the team as well as the fans! If you weren’t able to be at this event, have never been to an Ohio State women’s basketball game, or don’t have plans for tonight, come out to St. John Arena and cheer on the Buckeyes — I promise you will not be disappointed!! And to you Buckeye Fans, I look forward to another exciting season with the Best Fans In The Land!
GO BUCKS! O-H … !!