COLUMBUS, Ohio — The No. 15/16 Ohio State women’s basketball team plays host to the annual Buckeye Classic this Thanksgiving weekend, Nov. 24-25 at St. John Arena. The Buckeyes will face off against Colgate Saturday at 2 p.m. with Auburn playing Winston-Salem State in the opener at noon. The two winners will face each other at 1 p.m. on Sunday with the consolation game taking place at 11 a.m.
ABOUT THE BUCKEYE CLASSIC
The Buckeye Classic is a tournament hosted by Ohio State that dates back to 1983. The event ran from 1983 until the 1994-95 season, skipping 1993-94. The 2003-04 season marked the first time in nine years the Buckeye Classic has been held in Columbus and the first time under head coach Jim Foster. The tradition continued in 2004-05 with Bradley, Detroit, Ohio State and Yale meeting Thanksgiving weekend in historic St. John Arena.
The Buckeye Classic rebirth turns its fifth season this weekend, welcoming Auburn, Colgate and Winston-Salem State to St. John Arena. Auburn and Winston-Salem play in the opener at noon Saturday, November 24 before the Buckeyes take the court against Colgate at 2 p.m. The tournament concludes Sunday with a consolation game at 11 a.m. and the championship matchup at 1 p.m.
BUCKEYE CLASSIC CHAMPIONS
2006 Ohio State
2005 Ohio State
2004 Ohio State
2003 Ohio State
1994 Ohio State
1992 Ohio State
1991 Penn State
1989 Ohio State
1988 Illinois State
1987 Ohio State
1986 North Carolina State
1985 Ohio State
A BUCKEYE WIN SATURDAY WOULD:
Give Ohio State its 13th-consecutive win in the Buckeye Classic. OSU has not lost a game in the Classic since 1991.
Improve the Buckeyes to 26-2 in the month of November in the Foster era.
Improve the Buckeyes to 80-6 at home in the Jim Foster era and 53-2 in the last three-plus seasons. (7-0 at St. John Arena).
Give Ohio State its 92nd win in the last 104 games.
COLGATE RED RAIDERS
Colgate, a member of the Patriot League and located in Hamilton, N.Y., is at the tail end of a three-game road swing here at the Buckeye Classic this weekend. They dropped their first three games of the season to Niagara (39-78) at home and on the road at Canisius (33-78) and Albany (86-62). Sami Kozlowski and Evan Librizzi lead the Red Raiders with 11.7 and 8.3 ppg, respectively. Pam Bass is in her first year as the head coach at Colgate. This will be the first meeting between the two schools.
THE AUBURN TIGERS
The Tigers, a member of the Southeastern Conference, cracked the AP Top 25 this week at No. 24, their first national ranking since the 2003-04 season. They are 3-0 as of Nov. 20 after wins over Detroit Mercy (91-47), Troy (77-61) and Detroit Mercy, 91-47. Auburn plays at Oakland Nov. 21. The Tigers have all five starters back from last year’s team that went 21-13 and earned a berth to the postseason WNIT. Highlighting the returnees is junior DeWanna Bonner who leads five Tigers averaging in double-figures with 21.3 points and 9.7 rebounds. Junior guard Sherell Hobbs is averaging 10.3 points and 5.3 boards. Nell Fortner is in her fourth season as head coach with a 65-52 overall record going into Wednesday’s game at Oakland. Ohio State and Auburn have never met.
WINSTON-SALEM STATE LADY RAMS
The Lady Rams, a member of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, dropped their season-opener at Virginia Tech on Nov. 14 by the score of 67-43. Vontisha Woods led WSSU with 17 points and six rebounds in the defeat. Winston-Salem features a young team with nine newcomers and one returning starter from last year’s team that went 8-21. Dee Stokes is in her second season as head coach. The Lady Rams and Buckeyes also have never met.
LAVENDER NAMED BIG TEN PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Freshman center Jantel Lavender became the first Ohio State freshman to receive Big Ten Player of the Week honors since Katie Smith during the 1992-93 season. In wins over Tennessee State and Boston University last week, she averaged 22.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.5 blocks while shooting 92.3 percent (12-of-13) from the free throw line and 52 percent from the field. In the win over Tennessee State Nov. 14, Lavender dominated, scoring 23 points on 10-of-15 shooting with five boards and three blocks — in only 22 minutes. She scored 12 points in the first eight minutes as the Buckeyes opened up a comfortable 19-0 lead. Then in the win at Boston University Saturday, Lavender recorded 21 points, seven rebounds and two blocks and drained all nine of her free throw attempts as Ohio State held off BU 83-68.
Junior forward Star Allen has caught fire since being inserted into the starting lineup at Boston University Nov. 17. After scoring just seven points combined over the first two games, the Columbus native has averaged 14.5 points and 10.0 rebounds and is shooting 73 percent since. At Boston, Allen posted 12 points and 11 rebounds and recorded 17 points on 8-of-10 shooting and nine caroms in the win over Southern.
LAST TIME OUT
Ohio State improved its record to 4-0 with a 79-38 win over the Southern Jaguars (0-2) Monday night. Junior Star Allen led the Buckeyes with 17 points and nine rebounds in the win. Ohio State’s defense harassed Southern from the get-go, turning 31 turnovers into 37 points while outscoring the Jaguars 28-8 in the paint. The Buckeyes recorded 21 steals, two shy of the school record and the most since Feb. 17, 2002 when OSU forced 20 at Northwestern. The Buckeyes sprinted out in front once again, building a 20-6 lead behind two 3-pointers each from Marscilla Packer and Ashlee Trebilcock. The duo combined to hit their first four attempts during the opening run. Ohio State eventually led 39-17 at the half behind 11 points from Allen, nine from Jantel Lavender and eight by Packer. The Buckeyes recorded 11 steals and forced 18 turnovers in the opening period. Packer finished with 16 points and dished out six assistsone shy of her career best. Trebilcock recorded a career-best with six dimes of her own as the Buckeyes assisted on 26 of their 30 field goals overall. Senior Tamarah Riley had a great night off the bench with a career-high 10 rebounds to go along with six points. Despite 22 turnovers by Ohio State, the starting backcourt of Little, Packer and Trebilcock committed just three between them.
AS GOOD AS ADVERTISED
Ohio State had large shoes to fill with the loss of All-American Jessica Davenport. But the Buckeyes could not have asked for a better start to the season for freshman center Jantel Lavender, the 2007 Ohio Player of the Year. In her debut she posted a double-double with 13 points and 14 rebounds against Marist Nov. 11. She was 5-of-11 from the field and also notched two steals to lead the Buckeyes to a 63-57 victory. Then in the win over Tennessee State Nov. 14, Lavender was dominant, scoring 23 points on 10-of-15 shooting to go along with five boards and three blocks in only 22 minutes of action before recording 21 points, seven boards and going 9-of-9 from the FT line in the win at BU. She ranks among the Big Ten leaders with 17.0 points and 8.5 rebounds as of Nov. 20.
BUCKEYES IN THE BIG TEN
Though early, the Buckeyes have already established themselves among the leaders in several Big Ten statistical categories. Marscilla Packer is third in the league in scoring with a 19.3 ppg clip, tied for first in FT percentage (14-for-14, 1.000) and is first in 3FG made with 13. Jantel Lavender ranks fifth in the league in scoring (17.0 ppg) and is sixth in rebounding (8.5). Junior Star Allen is fourth in the Big Ten in FG percentage (.630) while Shavelle Little is first with a +3.00 assist/turnover ratio and fourth with 2.75 steals. Ashlee Trebilcock is third with a +2.5 assist/turnover ratio.
As a team, Ohio State leads the conference in points per game (78.2), scoring margin (+27.2), FG percentage (.509), assists (18.2), steals (11.0) and TO ratio (+1.00) and is second in 3FG percentage (.429) and FT percentage (.792).
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