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Dec. 27, 2004

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THE TIP
The No. 7/10 Ohio State women’s basketball team (11-1; 0-0 Big Ten) opens Big Ten play vs. Penn State (5-5; 0-0 Big Ten) at 8 p.m. Thursday night at the Bryce Jordan Center in State College, Pa. The game will be broadcast live on Fox Sports Chicago and on WOSU-820 AM.

ABOUT PENN STATE
Penn State is 5-5 overall, 0-0 in Big Ten competition and receiving votes in both Top 25 polls. The Nittany Lions are an undefeated 4-0 at home with victories vs. Duquesne, George Mason, North Carolina and Old Dominion. PSU opened the season with three consecutive games on the road at Texas, Duke and Villanova, dropping all three contests. The last game for Penn State was a 79-65 loss at Texas Tech Dec. 21.

PSU is led by Tanisha Wright, the Big Ten’s defensive player of the year in 2003 and 2004. Wright is scoring 21.9 points per game, Jess Strom adds 12.5 points a contest and Jennifer Harris is scoring 11.4 per outing. Amanda Brown and Ashli Schwab pull down 6.8 and 6.1 rebounds per game, respectively.

Head coach Rene Portland returned to the Penn State sideline Dec. 9 after taking a leave of absence for medical reasons in November. Entering the season, Portland was 562-193 in 24 years at PSU and 649-222 in 28 seasons as a collegiate coach.

OHIO STATE-PENN STATE SERIES
Penn State leads the all-time series with the Buckeyes, 29-8 and has won four of the last five meetings between the two teams. The last game the Buckeyes won was a 72-61 victory in the Big Ten tournament March 9, 2003. In State College, Penn State holds a 15-2 advantage. The last time a Buckeye squad won at Penn State was a 70-65 win Dec. 30, 2001.

LAST TIME VS. PENN STATE
The Ohio State women’s basketball team fell to then-No. 7/8 Penn State, 70-64, Jan. 25, 2004 in front of 4,914 at Value City Arena in Columbus, Ohio. Jessica Davenport tallied 17 points, LaToya Turner added 11 and Brandie Hoskins netted 11 points, 10 assists and only one turnover for her first double-double as a Buckeye.

Ohio State and PSU scored 30 points each in the second half, but ultimately Penn State’s 8-2 scoring run to close the first half with a six-point lead (40-34) would prove to be all the Nittany Lions needed to remain undefeated in conference competition. The Buckeyes opened the second stanza by pulling to within four points twice, but Penn State pulled away and took a 50-38 lead off a Kelly Mazzante 3-pointer at 14:08. The Buckeyes tried to chip away at the lead, but the closest they would come was an eight-point deficit four times until they got it to within six points with 13 seconds left to end the contest.

After Penn State’s Mazzante opened the game with a layup off the tip, Ohio State used an 11-0 run and jumped out to an early 11-2 lead at 16:56. Over the next six minutes, the Buckeyes pounded the ball down low. Forwards Davenport and Turner combined for 15 points and were a perfect 7-of-7 from the field, which gave the Buckeyes their largest lead of the game, 26-16, with 10:57 until halftime. Penn State turned up the offense while Ohio State went cold and utilized a 12-2 run to tie the game at 28 with 7:06 remaining in the half. Both squads were held to only two buckets each for four minutes and found themselves knotted at 32 again at 3:07. The Nittany Lions outscored the Buckeyes 8-2 to close the first 20 minutes and took a 40-34 lead at the midway mark.

Beth Howe had an all-around solid game with a career-high nine points (4-of-5), two assists and two boards. Caity Matter and Kim Wilburn scored seven and five points, respectively.

Penn State was led by Mazzante with 19 points, Tanisha Wright with 16 points and Jess Brungo with 12 points.

LAST TIME OUT VS. NO. 20/23 UCLA
The No. 7/10 Ohio State women’s basketball team (11-1; 0-0 Big Ten) beat No. 20/23 UCLA (6-3; 0-0 PAC-10) 83-60 in front of a season-high 4,352 people Dec. 21 at Value City Arena. Senior guard Caity Matter sank her first 3-point attempt at 14:02 in the first half and broke former two-time All-American Katie Smith’s mark of 218 career treys. Matter tallied three 3-pointers and has 221career makes.

The Buckeyes began the game on a 12-4 scoring run. After a UCLA 30-second timeout, the Bruins scored three consecutive buckets and cut the Buckeye lead to two points at 14:45. An Ashley Allen steal set up Matter’s record-breaking 3-pointer as Ohio State took a 15-12 advantage with just over 14 minutes left in the first half. UCLA used a 7-0 scoring run to take a 19-15 lead at 10:54, but the Buckeyes outscored the visiting Bruins 25-7 to take a 40-26 lead at the break.

In the second half, Ohio State continued the momentum and held a double-digit lead the entire 20 minutes. The biggest Buckeye lead was a 27-point advantage (83-56) when Jessica Davenport sank two free throws.

As a team, the Buckeyes, who entered the game as the Big Ten’s top shooting squad from the free-throw line, were 17-of-18 from the charity stripe. Ohio State outscored the Bruins in the paint, 38-18, scored 20 second-chance points to UCLA’s nine and outrebounded UCLA 35-26.

Matter finished the game with 19 points off a 5-of-9 night from the field, 3-of-6 stroke from 3-point land and a 6-of-6 mark from the free-throw line. Davenport had her third season and seventh career double-double with 20 points and 12 boards. She was 8-for-11 from the field and swatted three shots. Brandie Hoskins was 7-for-9 and scored 17 points. Allen dished a season-best nine helpers and scored seven points.

UCLA was led by Lindsey Pluimer and Lisa Willis, who scored 16 and 15 points, respectively.

MATTER MAKES MOST FROM THE ARC
Caity Matter sank one 3-pointer at then-No. 24 Oregon Dec. 18 and tied the record for career treys made by an Ohio State player. Three days later vs. then-No. 20/23 UCLA Dec. 21, Matter hit her 219th career 3-point field goal at 14:02 to break the school record for treys in a career. Katie Smith held the record for eight years. Matter, who ended the night with 19 points, finished the game with a 3-of-6 performance from behind the 3-point arc to reach 221 career treys. Matter is only the third Buckeye to make at least 200 career 3-pointers. Marcie Albert is ranked No. 3 with 203 treys.

11-1 A FIRST UNDER FOSTER
Ohio State is 11-1 for the first time under head coach Jim Foster, who is in his third year at OSU. The last time a Buckeye squad had an 11-1 mark was the 1992-93 season when Ohio State went 11-1 in the first 12 games of that season. The 1992-93 Buckeyes went on to win two more games before dropping to 13-2 after a loss to Penn State.

DOUBLE DOUBLE-DOUBLE
Sophomore center Jessica Davenport recorded her second consecutive and third double-double of the season with 20 points and 12 rebounds against then-No. 20/23 UCLA Dec. 21. It marked the seventh career double-double for Davenport.

Davenport had 12 points and 11 rebounds for her second double-double of the season and her sixth overall in the victory at Oregon Dec. 18. Davenport’s first double-double of the season was a 16-point and 13-rebound performance at Dayton Dec. 4.

ALLEN ASSISTING
Ashley Allen dished a season-best six assists and nine assists in the last two games at then-No. 24 Oregon and then-No. 20/23 UCLA, respectively. Allen is ranked No. 15 in the Big Ten with a 3.3 assists-per-game average.

OSU IN THE RPI
In the latest RPI rankings, Ohio State was No. 9 in the country and the Big Ten conference was No. 5.

SCORING POWER SPREAD OUT
Jessica Davenport, Caity Matter and Brandie Hoskins are leading the team with 17.7, 15.3 and 11.9 points per game, respectively. Davenport has scored double figures in every game this season, Matter has scored double digits in 10-of-12 games this year and Hoskins has tallied double digits in 8-of-11 games played, including the last five in a row. Davenport’s 17.7 points is No. 6 in the league, while Matter and Hoskins come in at No. 15 and 21 in the Big Ten.

MATTER MONEY FROM THE LINE
Ohio State is No. 1 the Big Ten with a .809 (169-209) mark from the free-throw line. Last season, the Buckeyes shot .654 from the charity stripe on the season and were ranked last in the league.

The Buckeyes are led by Caity Matter, who is ranked No. 1 in the league with a .946 (35-37) mark and Jessica Davenport, who has made 50-of-60 free throws this season and is ranked No. 12 in the conference with an .833 average.

3-1 VS. THE TOP 25
The Buckeyes’ 83-60 victory over then-No. 20/23 UCLA Dec. 21 improved the squad’s record to 3-1 vs. the Top 25 this season. Ohio State beat then-No. 24 Oregon 73-58 Dec. 18 and Ohio State earned its first victory of the season over a Top 25 team with a 78-45 victory over then-No. 21/24 Arizona Nov. 17.

Ironically, Foster’s first win over a Top 25 team since he took over the helm of the Buckeye program in 2002, was an 84-65 victory over then-No. 19/24 Arizona Dec. 15, 2002 in Value City Arena.

The Buckeyes are 6-3 against ranked opponents in Value City Arena since Foster became the head coach.

The only OSU loss of the season was a 66-62 loss at then-No. 10/11 Notre Dame in the final game of the 2004 Sportsview.tv Preseason WNIT Nov. 20 in South Bend, Ind.

PERFECT DECEMBER
In games played in December, Ohio state head coach Jim Foster is 17-3 overall while at the helm of the Buckeye program and 6-0 this season. Foster is 11-0 in games played at home in December.

OVERALL UNDER FOSTER
Foster is 558-246 overall in 27 years of collegiate coaching and 54-21 in three seasons at Ohio State. In Columbus, Foster is 34-4 overall with a 26-3 mark in Value City Arena and an 8-1 record in St. John Arena. Ohio State’s win over then-No. 21/24 Arizona Nov. 17 in Columbus gave head coach Jim Foster win No. 550 and the victory at Dayton Dec. 4 gave him win No. 50 while at Ohio State.

ON FIRE WITH OFFENSE
The Buckeyes are leading the Big Ten in every major offensive category. Ohio State ranks first among league leaders for scoring offense (80.4 ppg), scoring margin (+31.2), field-goal percentage (.545; 358-657), 3-point field-goal percentage (.468; 80-171) and free-throw percentage (.809; 169-209).

Individually, Jessica Davenport is shooting .614 (81-132) and ranked No. 3 in the Big Ten, followed by Brandie Hoskins’ No. 5-ranked average of .604 (55-91). Caity Matter is No. 8 among league leaders with a .559 mark (62-111) from the floor.

WINNING BIG
The Buckeyes are leading the Big Ten with a +31.2 scoring margin. The next closest team is Minnesota, who is winning games by a margin of 16.0 points.

CROWDED IN THREE LAND
The Big Ten’s best 3-point shooting team is not only leaning on Caity Matter, who broke the Buckeye record for career treys vs. UCLA Dec. 21. Three Buckeye players hold spots in the Top 4 among league leaders. Michelle Muñoz is No. 1 with a .706 average from 3-point land, followed by Ashley Allen, who ranks No. 2 with a .480 mark and Matter, who holds a No. 4-ranked .453 average. Matter’s 2.0 treys per game are tied for fourth among Big Ten leaders.

As a team, the Buckeyes are tied at the top with Wisconsin with 6.7 treys made per game.

BLANTON COMFY IN THREE TERRITORY
As a rookie, sophomore Stephanie Blanton made only four treys last season. She is now 9-for-18 on the year.

TURNING DOWN THE TO’S
The Buckeyes are ranked No. 1 in the Big Ten with a +4.8 turnover margin and a 1.50 assist-to-turnover ratio. The second-ranked Big Ten squad for turnover margin is Michigan State, who has a mark of +3.1. Ohio State is one of only four teams in the conference to have a positive turnover margin.

The Ohio State squad is ranked high for a reason – especially when three players hold places in the Top 4 among Big Ten leaders. Caity Matter and Kim Wilburn are No. 1 and No. 2 in the league with 2.85 and 2.32 assist-to-turnover ratios, respectively. Ashley Allen is No. 4 with a 2.17 ratio.

ASSISTING THE SQUAD
The Buckeyes are ranked first in the Big Ten with 19.9 assists per game vs. opponents’ 8.3 dishes per outing. Leading the way is Kim Wilburn and Ashley Allen, who have 3.7 and 3.3 assists-per-game averages, respectively. Wilburn is tied for No. 8 and Allen is No. 15 in the Big Ten.

Of note, Matter is averaging 3.1 helpers this year. She averaged 1.97 assists last year and entered the season with a 1.67 career assists average.

DAVENPORT BLOCKING THE WAY
Jessica Davenport is leading the Big Ten with 3.33 blocked shots per game. The No. 2-ranked player (Minnesota’s Janel McCarville) is averaging 2.8 blocks per outing. Jessica Davenport added eight blocked shots to her first double-double of the season (16 points, 13 rebounds) at Dayton Dec. 4. Eight blocks is a career-best mark for the sophomore center from Columbus.

Davenport’s eight blocked shots added to the team’s season-high performance at Dayton Dec. 4 with 11 swatted shots total.

DEFENSE, DEFENSE, DEFENSE
While Ohio State is the Big Ten’s most impressive offensive performer, the Buckeyes are not slacking on defense. The squad is No. 1 and No. 3 in scoring defense (49.2 ppg) and field-goal percentage defense (.339; 211-623), respectively.

DAVENPORT BIG ON THE BOARDS
Jessica Davenport is leading her team and ranked No. 7 in the Big Ten with 8.0 rebounds per outing.

BENCH HELP
The Buckeyes’ bench is getting utilized this year and the help is proving its worth. Ohio State players coming off the bench are averaging 25.6 points per game (308 total) vs. opponents’ 12.4 points per contest (149 total) from the reserves. Notre Dame is the only school to outscore the Buckeye bench. The Fighting Irish had eight points vs. Ohio State’s seven points from non-starters. Nebraska was close with a 13-12 mark in favor of the Buckeyes.

SCORING INSIDE
Ohio State is outscoring opponents in the paint by an average of 37.2 to 15.3 points per game (446-184). Of note, the Buckeyes scored 50 points in the paint vs. Bradley’s eight scores inside the lane Nov. 28 and 34 points in the lane vs. Ohio’s two scores inside. The only team to contend in the lane vs. the Buckeyes was Notre Dame, who beat Ohio State Nov. 20. The Fighting Irish scored 28 points inside vs. Ohio State’s 30 in the lane.

MINUTES SHARED THROUGHOUT
In the first ten games of the season, every Buckeye available to play clocked minutes in every outing. In game eleven at Oregon Dec. 18, only one player did not clock minutes and in the next game vs. UCLA Dec. 21, all 13 players played. Alice Jamen made her college debut in the game at Dayton Dec. 4. Jamen had been sidelined because of an injury. She has played in every game since. Of note, Brandie Hoskins has missed one game (at Ohio Dec. 1) this season.

Nine of 13 Buckeyes are averaging more than 10.0 minutes per game and only three players – Jessica Davenport, Caity Matter, Brandie Hoskins – are clocking more than 20.0 minutes per outing. The most PT for any Ohio State player is 27.0 minutes an outing (Davenport).

LOOKING UP ON THE ROAD
After dropping a 66-62 game at Notre Dame Nov. 20, the Buckeyes responded in a big way during their second road trip of the season. Ohio State pounded Ohio, 107-37, in Athens Dec. 1 and beat Dayton, 75-42, in UD Arena Dec. 4. Most recently, the Buckeyes tallied a 70-57 victory at Penn and a 73-58 win at Oregon Dec. 18 and have improved to 4-1 on the road this year.

STEALING THE SHOW
Ohio State is No. 4 in the Big Ten with 9.8 steals per game. The Buckeyes are led by Kim Wilburn, who is averaging 2.3 steals per outing and tied for No. 5 in the league.

COMING BACK IN THE SECOND
The Buckeyes, who entered the Dec. 11 Nebraska game as the Big Ten’s top shooting squad from 3-point land, were held to only .250 (2-of-8) in the first half from downtown, but turned it around in the second half by hitting all five treys attempted. OSU finished with a .538 (7-of-13) mark for the game from 3-point land.

+70 A RECORD
The Buckeyes beat Ohio, 107-37, Dec. 1 in Athens, Ohio. Ohio State’s 70-point win tied the school record for the largest margin of victory. Ohio State beat Akron 105-35 on Feb. 22, 1977. The win was the Bobcats’ worst lost in program history. Ohio’s previous worst lost was 52 points at Iowa in 1991.

The previous biggest margin of victory for a Buckeye team under head coach Jim Foster was a 48-point win. Foster’s Ohio State teams had beaten two squads by 48 points: 96-48 vs. IUPUI Dec. 1, 2003 in Value City Arena and 89-41 vs. Bowling Green Nov. 12 in Value City Arena.

107 THE HIGHEST UNDER FOSTER
Ohio State’s 107 points vs. Ohio Dec. 1 was the highest points total this season and the most for any Buckeye team coached by Jim Foster. The Buckeyes’ previous season-high was 89 points against Bowling Green (Nov. 12) in the season opener. Ohio State’s 46 points in the first 20 minutes of play vs. Ohio Dec. 1 was the most in the first half this year.

The last time a Buckeye team scored at least 100 points, was vs. Wayne State Nov. 26, 2002 in Foster’s second-ever game at the helm of the Buckeyes.

The most points ever scored by a Buckeye team was a 119-point performance vs. Idaho State Dec. 11, 1994. The Buckeyes won, 119-63.

SEVEN REACH DOUBLES
The Buckeyes had seven players reach double figures in scoring vs. Ohio Dec. 1. Tamarah Riley had 18, Caity Matter scored 14 points, Stephanie Blanton, Jessica Davenport, Beth Howe and Michelle Muñoz all netted 12 and Candace Dark tallied 11 scores. Seven players in double digits is the most this season. Ohio State had five players reach double figures against St. Joseph’s (Nov. 14).

SEASON-HIGH REBOUNDS AND FG’S
Ohio State tallied a season-high 45 rebounds in the Ohio contest Dec. 1. The Buckeyes beat their previous season-high mark of 38, which was set vs. Bowling Green (Nov. 12) and vs. St. Joseph’s (Nov. 14).

The Buckeyes also recorded season highs with 40 field goals and a 67.8 field-goal percentage vs. the Bobcats. The previous bests were 35 shots made against Bowling Green (Nov. 12) and a .574 (35-of-61) percentage against the Falcons.

ALLEN BACK IN THE STARTING MIX
Ashley Allen has started in eight consecutive games and is back in the starting mix for head coach Jim Foster. The Buckeye Classic games vs. Yale Nov. 27 and vs. Bradley Nov. 28 marked her first two starts since Feb. 19, 2003 at Illinois when she was injured and forced to miss the rest of the season. Allen played in six games in 2003-04 but did not make a start.

ALLEN SHOOTS HER WAY BACK
Ashley Allen officially returned to the Buckeye lineup against Bowling Green for the first time since Dec. 20, 2003. Allen scored 17 points vs. the Falcons and made a career-high five 3-pointers (of six attempted) against the Falcons.

Allen’s previous record was four 3-pointers drained vs. UNC Wilmington Dec. 25, 2003.

MATTER A CLASS ACT
Ohio State women’s basketball player Caity Matter was named a finalist for the 2004-05 Bayer Advantage Senior CLASS Award by the organizing committee of the award. The Senior CLASS Award is an acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School. The award is given to the outstanding male and female senior NCAA Division I basketball player annually and originated from the award’s honorary chairman, CBS sportscaster Dick Enberg.

A national media committee will select 10 finalists for the award in February of 2005. In March, a nationwide fan ballot will be paired with results from a vote of coaches and media to determine the winners. The winner will be announced by Enberg during the CBS telecast of the 2005 NCAA Men’s Final Four.

Courtney Coleman, a former Ohio State regional Kodak/WBCA All-American honorable mention pick and four-year Buckeye letterwinner, was named a second team Senior CLASS Award winner in 2003.

BUCKEYE CLASSIC NOTES
The Ohio State vs. Bradley game Nov. 28 was the 12th time Ohio State has made it to the title game in 13 years of the Buckeye Classic. In 1983 – during the first year of the Buckeye Classic – Georgia and Clemson met and Georgia won the title, 78-64. The Buckeyes have won the Buckeye Classic seven times, including the previous four events in a row. The last two MVP’s of the Buckeye Classic are underclassmen on the Ohio State team. Sophomore center Jessica Davenport earned the honor this season and classmate Brandie Hoskins was tabbed the Buckeye Classic’s MVP last season when she was a rookie.

BUCKEYE CLASSIC ALL-TOURNEY TEAM MEMBERS
Jessica Davenport and Caity Matter were named to the 2004 Buckeye Classic All-Tournament Team. Davenport, the most valuable player, was 16-of-27 from the field and tallied a total of 37 points, 12 rebounds, six assists, four steals, five blocked shots and only two turnovers. Matter was 7-of-13 form the field, scored 22 points and had seven assists, six rebounds and four steals. Davenport and Matter were also named to the Sportsview.tv 2004 Preseason WNIT All-Tournament Team.

PRESEASON WNIT WRAP-UP
Ohio State beat Bowling Green, 89-41, Nov. 12 and blew by Saint Joseph’s, 76-29, Nov. 14 in rounds one and two of the 2004 Sportsview.tv Preseason WNIT. In the semifinals vs. No. 21/24 Arizona, the Buckeyes won, 78-45, and earned the program’s first trip to the finals of the preseason WNIT. The first three games were in Columbus, Ohio (with round one and the semifinal game being held at Value City Arena and round two taking place in St. John Arena), but the Buckeyes had to travel to South Bend, Ind., to face then-No. 10/11 Notre Dame in the final game Nov. 20.

Notre Dame tallied victories at home over Illinois State (92-73), Nebraska (73-57) and No. 6/6 Duke (76-65) on its path to the final game of the preseason WNIT event, fought for the title in a close game vs. the Buckeyes. In a back-and-forth battle with seven lead changes and nine ties, Ohio State led, 62-54, with 5:18 to play, but Notre Dame went on a 12-0 run to close the final five minutes of the game and earn the championship.

It was the second preseason WNIT run for Ohio State. The Buckeyes were also in the 1995 event and faced Pittsburgh Nov. 15, 1995. The Buckeyes beat Pitt, 85-50. In the second round of that year’s preseason WNIT, the Buckeyes beat Maine in the second round, 93-64, before falling to Arkansas, 86-80. Then-senior Katie Smith, who is currently a student assistant for the Buckeyes, was named to the 1995 Preseason WNIT All-Tournament team.

PRESEASON WNIT ALL-TOURNEY SELECTIONS
Ohio State’s Jessica Davenport and Caity Matter were named to the Sportsview.tv 2004 Preseason WNIT All-Tournament Team. For the tournament, Davenport averaged 17.8 points, 6.3 boards and 2.5 rebounds per game, while shooting .581 from the field (25-of-43) and making all 21 free throws she attempted. Matter averaged 14.3 points, 3.8 assists and shot .467 (21-of-45) from the field and 7-for-7 from the charity stripe in the four games.

BUCKEYES BREAK WNIT TREY RECORDS
The Buckeyes have set two preseason WNIT team records: 3-pointers in a game and 3-pointers in a tournament.

Ohio State made 13 3-pointers (of 20 attempted) vs. Bowling Green Nov. 12. The previous mark was held by Connecticut, who drained 12 treys vs. Fairfield Nov. 9, 2001. Ohio State was .650 from beyond the arc vs. the Falcons, due primarily to Ashley Allen, who was 5-of-6 from downtown, Caity Matter, who hit 2-of-4, and Michelle Muñoz, who hit both 3-pointers attempted.

The Buckeyes’ 27 3-pointers accumulated during the four preseason WNIT contests beat the previous mark of 23 treys in a tournament set by the University of Arkansas in 1995.

FOSTER IN ST. JOHN ARENA
The Buckeyes beat Saint Joseph’s, 76-29, Nov. 14 in St. John Arena. Under Foster, the 47-point differential is the largest Buckeye margin of victory in St. John Arena. The next closest for a Foster-coach squad was a 43-point victory over Wright State, 88-45, Dec. 18, 2003. Foster’s Buckeye squads are 8-1 in St. John Arena, with the lone loss coming in the NCAA tournament last year in second-round action vs. Boston College.

DEFENDING VS. THE HAWKS
Besides impressive offensive performances by the Buckeyes, Ohio State’s defense deserves some credit as well. OSU held Saint Joseph’s to 29 points, which is one more than the lowest output by any Buckeye opponent – 28 points by Purdue Feb., 6, 1976. The Buckeyes beat the Boilermakers, 61-28.

THE EARLY BIRD GETS THE WORM
The Nov. 12 game vs. BGSU was the earliest start in Buckeye history since dates for games were recorded beginning in the 1974-75 season. The next earliest start was a Nov. 15, 1995 game in the preseason WNIT vs. Pittsburgh.

ESPN.COM ACCOLADES
Senior Caity Matter was listed as one of the Top 5 off-guards in the country and a “Fresh Face To Watch” by ESPN.com. Sophomore center Jessica Davenport was an honorable mention pick by ESPN.com for Top 5 centers in the country. Notably, Davenport faced Shawntinice Polk of Arizona Nov. 17 and will face Katie Feenstra of Liberty, as well as Minnesota’s Janel McCarville – all three of whom were in the Top 5.

USING THE SUMMER DOWN UNDER
While most of the women’s basketball team spent time lifting weights, conditioning and playing in the summer leagues in Columbus, one player gained experience of another sort. Jessica Davenport was a member of the 2004 Big Ten Basketball Foreign Tour Team and scored double-digits in all four contests abroad. She averaged 15.0 points and 6.8 boards per outing as a member of the undefeated 12-player roster under the direction of Indiana’s Kathi Bennett. Bennett’s team went 4-0 in Australia during the 11-day trip.

PRESEASON KUDOS
The Ohio State women’s basketball team opened the season tied for ninth place in the preseason USA Today/ESPN/WBCA Coaches’ Poll and No. 10 in the Associated Press poll. Both polls were released the week off Nov. 15. In other preseason rankings, the Buckeyes are No. 6 according to Women’s Basketball News Service, No. 8 in Athlon and No. 13 among Lindy’s rankings.

COACHES’ FAVORITE
Ohio State was picked to finish first in the coaches’ Big Ten preseason poll, in front of Michigan State and Minnesota. The media chose Purdue No. 1, the Buckeyes No. 2, and Penn State No. 3. Ohio State was the only squad named in both polls.

EARLY HONORS FOR DAVENPORT
Buckeye sophomore center Jessica Davenport, the media’s pick for 2004 Big Ten Freshman of the Year, was named a member of both the media and the coaches’ preseason all-conference teams. Davenport averaged 12.5 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.6 blocked shots per game in her rookie campaign.

SMITH’S SECOND GOLD
Katie Smith, a student assistant in the Ohio State women’s basketball office and a former two-time All-American at OSU, was one of the first seven members named to the 2004 USA Basketball Women’s Senior National Team. Smith represented the U.S. at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens and despite suffering an injury in Athens, aided her team in capturing a gold medal – the second overall for Smith. A Logan, Ohio, native, Smith is also a member of the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx. She is a four-time All-WNBA player and a four-time WNBA All-Star and plans to return to the WNBA in 2005 once she recovers.