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Jan. 10, 2005

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THE TIP
The No. 9/9 Ohio State women’s basketball team (14-2; 2-1 Big Ten) travels to face the Wolverines of Michigan (4-11; 0-4 Big Ten) at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Crisler Center in Ann Arbor, Mich.

ABOUT MICHIGAN
Michigan is 0-4 in Big Ten play and 4-11 overall. The Wolverines, who have lost seven consecutive games, recently fell 60-43 at Purdue Sunday.

Tabitha Pool and Ta’Shia Walker are leading Michigan with 16.5 and 13.7 points per game, respectively. Pool is the team’s top rebounder with a 9.2 average, leads the squad with a 2.0 steals per game and is No. 1 on the team with 11 total blocked shots this season.

Head coach Cheryl Burnett is in her second season at the helm of the Wolverine program and is 18-28 at Michigan and 337-164 in 17 seasons of collegiate coaching.

OHIO STATE-MICHIGAN SERIES
Ohio State leads the all-time series with Michigan, 37-5. The Buckeyes are on a four-game winning streak. The last Michigan win was a 76-63 victory Jan. 21, 2001 in Columbus. Ohio State has won three consecutive games in Ann Arbor and leads the all-time series at Michigan, 17-4.

LAST TIME OUT VS. LIBERTY
The No. 9/9 Ohio State women’s basketball team (14-2; 2-1 Big Ten) beat Liberty (7-5; 0-0 Big South), 66-51, Sunday at Value City Arena. The Buckeyes improved to 14-2 for the first time 1992-93.

Ohio State opened the game on a 14-0 run and held Liberty scoreless until the 11-minute mark. Caity Matter hit a 3-pointer at 6:51 to send the Buckeyes up 23-11, but Liberty answered with a 6-0 run and pulled within six points, 23-17, with 5:36 until halftime.

Buckeye rookie Tamarah Riley hit two free throws and a jumper to send her team up 27-17 at 2:41. Liberty’s Katie Feenstra netted seven consecutive points as the Flames went on a 7-0 run in the final minutes of the half to bring the game to 27-24. Matter sank two shots at the charity stripe with one second left until halftime and made it 29-24 at the break.

Ohio State came out strong in the second half and quickly extended the lead to 14 points, 40-26, by utilizing an 11-2 scoring run. Despite Liberty shooting .522 (12-of-23) in the second half, the Buckeyes led by as many as 16 points twice in the second half and maintained a double-digit lead the remainder of the game.

The Buckeyes shot a season-low .385 (20-of-52) compared to Liberty’s .458 (22-of-48), but outrebounded the Flames, who entered the game averaging 41.9 caroms per contest, 34-27. Liberty scored 28 points vs. Ohio State’s 18 points in the paint and became the only team to outscore the Buckeyes inside this season.

Ohio State tallied 13 offensive rebounds vs. Liberty’s four and converted seven second-chance points vs. the Flame’s two second-chance points.

Matter and Brandie Hoskins led Ohio State with 17 and 13 points, respectively. Stephanie Blanton and Riley each added nine points. Guard Kim Wilburn led OSU with five rebounds.

Liberty was led by Feenstra, who tallied 17 points and 11 rebounds. Daina Staugaitiene scored 10 points.

LAST TIME VS. MICHIGAN
The Ohio State women’s basketball team (11-7, 3-4 Big Ten) defeated Michigan (10-11, 3-5 Big Ten), 51-49, Jan. 29, 2004 in Ann Arbor, Mich., ending a three-game losing skid in conference play. Caity Matter recorded her first-career double-double with 15 points and a personal-best 10 rebounds against the Wolverines. Jessica Davenport added 11 points (5-of-6) and eight boards and LaToya Turner scored 10 points and blocked four shots.

The Buckeyes entered the final 20 minutes with a 21-20 lead and went on a 15-4 run, which began with a Brandie Hoskins 3-point field goal and was capped by a Matter trey. The run resulted in a 36-26 Buckeye lead with 14:13 left. A Turner bucket with just over 10 minutes to play gave the Buckeyes another 10-point lead and sent OSU up 38-28.

Michigan chipped away at the Ohio State advantage and pulled within one, 49-48, after a Tabitha Pool 3-pointer with 37 seconds left in the game. With time running out, Matter split a double team at the free-throw line extended on the left side of the court and hit Turner in the lane. Turner converted the basket and gave OSU a 51-48 lead. An Ohio State foul sent Michigan’s Stephanie Gandy to the charity stripe on the next play. Gandy hit the first free throw and missed the second before Turner collected the rebound and was fouled with 2.2 ticks left on the clock. Turner’s free throw rolled off the rim but was knocked out-of-bounds as time expired.

Matter drained a shot from behind the 3-point arc with 10:07 to go in the first half and put the Buckeyes up 15-8, but Ohio State went cold over the next four minutes and the Wolverines tied the ball game at 17 off a Pool 3-pointer with six minutes remaining in the first. Hoskins and Turner put together two field goals, but Michigan’s Pool continued her hot shooting from outside and drained a 3-point bucket to bring it to 21-20 at the midway mark.

Hoskins netted nine points and Kim Wilburn added six points and four rebounds to the Buckeye effort. Beth Howe also scored two points and recorded one steal.

Pool led the Wolverines with 29 points, including a 5-of-7 stroke from 3-point land, and 11 caroms. Jennifer Smith also added 10 points and five rebounds.

14-2 A FIRST IN OVER A DECADE
Ohio State is 14-2 for the first time under head coach Jim Foster and for the first time since the 1992-93 season. The 1992-93 Buckeyes were 14-2 in the first 16 games before they lost at Iowa, 79-62, Feb. 5, 1993 and dropped to 14-3.

WILBURN WORKING HARD ON THE BOARDS
At 5-feet-6-inches tall, junior guard Kim Wilburn is the shortest member of the Ohio State team. That is not stopping Wilburn on the boards. She was the leading rebounder with five vs. Liberty Jan. 9 and led the squad with eight caroms at Penn Dec. 13.

MATTER AT TOP OF EVERY 3-POINT LIST
Senior Caity Matter is at the top of every 3-point career record in the Ohio State records book. Matter went 2-for-7 vs. Liberty Jan. 9. Matter’s seven attempts gave the senior guard from Bluffton, Ohio, the record for career attempts with 565. Katie Smith previously held the No. 1 spot with 564 attempts from 1993-96.

Matter also broke Smith’s record earlier this season for career treys made and currently has 228 career 3-pointers drained. Smith made 218 3-pointers during her career and held the No. 1 spot for eight years. She 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. Matter is only the third Buckeye to make at least 200 career 3-pointers. Marcie Albert is ranked No. 3 with 203 treys.

Matter is currently No. 1 with a .404 (228-of-565) career 3-point percentage.

SHARING THE ASSISTS
The Buckeyes are ranked first in the Big Ten with 18.4 assists per game, but no individual is ranked higher than No. 12 on the league leaders list. Kim Wilburn has a 3.38 assists-per-game average and is ranked No. 12 in the Big Ten and Brandie Hoskins’ 3.13 average is No. 15 in the league. Caity Matter is averaging 2.9 helpers, Ashley Allen dishes 2.8 assists and center Jessica Davenport has a 1.4 assists average.

Of note, Matter averaged 1.97 assists last year and entered the season with a 1.67 career assists average. Additionally, Buckeye opponents are averaging less than half of OSU’s average – 9.1 dishes per outing vs. Ohio State’s 18.4

WIN THE LANE, WIN THE GAME
If the Buckeyes outscore opponents inside the lane, the squad is likely to win the game. There has been one exception this season – Liberty outscored Ohio State 28-18 in the paint Jan. 9, but fell 66-51 to the Buckeyes. The Flames are the only team this season to outscore OSU in the paint.

Ohio State is outscoring opponents inside by an average of 35.4 to 18.1 points per game (566-290). Besides Liberty, the only two teams to contend in the lane vs. the Buckeyes were Notre Dame and Penn State, who are the only two squads to beat Ohio State. On Nov. 20, the Fighting Irish scored 28 points inside vs. Ohio State’s 30 in the lane and Dec. 30, the Lady Lions tallied 30 points vs. the Buckeyes’ 32 points inside.

SCORING DROUGHTS
The Buckeyes have notched two consecutive and significant scoring droughts the last two contests. On Jan. 9, the Buckeyes held Liberty scoreless until 11:00 left in the first half. In the previous game, Ohio State held No. 6/6 Michigan State without a bucket from the 7:47 mark to the 0:28 mark to close the game Jan. 6.

NINE STRAIGHT FOR HOSKINS
Sophomore guard Brandie Hoskins has scored double digits in 12-of-15 games played, including the last nine in a row. Hoskins averaged 15 points the last two outings vs. Liberty Jan. 9 and vs. then-No. 6/6 Michigan State Jan. 6.

OVERALL UNDER FOSTER
Foster is 561-247 overall in 27 years of collegiate coaching and 57-22 in three seasons at Ohio State. In Columbus, Foster is 37-4 overall with a 29-3 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.

NO. 12 FOR MATTER
Caity Matter started her senior season ranked No. 21 among Ohio State’s career points leaders. This season, she has jumped nine spots and is currently No. 12 on the all-time scoring list with 1,286 points. The No. 12 spot was held by Larecha Jones’ 1,275 points. Jones played at OSU from 1996-99. In order to move to No. 11, Matter needs 161 points.

HIGHEST-RANKED WIN FOR FOSTER’S BUCKEYES
Ohio State beat then-No. 6/6 Michigan State 68-54 Jan. 6 in Value City Arena. The Spartans were the highest-ranked opponent the Buckeyes have beaten under head coach Jim Foster. During the 2002-03 season, Ohio State defeated No. 10/11 Purdue 56-51 in Value City Arena. Last year, the Buckeyes defeated No. 10/10 Minnesota 75-57 at home.

DAVENPORT AVERAGING DOUBLE-DOUBLE IN BIG TEN
Sophomore Jessica Davenport is averaging a double-double in Big Ten competition. In three games, Davenport is scoring 19.3 points per game and pulling down 10.0 rebounds per outing.

NO. 1 FOR OFFENSE
The Buckeyes are leading the Big Ten in every major offensive category except free-throw percentage. Ohio State ranks first among league leaders for scoring offense (76.5 ppg), scoring margin (+25.6), field-goal percentage (.520; 452-870), 3-point field-goal percentage (.424; 98-231). OSU is No. 2 with a .790 (222-281) mark from the charity stripe.

Individually, Brandie Hoskins is ranked No. 3 in the Big Ten with a .603 (79-131) field-goal percentage, followed by Jessica Davenport, who is shooting .583 (102-175) and ranked No. 5 in the Big Ten. Caity Matter is No. 10 among league leaders with a .514 mark (76-148) from the floor.

In Big Ten games, Hoskins is tied for No. 1 with a .625 (20-32) mark from the field.

SCORING FROM THE SIDELINES
The Buckeyes’ bench is getting utilized this year and the help is proving its worth. Ohio State players coming off the bench are averaging 23.1 points per game (370 total) vs. opponents’ 12.3 points per contest (196 total) from the reserves.

Purdue and Notre Dame are the only two schools to outscore the Buckeye bench this season. The Fighting Irish, who beat the Buckeyes 66-62 Nov. 20, had eight points vs. Ohio State’s seven points from non-starters. Purdue’s bench tallied 25 points vs. Ohio State’s 10 scores in a 63-50 Buckeye victory Jan. 2. Nebraska was close with a 13-12 mark in favor of the Buckeyes during an 86-61 Ohio State win Dec. 11.

DAVENPORT TAKES OVER THIRD
Jessica Davenport had four blocked shots vs. Michigan State Jan. 6 and moved into third place on Ohio State’s career leaders list. Davenport, who replaced Francine Lewis’ 124 swatted shots, currently has 128 blocked shots. Davenport needs 38 to take over No. 2 and 114 to become the school’s career leader for swatted shots in Buckeye history. Mary Sivak tallied 241 blocks during her tenure at Ohio State from 1979-82.

Davenport is leading the Big Ten with three blocked shots per game. The No. 2-ranked player (Minnesota’s Janel McCarville) is averaging 2.54 blocks per outing. Of note, 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.

NO OPPONENT BETTER THAN .500
Ohio State – the Big Ten’s best shooting squad – is doing its part on defense as well. The squad is No. 1 and No. 4 in scoring defense (50.9 ppg) and field-goal percentage defense (.358; 298-833), respectively.

While the Buckeyes have shot better than .500 10 times and greater than .600 twice this season, no Ohio State opponent has shot better than .500 from the field. Purdue’s .476 (22-53) mark from the floor Jan. 2 is the highest average for any OSU opponent this season.

FOUR W’S IN A ROW VS. TOP 25
Ohio State is 5-1 overall vs. Top 25 teams this season. The Buckeyes currently have put together four consecutive wins vs. Top 25 opponents.

Michigan State was the highest-ranked team the Buckeyes faced this year. The then-No. 6/6 Spartans fell to the Buckeyes, 68-54, Jan. 6 in Value City Arena. Notre Dame is the next highest-ranked opponent for Ohio State. The Fighting Irish were No. 10/11 when OSU lost 66-62 in South Bend, Ind., Nov. 20.

Under head coach Jim Foster, Ohio State is 8-3 all-time and 3-0 this season against ranked opponents in Value City Arena.

The Buckeyes also beat then-No. 20/20 Purdue 63-50 Jan. 2 in Value City Arena (VCA), then-No. 20/23 UCLA 83-60 Dec. 21 in VCA, then-No. 24 Oregon 73-58 Dec. 18 in Eugene, Ore., and then-No. 21/24 Arizona 78-45 Nov. 17 in VCA.

The only OSU loss vs. a Top 25 squad this year 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.

TAKING CARE OF THE ROCK
The Buckeyes are ranked No. 1 in the Big Ten with a +4.3 turnover margin and a 1.35 assist-to-turnover ratio. The second-ranked Big Ten squad for turnover margin is Michigan State with a +3.4, followed by Illinois’ 1.4 mark.

Ohio State is one of only four teams in the conference to have a positive turnover margin.

Among Big Ten leaders, junior Kim Wilburn is No. 2 with a 2.08 assist-to-turnover ratios, respectively. Brandie Hoskins is No. 10 with a 1.38 ratio.

NO CHARITY NEEDED AT THE STRIPE
Ohio State is No. 2 the Big Ten with a .790 (222-281) 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 tied for No. 2 in the league with a .900 (45-50) mark and Jessica Davenport, who has made 72-of-90 free throws this season and is No. 12 in the conference with an .800 average.

WILBURN 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 2.25 steals per outing and is No. 8 in the league.

FIVE 20’S FOR DAVENPORT
Jessica Davenport had 24 points vs. Purdue Jan. 2. The game marked her fifth 20-point performance, including her third consecutive game, this season. Davenport has scored double-digits in 15-of-16 contest this year and is leading the team with 17.3 points per game.

DAVENPORT’S DOUBLE-DOUBLES
Sophomore center Jessica Davenport recorded her fourth double-double of the season with 24 points and 12 rebounds against Purdue Jan. 2. It marked the eighth career double-double for Davenport.

Davenport scored 20 points and collected 12 boards for her third double-double vs. then-No. 20/23 UCLA Dec. 21. Davenport had 12 points and 11 rebounds for her second double-double of the season 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.

WINNING MARGIN LEADS THE BIG TEN
The Buckeyes are leading the Big Ten with a +25.6 scoring margin. That mark is 7.4 points higher than the second-ranked squad Minnesota, who is winning games by a margin of 18.2 points.

SCORING BURDEN SHARED
Jessica Davenport, Caity Matter and Brandie Hoskins are leading the team with 17.3, 14.3 and 12.8 points per game, respectively. Davenport has scored double figures in 15-of-16 games this season, Matter has scored double digits in 13-of-16 games this year and Hoskins has tallied double digits in 12-of-15 games played, including the last nine in a row. Davenport’s 17.3 points is No. 4 in the league, while Matter and Hoskins come in at No. 16 and 20 in the Big Ten, respectively.

In conference games, Davenport’s 19.3 points is No. 2 in the Big Ten and Hoskins is averaging 16.0 points per contest, which is tied at No. 9 among league leaders.

SENIORS SETTING STANDARDS DOWNTOWN
The Big Ten’s best 3-point shooting team is relying on two seniors – Caity Matter and Ashley Allen. Matter, who broke the Buckeye record for career treys vs. UCLA Dec. 21, is No. 2 in the conference with a .431 (31-72) average. Allen is No. 5 with a .410 mark (16-39).

Matter’s 1.7 treys per game are ranked sixth among Big Ten leaders.

As a team, the Buckeyes are No. 2 with 6.12 treys made per game.

BLANTON’S NEW ROLE
As a rookie, sophomore Stephanie Blanton made only four treys last season. She is now 11-for-27 (.407) on the year.

DAVENPORT BIG ON THE BOARDS
Jessica Davenport is leading her team and ranked No. 4 in the Big Ten with 8.1 rebounds per outing. In conference games, the sophomore center is averaging 10.0 rebounds per game and No. 3 among league leaders.

PT PASSED AROUND
Eight of 13 Buckeyes are averaging more than 10.0 minutes per game and only four players – Jessica Davenport, Caity Matter, Brandie Hoskins and Ashley Allen – are clocking more than 20.0 minutes per outing. The most PT for any Ohio State player is 27.7 minutes an outing (Matter).

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 before falling at Penn State, 69-62, Dec. 30. Ohio State is 4-2 on the road this year.

DAVENPORT NAMED BIG TEN PLAYER OF WEEK
On Jan. 3, Jessica Davenport was named Big Ten Player of the Week for the first time in her career. Davenport’s honor was the first for a Buckeye player since teammate Caity Matter was honored Feb. 16, 2004. Davenport averaged 22 points and 10.5 rebounds vs. Penn State Dec. 30 and then-No. 20/20 Purdue Jan. 2. In the two game combined, Davenport shot .519 (14-of-27) from the field and .800 (16-of-20) from the free-throw line. A sophomore center from Columbus, Ohio, she also notched three assists, two blocked shots and two steals in the two conference contests. The Buckeyes dropped a 69-62 decision at Penn State, but bounced back to beat the Boilermakers, 63-50, in Value City Arena. Davenport’s 24 points and 12 rebounds vs. Purdue was her fourth double-double of the season and her eighth career double-double.

+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).

ALLEN BACK IN THE STARTING MIX
Ashley Allen has started in 10 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 and in 2002-03, she started in all 25 games she played.

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.

THE BUCKEYE BASKETBALL SHOW WITH Jim Foster
“The Buckeye Basketball with Jim Foster Show” began its 10-week run Jan. 9. The half-hour show, which is hosted by WBNS’ Ryan Miller, will be aired on WBNS statewide at 11 a.m. Sunday mornings. It will be replayed on Ohio News Network Sunday nights. Please check local listings for the ONN air times.

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.

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.

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. Davenport has faced two players who were named to the Top 5 centers list in Liberty’s Katie Feenstra and Arizona’s Shawntinice Polk. The Buckeyes beat both Liberty and Arizona. Davenport will play another Top 5 center in Minnesota’s Janel McCarville Feb. 17.

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.