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Oct. 13, 2004

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State women’s basketball team 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.

Buckeye sophomore center Jessica Davenport, the media’s pick for 2003-04 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.

The Buckeyes return four starters for the 2004-05 season, including Davenport and second team All-Big Ten selection Caity Matter. Ohio State, which is under third-year head coach Jim Foster, was 21-10 last season, finished third in the Big Ten and made it to the second round of the NCAA tournament. In 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.

The Buckeyes will be available for comment with media at 3 p.m. Wednesday in the interview room across from the weight room in Value City Arena. Ohio State’s Davenport, Matter, and Foster will take part in Big Ten Women’s Basketball Media Day 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. CST this Sunday (Oct. 17) at the NCAA Conference Center in Indianapolis.

For a complete release about the preseason selections and Big Ten Women’s Basketball Media Day, please see below.

Ohio State and Purdue Named Big Ten Women’s Basketball Preseason Favorites
Minnesota’s Janel McCarville Named Preseason Player of the Year by Coaches and Media

PARK RIDGE, IL – The Big Ten women’s basketball coaches have selected Ohio State as the preseason League favorite for the 2004-05 season, while two-time defending Conference Tournament champion Purdue has been tabbed the preseason front-runner by members of the Big Ten media. Ohio State, which finished 21-10 and third in the Conference last season with an 11-5 record, is the lone team to be ranked in the top three in both the coaches and media polls. The Buckeyes are ranked second by the media behind the Boilermakers, who finished runner-up in the League last year at 14-2 in Conference play and 29-4 overall. The media listed two-time defending Big Ten champion Penn State third after its 28-6 (15-1) record in 2003-04. League coaches ranked Michigan State second and Minnesota third. The Spartans tied for fourth in the Big Ten last year at 10-6 in the Conference and 22-9 overall, while Minnesota is coming off a historical 2003-04 campaign in which the Gophers finished 25-9 and 9-7 in League play and made their first ever Final Four appearance. For the first time since 1997, neither Penn State nor Purdue were ranked in the coaches poll as the two programs have combined to capture the League’s regular season title each of the past six years. The Lady Lions will vie for their third-straight title this season and sixth overall since joining the Conference in 1992-93, while Purdue will look for its second Tournament three-peat as the Boilermakers won three consecutive Conference tournaments from 1998-2000.

Minnesota’s Janel McCarville was tabbed in both polls as the Big Ten Preseason Player of the Year. The Gophers’ lone senior was named to the 2004 NCAA All-Final Four team and returns as the League’s third-leading scorer (16.1 ppg) and the top rebounder (10.8 rpg). McCarville, who is a Wade Trophy National Player of the Year Candidate and Preseason Wooden Award All-American, is also second among returning players in the Conference in blocked shots (1.9 bpg) and field goal percentage (.616).

Penn State’s Tanisha Wright earns her second consecutive Preseason All-Big Ten honor as the senior guard joins McCarville, Ohio State’s Jessica Davenport and Purdue’s Katie Gearlds as the only players to be named to both the coaches and media Preseason All-Big Ten team. Wright, who averaged 14.8 points per contest last season, is a Wade Trophy Candidate and Preseason Wooden Award All-American as well as the two-time Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. She is the only player to ever win the Conference award twice.

Gearlds and Davenport shared Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors last season as Gearlds was tabbed by the coaches and Davenport was a media selection. Davenport set the Ohio State record for blocks in a season with 80 rejections and was the team’s second-leading scorer (12.5 ppg) and rebounder (5.7 rpg). She was also the League’s best shooter with a .625 (150-of-240) average from the field during her freshman season. Gearlds, a Preseason Wooden Award All-American this season, averaged 10.6 points as a reserve in 2003-04.

Michigan State’s Lindsay Bowen and Indiana’s Jenny Demuth were also named to Preseason All-Big Ten squads as Bowen was tabbed by the coaches and DeMuth was a media selection. DeMuth was the only Big Ten player to rank in the top five in the Conference in both scoring (18.3, 5th) and rebounding (7.7, 5th) last season. A Second Team All-Big Ten selection by the coaches in 2003-04, Bowen averaged 13.5 points per outing and ranked third in the League with a .865 free-throw percentage and an average of 2.13 three-point field goals made per game.

2004-05 BIG TEN WOMEN’S BASKETBALL PRESEASON HONORS

Top Three Preseason Picks – Coaches
Team, 2003-04 Final Records
1. Ohio State, 21-10, 11-5 Big Ten (3rd)
2. Michigan State, 22-9, 10-6 Big Ten (Tie-4th)
3. Minnesota, 25-9, 9-7 Big Ten (6th)

Top Three Preseason Picks – Media
Team, 2003-04 Final Records
1. Purdue, 29-4, 14-2 Big Ten (2nd)
2. Ohio State, 21-10, 11-5 Big Ten (3rd)
3. Penn State, 28-6, 15-1 Big Ten (1st)

2004-05 Big Ten Preseason All-Conference Team – Coaches
Player, 2003-04 Final Stats
Lindsay Bowen, MSU, JR, G 13.5 ppg, 2.4 apg, .865 FT % (83-96)
Jessica Davenport, OSU, SO, C 12.5 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 2.6 bpg
Katie Gearlds, PUR, SO, G 10.6 ppg, 2.1 apg, .457 3FG% (42-92)
Janel McCarville, MINN, SR, C 16.1 ppg, 10.8 rpg, 2.9 apg, 2.9 spg
Tanisha Wright, PSU, SR, G 14.8 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 4.1 apg, 1.7 spg

2004-05 Big Ten Preseason All-Conference Team – Media
Player, 2003-04 Final Stats
Jessica Davenport, OSU, SO, C 12.5 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 2.6 bpg
Jenny DeMuth, IND, SR, F 18.3 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 2.5 spg
Katie Gearlds, PUR, SO, G 10.6 ppg, 2.1 apg, .457 3FG% (42-92)
Janel McCarville, MINN, SR, C 16.1 ppg, 10.8 rpg, 2.9 apg, 2.9 spg
Tanisha Wright, PSU, SR, G 14.8 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 4.1 apg, 1.7 spg

2004-05 Big Ten Preseason Player of the Year – Coaches and Media
Janel McCarville, Minnesota