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Dec. 27, 2002

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TIP OFF
Ohio State tips off against Austin Peay at 2 p.m. Dec. 29. New Year’s Eve afternoon, Ohio State opens their regular-season conference play against the Wildcats of Northwestern at 2 p.m. in Value City Arena.

THE AUSTIN PEAY SERIES
This is the first meeting between Ohio State and Austin Peay.

ABOUT AUSTIN PEAY
Austin Peay is 5-2 this season. They have captured wins over Evansvile (85-64), Ohio (69-38), Missouri-Kansas City (70-62), Missouri (66-53) and Morris Brown (92-45). The Lady Govs’ two losses came at the hands of Memphis (56-50) and Vanderbilt (85-40). Brooke Armistead is leading the scoring force for the Lady Govs. with 20.2 points an outing and Gerlonda Hardin and Ashley Haynes are pulling down 6.8 and 6.0 rebound, respectively, a game for Austin Peay.

AUSTIN PEAY’S SUSIE GARDNER
Since Susie Gardner accepted head coaching duties at Austin Peay in 1996, she has compiled an 85-89 record in her time with the Lady Govs. After a pair of losing seasons in 1997-98 and 1998-99, the Lady Govs finished the 1999-2000 season as the first sixth-seed in history to advance to the league championship game. In 2001-2002, the Lady Govs suffered through a disappointing end to the regular season, finishing fourth.However, as they did in 2000-01, the Lady Govs reemerged and peaked at tournament time, claiming their second consecutive championship and berth in the NCAA tournament. Gardner earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education in 1986 and a master’s degree in physical education from Georgia, where she played basketball.

THE NORTHWESTERN SERIES
The Buckeyes lead the series with Northwestern 23-15. Ohio State was 2-0 last year vs. the Wildcats.

THE LAST TIME VS. NORTHWESTERN
The last time Ohio State and Northwestern met, the Buckeyes captured an 87-69 victory in Evanston, Ill., Feb. 17, 2002. Ohio State guard Tomeka Brown led a defensive assault against Northwestern, recording a career-high 10 steals en route to the Buckeyes’ win.

Ohio State wasted little time in solidifying its lead, building a 17-5 advantage with12:04 yet to play. Defensively in the half, the Buckeyes blocked three shots, collected 12 steals, beat Northwestern 12-6 in second-chance points and 8-0 in fast break opportunities.

The Wildcats clawed their way back in the game before halftime with the help of four threepointers in the time remaining, including a buzzer-beater from half-court by Samantha McComb, cutting their deficit to eight, 36-28, heading into the locker room.

Ohio State topped Northwestern in the second half 51-41. OSU freshman guard Amber Stokes recorded her first points since joining the roster Jan. 25 as a walk-on, putting the Buckeyes up by 20 (87-67) with a triple and 10 seconds left to play.

OSU, dominating the paint, 40-26, and capitalizing on points off turnovers, 42-20, shot 48 percent from the floor and collected a season-high 20 steals. Northwestern shot 43.6 percent and turned the ball over 28 times.

Buckeye Courtney Coleman led four players in double-figure scoring with 21 points. D’wan Shackleford marked her seventh career double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds, Lauren Shenk finished with 17 points and Brown tallied 14.

Sarah Kwasinski led Northwestern with 25 points and 10 rebounds.

BIG TEN ALL-TIME RECORD
Today’s battle with Northwestern opens regular-season conference play for the Buckeyes. Ohio State is 271-156 all-time vs. Big Ten opponents.

THERE’S NO PLACE AT HOME
As of Dec. 21, the Buckeyes have successfully defended their home court this season with wins over Wayne State (100-57), Arizona (84-65), Virginia (73-60) and Youngstown State (76-45).

LONG RANGE
Ohio State hit a season-best eight threepointers against Youngstown State. Jim Foster’s squad also nailed eight treys at Wisconsin-Green Bay and Arizona.

SOLID WEEK FOR ALLEN
Sophomore Ashley Allen had two solid nights against Virginia and Youngstown State. Against the Cavaliers, Allen scored 14 points, was 6-for-6 from the free-throw line, grabbed three rebounds and tallied two steals and two assists in the 73-60 victory over Virginia. Allen netted 15 points, collected seven boards (ties her personal best), handed out six assists, blocked one shot and earned one steal against Youngstown State.

CHRISTENSON’S FIRST GAME
Junior Erika Christenson, a transfer from Indiana, suited up in Scarlet and Gray for the first time vs. Youngstown State. She played two minutes and was 1-for-2 from the free-throw line. Christenson was recently granted a redshirt season and will have the remainder of this year and next year to play for the Buckeyes.

BIG TEN ALL-STAR CONNECTION
Northwestern’s head coach June Olkowski lead the Big Ten All-Star team through Belgium and Holland this summer. Buckeye sophomore Caity Matter was a member of that team, which earned a 5-0 record throughout their 12-day trip. Matter averaged 10 points an outing for the conference team, including a game-high 24 point effort in the final contest.

MAINTAINING THEIR DOMINANCE
Ohio State continues to control the boards this season. As of Dec. 21, the Buckeyes have outrebounded every opponent they have faced so far this season. Jim Foster’s team is averaging 36.6 boards an outing; Ohio State opponents are grabbing 25.9 rebounds per contest, which is the top mark among Big Ten competitors. Their rebounding margin of +10.4 boards ranks second among league leaders.

MATTER GETS STROKE BACK
After a surprisingly quiet night from behind the three-point arc for sophomore Caity Matter Dec. 15 vs. Virginia, the sharp-shooting guard netted 16 points, including four three pointers drained, vs. Youngstown State. She is second in the Big Ten in the category of three pointers made per game. The contest against the Cavaliers of Virginia marked the only time this season Matter has not hit a bucket from beyond the arc.

SJA, HERE WE COME
After Northwestern, the next battle for the Buckeyes will be against No. 22 Texas in the Big Ten/Big XII Challenge at 5 p.m. Jan. 5 in St. John Arena.

DEFENSE, DEFENSE, DEFENSE
The Buckeyes are holding opponents to a league-leading 54.7points per game. Additionally, Ohio State is averaging a winning scoring margin of +20.5, which ranks third among Big Ten competitors.

RIGHT ON THE MARK
Prior to the Youngstown State game, Ohio State ranks second in the conference with a .519 (232-447) shooting percentage. Senior Courtney Coleman is setting the standard for the Big Ten with a .788 (63-80) field-goal percentage. Notably, the next closest player, Lindsey Whalen from Minnesota, owns a .667 (70-105) average.

PEREFCTION
Sophomore Caity Matter is one of two Big Ten players that is perfect from the free-throw line this season. The Bluffton, Ohio, native is 17-17 on the year.

SWATTING THOSE SHOTS
Junior LaToya Turner is the current Big Ten leader with 2.38 blocked shots per game. Turner has 19 rejected shots on the year.

CONTINUED GROUP EFFORT
The trend among the Buckeye squad has been to make winning a group effort. In five games this season, including the last three games in a row, four players have scored double digits for Ohio State. Against Youngstown State, Caity Matter, Ashley Allen, D’wan Shackleford and Courtney Coleman scored 16, 15, 11 and 10 points, respectively.

BY A HAIR
Currently, senior Courtney Coleman has taken over the top field-goal percentage spot in Ohio State record books with a career .601 (475-790) shooting percentage. She took the place of former Buckeye Tracey Hall, who shot .600 (807-1,346) during her Buckeye tenure.

MOVING ON UP
The following Buckeye players are currently ranked among the top ten of the Ohio State records leaders (as of Dec. 21):

FIELD-GOAL PERCENTAGE 1. Courtney Coleman .601 (475-790)

POINTS 14. Courtney Coleman 1,231

3-POINT FIELD GOAL MADE 6. DiDi Reynolds 90

3-POINT FIELD GOAL PERCENTAGE 4. DiDi Reynolds .347 (90-259)

BLOCKED SHOTS 4. LaToya Turner 92

REBOUNDS 12. Courtney Coleman 616

STEALS 12. D’wan Shackleford 148 17. Courtney Coleman 122

ST. JOHN ARENA
Two games this season that will be held in St. John Arena. After the Buckeyes open their Big Ten season in Value City Arena against Northwestern at 2 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, they will participate in the Big Ten/Big XII Challenge game vs. Texas in St. John Arena at 5 p.m. Jan. 5. The second event in St. John Arena will be the final regular-season game against Michigan at 7 p.m. Feb. 27. The 1993 Final Four team will be commemorated during the battle with the Wolverines.

YOUNGSTOWN STATE RECAP
The Ohio State Buckeyes beat Youngstown State, 76-45, Dec. 20 in Value City Arena and moved to 4-0 at home this season. Sophomore Caity Matter got her three-point stroke back after not hitting a shot from beyond the arc Dec. 15 against Virginia and scored 16 points vs. the Penguins. Sophomore Ashley Allen, senior D’wan Shackleford and senior Courtney Coleman added 15, 11 and 10 points, respectively.

“In the first half, we had some break downs but we finished the game strong and that is important,” Ohio State head coach Jim Foster said. “We had the opportunity to work with some different combinations and that is going to pay off down the road.”

The Buckeyes took a season-high 25 threepointers and every player that suited up for the Scarlet and Gray got action on the hardwood tonight. As they have done in every game this season, the Buckeyes outrebounded the Penguins, 41-28, this evening. Junior LaToya Turner pulled down 12 rebounds and scored six points. Senior DiDi Reynolds added seven points and freshman Kim Wilburn scored six points and dished out three assists. Notably, junior Erika Christenson, a transfer from Indiana played her first minutes and scored her first point as a Buckeye.

The scoring effort was even for Ohio State in the initial 20 minutes of play as they took a 36-20 first-half lead at the midway mark. Allen and Matter scored eight points a piece, Coleman and Wilburn tallied six points each and Turner and Shackleford added four scores each.