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Dec. 18, 2001

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The Tip
The Ohio State Buckeyes are closing out their non-conference campaign this week playing the Virginia Cavaliers Tuesday in Charlottesville and hosting the Sacred Heart Pioneers Thursday in Value City Arena.

Ohio State is 3-6 overall after splitting games last weekend as host of the Hostess/Wonder Women’s Sports Foundation Classic. The Buckeyes were edged by Louisville, 67-66, in the opening game Friday but rebounded in a big way against Xavier in the consolation game Saturday, 96-68, to snap a three-game losing streak.

Head Coach Beth Burns
Head coach Beth Burns is marking her 13th career season, her fifth at Ohio State, after steering one of the most amazing comebacks in women’s basketball last year. Rebuilding a squad decimated by injuries with encouragement and perseverance, Burns led the program to its second postseason title – the 2001 WNIT Championship and the squad’s best finish in eight seasons at 22-11.

The Buckeyes excelled academically as well with four Buckeyes earning Academic All-Big Ten honors and six tabbed as OSU Scholar-Athletes.

Burns took over the program in April 1997, leaving a successful, well-respected career at San Diego State where she was three times selected the WAC Coach of the Year (1994, ’95, ’97). She has earned a record of 70-56(.556) as a Buckeye and is 221-141 (.610) over her career.

Burns Against Cavs, Pioneers
Head coach Beth Burns never has coached against Virginia but is 1-0 vs. Sacred Heart.

The Series Vs. Virginia
The Buckeyes, playing UVA for the first time since 1994, enjoy a 3-1 record vs. the Cavaliers. Ohio State’s most memorial meeting was its 75-73 victory in March 1993 in the NCAA Regional Finals that launched the program to its first Final Four appearance.

OSU vs. Virginia, 3-1 12-19-82 74-63, N 1-2-93 91-84, H, Big Ten/ACC Challenge 3-27-93 75-73, N, NCAA Reg. Finals 1-8-94 65-68, A, Big Ten/ACC Challenge

The Series Vs. Sacred Heart
Ohio State and Sacred Heart are competing for the second time in three years. The two programs first met in the consolation game of the Harvard Invitational in November 1999 where the Buckeyes ran away with a 98-66 victory.

OSU vs. Sacred Heart, 1-0 11-27-98 98-68, N

Last Time Out For Ohio State
Five Buckeyes posted double-figure scoring to steer Ohio State past Xavier, 96-68, in the consolation game of the Women’s Sports Foundation Classic Saturday in Value City Arena. The victory capped a three-game losing streak and improved Ohio State’s record to 3-6 on the year.

OSU recorded its largest margin of victory this season without the help of its No. 2 scorer and rebounder, forward DiDi Reynolds, who sustained an injury in shooting practice earlier in the day.

Every player on the active roster scored led by forward Courtney Coleman (Jr., Cincinnati, Ohio/Hughes) who posted a game-high 21 points. Guard Ashley Allen (Fr., Indianapolis, Ind./Ben Davis) scored a career-high 19 points and guard Lauren Shenk (Sr., Minster, Ohio/Minster), a season-high 18 and career best eight assists.

Forward D’wan Shackleford (Jr., Newark, Ohio/Newark) completed the game with 11 points and guard Tomeka Brown (Sr., Columbus, Ohio/Marion Franklin) totaled 10, her sixth straight game in double figures.

The Buckeyes, who have struggled offensively in first-half action, led from the tip, marking their first double-digit lead of the game, 25-15, off an Emily Haynam three-pointer with 9:01 remaining in the first half.

The Buckeyes shot better than 55 percent from the floor in the stanza led by Coleman, who was perfect, sinking 7-of-7 FGs. She led all players at the break with 15 points. Shenk’s play also was a key factor as she scored six points and distributed six assists to guide Ohio State to a 45-31 lead at halftime.

Ohio State, which established a Value City Arena record for assists with 30, topped Xavier 51-37 in the second half, shooting even better at 57.1 percent.

Forward Kate Kreager led the Musketeers with 21 points and 11 rebounds. (See attached final box )

On Target
The Buckeyes have had their share of problems offensively, particulary in first half play, but have been on target in their last two outings.

In the Women’s Sports Foundation Classic, Ohio State shot a then season-high 53.2 percent from the floor vs. Louisville with four players posting double-figure scoring.

The Buckeyes topped the effort the next night against Xavier, touting 56.3 percent shooting accuracy. Every player on the roster scored with five players in double-figures

Shack Is Back
Junior forward D’wan Shackleford (Newark, Ohio/Newark) has really stepped up her play since entering the starting lineup six games back. Shackleford is averaging 12.0 points per game and 7.4 rebounds in the last five games vs. her season averages of 8.6 and 6.2, respectively. Her 12 points and 11 rebounds effort vs. Louisville (Dec. 14) represented the fourth “doubles” effort of her career.

Shenk Steps Up
The play of senior guard Lauren Shenk was key in the Buckeyes’ 96-68 win over Xavier (Dec. 14). Shenk, who distributed a then career-high seven assists vs. Louisville Friday night, eclipsed the mark against Xavier with eight, six in the first half. Shenk also bettered her season scoring high with 18 points and equaled her career high for steals with four.

For The Record
Ohio State established a Value City Arena record for assists, distributing 30 vs. the Xavier Musketeers (Dec. 15).

Crewsing Along
Freshman Charisse Crews (Urbancrest, Ohio/Grove City) has enjoyed a productive week. Against Louisville (Dec. 14), the six-foot forward scored a then career-high seven points. The following night, in her first collegiate start, Crews established personal highs for points (8), rebounds (6) and assists (5) vs. Xavier.

Sharpshooter Allen
Freshman guard Ashley Allen scored a career-high 19 points vs. Xavier (Dec. 15), sinking 8-of-15 FGs, including three triples. Allen has enjoyed similar success at the stripe where she shoots a team-leading 86.7 percent.

Coleman 3-for-3
Forward Courtney Coleman made it 3-for-3 with her selection to the Women’s Sports Foundation Classic All-Tournament Team. Coleman averaged 18.5 points per game, shooting 78.2 percent from the floor, and 7.0 rebounds. It is the third such honor for the Cincinnati, Ohio, native who was named to The Great Alaska Shootout and WNIT All-Tournament teams last season.

Reynolds Down But Not Out
Forward DiDi Reynolds missed her first collegiate game because of an injury. The Buckeyes’ No. 2 scorer and rebounder injured her larynx during shooting practice earlier in the day and sat out the game as a precaution. Frosh Charisse Crews made her first collegiate start in her absence.

Brown Keeps Things Consistent
Tomeka Brown’s 10 points against Xavier extends her string of double-figure scoring games to six. Brown is averaging 11.2 ppg. in the run.

Big Time Win
Ohio State’s 96-68 win represents its largest margin of victory and most points scored since a 100-35 victory vs. Akron Dec. 19, 2000.

Reynolds Begins Career Climb
An hit to the larynx kept forward DiDi Reynolds out the Buckeyes’ most recent game vs. Xavier but in the previous game vs. Louisville (Dec. 14), Reynolds completed 4-of-9 shots from the floor, including two treys. Reynolds now has 50 career treys and is just three shy of moving into eighth place on the Buckeye career ladder for three-pointers made. Marlene Stollings currently owns the slot with 52.

About Virginia & Sacred Heart
Virginia is led by its longtime mentor Debbie Ryan (Ursinus, 1975) who is marking her 25th season at the helm. Ryan (549-200 overall) is restarting the Cavaliers schedule this week following a 12-day absence from competition. Virginia is 5-3 on the year and 0-1 in the ACC having lost 107-73 vs. No. 9 Duke Dec. 2. Senior guard Telisha Quarles is the team’s leading scorer, averaging 15.8 ppg. Center Brandi Teamer is another key contributor, averaging 10.4 ppg and a team-leading 8.4 rpg.

Sacred Heart is 4-2 on the year and 1-0 in Northeast Conference play. Led by alum and Coach Ed Swanson (1989) the Pioneers have fared well as recent tenants to Division I play. Last year, its second year in D-I, Sacred Heart tied for third place in the NEC with an 11-7 record and 15-14 overall mark. Junior forward Brooke Kelly, 5-10 leads the squad at both ends of the floor, averaging 10.3 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. Sacred Heart will play at Cincinnati Tuesday prior to the Buckeyes’ matchup Thursday.

Buckeyes Suffer A Double Blow Inside
Junior center LaToya Turner (Pickerington Ohio/Pickerington) and freshman center Brandee Gibbs (Hanover, Minnesota/Orono) will both be sidelined for at least the next six weeks. Turner, the 2000 Big Ten Freshman of the Year, underwent arthroscopic surgery Tuesday to clean scar tissue and debris from her left knee. The surgery followed two previous procedures to repair the ACL (April 1999) and ACL-graft (January 2001) . Gibbs who had been experiencing pain in her left foot for nearly a week was also diagnosed Tuesday with a broken left foot.

Both join two more Buckeyes who are working their way back to the playing roster. Co-captain Tanya McClure (Gahanna, Ohio/Gahanna-Lincoln) underwent left lateral ankle reconstruction Oct. 17. Sophomore guard Caity Matter (Bluffton, Ohio/Bluffton) fractured the third metatarsal in her left foot Nov. 11 in practice. At the time of their injuries, each was anticipated back in six to eight weeks.

Seeing Double
Forward Courtney Coleman, with 8-of-11 (.727) shooting from the floor vs. Louisville (Dec. 14), marked her eighth career double-double, the second of the season, posting 16 points and 10 rebounds.

Coleman’s Career Doubles Opponent Date Pts./Rebs Louisville 12-14-01 16/10 Duquesne 12-2-01 16/11 Western Ky. 3-20-01 12/10 DePaul 3-18-01 18/10 Purdue 3-02-01 20/14 Minnesota 2-15-01 22/10 Penn State 2-01-01 17/13 UCLA 12-21-01 18/10

Teamwork
The concept of teamwork has taken on a whole new meaning for the Buckeyes. With the absence of the Buckeyes’ career assists leader (Jamie Lewis) this season, steering the offense has become a uniform effort. With a career-high eight assists Saturday vs. Xavier, guard Lauren Shenk paces the field, averaging 2.7 apg. Guard Tomeka Brown is contributing 2.4 apg., and forward DiDi Reynolds and guard Ashley Allen, 2.3.

Scoring Muscle
Last week, three Buckeyes ranked among the Top 30 scorers in the Big Ten Conference. Forwards Courtney Coleman and DiDi Reynolds ranked 22nd, averaging 11.7 ppg. Guard Tomeka Brown fell in at No. 29, averaging a career best 10.1 ppg.

Leading The Pack
The fact that junior forward Courtney Coleman leads the league in field goal percentage at 71.8 percent (51-of-71) should come as no surprise. Last season, the Second Team All-Big Ten choice ranked 11th nationally in field goal percentage, showcasing a 58 percent clip.

Brown Lends Hand In Undefeated Run
Senior Tomeka Brown enjoyed an undefeated run this past summer as a member of the Big Ten Foreign Tour Team. The squad, playing in Switzerland and France, marched through five games posting a scoring margin of 38.4 points. Brown averaged 8.8 points and 4.8 rebounds in the run.

Academic Accolades
The 2001 season proved to be just as successful academically for the Buckeyes. For the second year in a row, senior guard Lauren Shenk (Minster, Ohio/Minster) was named to the Verizon District IV Academic All-America team. Majoring in molecular genetics, Shenk maintains a 3.9 GPA as a three-year starter.

Shenk along with teammates Courtney Bale, Mandy Stanhope and Dana Stearns earned Academic All-Big Ten laurels and joined sophomores Caity Matter (Bluffton, Ohio/Bluffton) and Emily Haynam (Westerville, Ohio/South) in earning OSU Scholar-Athlete honors.

2001 Newcomers
Freshman guard Ashley Allen (Indianapolis, Ind./Ben Davis) headlines the four-member class of newcomers. Allen, advertised as one of the Top 21 Newcomers of Impact by womenscollegehoops.com, averaged 15.3 ppg. last year for two-time state champion Ben Davis. Allen joins All-Ohio standouts forward Charisse Crews (Urbancrest, Ohio/Grove City) and guard Beth Howe (Jackson, Ohio/Jackson), and First Team All-Minnesota honoree center Brandee Gibbs (Hanover, Minn./Orono).

On Tap For The Buckeyes
The competition doesn’t get any easier for the Buckeyes in 2001-02 with 10 squads, enjoying postseason action last season, gracing the schedule.

NCAA national runner-up Purdue and Elite Eight participant Xavier top the schedule. The slate also features 2001 NCAA participants UC-Santa Barbara, Colorado State, Louisville, Virginia, Iowa, Michigan, Penn State and Wisconsin. Arizona, Indiana and Illinois were members of the 2001 WNIT field.

Here We Go Again
The 2002 Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament returns to Indianapolis, Ind., and Conseco Fieldhouse in February after a one-year absence. The 2001 tourney was hosted by the city of Grand Rapids, Mich. Indianapolis had served as host for the previous six seasons.

Burns Signs Top Guards
Head coach Beth Burns has enlisted two talented guards to the 2002 roster, signing

Candace Dark and Kim Wilburn to national letters of intent in November.

Dark, 5-11, and Wilburn, 5-6, are both finalists for the coveted “Ms. Basketball” title in their respective states of Indiana and Michigan.

Dark heralds from Fountain Central in Veedersburg. Averaging 21.1 points, 6.5 rebounds, five steals and five assists in her junior campaign, Dark guided her squad to its first Class 2A Sectional and Regional championships and a 21-4 finish.

Wilburn is a known product out of Detroit Country Day in Beverly Hills, Michigan. She steered Country Day to two Class B state championship titles in 1998 and 1999, and runner-up finishes in her final two campaigns.

As a junior, Wilburn averaged 15.0 points, 6.0 assists and 5.2 steals per game. 2001 Season Recap

No skeptic and few fans would have ever thought it possible with injuries permeating the 2000-01 roster. But with teamwork and perseverance, the Buckeyes regrouped to stage one of the most courageous comebacks to a season that ended with the 2001 Women’s National Invitation Tournament (WNIT) Championship being returned to Columbus.

The Buckeyes rolled through the non-conference season without a hitch. Their 10-0 march was the best start to a season since 1973 and included the 2000 Great Alaska Shootout Championship title and Coach Beth Burns claiming her 200th career victory Nov. 29 vs. Seton Hall.

By Jan. 5, two starters were already lost for the Big Ten season in sophomore center LaToya Turner, the 2000 Big Ten Freshman of the Year, and freshman guard Caity Matter. Injuries eliminated another four reserves, streamlining the roster to six players for a Jan. 17 matchup with Iowa.

In the interim, Coach Burns went into a mid-season recruiting mode, this time looking for current student-athletes to at least lend a hand in practices. Two fellow Buck

eyes – soccer goalkeeper Amber Barnes and volleyball middle blocker Dana Stearns – answered the call, suiting up for the second half of their senior campaigns.

The Buckeyes went on to post a 6-10 record in the league, losing four games by three points or less for a 16-10 regular-season finish.

OSU, fortunate to get the return of three players for the postseason, bowed out in the second round of the Big Ten Tournament to No. 1 seed Purdue, keeping its hopes alive for the program’s first WNIT invite.

Ohio State, indeed, was one of eight teams in the league invited to a postseason dance.

Hosting instate rival Cincinnati in the opening round, the Buckeyes advanced to the second round with one of the most memorable finishes in recent years. Down by as many as eight points with two minutes to play, the team fought its way back, gaining a 94-foot opportunity for the go-ahead basket with 3.1 seconds on the clock.

Forward Emily Haynam, from the visitor’s baseline, propelled the basketball beyond half-court where guard Caity Matter launched an unsuccessful 3-point shot that rimmed left. Guard Tomeka Brown, with a never say die, mid-air effort, kept the ball in play with a behind-the-back shot that dropped just before the game-ending buzzer, allowing the Buckeyes a 61-60 victory.

Posting wins vs. DePaul, Western Kentucky and James Madison, the Buckeyes advanced to the championship game with a meeting in Albuquerque vs. New Mexico. The matchup was the third-fastest sellout in The Pit, and before a capacity crowd of 18,018 on hand, the Buckeyes ended the run in the same spectacular fashion in which it began.

Guard Jamie Lewis brought the Buckeyes into title contention, drilling back-to-back triples with 1:42 to play, hanging on for a 62-61 victory and 22-11 season finish.

What The Big Ten Experts Say…
NCAA runner-up Purdue has been tabbed the media preseason favorite to repeat as the Big Ten champion. League coaches however, selected both Purdue and Michigan to land atop. The top three teams and preseason All-Big Ten player picks follow.

2001 Preseason All-Big Ten
Team Finish
As selected by the media

1. Purdue
2. Penn State
3. Iowa

2001 Preseason All-Big Ten Team
As selected by the media

Kelly Mazzante (PSU), Lindsey Meder (Iowa), Tamara Moore (WIS), Jessie Stomski (WIS), Shereka Wright (Purdue).

2001 Preseason All-Big Ten
Team Finish
As selected by the Coaches

1. Michigan
1. Purdue
3. Wisconsin

2001 Preseason All-Big Ten Team
As selected by the Coaches

LeeAnn Bies (MICH), Kelly Mazzante (PSU)*, Lindsey Meder (Iowa), Tamara Moore (WIS), Jessie Stomski (WIS), Shereka Wright (Purdue).
*=unanimous selection

2001 Preseason Player of the Year
Kelly Mazzante, Penn State – Media

2001 Co-Preseason Players of the Year
Kelly Mazzante, Penn State – Coaches
Jessie Stomske, Wisconsin – Coaches