Dec. 13, 2001
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%^$Friday, Dec. 14
%^$Xavier vs. No. 18/16 Colorado State, 6 p.m.
%^$Ohio State vs. Louisville, 8 p.m. (Sport! Television)
%^$Saturday, Dec. 15
%^$Consolation Game, 6 p.m.
%^$Championship Game, 8 p.m. (Sport! Television)
%^$The Ohio State Buckeyes are pleased to serve as host of the Wonder/Hostess Women’s Sports Foundation Classic. The third annual event pairs No. 18/16 Colorado State against instate foe Xavier Friday at 6 p.m. in the tourney opener. Ohio State will face Louisville in the nightcap at 8 p.m. The consolation and championship games will take place Saturday at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m., respectively.%^$
%^$Ohio State is in the midst of a three games over six days stretch that tipped off Monday with a 70-58 loss to Eastern Michigan. The Buckeyes are 2-5 overall and will be looking to snap a two-game losing streak.%^$
%^$Head Coach Beth Burns
%^$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.%^$
%^$The Buckeyes excelled academically as well with four Buckeyes earning Academic All-Big Ten honors and six tabbed as OSU Scholar-Athletes.%^$
%^$Burns took over the program in April 1997, leaving a successful, well-respected career at San Diego State where she was three times selected the WAC Coach of the Year (1994, ’95, ’97). She has earned a record of 69-55(.556) as a Buckeye and is 220-140 (.611) over her career.%^$
%^$Burns Against The Field
%^$Head coach Beth Burns has never faced first-round tournament opponent Louisville. She is 2-1 vs. Xavier and while the head coach at San Diego State (1989-97) enjoyed a 13-3 record vs. Colorado State.%^$
%^$Ohio State Against The Field
%^$Ohio State has established series with both Colorado State and Xavier but is marking a first-time meeting vs. Louisville. OSU holds a 2-1 edge vs. instate rival Xavier and is 1-0 against Colorado State.%^$
OSU vs. Xavier, 2-1%^$12-6-96 90-70, H%^$11-28-97 77-63, A%^$11-23-98 63-68, H%^$
%^$OSU vs. Colorado State%^$1-30-81 67-66, N%^$
%^$Last Time Out For Ohio State
%^$Ohio State’s shooting woes continued Monday night against Eastern Michigan, allowing the Eagles to pull out a 70-58 win in Value City Arena.%^$
%^$The Buckeyes shot 29 percent (9-of-31) from the floor in the first half. Trailing 26-22 at the break, a 12-7 rally to open the final stanza established OSU’s first lead in more than 20 minutes, 34-33, with 14:04 remaining. The play of Buckeye forward D’wan Shackleford (Jr., Newark, Ohio/Newark) was key, as she scored six points and collected two steals in the comeback.%^$
%^$The Eagles, however, wouldn’t go away. Tied at 47-all with 7:16 on the clock, Ohio State suffered a permanent setback with the play of guard Stephanie Smiley and reserve Marion Crandall. Smiley’s back-to-back buckets and Crandall’s two consecutive triples were capped with a three-point play by forward Abby Wiseman, putting EMU in the driver’s seat, 58-50, with 4:36 to play.%^$
%^$DiDi Reynolds (Jr., Portage, Ohio/Hopewell-Loudon) recorded her second career double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Shackleford, who shot 70 percent (7-of-10) from the floor, finished with 14 points. Seniors Lauren Shenk (Minster, Ohio/Minster) and Tomeka Brown (Columbus, Ohio/Marion Franklin) also finished in double-figures, scoring 10 points. Brown led all players with a career- and game-high 12 rebounds.%^$
%^$Smiley paced Eastern Michigan with 22 points and 10 rebounds. (See final box on page 7).%^$
%^$Reynolds Doubles Her Effort
%^$Junior forward DiDi Reynolds posted her second career double-double of the season with 16 points and 10 rebounds vs. Eastern Michigan (Dec. 10). Nailing Ohio State’s only two treys of the evening, Reynolds is five shy (48) of moving into eighth place on the Buckeye career ladder for three-pointers made. Marlene Stollings currently owns the slot with 52.%^$
%^$Brown Can Do It Too…
%^$Guard Tomeka Brown added 10 points to the career-high 12 rebounds she collected against Eastern Michigan (Dec. 10), marking her second career double-double.%^$
%^$Mending The Starting Gate
%^$The Buckeyes, who have lost five out of their last six games, have had their share of first-half shooting problems. In four losses, Ohio State has not shot better than 38.9 percent from the floor in the opening halves. In its last three defeats, finding the basket has become even tougher, shooting no better than 30.8 percent and connecting on no more than nine field goals.%^$
%^$In OSU’s 64-60 loss at UCLA (Nov. 24), the squad enjoyed 43.8 percent shooting to lead 34-21 at the half but was held to 33.3 percent (7-of-31) accuracy in the second stanza.%^$
%^$About The Women’s Sports Foundation
%^$The Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF) was founded by Billie Jean King in 1974 as a charitable, educational organization dedicated to ensuring equal access to participation and leadership opportunities for all girls and women in sports and fitness. With the support of the central Ohio community in attending the tournament, the WSF becomes be a beneficiary of the third annual event.%^$
%^$Steered by Executive Director Donna A. Lopiano, the foundation ranks among the Top-10 public women’s funds with grant dollars exceeding $650,000 in 2001. Most of the funds provide sports opportunities for girls from lower socioeconomic levels. For more information on the WSF visit its website at WomenSportsFoundation.org.%^$
%^$Ohio State is hosting a challenging field of competitors in the classic this weekend. Colorado State is ranked No. 18 by AP and No. 16 by USA Today/ESPN, and the preseason pick to win the Mountain West Conference.%^$
%^$While CSU finished second in its league last year, Louisville and Xavier won their respective conference titles. All three schools competed in the 2001 NCAA tournament with Xavier advancing to the Elite Eight with an 80-65 win vs. national power Tennessee.%^$
%^$Louisville Cardinals, 3-2 Overall
%^$F 34 – Amanda Wolke, 6-1, Jr.
%^$C 32 – LaKisha Hoffman, 6-2, Jr.
%^$G 5 – Marju Sober, 5-10, Sr.
%^$G 24 – Kara Kessans, 5-9, Sr.
%^$G 14 – Sara Nord, 5-4, So.
%^$Colorado State Rams, 6-1 Overall
%^$F 22 – Katie Borton, 6-0 Jr.
%^$C 50 – Shannon Strecker, 6-2, Jr.
%^$G 14 – Angie Gorton, 6-0, Sr.
%^$G 00 – Ashley Augspurger, 6-1, Jr.
%^$G 2 – Elizabeth English, 5-6, Jr.
%^$Xavier Musketeers, 4-4 Overall
%^$F 11 – Kate Kreager, 6-3, So.
%^$F 42 – Alexis Henderson, 6-0, Fr.
%^$G 3 – Amy Waugh, 5-6, Jr.
%^$G 4 – Reetta Piipari, 5-7, Jr.
%^$G 31 – Shavon Bell,5-7, Sr.
%^$Two of the three teams competing in the WSF Classic are visiting Columbus and Value City Arena for the first time. Louisville and Colorado State are the newcomers. Xavier is making its third visit to the city and second stop in the Buckeyes’ new venue.%^$
%^$Colorado State coach Tom Collen and his assistant Luby Lichonczak are no strangers to the Big Ten Conference, nor the central Ohio area. Collen, a native of Lancaster, Ohio, and 1977 graduate of Bowling Green, served as an assistant at Purdue from 1987-93. He held a brief assistant coaching spot at Arkansas (1994-97) before taking on the duties of head coach at CSU in 1997. Lichonczak wore the Scarlet and Gray as a five-year assistant (1980-85) to former OSU head coach Tara VanDerveer.%^$
%^$Colorado State Ranks No. 8 in Value City Arena
%^$Nationally-ranked Colorado State (18/16) is the second ranked team outside the Big Ten Conference, and the eighth such team overall, to play in Value City Arena. Rutgers was the first non-league opponent to visit the Buckeyes with a national ranking of No. 7 in December 1999. Should Ohio State and the Rams meet, it will be the Buckeyes’ first shot at upsetting a ranked team this season.%^$
%^$Tourney Time Returns
%^$Ohio State touts plenty of experience when it comes to hosting tournaments as the longtime host of the Buckeye Classic. The tournament showcased some of the top squads and athletes in the country, 12 years running, from 1983 to 1994.%^$
%^$Buckeyes Suffer A Double Blow Inside
%^$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.%^$
%^$Both join two more Buckeyes who are working their way back to the playing roster. Co-captain Tanya McClure (Gahanna, Ohio/Gahanna-Lincoln) underwent left lateral ankle reconstruction Oct. 17. Sophomore guard Caity Matter (Bluffton, Ohio/Bluffton) fractured the third metatarsal in her left foot Nov. 11 in practice. At the time of their injuries, each was anticipated back in six to eight weeks.%^$
%^$Junior forward Courtney Coleman extended her string of consecutive games in double-figure scoring to 11 with 16 points vs. Duquesne (Dec. 2). Adding 11 rebounds to the effort, Coleman marked her first double-double of the season and the seventh of her career.%^$
Coleman’s Career Doubles%^$Opponent Date Pts./Rebs%^$Duquesne 12-02-01 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%^$
%^$Junior forward DiDi Reynolds ranks fifth in the Big Ten in three-point field goals made per game, averaging 2.0. Against Duquesne (Dec. 2), the Portage, Ohio, native equaled her career best for treys in a game, connecting on 4-of-9 attempts.%^$
%^$OSU 5-2 On The Boards
%^$Ohio State touts a winning record in the rebounding column, having out-muscled five of its previous opponents. The Buckeyes’ rebounding margin of +6.6 ranks fifth in the Big Ten, however on the offensive glass, OSU’s advantage ranks first in the league with an average of 17.57.%^$
%^$A Solid Start
%^$Ohio State freshman guard Beth Howe recorded a season-high eight points in her first collegiate start Nov. 29 vs. UC-Santa Barbara. Howe added two steals, one assist and one rebound to the effort, while committing only two turnovers in nearly 30 minutes of action.%^$
%^$The concept of teamwork has taken on a whole new meaning for the Buckeyes. With the absence of the Buckeyes’ career assists leader (Jamie Lewis) this season, steering the offense has become a uniform effort. Guard Tomeka Brown and forward DiDi Reynolds lead the squad with 18 (2.6 apg.). Frosh Ashley Allen (Indianapolis, Ind./Ben Davis) has distributed 16 (2.3 apg).%^$
%^$Three Buckeyes rank among the Top 30 scorers in the Big Ten Conference. Forwards Courtney Coleman and DiDi Reynolds rank 22nd, averaging 11.7 ppg. Guard Tomeka Brown falls in at No. 29, averaging a career best 10.1 ppg.%^$
%^$Leading The Pack
%^$The fact that junior forward Courtney Coleman leads the league in field goal percentage at 68.8 percent (33-of-48) 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.%^$
%^$The 2001 season proved to be just as successful academically for the Buckeyes. For the second year in a row, senior guard Lauren Shenk (Minster, Ohio/Minster) was named to the Verizon District IV Academic All-America team. Majoring in molecular genetics, Shenk maintains a 3.9 GPA as a three-year starter.%^$
%^$Shenk along with teammates Courtney Bale, Mandy Stanhope and Dana Stearns earned Academic All-Big Ten laurels and joined sophomores Caity Matter (Bluffton, Ohio/Bluffton) and Emily Haynam (Westerville, Ohio/South) in earning OSU Scholar-Athlete honors.%^$
%^$Freshman guard Ashley Allen (Indianapolis, Ind./Ben Davis) headlines the four-member class of newcomers. Allen, advertised as one of the Top 21 Newcomers of Impact by womenscollegehoops.com, averaged 15.3 ppg. last year for two-time state champion Ben Davis. Allen joins All-Ohio standouts forward Charisse Crews (Urbancrest, Ohio/Grove City) and guard Beth Howe (Jackson, Ohio/Jackson), and First Team All-Minnesota honoree center Brandee Gibbs (Hanover, Minn./Orono).%^$
%^$On Tap For The Buckeyes
%^$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.%^$
%^$2001 Preseason All-Big Ten
%^$As selected by the media
%^$2. Penn State
%^$2001 Preseason All-Big Ten Team
%^$As selected by the media
%^$Kelly Mazzante (PSU), Lindsey Meder (Iowa), Tamara Moore (WIS), Jessie Stomski (WIS), Shereka Wright (Purdue).%^$
%^$2001 Preseason All-Big Ten
%^$As selected by the Coaches
%^$2001 Preseason All-Big Ten Team
%^$As selected by the Coaches
%^$LeeAnn Bies (MICH), Kelly Mazzante (PSU)*, Lindsey Meder (Iowa), Tamara Moore (WIS), Jessie Stomski (WIS), Shereka Wright (Purdue).
%^$2001 Preseason Player of the Year
%^$Kelly Mazzante, Penn State – Media
%^$2001 Co-Preseason Players of the Year
%^$Kelly Mazzante, Penn State – Coaches
%^$Jessie Stomske, Wisconsin – Coaches