Nov. 22, 2003

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No. 16/17 Ohio State tips off against the Florida A&M Lady Rattlers at 2 p.m. Nov. 23 in Value City Arena. This is the first meeting between the two squads.

Today’s game is the first of the season for Florida A&M. The squad is picked to finish third in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC). Returnees include the 2003 MEAC Player of the Year Kim Watson and all-conference guard Yolanda Dixon. The Florida A&M women’s basketball team finished the 2002-03 season 16-13 overall after a last second loss (68-67) to eventual MEAC tournament champion Hampton. Head coach Debra Clark led FAMU to its first winning season in three years and the program’s first semifinal appearance in the conference tournament since 1999.

Debra Clark, a 1984 graduate of Hampton University and a former standout basketball player, is in her third year at the helm of the Florida A&M program. Prior to her appointment at FAMU, Clark was the head coach at Winston-Salem (N.C.) State from 1995-01. Before her stint in North Carolina, Clark spent seven years (1987-94) at Norfolk (Va.) University as the head women’s basketball coach and an instructor of health and physical education.

The Ohio State women’s basketball team beat Ohio, 83-50, Friday night in front of 2,381 people at Value City Arena. Freshmen Jessica Davenport and Brandie Hoskins and sophomore Michelle Mu±oz tallied the first starts of their careers wearing Scarlet and Gray. Offensively, four Buckeyes notched double-digit nights; Davenport, Hoskins, Caity Matter and Kim Wilburn scored 15, 13, 17, and 15 points, respectively, to continue the Buckeyes 15-game home winning streak. Ohio State, who relied on a .614 shooting mark while holding Ohio to .340 from the field, led by as many as 33 points near the end of the second half. Besides Hoskins’ offensive contributions, the rookie guard brought down six boards, led OSU with seven assists and was a flawless 5-for-5 from the free-throw line.

Despite a slow start on the offensive end by both teams, Ohio State jumped out to an eight-point lead when sophomore Candace Dark, who notched personal bests in minutes played (13) and points scored (5), earned her first career 3-pointer as a Buckeye. The trey sent Ohio State up 17-9 with 12:42 left in the first. The Buckeyes extended their lead to 14 points as Hoskins scored on a lay-up in the paint with 7:23 remaining until halftime. Hoskins had a solid first half as a Buckeye with 11 points, six assists and four rebounds. Wilburn, who shot 6-for-7 on the evening and dished out four assists, solidified OSU’s lead when she swished a 3-point field goal with four seconds remaining in the first 20 minutes to give the Buckeyes a 44-20 lead going into the locker room. Ohio State was 12-of-22 from the field and nine-of-10 from the charity stripe at the midway mark.

Ohio State continued to dominate the game in the second half. The Buckeyes earned their biggest lead (33 points) of the contest with 5:52 to go when Davenport, who earned the only two blocked shots of the game for either team, connected on a three-point play to put head coach Jim Foster’s squad ahead 76-43. Senior Emily Haynam capped Ohio State’s win in the last minute when she used a behind-the-back bounce pass in the lane to freshman Stephanie Blanton, who converted the three-point play. Blanton totaled eight points, three boards, two assists and had a perfect 4-for-4 night from the line for OSU.

Mu±oz scored eight points and four boards, while Beth Howe and Haynam each added one point. Notably, Matter tallied three steals vs. Ohio, which ties her career-best mark.

Ohio, who was a perfect 10-for-10 from the line as a team, was led by Latreece Bagley with 14 points and Elizabeth Brown, who scored 11 points.

Today’s game vs. Florida A&M is the first in Ohio State program history. The Buckeyes play four additional teams a Buckeye squad has never faced before – UNC Wilmington, IUPUI, Wright State and UC Santa Barbara.

Senior center LaToya Turner will miss the game vs. Florida A&M Sunday due to injury. Turner, the 2000 Big Ten Freshman of the Year, is expected to make a full recovery within the next few weeks.

Junior Ashley Allen is expected to play vs. Florida A&M. Allen has been sidelined with a knee injury suffered in January at Illinois last season. The guard from Indianapolis, who had started for the Buckeyes until the Illini game last year, missed seven contests at the end of the season and did not play in the 2003-04 season opener vs. Ohio Friday night.

With an 83-50 win over the Bobcats of Ohio Friday evening, the Buckeyes continued their unbeaten home record. Under second-year Jim Foster, Ohio State is 15-0 in Columbus dating back to the first game of the 2002-03 season.

-Freshmen Jessica Davenport and Brandie Hoskins and sophomore transfer Michelle Mu±oz started in their first games wearing Scarlet and Gray.

-In the first half, Hoskins notched 11 points – as many point as Ohio scored in the first half last season vs. Ohio State at the Convo in Athens, Ohio – off a 4-for-6 half, including a 3-for-3 stroke from the line. Hoskins also grabbed four boards and dished out six assists in the first 20 minutes.

-Four Buckeye players scored in double-digits. Davenport, Hoskins, Kim Wilburn and Caity Matter tallied 15, 13, 15 and 17 points, respectively.

-Hoskins led the Buckeyes in two categories – rebounding (6 tied with Davenport) and assists (7).

-Davenport, who was 4-for-4 from the field, blocked the only two shots of the game for either team.

-Matter earned three steals, which ties her career-best mark.

-Wilburn was 6-of-7 from the field and tallied four assists.

-Candace Dark earned personal bests in minutes played (13) and points scored (5) vs. Ohio.

-Three players were perfect from the FT line. Dark was 2-2; Blanton was 4-4; Hoskins was 5-5; Matter was 2-2.

-Ohio State vs. Ohio’s attendance was 2,381. Last season, Ohio State drew 1,754 people in the squad’s first game at home under Jim Foster vs. Wayne State.

D’wan Shackleford, a senior on last year’s Ohio State basketball team, moved her game from the basketball court to the volleyball court this year. After exhausting her hoops eligibility, Shack, a Newark, Ohio, native, decided to try her hand at volleyball. The 2003 Buckeyes are 10-16 overall under head coach Jim Stone and have two more regular season contests at Iowa and at Minnesota.

WNBA Minnesota Lynx forward Tamika Williams and Erin Wright were named assistant coach and director of basketball operations, respectively, for the Ohio State women’s basketball program over the summer. A student assistant for the Buckeyes last season, Williams’ primary duties will include on-the-floor coaching and recruiting responsibilities and Wright, who served as the director of basketball operations for two seasons at Vanderbilt under Foster, will be managing the day-to-day operations of Buckeye basketball, including travel, camp and schedule coordination.

Buckeye fans, tune to WOSU 820 AM for complete coverage of all Buckeye basketball games this season. Marty Bannister will replace Herb Howenstine, who moved to Texas last summer, as the play-by-play announcer. Color commentary duties will be shared by a trio of former Ohio State players in Alysiah Bond (1992-95), Toni Roesch (1983-86) and Kristin Watt (1982-85).

Freshmen Stephanie Blanton, Jessica Davenport and Brandie Hoskins will be sporting Scarlet and Gray this year. Stephanie Blanton, the 2003 Dispatch/Agonis Club Co-Player of the Year, averaged 23.5 points, 11.5 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.5 blocks at Lancaster (Ohio) High School. Davenport, a 2003 McDonald’s All-American, averaged 17.1 points, 11.0 rebounds, 5.1 blocks, 2.3 assists and shot 64 percent from the field last year at Independence (Columbus) High School. Hoskins, the 2003 Division II All-Ohio Player of the Year, tallied an average of 15.9 points and 6.0 rebounds at Chaminade-Julienne.

Tia Battle, a junior transfer from Vanderbilt University, also will join the Ohio State women’s basketball team this season. A six-foot guard/forward from Plymouth, Minn., she spent two seasons with the Commodores and started in 16-of-30 games, averaging 5.5 points, 2.3 rebounds and 18.5 minutes per game last year. A 2001 Minnesota Gatorade Player of the Year and 2000 NIKE All-American, Battle also was a three-time Street & Smith Honorable Mention All-America selection. Battle will sit out the 2003-04 campaign per NCAA transfer requirements, but will have two years of eligibility remaining when she begins competing with the Buckeyes next season.

Senior Courtney Coleman left huge marks on the Ohio State program last year. She was named a regional NCAA Division I Kodak/WBCA Honorable Mention pick and earned sports on both the coaches and media 2003 Second Team All-Big Ten squads last year. Coleman, who entered the Ohio State 1,000-point club Feb. 13, 2002 at Illinois, is the best shooter in Ohio State history with a .603 (596-988) average from the field and accumulated a total of 1,540 points, which ranks ninth among Buckeye leaders. The team’s captain last year, she averaged 14.1 points and 6.7 rebounds. A three-time second-team all-conference selection, Coleman was ranked first nationally last season in the category of field-goal percentage and won the title with a .662 (184-278) mark. Among Buckeye career leaders, Coleman is ranked fifth with 771 career rebounds and is tied for the 13th spot in Buckeye history with 146 total steals.

Then-senior Courtney Coleman, then-sophomore Caity Matter and then-freshman Kim Wilburn were honored with All-Big Ten accolades last season. Coleman, a forward, was named to both the coaches and media all-league second teams. Matter, a guard, earned a spot on the media’s second-team and was named a coaches’ third-team selection. Wilburn, a point guard, was on the Coaches’ All-Freshman Team and also earned an honorable-mention all-conference nod from the media.

Two Buckeyes were honored for their play over the three days of the 2003 Big Ten Tournament. Then-sophomore Caity Matter, who averaged 16.7 points over the three games, and then-freshman Kim Wilburn, who averaged 13.3 points and 6.7 assists, were both named to the 2003 All-Tournament Team. The two were major factors in No. 4-seed Ohio State’s run to the title game of the Big Ten Tournament, including a victory over top-seeded Penn State.

Point guard Kim Wilburn set two new records among Ohio State freshmen leaders last season. The Southfield, Mich., native distributed seven assists vs. Weber State and became the record holder for assists by an Ohio State freshman. Wilburn’s 168 dishes took the place of Jamie Lewis, who distributed 159 assists during the 1997-98 season. Wilburn also accumulated 92 steals last year, including two at Minnesota Feb. 16, which earned her the record for steals by an Ohio State freshman. Martha Baker previously owned the mark for most steals by a rookie Buckeye with 71, which was set during the 1975-76 season. Additionally, Wilburn led the Big Ten with 2.88 swipes per game last season.

Caity Matter, who led the conference with 3.31 3-pointers made per game last year, drained a total of 106 treys during 2002-03. The Bluffton, Ohio, drained four 3-pointers against Michigan Feb. 27, which upped her then-season total to 90 shots made from downtown and gave her sole possession of the record for treys drained by a Buckeye in a single season. The record was previously held by Marcie Alberts, who sank 86 shots from behind the 3-point line during the 1996-97 season. Prior to the Michigan game, Matter nailed three treys against Purdue Feb. 23, which brought her then-season total to 86 and tied Alberts’ record. Additionally, Matter shattered the sophomore record for 3-pointers in one season, which was 51, earlier in the season. Matter also tied a single-game mark held by former All-American Katie Smith for 3-pointers nailed when she hit seven at Wisconsin Jan. 16.

Two times during the 2002-03 regular season the Buckeyes hosted games in historic St. John Arena and the tradition will continue this season. The Dec. 18 contest against Wright State and the Feb. 19 Northwestern game will both be held in the former long-time home of Buckeye hoops. Additionally, Ohio State and St. John Arena will play host to the 2004 NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship First- and Second-Round Games March 20 and 22. Tickets for all women’s basketball games and for all other Ohio State athletics events can be purchased at or by calling 1-800-GOBUCKS.

Last season, Ohio State faced then-No. 17/18 Texas Jan. 5 and Big Ten foe Michigan Feb. 27 in St. John. Ohio State beat the Longhorns, 70-66, and wrapped up the regular-season portion of their schedule with a 70-55 victory over the Wolverines.