Friday, Nov. 30, 2007 – 7 p.m. ET
Comcast Center (17,950) – College Park, Md.

#19/17 Ohio State (5-1, 0-0 Big Ten) at #3/3 Maryland (9-0, 0-0 ACC)

Radio/Internet – WOSU 820-AM/; Play-by-Play: Marty Bannister; Analyst: Kristin Watt

Television – ESPNU: Quint Kessenich and Charlene Curtis

No. 19 Ohio State (5-1) faces its second ranked opponent in as many games when they take on No. 3 Maryland (9-0) at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30 at the Comcast Center in College Park, Md. The game is part of the inaugural women’s Big Ten/ACC Challenge and televised live on ESPNU with Quint Kessenich and Charlene Curtis on the call.

Ohio State owns a 2-1 advantage in the all-time series — all three games coming in the NCAA Tournament. Friday will mark the first meeting between the two schools in the regular-season. Ohio State won the last meeting in the second round of the 2005 NCAA Tournament on Maryland’s home court, 75-65. OSU is 18-9 all-time against current Atlantic Coast Conference member schools.

Give head coach Jim Foster his 640th career victory.
Improve the Buckeyes to 28-3 in the month of November in the Foster era.
Give Ohio State its 93rd win in the last 106 games.

The Buckeyes are led by Marscilla Packer’s 17.7 ppg, which is third-best in the Big Ten so far this year, trailing Illinois’ Jenna Smith (21.3 ppg) and Wisconsin’s Jolene Anderson (25.5 ppg). Packer is shooting 50 percent from the field, 89 percent from the FT line and has connected on 18 3FG’sbest in the Big Ten. Packer scored a game-high 22 in the win over Colgate and hit five 3-pointers. She has scored in double-figures in all but one game, including three 20-point performances and four games with four or more 3-pointers.
 Packer, a Wade Trophy & Wooden Award finalist candidate, is among the best 3-point shooters in school history and is now fifth on the all-time list with 174 makes. She needs eight more to pass Jamie Lewis (181, 1998-2001) for fourth place.

Ohio State had large shoes to fill with the loss of All-American Jessica Davenport. But the Buckeyes could not have asked for a better start to the season for freshman center Jantel Lavender, the 2007 Ms. Ohio Player of the Year. In her debut she posted a double-double with 13 points and 14 rebounds against Marist Nov. 11. She was 5-of-11 from the field and also notched two steals to lead the Buckeyes to a 63-57 victory. Then in the win over Tennessee State Nov. 14, Lavender was dominant, scoring 23 points on 10-of-15 shooting to go along with five boards and three blocks in only 22 minutes of action before recording 21 points, seven boards and going 9-of-9 from the FT line in the win at BU. Recently, she was named to the Buckeye Classic All-Tournament team, scoring 22 points and grabbing a season-high 17 rebounds against Auburn. She ranks among the Big Ten leaders with 16.7 points per game and 9.3 rebounds as of Nov. 27.

Junior forward Star Allen has caught fire since being inserted into the starting lineup at Boston University Nov. 17. After scoring just seven points combined over the first two games, the Columbus native has averaged 12.3 points and 8.5 rebounds and is shooting 55 percent since. At Boston, Allen posted 12 points and 11 rebounds and recorded 17 points on 8-of-10 shooting and nine caroms in the win over Southern. In the blowout win at Colgate, Allen again came up a rebound short of another double-double with 13 points and nine boards.

Shavelle Little won the starting point guard job in preseason camp and has shown steady improvement each game this season. In the blowout win over Colgate at the Buckeye Classic, she set a career-high with seven assists, six of those coming in the first half. Little is averaging 5.2 points, 3.6 assists and is fourth in the conference with 3.2 steals per game. Little is one of the best on-the-ball defenders in the Big Ten, helping OSU force an average of 21 turnovers per game.

Though early, the Buckeyes have already established themselves among the leaders in several Big Ten statistical categories. Marscilla Packer is third in the league in scoring with 17.7 ppg and is first in 3FG made with 18. Jantel Lavender ranks sixth in the league in scoring (16.7 ppg) and is third in rebounding (9.3). Junior Star Allen is 10th in the Big Ten in FG percentage (.522) and eighth in rebounding (7.5) while Shavelle Little is first with a +2.75 assist-turnover ratio and fourth with 3.2 steals. Ashlee Trebilcock is third with a +2.25 assist/turnover ratio. As a team, Ohio State is either first or second in 12 of the 19 statistical categories. Noteworthy categories include leading the conference in points per game (76.5), fewest points allowed (49.5),  scoring margin (+27.0), FG percentage (.486), assists (17.6), steals (11.2) and turnover margin (+5.0) and are second in 3FG percentage (.391) and 3FG made (36, 6.0 per game).

Ohio State defeated Colgate last Saturday by 62 points, the largest margin of victory for the Buckeyes since Ohio State defeated Ohio University 107-37 on Dec. 1, 2004. This was the fewest points allowed by a Jim Foster-led Ohio State team. The 26-point total for Colgate was the lowest for an Ohio State opponent since the 1972-73 season when Ohio Northern scored 21 against the Buckeyes. The Raiders were held to just eight field goals, the lowest total in the history of the Buckeye Classic and the fewest ever allowed by a Buckeye team. Colgate’s 26 point is also a record low for the Buckeye Classic. The Raiders were held to just three second half field goals en route to an 8-of-43 (18.6 percent) shooting day the lowest shooting percentage ever for an Ohio State opponent.

Third-ranked Maryland is one of the hottest teams in the country. They are 9-0 with wins over three ranked teams: No. 6 Oklahoma (76-66), No. 23 Notre Dame (75-59) and No. 4 LSU (75-62). They are coming off a 90-77 win over Pitt on Tuesday night at home.

The Terrapins average 81.7 ppg this season while giving up 61.7. They are led by a trio of All-America candidates in Kristi Toliver, Marissa Coleman and Crystal Langhorne, a WBCA All-American and two-time first-team all-ACC selection. Toliver leads the Terps in scoring with 19.4 per game while Langhorne has played in just three games due to injury, but had 12 off the bench in the win at UCLA and 15 Tuesday night against Pitt. Coleman is just as potent, averaging 16.3 points and 8.1 rebounds per game.

Maryland captured the NCAA National Championship in 2006 and was knocked out in the second round last season by Ole Miss — Ohio State’s next opponent.

Brenda Frese (Arizona, 1993) is in her sixth year at Maryland and ninth as a head coach overall. She’s led the Terps to three-straight 20-win seasons and four-consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament, including the 2006 national title. Prior to Maryland she served as the head coach at Minnesota for one year, winning 2002 AP National Coach of the Year honors. Before that, Frese was the head coach for two years at Ball State (2000-01) with assistant coaching stints at Iowa State and Kent State.

Head coach Jim Foster is in his 30th year as a collegiate coach with stops at St. Joseph’s (1978-91) and Vanderbilt (1991-2002) along the way. He is among the NCAA’s all-time winningest coaches. Foster picked up his 150th win at Ohio State last Saturday in the win over Colgate and can pick up his 640th career victory with a win Friday against Maryland. Foster has an excellent chance of topping 650 by season’s end and would become just the 13th coach in NCAA Division I women’s basketball history to eclipse 650 wins. Two seasons ago, he became the 15th fastest D-I women’s coach to reach 600 wins and is 10th all-time with 21 20-win seasons.

Ohio State welcomes its second SEC opponent in three games when they square off against Ole Miss at 1 p.m. Sunday at Value City Arena. Ole Miss advanced to the NCAA Elite 8 last year, knocking off Maryland and Oklahoma along the way.