Feb. 25, 2004

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The No. 25 Ohio State women’s basketball team (17-8; 9-5 Big Ten) travels to take on No. 12/12 Minnesota (20-5; 9-5 Big Ten) at 8 p.m. EST Thursday at Williams Arena (14,625) in Minneapolis. The Buckeye-Golden Gopher matchup can be heard on WOSU 820 AM with Marty Bannister and Toni Roesch.

Ohio State and Minnesota met just two weeks ago, with the unranked Buckeyes pulling out a 75-57 upset over the then-No. 10 Golden Gophers in Columbus. The Buckeyes own the all-time record with Minnesota, 39-7, but the last five meetings, the teams have alternated victories. Each team has defended its home court beginning with a 70-66 win Jan. 25, 2002 by Ohio State in Columbus. The last time a Buckeye team won in Minneapolis was a 72-65 overtime victory Feb. 15, 2001.

No. 12/12 Minnesota is 20-5 overall and 9-5 in Big Ten competition. The Golden Gophers suffered a set back during the last Buckeye contest when two-time All-American Lindsay Whalen broke her hand. She has been forced to miss four to six weeks.

The Golden Gophers opened the season with 15 consecutive wins before losing three straight at No. 5/6 Purdue (65-56) at No. 5/6 Penn State (75-56) and at No. 18/20 Michigan State (72-69) during the end of January. Since losing Whalen, the Golden Gophers have beaten Illinois and Northwestern, but lost at Iowa, 81-61.

Whalen was the team’s leading scorer with 20.7 points per game and junior center Janel McCarville, who tallies 15.0 points an outing, is now the squad’s offensive leader.

McCarville is also the power on the boards for Minnesota as she boasts a Big Ten-best 10.0 rebounds-per-game average. Whalen’s 5.0 rebounds per game was ranked second on her team. Kadidja Andersson and Liz Podominick are notching 4.0 and 3.7 caroms an outing, respectively.

Among league leaders, McCarville’s .609 stroke is No. 2 behind Ohio State’s Jessica Davenport’s .641 average. McCarville is the Big Ten’s third-best shot blocker with 1.96 rejections a game. Notably, McCarville’s 2.6 swipes an outing is the best on her team and is tied with Ohio State’s point guard Kim Wilburn for No. 4 in the league.

As a team, the Golden Gophers shoot .493 and own the No. 1 spot for scoring margin (+14.9) and rebounding margin (+6.4) in the Big Ten.

Second-year Golden Gopher head coach Pam Borton, a Fayette, Ohio, native, wasted no time in her first season in Minneapolis as she guided the Minnesota program to a 25-6 record and its first Sweet 16 appearance. Prior to joining the ranks at Minnesota, Borton spent five years at Boston College as an assistant coach. She was promoted to associate head coach her final two seasons with the Eagles. She served as BC’s recruiting coordinator and helped the Eagles to a 102-51 record, including NCAA Tournament berths in 1999, 2000 and 2002. Borton was the head coach at the University of Vermont from 1993-97 before moving to Boston. In her four years at Vermont, she led the Catamounts to a 69-46 (.667) record, a North Atlantic Conference championship, and an NCAA Tournament appearance in 1994.

The Ohio State women’s basketball team (17-8; 9-5 Big Ten) beat Illinois (10-15; 4-10 Big Ten), 76-57, last Sunday afternoon in Value City Arena. Junior shooting guard Caity Matter led all scorers with 25 points (10-of-18), while senior LaToya Turner scored 19 points and freshman Jessica Davenport added 12 points. Turner and Davenport led the effort on the boards by pulling down eight and six rebounds, respectively.

After Ohio State led by as many as 12 points in the first half the closest Illinois got in the second half was nine points, 36-27, at 19:09. The Buckeyes, who opened the game with a 13-3 run, responded with a second 13-3 scoring advantage to establish a 19-point lead, 49-30, with 15:49 left. The Buckeyes took as large as a 23-point advantage twice in the second half as head coach Jim Foster’s team hovered around a 20-point lead to close the game.

A series of runs characterized the first half of play. The Buckeyes took an early 13-3 lead, but Illinois outscored the Buckeyes 6-0 and pulled within four, 13-9, at 12:58. Davenport converted on two consecutive layups and sophomore Kim Wilburn sank a free throw to give the Buckeyes a seven-point lead, 18-11, with 10:27 left until halftime. Illinois’ Angelina Williams and Tiffanie Guthrie hit two jumpers, which brought the Fighting Illini within three points, 18-15, with 8:45 left.

A 9-0 run by Ohio State during the next three minutes established a 27-15 Buckeye advantage, but Illinois would not back down and pulled the game to within five points off a Cindy Dallas Jumper with 3:02 left. Matter and Turner combined for five points and quickly put OSU up 10, 34-24, with 1:03 remaining. Illinois’ Williams converted 1-of-2 free throws with three ticks left, which sent Ohio State into the locker room with a 34-25 lead.

As a team, Ohio State dished 20 assists compared to Illinois’ 11, shot .518 (29-of-56) from the field and .789 (15-of-19) from the charity stripe. Brandie Hoskins scored eight points, Stephanie Blanton, Beth Howe tallied four points and Wilburn netted three points. Hoskins, Matter and Wilburn grabbed five rebounds each.

Junior shooting guard Caity Matter is 20 points away from joining the Ohio State 1,000-point club. She has tallied 380 points this season and has 980 total points. Matter is averaging 15.2 points per game and during the last four games, Matter has scored an average of 21.3 points an outing. Matter, who missed the entire 2001-02 season because of injury, is the first junior to become a member of the 1,000 point club since former Buckeye Courtney Coleman scored her 1,000th point as a junior Feb. 13, 2002 at Illinois.

In the latest Associated Press poll, Ohio State was ranked No. 25 after not being ranked in the Top 25 for six weeks. The last ranking for the Buckeyes was a No. 22 spot.

Senior forward LaToya Turner gave a solid effort in her final game at home vs. Illinois last Sunday. She added 19 points, was 3-for-3 from the charity stripe, grabbed eight boards, dished three assists and earned three steals in 36 minutes on Senior Day at The Schottenstein Center.

Ohio State’s Caity Matter and Minnesota’s Lindsay Whalen spent the summer as members of the USA Basketball 2003 USA Basketball World Championship For Young Women Team squad that was led by Buckeye head coach Jim Foster. The team finished with a 7-1 record and won the inaugural FIBA World Championship For Young Women gold medal in Sibenik, Croatia, last summer.

Junior shooting guard Caity Matter has had nine 20+ games this season, including three of the last four outings. She has been the leading scorer for Ohio State 12 times, including five of the last six games and has led both teams in scoring eight teams this year.

Ohio State has opened the last three games by outscoring opponents 35-5 the first five minutes. Most recently, they went up 13-3 over the Fighting Illini last Sunday.

The Buckeyes shot .518 percent from the field vs. Illinois Sunday, which marked the 14th time in 24 games this season the squad has shot 50 percent of better, including four of the last six outings.

Ohio State is the country’s best-shooting squad with a .512 (646-1261) stroke. The Buckeyes have shot over 60 percent three times and over 70 percent once this year.

Notably, the Buckeyes’ .720 effort (36-of-50) from the field vs. Wright State is an all-time high percentage for an Ohio State team in a single game.

Ohio State is 12-2 this season when it shoots .500 or more and 5-6 when it shoots less than .500.

The Buckeyes’ .512 stroke overall is credited in part to freshman Jessica Davenport, who is playing 26.7 minutes a game and has started in 16 games as a Buckeye – including the last 11, three of which were 40-minute outings – is scoring 12.5 points per game and is leading the Big Ten in all games with a .641 stroke from the field. Her average would be ranked No. 3 in the country, but the minimum requirement is 5.0 made field goals per game and Davenport is averaging 4.6 makes per outing. Veteran LaToya Turner is ranked No. 3 in the Big Ten and No. 20 in the nation with a .569 average.

The Buckeyes’ win over Illinois is the first game an Ohio State team has won when they lose the opening tip. It is only the fifth game this season in which Ohio State has lost the tip.

With her swat at the 12:49 mark in the first half vs. Northwestern Feb. 19, Jessica Davenport broke the Ohio State freshman record of 51 blocks, which was previously held by Mary Sivak, who played for Ohio State from 1978-82. Her 51st block came 54 seconds into the game and tied the record.

Davenport finished the game with six swats, setting a career high. She is ranked No. 23 in the country with a 2.4 blocked-shots-per-game average, has tallied four or more blocks in six contests this season, including the three of the last four games, has blocked at least one shot in 22-of-25 games and averages 2.4 swatted shots an outing – a mark that is ranked No. 2 in the conference – and a top-ranked 2.93 shots in Big Ten games.

Davenport and Sivak are the only players in Buckeye history to accumulate 50 or more blocks in a single season. Senior LaToya Turner was close last season with 47 total rejected shots. Additionally, Sivak’s 70 bocks as a senior is the most for an Ohio State player in one season.

Ohio State’s victory over Northwestern Feb. 19 was only the second time this season the Buckeyes have been victorious when scoring less than 60 points. The other win was a 51-49 win at Michigan Jan. 29.

Ohio State women’s basketball player Caity Matter was named the Big Ten Player of the Week Feb. 16. A junior guard from Bluffton, Ohio, Matter averaged 25.5 points and 5.5 rebounds in the Buckeyes’ two upsets over ranked teams. She shot a combined 18-of-26 (.692) from the field, 10-of-15 (.667) from 3-point land and 5-of-6 (.833) from the free-throw line. This is the first Big Ten Player of the Week award for a Buckeye player this season and the second such honor for Matter during her Ohio State career.

Against No. 10/10 Minnesota Feb. 12, Matter led all scorers with a career-high 28 points, including a 24-point first-half effort. She was 11-of-15 from the field, 4-for-6 from behind the 3-point line and made both free throws she attempted. Matter also grabbed seven boards, dished three assists and tallied two steals.

At No. 15/17 Michigan State Feb. 15, Matter scored 23 points off a 7-of-11 stroke and a 6-of-9 afternoon from downtown. She was 3-of-4 from the charity stripe, pulled down four rebounds and had one steal. Entering the game vs. the Spartans, Matter needed one trey to move to third on the Ohio State records list for career 3-pointers made. Her total now is 186 career 3-pointers drained.

Last season, the Buckeyes played two games in St. John Arena and the tradition has continued this season. Ohio State is an undefeated 4-0 under Jim Foster in St. John Arena and have outscored opponents by an average of 71.3 to 53.2. Last year, the unranked Buckeyes beat then-No. 17/18 and eventual Final Four contestant Texas, 70-66, Jan. 5 in the Big Ten/Big XII Challenge and beat Michigan, 70-55, on senior night. This season, the Buckeyes beat Wright State, 88-45, Dec. 18 and Northwestern, 57-46, Feb. 19.

Sophomore Kim Wilburn, who set the record for assists and for steals by a Buckeye freshman last year with 168 dishes and 92 steals, tallied five assists at then-No. 15/17 Michigan State Feb. 15 and became Ohio State’s sophomore assists record holder. Wilburn has 132 total assists this season and beat Jamie Lewis’ record of 122, which was set in the 1998-99 season. For her career, Wilburn’s 300 total assists is No. 9 on the all-time Buckeyes record holders list.

Rookie Jessica Davenport tallied her fourth career double-double when she scored 15 points and 11 rebounds at then-No. 15/17 Michigan State Feb. 15. Davenport has scored in double figures 16-of-23 games and the last nine consecutive outings.

She tallied her second consecutive double-double (third career) with a career-high 27 points and 15 rebounds, which ties her personal-best mark, vs. then-No. 7/8 Purdue Jan. 22.

Her second double-double of the season came against then-No. 23/25 Michigan State when she tallied 16 points, 12 of which were scored in the second half, and 15 rebounds Jan.15 in Value City Arena.

Her first double-double as a Buckeye was vs. Florida A&M when she scored 23 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and blocked four shots off a 7-of-11 day from the field and an 9-of-14 stroke from the charity stripe.

Unranked Ohio State upset then-No. 10/10 Minnesota Feb. 12 in Columbus, 75-57, and then-No. 15-17 Michigan State, 72-53, Feb. 15 in East Lansing, Mich. The Buckeyes moved to 3-4 vs. the Top 25. Prior to the victory over the Golden Gophers, the last Buckeye win vs. a ranked opponent was a 73-59 victory at then-No. 21/23 UC Santa Barbara Dec. 28. Ohio State fell vs. then-No. 23/25 Michigan State, then-No. 7/8 Purdue, then-No. 7/8 Penn State and again vs. then-No. 5/6 before tallying the 18-point victory over the Golden Gophers.

Ohio State is relying on the bench this season in a big way. Four out of the five players on the bench available to head coach Jim Foster are averaging at least 11 minutes per game and the Buckeyes have outscored opponents 418-247 with bench points.

Ohio State’s Caity Matter exploded in the first-half vs. No. 10/10 Minnesota Feb. 12. The junior shooting guard was on a roll when she outscored Minnesota’s 18-point first-half effort herself with 24 of her career-best 28 points coming in the first half.

Matter gave momentum to the Buckeyes when the game was tied at nine when she slid in the path of All-American Lindsay Whalen on a fast-break bucket and took the charge, which sparked Ohio State’s 34-9 run to close the first half. Matter assisted rookie Jessica Davenport on the go-ahead bucket at 12:05 and scored seven consecutive points during the next 1:10. Matter capped the run when she stripped the ball from a Minnesota player with 15 seconds left and subsequently drained her fourth 3-pointer of the half with three ticks left until halftime.

The most points she had scored in a half this season was a 19-point effort at Northwestern. Matter outscored the entire Ohio University team last year in the first half when she scored 17 points compared to the Bobcats’ 11 Dec. 13 in Athens, Ohio.

Additionally, after not scoring a 3-pointer at then-No. 5/6 Purdue Feb. 8, Matter drained all four of her six total attempts in the first half vs. Minnesota.

Since LaToya Turner returned to the lineup after missing the Jan. 15 Michigan State game in Columbus due to a concussion suffered earlier that week in practice, she and rookie Jessica Davenport have made quite an impact offensively for the Buckeyes. The previous nine games, Davenport and Turner have combined for 299 of the squad’s 681 total points and the pair is a combined 112-for-185 (.605) from the field.

Junior Caity Matter hit the first 3-pointer she attempted at then-No. 15/17 Michigan State Feb. 15 and tied the third-place record among Ohio State annals. She ended the afternoon with six shots from behind the 3-point arc, which moved her to third place on Ohio State’s all-time 3-point field goal list.

Matter passed Jamie Lewis, who recorded 181 treys in 117 games during her career from 1998-2001. Matter stands alone in third with 189 3-point buckets in 74 outings. She needs 14 more to reach second place and 29 more to tie Katie Smith, who tops the list with 218 3-pointers in 124 contests.

The Buckeyes are currently 16-0 when they are leading at the half. The only win that came when the squad was trailing at halftime was Feb. 5 at Iowa. Ohio State was down 40-36 at halftime and came back for a 93-82 victory. Last year, Jim Foster’s first Buckeye team was an unblemished 12-0 when leading at half. No Buckeye team under Jim Foster has lost when taking the advantage into halftime. The Buckeyes are 1-8 when trailing at the midway mark this year.

Scoring and scoring big has helped the Buckeyes this season. The Buckeyes are ranked No. 18 in the country with a 13.4 scoring margin over opponents. Ohio State is 13-0 when scoring 70 or more points this season. In two seasons under head coach Jim Foster, the Buckeyes are 27-0 when they put up 70-plus points against opponents, including a 14-0 stint last year.

When Ohio State scores 60 or more points, Jim Foster’s team is 15-2, however when they are held to 59 points or fewer, they are 2-6. In five of the team’s losses, OSU scored between 51 and 56 points (51 at Illinois; 53 vs. Rutgers; 55 vs. Nebraska; 56 vs. UCLA; 54 at Purdue) and vs. then-No. 23/25 Michigan State the Buckeyes were held to 47.

Ohio State has scored 80 or more points five times this season – 96 vs. IUPUI, 95 points vs. Penn, 93 at Iowa, 88 vs. Wright State and 83 vs. Ohio.

Ohio State is holding opponents to 55.7 points per game – a mark that is ranked No. 2 in the Big Ten and No. 14 in the nation. The Buckeyes force teams to shoot .376 from the field, which is first among league leaders.

Other than a 15-point loss to UCLA in December, the remaining seven Ohio State losses have come within 10 points and four of them were within a margin of five (at Nebraska, 60-55, at Rutgers, 56-53, at Illinois, 52-51 and at Purdue, 57-54). In those games, the Buckeyes have been outscored by 32 points combined, an average of 4.6 points per game.

The 51-49 win at Michigan Jan. 29 was a big step for the Buckeyes, who hade struggled on the road with a 3-4 mark outside of Columbus up until that game. The victory over the Wolverines also was the first win of the season when the margin is less than five points. Jim Foster’s squad had dropped four games that were all decided by five or fewer points earlier in the season. Additionally, the Buckeyes’ road win in Ann Arbor was the first win in six games this season when scoring 59 points or less.

As a team, the Buckeyes are leading the conference and are ranked No. 12 in the country with an 17.9 assists-per-outing mark. Ohio State is led by sophomore point guard Kim Wilburn, who is No. 3 in the Big Ten with 5.3 dishes per game and freshman Brandie Hoskins, who is No. 8 with 3.7 assists per Big Ten outing.

Ohio State is leading the nation when it comes to fewest fouls per game. With nine active players to date, the Buckeyes are averaging 11.8 fouls per game and have only had one player foul out in 24 games.

Senior LaToya Turner is No. 17 on the all-time OSU leader board with 557 career rebounds. She needs 10 boards to move to No. 16.

Turner’s 15-point effort vs. Michigan State last Sunday placed her No. 20 among Ohio State scoring leaders. She has 1,078 career points and is 56 points from No. 19. Turner added to the historic Buckeye win at Iowa Feb. 5 when she hit a layup with 2:34 left in the first half and became the 22nd member of Ohio State’s 1,000-point club.

Sophomore Kim Wilburn is tied at the top of the conference in Big Ten games with 2.93 steals per game. She has come alive lately with a 3.2 swipes-per-game average the last five games.

Sophomore Kim Wilburn and freshman Jessica Davenport are putting in a full days work for head coach Jim Foster. Both clocked 40 minutes at then-No. 5/6 Purdue Feb. 8. It was Wilburn’s fourth 40-minute outing of the season – the first was at Nebraska, the second was at Illinois and the third was at Michigan – and the ninth of her career. Wilburn, who is averaging a Buckeye-best 32.4 minutes an outing, led the team last season as a freshman with 34.8 minutes per game, including five 40-minute contests, three of which came in the final four games of the year.

Davenport played 40 minutes in the two opening games of the Big Ten season vs. then-No. 23/25 Michigan State and vs. then-7/8 Purdue and also tallied a full game at then-No. 5/6 Purdue.

Senior center LaToya Turner earned her third season and 10th career double-double at then-No. 5/6 Purdue Feb. 8 with 13 points and 10 rebounds in Mackey Arena. Turner earned her second season double-double vs. UCSB with 16 points and 11 boards and her first double-double of the season was against Penn Dec. 21 with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Turner is averaging 12.8 points and a team-high 6.6 rebounds per game. Turner is ranked No. 17 on Ohio State’s rebounding list and No. 20 on the points list.

Ohio State is leading the Big Ten in conference contests with 5.57 swats an outing. The team set a season-high mark with nine blocked shots at Purdue Feb. 8. Kim Wilburn led the way with a career-best three rejections, while freshman Jessica Davenport, junior Caity Matter and senior LaToya Turner swatted two shots apiece vs. the Boilermakers. For the year, the Buckeyes have 1107 blocked shots compared to opponents’ 39.

Ohio State is led by Turner and rookie Davenport, who stand at 6-feet-3-inches and 6-feet-5-inches, respectively. Among league leaders for all games, Davenport holds the No. 2 spot with 2.4 swatted shots per game and during Big Ten battles, Davenport is tied at the top with 2.9 and Turner is No. 5 with 1.9 blocks per outing. Turner is notching 1.7 in all games. The pair has combined for 95 of Ohio State’s 110 blocked shots. Veteran Turner is ranked second among OSU career block leaders. The Buckeyes have held six teams to zero blocks this season.

Both Turner and Davenport have had a five-block game this season and with those marks, both student-athletes tied the Value City Arena record for an Ohio State player. The record is held by none other than Turner, who swatted five attempts vs. Wisconsin-Green Bay Dec. 10, 2000. Davenport’s six blocks vs. Northwestern is a career-high and was set in St. John Arena.

Senior LaToya Turner and freshman Jessica Davenport are averaging 6.6 and 5.7 rebounds per game, respectively, for the Buckeyes this season. Besides the two forwards, the guards are contributing to the rebound count in a big way. Kim Wilburn is averaging 4.0, Caity Matter is grabbing 3.9 and Brandie Hoskins is pulling down 3.2 boards per outing.

The then-No. 5/6 Purdue game Feb. 8 began the Buckeyes’ second three-game swing against three consecutive Top 25 opponents this season. Ohio State played host to No. 10/10 Minnesota at home Thursday and capped the swing against the Spartans of No. 15/17 Michigan State Feb. 15. The Buckeye fell by three points at Purdue and beat Minnesota and Michigan State by an average of 18.5 points.

The first three-game Top 25 swing began Jan. 15 vs. then-No. 23/25 Michigan State in Value City Arena. MSU beat the Buckeyes, 55-47. The Spartan win snapped Ohio State’s 24-game consecutive home winning streak, which ranked second in the country at the time. One week after the contest vs. MSU, then-No. 7/8 Purdue came to VCA and beat the Buckeyes, 74-68. Ohio State faced then-No. 7/8 Penn State Jan. 25 and fell 70-64.

Ohio State beat then-No. 21/23 UC Santa Barbara, 73-59, Dec. 28 at The Thunderdome in Santa Barbara, Calif. Ohio State is now 3-4 vs. the Top 25.

Senior LaToya Turner has been consistent this season and has scored in double figures every game she has played in except two – 13 vs. IUPUI, 16 vs. Nebraska, 10 vs. Wright State, 10 vs. Penn, 16 vs. UCSB, 14 vs. Wisconsin, 15 vs. Rutgers, 12 at Illinois, 13 at Northwestern, 11 vs. Purdue, 15 vs. Penn State, 10 at Michigan, 19 vs. Indiana, 11 at Iowa, 13 at Purdue, 12 vs. Minnesota,15 at Michigan State,13 vs. Northwestern and 19 vs. Illinois.

Turner returned to the lineup against IUPUI Dec. 1 after missing the first three games of the year because of an injury suffered in preseason and missed the game vs. then-No. 23/25 Michigan State Jan. 15 because of a concussion suffered in practice. The 2000 Big Ten Freshman of the Year, Turner is averaging 12.8 points, 6.6 rebounds and 1.7 blocked shots per outing.

It was almost 19 years to the day that the current Buckeye basketball team made history and beat the Hawkeyes at Iowa, 93-82, Feb. 5. No Ohio State team – not even the 1993 Final Four squad – had left Iowa City with a win since a 56-47 victory Feb. 3, 1985. It took 16 tries, but the Buckeyes broke the pattern Thursday and were victorious in Carver-Hawkeye Arena – only the fourth such win of its kind in Buckeye program history.

It is no secret Ohio State has been relying on a myriad of players to score this season. And for the Buckeyes, that seems to be the best formula. In games when four or more players score in double digits, Ohio State is 6-0. When three players score in double digits, OSU is 8-4 and if two or fewer Buckeyes score 10 or more points, Jim Foster’s group is 3-4.

For the first time this season, six Ohio State players scored double digits in the squad’s 93-82 victory at Iowa Thursday. Junior Caity Matter led the OSU scoring effort with 24 points, followed by Kim Wilburn, rookie Brandie Hoskins, sophomore Michelle Mu±oz, LaToya Turner and freshman Jessica Davenport who scored 16, 15, 12, 11 and 10 points, respectively.

During the championship game of the Buckeye Classic vs. Penn Dec. 21, five Ohio State players scored in double digits for the first time this season. Hoskins netted 22, Davenport swished 20, Matter scored 12 and Turner and Wilburn each sank 10.

Ohio State ended a three-game losing streak with a 51-49 win at Michigan Jan. 29 and capped a 2-5 record for the month. Last season, the opposite was true for Jim Foster’s squad, as the team posted a 6-2 mark in January and went on to tally an even 4-4 record in February. Ohio State is 6-1 this February.

Six-foot-3-inch senior center LaToya Turner is not limited to rebounds and points. Turner now is ranked No. 18 on the all-time steals list with 126 and needs four swipes to take over the No. 17 spot among OSU record holders.

After a few games when she was held below her scoring average, the Buckeyes’ leading scorer Caity Matter rebounded in a big way at Michigan Jan. 29. Matter pulled down a personal-best 10 boards and scored 15 points in a 51-49 victory over the Wolverines, not to mention being credited with the assist on LaToya Turner’s final bucket to cap the Buckeye victory in Ann Arbor.

Crashing the boards is key for the Ohio State Buckeyes, who are averaging 34.0 rebounds per game compared to opponents’ 32.1 caroms a contest. When the Buckeyes outrebound teams, Ohio State is 12-1 and when opponents edge the Buckeyes, Jim Foster’s squad drops to 5-7.

Not only are Buckeyes willing to hit an open player with a No. 1 ranking in the Big Ten (17.9 assists per game), but the team is taking care of the ball as well. Ohio State is ranked second in the Big Ten with a 1.11 assist-to-turnover ratio. That figures is thanks primarily to sophomore Kim Wilburn, whose 1.7 assist-to-turnover ratio is ranked third among league leaders, and freshman Brandie Hoskins, who aids the effort with a No. 7 1.6 ratio in the conference.

Each time Jessica Davenport has tallied a double-double this year, she has moved her name into the Value City Arena record books for Ohio State individual high marks. In her first double-double vs. Florida A&M Nov. 23 (23 points, 12 boards), Davenport’s 14 free throw attempts vs. Florida A&M tied an Ohio State VCA record set by former Buckeye Courtney Coleman vs. Indiana Jan. 31, 2002. (She upped the mark with 16 free-throw attempts vs. Indiana Feb. 1.)

In her second and third double-doubles vs. then-No. 23/25 Michigan State Jan. 15 (16 points; 15 rebounds) and vs. then-No. 7/8 Purdue Jan. 22 (27 points, 15 rebounds), Davenport gathered 15 rebounds each game and tied the Value City Arena record for a Buckeye best, which also is held by Coleman, who collected 15 caroms twice during her career in VCA.

The Big Ten conference is no joke – competition will be tight and every win counts. The conference is ranked No. 1 in the latest RPI poll and five Big Ten teams are ranked in the Top 25, including two in the Top 10.

Junior shooting guard Caity Matter has made a 3-pointer in 44-of-48 games, dating back to Dec. 20, 2002 vs. Youngstown State. The only games she has not hit a trey was at Illinois Jan. 8, vs. then-No. 7/8 Penn State Jan. 25, at then-No. 5/6 Purdue Feb. 8 and vs. Northwestern Feb. 19. Until the game in Champaign, Ill., she had hit a trey in 36 consecutive games. Matter’s 2.60 treys per game average is No. 2 in the Big Ten.

Ohio State was ranked second in the country with 24 games for the longest home winning streak in the country behind Texas’ 27 wins in Austin prior to facing then-No. 23/25 Michigan State Jan. 15 in Value City Arena. The Spartans won 55-47 and snapped the Buckeyes’ streak. The 24-game Buckeye win streak dated back to the final two games of the 2001-02 season and ranks second in Ohio State women’s basketball history. The longest home winning streak is 26 games, which began in January of the 1987 season and lasted until December of 1988. Under Jim Foster, Ohio State is 26-3 in Columbus dating back to the beginning of the 2002-03 season.

Ohio State women’s basketball player Ashley Allen suffered a knee injury in the Dec. 20 game vs. St. John’s and will not return for the remainder of the season. Allen, who missed the opening game vs. Ohio and returned to the court vs. Florida A&M after suffering a similar injury last January at Illinois, was averaging 5.5 points, 1.7 rebounds and was shooting .417 from the field and .500 from 3-point land.

Ohio State’s 73-59 victory at then-No. 21/23 UCSB Dec. 28 snapped the Gauchos’ 27 consecutive game winning streak at home, a mark that ranked second in the country behind Connecticut’s 63 wins in Storrs, Conn. as of Dec. 28.

Additionally, the Buckeyes shot .529 for the game, including a .654 stroke in the second half. Prior to the contest, UCSB had held the last 111 opponents to less than .500 shooting dating back to the final game of the 1999-00 season.

While freshman Brandie Hoskins was named the MVP of The 2003 Wonder/Hostess Buckeye Classic, look no further than the current Ohio State bench for the last MVP of the event. Student assistant and two-time Ohio State All-American Katie Smith was named the most valuable player of the 1994 Buckeye Classic.

Freshman Jessica Davenport has already placed herself among the Top 10 twice for single-game shooting accuracy (minimum 10 attempts). She was 11-for-13 from the field vs. Wright State and her .846 percentage (11-of-13) from the field is tied for 10th all-time for a single-game mark from the field for a Buckeye. Two games later, Davenport scored 20 points off a 9-of-10 night from the field. Her 9-of-10 accuracy is tied for third place among Buckeye single-game leaders. Additionally, her 8-for-10 stroke vs. then-No. 7/8 Penn State is tied for 16th on the all-time list.

Junior shooting guard Caity Matter earned a single-game record with eight 3-pointers made vs. IUPUI Dec. 1. The previous record of seven was set by former two-time All-American and current student assistant Katie Smith vs. Northwestern Jan. 15, 1995. Matter tied the mark with seven makes from downtown Jan. 16, 2003 at Wisconsin.

Ohio State’s 14 3-pointers drained as a team against IUPUI Dec. 1 is a Buckeye Value City Arena record for makes from 3-point land. Foster’s squad rewrote the previous record of 10 during the game vs. UNC Wilmington Nov. 25 with 12 3-pointers nailed as a team.

After opening with .385 and .375 mark from behind the arc vs. Ohio and Florida A&M, respectively, Ohio State shot a season-best .667 (12-of-18) from 3-point land vs. UNCW Nov. 25. That mark gave Ohio State a Buckeye record for 3-point percentage in Value City Arena. The previous record was earned when the Buckeyes shot .615 from behind the arc vs. Pittsburgh Dec. 2, 1998. That 3-point percentage mark has stood since the first year the VCA was used as the home of Ohio State women’s basketball. Ohio State continued the hot shooting from downtown with a .609 (14-for-23) stroke against IUPUI Dec. 1. As a team the Buckeyes are shooting a league-best .529 from the 3-point line.

Freshman Jessica Davenport tied a Value City Arena record (set by Courtney Coleman Jan. 31, 2002) with 14 trips to the free-throw line vs. Florida A&M (Nov. 23). Against Indiana Feb. 1, Davenport had career highs with 10 free throws made and 16 free throws attempted – both marks are Value City Arena records for an OSU player.

Jim Foster, head coach of the 2003 USA Basketball World Championship For Young Women Team last summer, was named the 2003 USA Basketball Developmental Coach of the Year by the USA Basketball Executive Committee. Junior shooting guard Caity Matter, who was selected to the Young Women Team from the USA Basketball Women’s National Team Trials last spring, earned a spot as part of the 2003 USA Basketball Team of the Year, which also was selected by the USA Basketball Executive Committee. Both Foster and Matter (as part of the team) have been nominated by USA Basketball for the U.S. Olympic Committee’s Developmental Coach of the Year and Team of the Year awards, respectively, which will be announced by the USOC at a later date.

Foster’s squad finished with a 7-1 record and collected the inaugural FIBA World Championship For Young Women gold medal in Sibenik, Croatia, last summer.

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.

Katie Smith, a student assistant in the Ohio State women’s basketball office and a former two-time All-American at OSU, is one of the first seven members named to the 2004 USA Basketball Women’s Senior National Team. Smith will be part of the team that is expected to represent the U.S. at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. A Logan, Ohio, native, Smith is also a member of the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx. She is a four-time All-WNBA player and a four-time WNBA All-Star.

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.

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.

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 were held in the former long-time home of Buckeye hoops. Ohio State won both contests.

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.