Dec. 15, 2004

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The No. 7/10 Ohio State women’s basketball team (9-1; 0-0 Big Ten) visits No. 24 Oregon (7-0; 0-0 PAC 10) in game two of the Nike Classic at McArthur Court in Eugene, Ore., at 9:30 p.m. EST Saturday. Game one will feature Oklahoma vs. Louisiana Tech.

Marty Bannister and Toni Roesch will be doing the radio broadcast on WOSU-820 AM. The game will be broadcast live with Ann Schatz and Mary Murphy. FSN will be picking up the feed. Check local listings.

Oregon is 7-0 overall, No. 24 in the WBCA/ESPN/USA Today rankings and receiving votes in the most recent Associated Press poll The Ducks are coming off a 66-57 win at Colorado State Dec. 12. Additional victories have been vs. Portland, Southern, Miami (Fla.), Long Island, George Washington and Idaho State.

The Ducks are led by Cathrine Kraayeveld and Andrea Bills, who are scoring 15.4 and 11.3 points and 7.7 and 6.7 rebounds per game, respectively. As a team, Oregon shoots .470 from the field and .357 from 3-point land. Much like Ohio State, the Ducks have significantly higher assists numbers than opponents with 19.3 vs. 11.6 averages.

Head coach Bev Smith is in her fourth year at the helm of the Oregon program and has accumulated a 55-44 overall mark.

The Buckeyes and the Ducks are tied at 1-1 in the overall series. The only two contests between these two schools were played in the 1980’s. Oregon beat Ohio State 68-60 at the Giusti Tournament Dec. 18, 1981 and the Buckeyes earned a 76-62 victory March 14, 1987 in the second round of the NCAA west regional in Eugene, Ore. The Buckeyes went on to beat Southern Cal that year before falling to Long Beach State in the regional final.

The No. 6/10 Ohio State women’s basketball team (9-1; 0-0 Big Ten) beat Penn (3-6; 0-0 Ivy League), 70-57, Monday afternoon at The Palestra in Philadelphia. After trailing by as many as 22 points, the Quakers were able to pull the game to within eight at 4:03. The Buckeyes outscored Penn 11-6 in the final four minutes to secure the victory.

For the second consecutive game, Ohio State’s Brandie Hoskins upped her season-high mark with a game-high 21 points. Hoskins was 9-of-14 from the field, 2-for-2 from 3-point land, made the only free throw she attempted and tallied six boards, two assists, two steals and one block. Jessica Davenport scored 18 points, pulled down six boards and swatted six shots. Rookie Tamarah Riley netted 10 points off a 5-of-6 performance from the floor.

Penn jumped out to a quick five-point lead, but the Buckeyes put on a 16-3 scoring run to go up 18-10 at 10:21. Penn’s Lauren Pears hit a layup to bring the game back to a six-point contest, but Ohio State outscored the Quakers 20-8 to close the half and take a 38-20 lead at the midway mark.

In the second half, Ohio State maintained a double-digit lead and the Buckeyes seemed to have regained their composure. Candace Dark nailed a 3-pointer and Kim Wilburn forced a steal in the backcourt and converted it to a layup to give the Buckeyes a 17-point cushion (57-40) with just over six minutes to play. After a timeout, Riley worked inside against the Penn defense and banked in a bucket to put her squad up, 59-40.

The Quakers were relentless as they chiseled the Buckeye advantage to eight points (59-51) with an 11-0 scoring run over the next one minute and 25 seconds. Caity Matter nailed a 3-pointer at 3:31 and sparked the Buckeyes 11-6 scoring run to end the game.

Wilburn led Ohio State on the boards with a season-high eight rebounds. She had four assists, two blocked shots and a game-best six steals. Matter ended with eight points and Ashley Allen, Dark and Marscilla Packer added three apiece.

Penn’s Karen Habrukowich and Jennifer Fleischer added 19 and 14 points, respectively.

When Ohio State and Oregon tip off Saturday, each team can tout its own famous Smith. The Buckeyes’ student assistant Katie Smith is a two-time Olympian with two gold medals from the Sydney and Athens Games. Oregon’s head coach Bev Smith also competed in the Olympics as a member of the Canadian Olympic team in Los Angeles and retired from playing after the Atlanta Games. Additionally, both Smiths are two-time All-Americans. Katie Smith was named a 1993 and 1996 All-American and Bev Smith was a 1981 and 1982 All-American.

Ashley Allen SQUARED
Ohio State and Oregon each have an Ashley Allen on the rosters for Saturday. The Buckeye’s Ashley Allen is a senior guard from Indianapolis, who wears No. 24. The Ducks’ Ashley Allen is No. 5 and a sophomore guard from Fresno, Calif.

Caity Matter needs two 3-pointers to take over the No. 1 spot in the Ohio State record book for career treys. Matter hit two vs. Penn Dec. 13 and now has 217 career treys. Katie Smith holds the school’s all-time record with 218 career 3-pointers.

Matter’s four 3-pointers vs. Arizona Nov. 17 moved her into second place on Ohio State’s all-time career 3-pointers list. She hit her third trey at the 17:00-minute mark in the second half to take over second place. Matter replaced Marcie Alberts (203) in the No. 2 spot.

When Matter sank two treys vs. Saint Joseph’s Nov. 14, she became only the third Buckeye to make at least 200 career 3-pointers.

Ohio State is 13-8 all-time vs. PAC-10 schools. Last season, the Buckeyes faced UCLA and suffered their worst regular season loss – a 15-point loss (76-51) in Pauley Pavilion. This year, Ohio State has already faced a PAC-10 school when Arizona visited Columbus in the semifinals of the 2004 Preseason WNIT. The Buckeyes beat the Wildcats, who were ranked No. 22/24 at the time, 78-45, Nov. 17 at Value City Arena.

The last two games, Brandie Hoskins has upped her season-best scoring mark. The sophomore from Dayton, Ohio, had 15 vs. Nebraska Dec. 11 and two days later netted 21 at Penn Dec. 13.

The Buckeyes are no strangers to the west coast. Last season, Ohio State traveled west to face UC Santa Barbara and UCLA in December. The Buckeyes snapped UC Santa Barbara’s 27-game winning streak, mark that ranked second in the country at the time, before falling to UCLA.

In games played in December, Ohio state head coach Jim Foster is 15-3 overall and 4-0 this season while at the helm of the Buckeye program.

Foster is 556-246 overall in 27 years of collegiate coaching and 52-21 in three seasons at Ohio State. In Columbus, Foster is 33-4 overall with a 25-3 mark in Value City Arena and an 8-1 record in St. John Arena. Ohio State’s win over then-No. 21/24 Arizona Nov. 17 in Columbus gave head coach Jim Foster win No. 550 and the victory at Dayton Dec. 4 gave him win No. 50 while at Ohio State.

The Buckeyes are leading the Big Ten in every major offensive category except one. Ohio State ranks first among league leaders for scoring offense (80.9 ppg), scoring margin (+33.6), field-goal percentage (.550; 303-551) and 3-point field-goal percentage (.493; 66-134). The one category the Buckeyes are not tops in is free-throw percentage. Ohio State comes in at No. 2 in the Big Ten with a .797 (137-174) average.

Individually, Jessica Davenport is shooting .622 (69-111) and ranked No. 4 in the Big Ten, followed by Brandie Hoskins’ No. 8-ranked average of .581 (43-74). Caity Matter is No. 11 among league leaders with a .549 mark (50-91) from the floor.

The Big Ten’s best 3-point shooting team is leaning on a handful of players to help maintain that mark. Michelle Muñoz, who was 4-for-4 from the 3-point line at Ohio Dec. 1, is ranked No. 1 in the Big Ten with a .733 (11-of-15) average from outside the 3-point line. Caity Matter is close behind with a No. 3 ranking of .465 (20-43). Matter’s 2.0 treys per game is tied for fifth among Big Ten leaders.

As a team, the Buckeyes hold the second spot among league rankings with 6.6 treys made per game.

As a rookie, sophomore Stephanie Blanton made only four treys last season and is now 8-for-15 on the year.

The Buckeyes are ranked No. 1 in the Big Ten with a +6.7 turnover margin and a 1.56 assist-to-turnover ratio. The second-ranked Big Ten squad for turnover margin is Michigan State, who has a mark of +3.56. Ohio State is one of only four teams in the conference to have a positive turnover margin.

The Ohio State squad is ranked high for a reason – especially when three players hold spots in the Top 7 among the Big Ten leaders. Caity Matter and Ashley Allen are No. 1 and No. 2 in the league with 2.83 and 2.50 assist-to-turnover ratios, respectively. Brandie Hoskins is No. 7 among the conference leaders with a 1.61 ratio.

The Buckeyes are ranked first in the Big Ten with 20.5 assists per game vs. opponents’ 7.9 dishes per outing. Leading the way is Kim Wilburn and Caity Matter, who have 4.0 and 3.4 assists-per-game averages, respectively. Wilburn is tied for No. 7 and Matter is No. 11 in the Big Ten. Brandie Hoskins is tied for No. 14 with a 3.2 assists average.

Of note, Matter averaged 1.97 assists last season and entered the season with a 1.67 career assists average.

Jessica Davenport, who leads the Buckeyes on the boards, is ranked No. 8 in the Big Ten with 7.3 rebounds per game.

Jessica Davenport, Caity Matter and Brandie Hoskins are leading the team with 18.0, 14.5 and 11.4 points per game, respectively. Davenport has scored double figures in every game this season, Matter has scored double digits in 8-of-10 games this year and Hoskins has tallied double digits in 6-of-9 games played. Davenport’s 18.0 points is No. 3 in the league, while Matter and Hoskins come in at No. 15 and 21 in the Big Ten.

While Ohio State is the Big Ten’s most impressive offensive performer, the Buckeyes are not slacking on defense. The squad is No. 1 and No. 3 in scoring defense (47.3 ppg) and field-goal percentage defense (.329; 169-513), respectively.

The Buckeyes, who led the country last season in fewest fouls per outing, are ranked among the Top 5 in the country for fewest fouls per game with 13.5 a contest.

The Buckeyes’ bench is getting utilized this year and the help is proving its worth. Ohio State players coming off the bench are averaging 27.5 points per game (275 total) vs. opponents’ 12.5 point per contest (125 total) from the reserves. Notre Dame is the only school to outscore the Buckeye bench. The Fighting Irish had eight points vs. Ohio State’s seven points from non-starters. Nebraska was close with a 13-12 mark in favor of the Buckeyes.

Ohio State is outscoring opponents in the paint by an average of 37.6 to 15.0 points per game (376-150). Of note, the Buckeyes scored 50 points in the paint vs. Bradley’s eight scores inside the lane Nov. 28 and 34 points in the lane vs. Ohio’s two scores inside. The only team to contend in the lane vs. the Buckeyes was Notre Dame, who beat Ohio State. The Fighting Irish scored 28 points inside vs. Ohio State’s 30 in the lane.

In the first ten games of the season, every Buckeye available to play has clocked minutes in every outing. Alice Jamen made her college debut in the game at Dayton Dec. 4. Jamen had been sidelined because of an injury. She has played in every game since.

Ten of 13 Buckeyes cleared to play are averaging more than 10.6 minutes per game and only four players – Jessica Davenport, Caity Matter, Brandie Hoskins and Kim Wilburn – are clocking more than 20.0 minutes per outing. The most PT for any Ohio State player is 26.9 minutes an outing (Davenport).

Jessica Davenport added eight blocked shots to her first double-double of the season (16 points, 13 rebounds) at Dayton Dec. 4. Eight blocks is a career-best mark for the sophomore center from Columbus. Davenport is ranked first in the Big Ten with 3.6 blocked shots per game. The No. 2-ranked player (Minnesota’s Janel McCarville) is averaging 2.3 blocks per outing.

Davenport’s eight blocked shots added to the team’s season-high performance at Dayton Dec. 4 with 11 swatted shots total.

After dropping a 66-62 game at Notre Dame Nov. 20, the Buckeyes responded in a big way during their second road trip of the season. Ohio State pounded Ohio, 107-37, in Athens Dec. 1 and beat Dayton, 75-42, in UD Arena Dec. 4. Most recently, the Buckeyes tallied a 70-57 victory at Penn and improved to 3-1 on the road this year.

Ohio State is No. 3 in the Big Ten with 10.7 steals per game. The Buckeyes are led by Kim Wilburn, who is averaging 2.6 steals per outing.

Against Nebraska Dec. 11, Jessica Davenport and Caity Matter hit season-high marks of 26, and 25 points, respectively. Davenport’s previous season-high was 23 points vs. Notre Dame Nov. 20. Matter’s high was 20 scores vs. Arizona Nov. 17.

Brandie Hoskins had a season record with seven assists. She previously accumulated six helpers vs. the Wildcats Nov. 17. Davenport’s 12 field goals was a new season-high and her 14 attempts from the field tied her previous season-best mark (set vs. Yale Nov. 27). Prior to the Nebraska outing, the most field goals for Davenport this year was eight against Yale and Bradley in back-to-back Buckeye Classic games Nov. 27 and 28.

The Buckeyes, who entered the Dec. 11 Nebraska game as the Big Ten’s top shooting squad from 3-point land, were held to only .250 (2-of-8) in the first half from downtown, but turned it around in the second half by hitting all five treys attempted. OSU finished with a .538 (7-of-13) mark for the game from 3-point land. Ohio State has shot 50 percent or better from beyond the arc in six-of-nine games this year.

At Dayton Dec. 4, the Buckeyes set season-high marks with 19 free throws made and 24 free throws attempted. Ohio State is No. 2 the Big Ten with a .787 (137-174) mark from the free-throw line. Last season, the Buckeyes shot .654 from the charity stripe on the season and were ranked last in the league.

The Buckeyes are led by Caity Matter, who is ranked No. 2 in the league with a .926 (25-27) mark and Jessica Davenport, who has made 42-of-51 free throws this season and is ranked No. 14 in the conference with an .824 average.

Jessica Davenport had her first double-double of the season with 16 points and 13 rebounds at Dayton Dec. 4. Davenport had four double-doubles last season. Notably, Davenport swatted a career-high eight shots vs. the Flyers.

The Buckeyes beat Ohio, 107-37, Dec. 1 in Athens, Ohio. Ohio State’s 70-point win tied the school record for the largest margin of victory. Ohio State beat Akron 105-35 on Feb. 22, 1977. The win was the Bobcats’ worst lost in program history. Ohio’s previous worst lost was 52 points at Iowa in 1991.

The previous biggest margin of victory for a Buckeye team under head coach Jim Foster was a 48-point win. Foster’s Ohio State teams had beaten two squads by 48 points: 96-48 vs. IUPUI Dec. 1, 2003 in Value City Arena and 89-41 vs. Bowling Green Nov. 12 in Value City Arena.

Ohio State’s 107 points vs. Ohio Dec. 1 was the highest points total this season and the most for any Buckeye team coached by Jim Foster. The Buckeyes’ previous season-high was 89 points against Bowling Green (Nov. 12) in the season opener. Ohio State’s 46 points in the first 20 minutes of play vs. Ohio Dec. 1 was the most in the first half this year.

The last time a Buckeye team scored at least 100 points, was vs. Wayne State Nov. 26, 2002 in Foster’s second-ever game at the helm of the Buckeyes.

The most points ever scored by a Buckeye team was a 119-point performance vs. Idaho State Dec. 11, 1994. The Buckeyes won, 119-63.

The Buckeyes had seven players reach double figures in scoring vs. Ohio Dec. 1. Tamarah Riley had 18, Caity Matter scored 14 points, Stephanie Blanton, Jessica Davenport, Beth Howe and Michelle Muñoz all netted 12 and Candace Dark tallied 11 scores. Seven players in double digits is the most this season. Ohio State had five players reach double figures against St. Joseph’s (Nov. 14).

Ohio State tallied a season-high 45 rebounds in the Ohio contest Dec. 1. The Buckeyes beat their previous season-high mark of 38, which was set vs. Bowling Green (Nov. 12) and vs. St. Joseph’s (Nov. 14).

The Buckeyes also recorded season highs with 40 field goals and a 67.8 field-goal percentage vs. the Bobcats. The previous bests were 35 shots made against Bowling Green (Nov. 12) and a .574 (35-of-61) percentage against the Falcons.

Stephanie Blanton tied her career-high of 12 points vs. Ohio Dec. 1 and senior Beth Howe and rookie Tamarah Riley each had personal-best nights vs. the Bobcats. Howe’s 12 points beat her previous record of 10 vs Purdue in the Big Ten tournament March 7, 2004. Riley’s 18 points beat her previous best of 12 vs. Yale Nov. 27.

Senior guard Ashley Allen made her fourth consecutive start of the season at Dayton Dec. 4. The Buckeye Classic games vs. Yale Nov. 27 and vs. Bradley Nov. 28 marked her first two starts since Feb. 19, 2003 at Illinois when she was injured and forced to miss the rest of the season. Allen played in six games in 2003-04 but did not make a start. She is averaging 4.8 points, 2.5 rebounds, 2.4 assists and only 1.2 turnovers per game. Allen had a season-best and Buckeye-high five assists vs. Bradley Nov. 28 and broke the mark at Ohio Dec. 1 with a team-best six assists.

Ashley Allen officially returned to the Buckeye lineup against Bowling Green for the first time since Dec. 20, 2003. Allen scored 17 points vs. the Falcons and made a career-high five 3-pointers (of six attempted) against the Falcons.

Allen’s previous record was four 3-pointers drained vs. UNC Wilmington Dec. 25, 2003.

Ohio State women’s basketball player Caity Matter was named a finalist for the 2004-05 Bayer Advantage Senior CLASS Award by the organizing committee of the award. The Senior CLASS Award is an acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School. The award is given to the outstanding male and female senior NCAA Division I basketball player annually and originated from the award’s honorary chairman, CBS sportscaster Dick Enberg.

A national media committee will select 10 finalists for the award in February of 2005. In March, a nationwide fan ballot will be paired with results from a vote of coaches and media to determine the winners. The winner will be announced by Enberg during the CBS telecast of the 2005 NCAA Men’s Final Four.

Courtney Coleman, a former Ohio State regional Kodak/WBCA All-American honorable mention pick and four-year Buckeye letterwinner, was named a second team Senior CLASS Award winner in 2003.

Ohio State won the 2004 Buckeye Classic by beating Yale, 80-43, Nov. 27 and rolling past Bradley, 86-52, Nov. 28. In the consolation game, Detroit beat Yale, 69-56.

After a slow offensive showing by both Ohio State and Yale to begin the game, the Buckeyes used a 10-2 scoring run in the middle of the first to take a 22-8 lead with just over 10 minutes to play. Yale cut the lead to 11 (27-16) with 5:39 to play off a jumper by Erica Davis, but the Buckeyes answered with six consecutive points to stretch the advantage to 33-16 at the 3:10 mark. Ohio State finished the half strong and took an 18-point lead, 39-21, into halftime.

The Buckeyes continued to pound away at the Bulldogs in the second half as they outscored Yale 22-4 in the first 8:48 to give OSU a 61-25 advantage. The most the Buckeyes led by was 39 points in the final minute when Tamarah Riley, who scored a career-high 12 points, sank a free-throw to put her team up 80-41.

The Buckeyes shot .561 (32-of-57) from the field compared to Yale’s .360 (18-of-50) average. Ohio State tallied 27 assists to the Bulldogs’ nine and 14 steals vs. Yale’s seven. Yale was held to just .125 (1-of-8) from 3-point territory, while the Buckeyes sank .385 (5-of-13) of their shots from downtown.

Four Ohio State players scored in double digits. Davenport led both teams with 18 points, followed by Riley’s 12, Brandie Hoskins’ 11 scores and Michelle Muñoz’ 10 points. Davenport was the game’s high rebounder with nine caroms. Kim Wilburn had a game-best eight assists.

Yale was led by Davis, who scored 14 points.

On Nov. 28, Bradley was competitive in the first half as both squads traded leads eight times and saw five ties in the first 10 minutes. The Braves’ biggest advantage was a 3-point lead when Devyn Flanagan hit a 3-pointer and sent BU up, 17-14 with 12:37 left in the first. The Buckeyes went on an 18-5 scoring run to take a 10-point lead, 32-22, with 4:41 until halftime. Bradley did not back down and was able to pull the game to within seven twice more before the half, but Ohio state took a 41-32 lead into the midway mark.

It was all Ohio State in the second half as the Buckeye shot .625 (15-of-24) from the field and stepped up their defensive effort to hold Bradley to only 20 second-half points vs. OSU’s 45. After shooting .458 (11-of-24) from the field and a whopping .800 (8-of-10) from the 3-point line in the first half, Bradley only made .217 (5-of-23) of their shots and 2-of-6 treys in the second half. Ohio State went 6-for-11 (.545) from downtown for the game.

The Ohio State vs. Bradley game was the 12th time Ohio State has made it to the title game in 13 years of the Buckeye Classic. In 1983 – during the first year of the Buckeye Classic – Georgia and Clemson met and Georgia won the title, 78-64. The Buckeyes have won the Buckeye Classic seven times, including the previous four events in a row. The last two MVP’s of the Buckeye Classic are underclassmen on the Ohio State team. Sophomore center Jessica Davenport earned the honor this season and classmate Brandie Hoskins was tabbed the Buckeye Classic’s MVP last season when she was a rookie.

Jessica Davenport and Caity Matter were named to the 2004 Buckeye Classic All-Tournament Team. Davenport, the most valuable player, was 16-of-27 from the field and tallied a total of 37 points, 12 rebounds, six assists, four steals, five blocked shots and only two turnovers. Matter was 7-of-13 form the field, scored 22 points and had seven assists, six rebounds and four steals. Davenport and Matter were also named to the 2004 Preseason WNIT All-Tournament Team.

Ohio State beat Bowling Green, 89-41, Nov. 12 and blew by Saint Joseph’s, 76-29, Nov. 14 in rounds one and two of the 2004 Preseason WNIT. In the semifinals vs. No. 21/24 Arizona, the Buckeyes won, 78-45, and earned the program’s first trip to the finals of the preseason WNIT. The first three games were in Columbus, Ohio (with round one and the semifinal game being held at Value City Arena and round two taking place in St. John Arena), but the Buckeyes had to travel to South Bend, Ind., to face then-No. 10/11 Notre Dame in the final game Nov. 20.

Notre Dame tallied victories at home over Illinois State (92-73), Nebraska (73-57) and No. 6/6 Duke (76-65) on its path to the final game of the preseason WNIT event, fought for the title in a close game vs. the Buckeyes. In a back-and-forth battle with seven lead changes and nine ties, Ohio State led, 62-54, with 5:18 to play, but Notre Dame went on a 12-0 run to close the final five minutes of the game and earn the championship.

It was the second preseason WNIT run for Ohio State. The Buckeyes were also in the 1995 event and faced Pittsburgh Nov. 15, 1995. The Buckeyes beat Pitt, 85-50. In the second round of that year’s preseason WNIT, the Buckeyes beat Maine in the second round, 93-64, before falling to Arkansas, 86-80. Then-senior Katie Smith, who is currently a student assistant for the Buckeyes, was named to the 1995 Preseason WNIT All-Tournament team.

Ohio State’s Jessica Davenport and Caity Matter were named to the 2004 Preseason WNIT All-Tournament Team. For the tournament, Davenport averaged 17.8 points, 6.3 boards and 2.5 rebounds per game, while shooting .581 from the field (25-of-43) and making all 21 free throws she attempted. Matter averaged 14.3 points, 3.8 assists and shot .467 (21-of-45) from the field and 7-for-7 from the charity stripe in the four games.

The Buckeyes have set two preseason WNIT team records: 3-pointers in a game and 3-pointers in a tournament.

Ohio State made 13 3-pointers (of 20 attempted) vs. Bowling Green Nov. 12. The previous mark was held by Connecticut, who drained 12 treys vs. Fairfield Nov. 9, 2001. Ohio State was .650 from beyond the arc vs. the Falcons, due primarily to Ashley Allen, who was 5-of-6 from downtown, Caity Matter, who hit 2-of-4, and Michelle Muñoz, who hit both 3-pointers attempted.

The Buckeyes’ 27 3-pointers accumulated during the four preseason WNIT contests beat the previous mark of 23 treys in a tournament set by the University of Arkansas in 1995.

1-1 VS. THE TOP 25
The Buckeyes have split with the two Top 25 teams they have met so far this season. Ohio State earned its first victory of the season over a Top 25 team with a 78-45 victory over then-No. 21/24 Arizona Nov. 17. Ironically, Foster’s first win over a Top 25 team since he took over the helm of the Buckeye program in 2002, was an 84-65 victory over then-No. 19/24 Arizona Dec. 15, 2002 in Value City Arena. The Buckeyes are 5-3 against ranked opponents in Value City Arena since Foster took over the helm of the program.

Three days later, Ohio State dropped its first contest of the season at then-No. 10/11 Notre Dame, 66-62, in the final game of the 2004 Preseason WNIT Nov. 20 in South Bend, Ind.

The Buckeyes beat Saint Joseph’s, 76-29, Nov. 14 in St. John Arena. Under Foster, the 47-point differential is the largest Buckeye margin of victory in St. John Arena. The next closest for a Foster-coach squad was a 43-point victory over Wright State, 88-45, Dec. 18, 2003. Foster’s Buckeye squads are 8-1 in St. John Arena, with the lone loss coming in the NCAA tournament last year in second-round action vs. Boston College.

Besides impressive offensive performances by the Buckeyes, Ohio State’s defense deserves some credit as well. OSU held Saint Joseph’s to 29 points, which is one more than the lowest output by any Buckeye opponent – 28 points by Purdue Feb., 6, 1976. The Buckeyes beat the Boilermakers, 61-28.

The Nov. 12 game vs. BGSU was the earliest start in Buckeye history since dates for games were recorded beginning in the 1974-75 season. The next earliest start was a Nov. 15, 1995 game in the preseason WNIT vs. Pittsburgh.

Senior Caity Matter was listed as one of the Top 5 off-guards in the country and a “Fresh Face To Watch” by Sophomore center Jessica Davenport was an honorable mention pick by for Top 5 centers in the country. Notably, Davenport faced Shawntinice Polk of Arizona Nov. 17 and will face Katie Feenstra of Liberty, as well as Minnesota’s Janel McCarville – all three of whom were in the Top 5.

While most of the women’s basketball team spent time lifting weights, conditioning and playing in the summer leagues in Columbus, one player gained experience of another sort. Jessica Davenport was a member of the 2004 Big Ten Basketball Foreign Tour Team and scored double-digits in all four contests abroad. She averaged 15.0 points and 6.8 boards per outing as a member of the undefeated 12-player roster under the direction of Indiana’s Kathi Bennett. Bennett’s team went 4-0 in Australia during the 11-day trip.

The Ohio State women’s basketball team opened the season tied for ninth place in the preseason USA Today/ESPN/WBCA Coaches’ Poll and No. 10 in the Associated Press poll. Both polls were released the week off Nov. 15. In other preseason rankings, the Buckeyes are No. 6 according to Women’s Basketball News Service, No. 8 in Athlon and No. 13 among Lindy’s rankings.

Ohio State was picked to finish first in the coaches’ Big Ten preseason poll, in front of Michigan State and Minnesota. The media chose Purdue No. 1, the Buckeyes No. 2, and Penn State No. 3. Ohio State was the only squad named in both polls.

Buckeye sophomore center Jessica Davenport, the media’s pick for 2004 Big Ten Freshman of the Year, was named a member of both the media and the coaches’ preseason all-conference teams. Davenport averaged 12.5 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.6 blocked shots per game in her rookie campaign.

Katie Smith, a student assistant in the Ohio State women’s basketball office and a former two-time All-American at OSU, was one of the first seven members named to the 2004 USA Basketball Women’s Senior National Team. Smith represented the U.S. at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens and despite suffering an injury in Athens, aided her team in capturing a gold medal – the second overall for Smith. 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 and plans to return to the WNBA in 2005 once she recovers.