Dec. 31, 2004

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The No. 7/10 Ohio State women’s basketball team (11-2; 0-1 Big Ten) plays host to No. 20/20 Purdue (8-3; 1-0 Big Ten) at 2 p.m. Sunday in Value City Arena. The game is the second Big Ten contest for both the Buckeyes and the Boilermakers. Ohio State lost to Penn State 69-62 in University Park, Pa., and Purdue beat Wisconsin 72-67 in Madison, Wis., Thursday night to open conference play.

Purdue is 8-3 overall, 1-0 in the conference and ranked No. 20 in both the coaches’ and Associated Press polls. All three of the Boilers losses have come vs. Top 25 teams: vs. Duke (66-48) Dec. 18, at UCLA (70-64) Dec. 5 and vs. Houston (63-60) Nov. 30. Purdue beat Arkansas Nov. 25, UC Santa Barbara Dec. 3 and DePaul Dec. 9.

The Boilers are led by Erin Lawless and Katie Gearlds who average 17.2 and 13.7 points per game, respectively. Lawless and Emily Heikes are the team’s leading rebounders with 5.9 and 5.7 caroms per contest, respectively.

Kristy Curry is in her sixth season at the helm of the Purdue program. She is 144-34 while with the Boilermakers and 323-105 in 14 years of collegiate coaching.

The Buckeyes lead the all-time series with the Boilers, 27-22, however Purdue has won the last four consecutive meetings and is 15-2 since Feb. 23, 1996. The Buckeyes, who won the first 20 games of the series, hold a 13-8 edge in Columbus. The last Ohio State victory was a 56-51 win Feb. 23, 2003, in Value City Arena.

Of note, in the last four outings, Purdue has been victorious, but it has been only by an average margin of 4.3 points per game.

Buckeye fans, at halftime help us celebrate the 40th year of women’s basketball. Throughout the season, milestones will be introduced at select Ohio State women’s basketball games.

Don’t forget after the Purdue game to stick around for an autograph session with Caity Matter behind the Official Team Shop on the concourse.

The Purdue vs. Ohio State game will feature Buckeye Jessica Davenport and Boilermaker Katie Gearlds, who were both voted the 2004 Big Ten Freshman of the Year. Davenport was the media’s pick and Gearlds was the coaches’ selection.

The No. 3 Ohio State women’s basketball team lost to No. 2 Purdue, 67-61, March 7, 2004 in the semifinals of the 2004 Big Ten Tournament at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. LaToya Turner led the Buckeyes with 14 points, Jessica Davenport added 13 points and Beth Howe netted a career-best 10 points off a 5-of-6 stroke from the field. After trailing by as many as 12 points (41-29) with less than 18 minutes to play, the Buckeyes took a one-point lead twice and tied the ball game at 54 with 7:13 to play off a Howe bucket. Purdue regained a five-point advantage, 62-57, off a Shereka Wright 3-pointer with 3:03 to play, but Ohio State’s Brandie Hoskins assisted both Davenport and Caity Matter on back-to-back baskets to bring the Buckeyes within one point, 62-61, with 2:13 left.

Wright answered again for Purdue and hit a shot to put the Boilermakers up 64-61 with 1:46 remaining. Ohio State could not convert and Purdue’s Katie Gearlds nailed a 3-pointer on the baseline to give Purdue a six-point advantage with 54 seconds left. Matter attempted a 3-pointer with 40 seconds left and the Buckeyes were able to stop Purdue, but another Matter attempt was off the mark as Purdue advanced to the finals of the conference tournament for the second consecutive year.

Purdue opened the game by jumping out to a nine-point lead, 15-6, at 12:30. Ohio State cut the lead to two points, 19-17, when Hoskins nailed a shot from downtown with just over eight minutes left in the half. Gearlds hit a trey, but Hoskins once again drained a shot from outside the arc and brought it to two points, 22-20, at 6:37. The Boilermakers went on a 13-3 run to close the half and carried a 35-23 lead into the locker room at the break.

Hoskins, Matter, Kim Wilburn and Candace Dark scored eight, seven, six and three points, respectively, for Ohio State. Davenport had a game-high nine rebounds and Turner pulled down six caroms. Hoskins had seven assists and one steal and Wilburn tallied four assists and six steals.

Purdue was led by Wright, who had 31 points, Gearlds, who netted 13 points, and Valek, who had 10 scores.

The No. 7/9 Ohio State women’s basketball team (11-2; 0-1 Big Ten) opened Big Ten play with a 69-62 loss vs. Penn State (6-5; 1-0 Big Ten) Thursday at the Bryce Jordan Center in University Park, Pa. Sophomores Jessica Davenport and Brandie Hoskins scored 20 and 18 points, respectively, to lead the Buckeyes. Ohio State was up in the first half by six points, but Penn State tied the game before the break. The Lady Lions led by as many as 12 in the second half and secured the conference win despite the Buckeyes pulling to within five points with six seconds left in the game.

Ohio State established a six-point lead off two-consecutive Hoskins layups with 5:27 remaining in the first half. Penn State’s Jennifer Brenden sank a three and Tanisha Wright hit a jumper to pull PSU to within one point, 24-23, at 3:16. Buckeye rookie Marscilla Packer drained a 3-pointer and gave the Buckeyes a 27-23 edge, but Lady Lion Jennifer Harris scored four unanswered points to knot the game at 27 after 20 minutes of action.

Penn State opened the second half on an 11-2 scoring run. Harris netted nine of the 11 points as the Lady Lions took a quick 38-29 lead with 16:30 left in the contest. Penn State extended its advantage to 11 points, 47-36, off a Harris jumper at 10:24. The Buckeyes were able to pull the game to six points, 50-44, when Hoskins hit a field goal at 8:25. The Lady Lions went on a 6-0 run and went up 56-44 with 5:40 to play.

The Buckeyes cut the lead to single digits and came as close as five points, 67-62, off an Ashley Allen 3-pointer with six seconds left, but Penn State was 8-for-8 from the free-throw line in the final minute to secure the victory.

Ohio State entered the game as the Big Ten’s top shooting squad with a .545 average from the field and a .809 mark from the charity stripe, but shot .444 (24-54) for the game and .700 (7-10) from the free-throw line vs. PSU. The Buckeyes had 17 turnovers vs. Penn State’s 11.

Davenport added nine rebounds to her 20-point performance. Allen scored eight points, Stephanie Blanton added seven points and Caity Matter netted six scores.

Penn State was led by Harris and Wright, who each tallied 22 points, and point guard Jess Strom. Strom, who was 6-for-6 from the free-throw line in the final minute, grabbed a game-best 12 boards and tallied nine assists, nine points and five steals in 40 minutes of play.

Jessica Davenport had 20 points at Penn State Dec. 31 and it marked her fourth 20-point performance this season. Davenport has scored double-digits in every game and is leading the team with 17.8 points per game.

Jessica Davenport is three blocks from moving into third place on Ohio State’s career leaders list. Davenport has 122 blocked shots and needs three to slide into third place to replace Francine Lewis who accumulated 124 swatted shots. Davenport needs 120 to take over the top spot in Buckeye history. Mary Sivak tallied 241 blocks during her tenure at Ohio State from 1979-82.

Since Jim Foster took over the Ohio State program, he has never lost the first game after the New Year. In 2003, Ohio State beat Texas Jan. 5 in St. John Arena and in 2004, the Buckeyes beat Wisconsin Jan. 2 in Value City Arena. The Purdue game Jan. 2 is the first contest for Ohio State in 2005.

Caity Matter started her senior season ranked No. 21 among Ohio State’s career points leaders. This season, she has jumped seven spots and is currently tied for 14th on the all-time scoring list with 1,247 points. Carla Chapman scored 1,247 points from 1982-85. Matter is three points from No. 13, which is held by Jodi Roth’s 1,249 scores, and 24 points from No. 12, which is held by Larecha Jones’ 1,275 points.

Ohio State is 11-2 for the second time under head coach Jim Foster, who is in his third year at OSU. The last time a Buckeye squad had an 11-2 mark was the 2002-03 season. The 2002-03 Buckeyes went on to drop the next game at Indiana before putting a string of four wins together in Big Ten play.

Ohio State is outscoring opponents in the paint by an average of 36.8 to 16.5 points per game (478-214). 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 two teams to contend in the lane vs. the Buckeyes were Notre Dame and Penn State, who both beat Ohio State. On Nov. 20, the Fighting Irish scored 28 points inside vs. Ohio State’s 30 in the lane and Dec. 30, the Lady Lions tallied 30 points vs. the Buckeyes’ 32 points inside.

Sophomore center Jessica Davenport recorded her second consecutive and third double-double of the season with 20 points and 12 rebounds against then-No. 20/23 UCLA Dec. 21. It marked the seventh career double-double for Davenport.

Davenport had 12 points and 11 rebounds for her second double-double of the season and her sixth overall in the victory at Oregon Dec. 18. Davenport’s first double-double of the season was a 16-point and 13-rebound performance at Dayton Dec. 4.

Jessica Davenport, Caity Matter and Brandie Hoskins are leading the team with 17.8, 14.5 and 12.4 points per game, respectively. Davenport has scored double figures in every game this season, Matter has scored double digits in 10-of-13 games this year and Hoskins has tallied double digits in 9-of-12 games played, including the last six in a row. Davenport’s 17.8 points is No. 5 in the league, while Matter and Hoskins come in at No. 16 and 21 in the Big Ten, respectively.

Caity Matter sank one 3-pointer at then-No. 24 Oregon Dec. 18 and tied the record for career treys made by an Ohio State player. Three days later vs. then-No. 20/23 UCLA Dec. 21, Matter hit her 219th career 3-point field goal at 14:02 to break the school record for treys in a career. Katie Smith held the record for eight years. Matter has 223 career treys and is only the third Buckeye to make at least 200 career 3-pointers. Marcie Albert is ranked No. 3 with 203 treys.

The Buckeyes are leading the Big Ten in every major offensive category. Ohio State ranks first among league leaders for scoring offense (79.0 ppg), scoring margin (+28.2), field-goal percentage (.537; 382-711), 3-point field-goal percentage (.463; 87-188) and free-throw percentage (.804; 176-219).

Individually, Jessica Davenport is shooting .614 (89-145) and ranked No. 3 in the Big Ten, followed by Brandie Hoskins’ No. 5-ranked average of .602 (63-103). Caity Matter is No. 8 among league leaders with a .552 mark (64-116) from the floor.

Ohio State is No. 1 the Big Ten with a .804 (176-219) 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. 1 in the league with a .946 (35-37) mark and Jessica Davenport, who has made 54-of-65 free throws this season and is ranked No. 12 in the conference with an .831 average.

3-1 VS. THE TOP 25
The Buckeyes’ 83-60 victory over then-No. 20/23 UCLA Dec. 21 improved the squad’s record to 3-1 vs. the Top 25 this season. Ohio State beat then-No. 24 Oregon 73-58 Dec. 18 and 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 6-3 against ranked opponents in Value City Arena since Foster became the head coach.

The only OSU loss of the season was a 66-62 loss at then-No. 10/11 Notre Dame in the final game of the 2004 Preseason WNIT Nov. 20 in South Bend, Ind.

Foster is 558-247 overall in 27 years of collegiate coaching and 54-22 in three seasons at Ohio State. In Columbus, Foster is 34-4 overall with a 26-3 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 with a +28.2 scoring margin. The next closest team is Minnesota, who is winning games by a margin of 16.2 points.

The Big Ten’s best 3-point shooting team is relying on two seniors – Ashley Allen and Caity Matter, who broke the Buckeye record for career treys vs. UCLA Dec. 21. Ashley Allen ranks No. 2 with a .467 mark and Matter holds a No. 3-ranked .464 average. Matter’s 2.0 treys per game are ranked fourth among Big Ten leaders.

As a team, the Buckeyes are No. 2 with 6.7 treys made per game.

As a rookie, sophomore Stephanie Blanton made only four treys last season. She is now 10-for-20 on the year.

The Buckeyes are ranked No. 1 in the Big Ten with a +4.0 turnover margin and a 1.44 assist-to-turnover ratio. The second-ranked Big Ten squad for turnover margin is Michigan State, who has a mark of +3.2. 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 two players hold places in the Top 3 among Big Ten leaders. Kim Wilburn and Ashley Allen are No. 2 and No. 3 in the league with 2.25 and 2.05 assist-to-turnover ratios, respectively.

The Buckeyes are ranked first in the Big Ten with 19.5 assists per game vs. opponents’ 8.7 dishes per outing. Leading the way is Kim Wilburn, who has a 3.5 assists-per-game average, respectively. Wilburn is No. 11 in the Big Ten.

Of note, Matter is averaging 2.9 helpers this year. She averaged 1.97 assists last year and entered the season with a 1.67 career assists average.

Jessica Davenport is leading the Big Ten with 3.23 blocked shots per game. The No. 2-ranked player (Minnesota’s Janel McCarville) is averaging 2.4 blocks per outing. 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.

While Ohio State is the Big Ten’s most impressive offensive performer, the Buckeyes are not slacking on defense. The squad is No. 2 and No. 3 in scoring defense (50.8 ppg) and field-goal percentage defense (.346; 235-679), respectively.

Jessica Davenport is leading her team and ranked No. 6 in the Big Ten with 8.1 rebounds per outing.

The Buckeyes’ bench is getting utilized this year and the help is proving its worth. Ohio State players coming off the bench are averaging 24.5 points per game (318 total) vs. opponents’ 11.8 points per contest (154 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.

Nine of 13 Buckeyes are averaging more than 10.0 minutes per game and only three players – Jessica Davenport, Caity Matter, Brandie Hoskins – are clocking more than 20.0 minutes per outing. The most PT for any Ohio State player is 27.3 minutes an outing (Davenport).

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. Of note, Brandie Hoskins has missed one game (at Ohio Dec. 1) this season.

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 a 73-58 win at Oregon Dec. 18 before falling at Penn State, 69-62, Dec. 30. Ohio State is 4-2 on the road this year.

Ohio State is No. 4 in the Big Ten with 9.8 steals per game. The Buckeyes are led by Kim Wilburn, who is averaging 2.2 steals per outing and tied for No. 10 in the league.

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.

Ashley Allen has started in nine consecutive games and is back in the starting mix for head coach Jim Foster. 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 and in 2002-03, she started in all 25 games she played.

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.

The Ohio State vs. Bradley game Nov. 28 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.

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.