Jan. 7, 2005

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The No. 9/9 Ohio State women’s basketball team (13-2; 1-1 Big Ten) plays host to Liberty (7-4; 0-0 Big South) at 2 p.m. Sunday in Value City Arena.

Liberty is 7-4 overall and 0-0 in Big South play. Of Liberty’s seven wins, one key win for the Flames was a 77-56 victory at then-No. 17/19 Kansas State Dec. 4. Liberty is on a four-game win streak, notching victories over Norfolk State, William and Mary, American University and Loyola (Md.).

Liberty is led by Katie Feenstra, who stands at 6-feet-8-inches and was voted one of’s Top 5 centers in the country prior to this season. Feenstra averages 17.8 points per game and teammates Kristal Tharp and Rima Margeviciute, tally 13.3 and 9.9 points per contest, respectively. Feenstra adds 9.6 rebounds per game for Liberty.

This is the first meeting between Ohio State and Liberty.

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 Liberty game to stick around for an autograph session with the three freshmen women’s basketball student-athletes: Alice Jamen, Marscilla Packer and Tamarah Riley – behind the Official Team Shop on the concourse.

The No. 9/9 Ohio State women’s basketball team (13-2; 2-1 Big Ten) upset No. 6/6 Michigan State (12-2; 1-1 Big Ten), 68-54, Thursday at Value City Arena. The Spartans are the highest-ranked opponent the Buckeyes have beaten under the direction of head coach Jim Foster. After trailing by eight points in the second half, the Buckeyes held Michigan State scoreless for a seven minute stretch to close the game and secure the conference win.

Michigan State opened the second half by taking a quick 39-32 lead and extended their lead to eight points, 42-34, off a three-point play by Liz Shimek at 15:34. Caity Matter drained her first 3-pointer of the game at 14:36 and brought Ohio State to within five before Stephanie Blanton pulled down a defensive rebound and Brandie Hoskins converted on the other end to pull it to 42-39.

MSU extended its lead to six points, but Matter hit yet another trey to bring it to 47-44 at 10:49. A Blanton put-back made it a one-point game and Ashley Allen converted a three-point play to put the Buckeyes up 49-47 with 8:09 to play. Spartan Shimek hit a jumper and tied the game at 49 with 7:45 left to play, but that would be the last field goal for MSU until the final 28 seconds.

The Buckeyes closed the game with a 19-3 scoring run for their second conference victory of the year.

Ohio State trailed 5-2 to open the game, but the Buckeyes went on a 7-0 run to take a 9-5 lead. Blanton nailed a jumper and converted a no-look pass from Matter into a layup for four consecutive scores in the run. MSU scored one field goal, but Jessica Davenport and Kim Wilburn hit back-to-back buckets to give the Buckeyes a six-point lead at 12:08.

Spartan Kristin Haynie nailed a trey to pull her team to within two points with just under nine to play in the half. MSU’s Lindsay Bowen hit a shot in the lane to knot the game at 18 at 7:30. Kelli Roehrig continued the Spartan scoring run with a bucket inside that gave MSU a 20-18 advantage, but Ohio State’s Hoskins tied the game again. Roehrig went 1-for-2 from the free-throw line and Haynie hit both shots from the charity stripe to put the Spartans up 23-20 with less than five minutes in the half.

Hoskins converted a three-point play, which tied the game for the third time. Blanton pulled down an offensive rebound and scored to give Ohio State the lead, 25-23, but MSU’s Rene Haynes drained a shot from downtown for a 26-25 edge over the Buckeyes at 2:25. Buckeye rookie Marscilla Packer matched Haynes shot and sent her team up 28-26 at 1:58. Spartan Liz Shimek drove to the bucket to tie the game at 28 heading into the break.

Four players reached double-figure scoring for the Buckeyes, led by Hoskins’ 17 points. Davenport added 14, Matter scored 12 and Blanton tallied 10. Davenport and Blanton were the squad’s leading rebounders with nine and eight caroms, respectively. Davenport also recorded five blocked shots and a career-high four steals. Wilburn ended the game with a game-high five assists.

Michigan State’s Shimek and Haynie each had a double-double. Shimek scored 17 points and brought down 10 boards, while Haynie tallied 11 points and 10 rebounds.

Ohio State beat No. 6/6 Michigan State 68-54 Thursday in Value City Arena. The Spartans were the highest-ranked opponent the Buckeyes have beaten under head coach Jim Foster. During the 2002-03 season, Ohio State defeated No. 10/11 Purdue 56-51 in Value City Arena. Last year, the Buckeyes defeated No. 10/10 Minnesota 75-57 at home.

Six-foot-four-inch sophomore center Jessica Davenport was named an honorable mention pick by for Top 5 centers in the country. Davenport will come face-to-face with a player who was chosen as one of the Top 5 centers in the country by when Liberty’s Katie Feenstra visits Value City Arena Jan. 9.

Notably, Davenport also faced Shawntinice Polk, who was an Top 5 center, in the Buckeyes’ 78-45 win over Arizona Nov. 17 and will play another Top 5 center in Minnesota’s Janel McCarville Feb. 17.

Sophomore Jessica Davenport is averaging a double-double in Big Ten competition. In three games, Davenport is scoring 19.3 points per game and pulling down 10.0 rebounds per outing.

Ohio State’s bench scored 20 points vs. No. 6/6 Michigan State’s four bench scores in the Buckeyes’ 68-54 victory Jan. 6. The Buckeyes’ bench is getting utilized this year and the help is proving its worth. Ohio State players coming off the bench are averaging 23.2 points per game (348 total) vs. opponents’ 12.2 points per contest (183 total) from the reserves.

Purdue and Notre Dame are the only two schools to outscore the Buckeye bench this season. The Fighting Irish, who beat the Buckeyes 66-62 Nov. 20, had eight points vs. Ohio State’s seven points from non-starters. Purdue’s bench tallied 25 points vs. Ohio State’s 10 scores in a 63-50 Buckeye victory Jan. 2. Nebraska was close with a 13-12 mark in favor of the Buckeyes during an 86-61 Ohio State win Dec. 11.

On Jan. 3, Jessica Davenport was named Big Ten Player of the Week for the first time in her career. Davenport’s honor was the first for a Buckeye player since teammate Caity Matter was honored Feb. 16, 2004. Davenport averaged 22 points and 10.5 rebounds vs. Penn State Dec. 30 and then-No. 20/20 Purdue Jan. 2. In the two game combined, Davenport shot .519 (14-of-27) from the field and .800 (16-of-20) from the free-throw line. A sophomore center from Columbus, Ohio, she also notched three assists, two blocked shots and two steals in the two conference contests. The Buckeyes dropped a 69-62 decision at Penn State, but bounced back to beat the Boilermakers, 63-50, in Value City Arena. Davenport’s 24 points and 12 rebounds vs. Purdue was her fourth double-double of the season and her eighth career double-double.

Ohio State is No. 1 the Big Ten with a .798 (201-252) 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 tied for No. 1 in the league with a .909 (50-55) mark and Jessica Davenport, who has made 68-of-84 free throws this season and is No. 11 in the conference with an .810 average.

Foster is 560-247 overall in 27 years of collegiate coaching and 56-22 in three seasons at Ohio State. In Columbus, Foster is 36-4 overall with a 28-3 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.

Jessica Davenport had four blocked shots vs. Michigan State Jan. 6 and moved into third place on Ohio State’s career leaders list. Davenport has 126 blocked shots and replaced Francine Lewis who accumulated 124 swatted shots. Davenport needs 40 to take over No. 2 and 116 to become the school’s career leader for swatted shots in Buckeye history. Mary Sivak tallied 241 blocks during her tenure at Ohio State from 1979-82.

Davenport is leading the Big Ten with 3.1 blocked shots per game. The No. 2-ranked player (Minnesota’s Janel McCarville) is averaging 2.5 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.

Points in the paint mean a lot to this Buckeye team. Ohio State is outscoring opponents in the paint by an average of 36.5 to 17.5 points per game (548-262). The only two teams to contend in the lane vs. the Buckeyes were Notre Dame and Penn State, who are the only two squads to 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.

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 Dec. 1.

Ohio State is 13-2 for the first time under head coach Jim Foster. The 1992-93 Buckeyes were 13-2 in the first 15 games and beat Wisconsin 70-66 Jan. 29 to improve to 14-2.

Caity Matter started her senior season ranked No. 21 among Ohio State’s career points leaders. This season, she has jumped eight spots and is currently No. 13 on the all-time scoring list with 1,269 points. Jodi Roth previously held the 13th spot on the scoring list with 1,249 scores. Matter is six points from No. 12, which is held by Larecha Jones’ 1,275 points.

Ohio State – the Big Ten’s best shooting squad – is doing its part on defense as well. The squad is No. 1 and No. 3 in scoring defense (50.9 ppg) and field-goal percentage defense (.352; 276-785), respectively.

While the Buckeyes have shot better than .500 10 times and greater than .600 twice this season, no Ohio State opponent has shot better than .500 from the field. Purdue’s .476 (22-53) mark from the floor Jan. 2 is the highest average for any OSU opponent this season.

Ohio State is 5-1 overall vs. Top 25 teams this season. The Buckeyes have faced Top 25 teams four of the last five games and have put together four consecutive wins vs. Top 25 opponents.

Michigan State was the highest-ranked team the Buckeyes faced this year. The then-No. 6/6 Spartans fell to the Buckeyes, 68-54, Jan. 6 in Value City Arena. Notre Dame is the next highest-ranked opponent for Ohio State. The Fighting Irish were No. 10/11 when OSU lost 66-62 in South Bend, Ind., Nov. 20.

Under head coach Jim Foster, Ohio State is 8-3 all-time and 3-0 this season against ranked opponents in Value City Arena.

The Buckeyes also beat then-No. 20/20 Purdue 63-50 Jan. 2 in Value City Arena (VCA), then-No. 20/23 UCLA 83-60 Dec. 21 in VCA, then-No. 24 Oregon 73-58 Dec. 18 in Eugene, Ore., and then-No. 21/24 Arizona 78-45 Nov. 17 in VCA.

The only OSU loss vs. a Top 25 squad this year 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.

The Buckeyes are ranked No. 1 in the Big Ten with a +4.2 turnover margin and a 1.38 assist-to-turnover ratio. The second-ranked Big Ten squad for turnover margin is MSU with a +3.01 followed by Illinois’ 1.1 mark.

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 2.17 and 1.96 assist-to-turnover ratios, respectively. Brandie Hoskins is tied for No. 10 with a 1.34 ratio.

“The Buckeye Basketball with Jim Foster Show” begins its 10-week run Jan. 9. The half-hour show, which is hosted by WBNS’ Ryan Miller, will be aired on WBNS statewide at 11 a.m. Sunday mornings. It will be replayed on Ohio News Network Sunday nights. Please check local listings for the ONN air times.

Ohio State is No. 4 in the Big Ten with 9.7 steals per game. The Buckeyes are led by Kim Wilburn, who is averaging 2.27 steals per outing and is No. 9 in the league.

Jessica Davenport had 24 points vs. Purdue Jan. 2. The game marked her fifth 20-point performance, including her third consecutive game, this season. Davenport has scored double-digits in every game and is leading the team with 18.0 points per game.

Sophomore center Jessica Davenport recorded her fourth double-double of the season with 24 points and 12 rebounds against Purdue Jan. 2. It marked the eighth career double-double for Davenport.

Davenport scored 20 points and collected 12 boards for her third double-double vs. then-No. 20/23 UCLA Dec. 21. Davenport had 12 points and 11 rebounds for her second double-double of the season 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.

The Buckeyes are leading the Big Ten with a +26.3 scoring margin. That mark is 10 points higher than the second-ranked squad Minnesota, who is winning games by a margin of 16.6 points.

Jessica Davenport, Caity Matter and Brandie Hoskins are leading the team with 18.0, 14.1 and 12.8 points per game, respectively. Davenport has scored double figures in every game this season, Matter has scored double digits in 12-of-15 games this year and Hoskins has tallied double digits in 11-of-14 games played, including the last eight in a row. Davenport’s 18.0 points is No. 3 in the league, while Matter and Hoskins come in at No. 17 and 21 in the Big Ten, respectively.

In conference games, Hoskins is averaging 16.0 points per contest and comes in at No. 9 among league leaders.

The Buckeyes are leading the Big Ten in every major offensive category. Ohio State ranks first among league leaders for scoring offense (77.2 ppg), scoring margin (+26.3), field-goal percentage (.528; 432-818), 3-point field-goal percentage (.439; 93-212) and free-throw percentage (.798; 201-252).

Individually, Brandie Hoskins is ranked No. 3 in the Big Ten with a .610 (75-123) field-goal percentage, followed by Jessica Davenport, who is shooting .598 (101-169) and ranked No. 4 in the Big Ten. Caity Matter is No. 9 among league leaders with a .526 mark (71-135) from the floor.

In Big Ten games, Hoskins is No. 1 with a .625 (20-32) mark from the field.

The Big Ten’s best 3-point shooting team is relying on two seniors – Caity Matter and Ashley Allen. Matter, who broke the Buckeye record for career treys vs. UCLA Dec. 21, is No. 1 in the conference with a .446 (29-65) average. Allen is No. 3 with a .429 mark (15-35).

Matter’s 1.9 treys per game are ranked fifth among Big Ten leaders.

As a team, the Buckeyes are No. 2 with 6.2 treys made per game.

As a rookie, sophomore Stephanie Blanton made only four treys last season. She is now 10-for-24 on the year.

The Buckeyes are ranked first in the Big Ten with 18.8 assists per game vs. opponents’ 9.1 dishes per outing. Leading the way is Kim Wilburn, who has a 3.47 assists-per-game average and is ranked No. 10 in the Big Ten.

Of note, Matter is averaging 2.8 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 her team and ranked No. 4 in the Big Ten with 8.4 rebounds per outing. In conference games, the sophomore center is averaging 10.0 rebounds per game and No. 3 among league leaders.

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 226 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.

Eight of 13 Buckeyes are averaging more than 10.0 minutes per game and only four players – Jessica Davenport, Caity Matter, Brandie Hoskins and Ashley Allen – are clocking more than 20.0 minutes per outing. The most PT for any Ohio State player is 28.1 minutes an outing (Davenport).

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.

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).

Ashley Allen has started in 10 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.

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.

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.

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.