Dec. 19, 2002

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Ohio State (6-2, 0-0 Big Ten) tips off against the Penguins of Youngstown State (2-6, 0-0 Horizon League) in VCA. These two games are the second and third consecutive home game for the Buckeyes this month. The contests against Austin Peay (Dec. 29) and Northwestern (Dec. 31) will also be held in Value City Arena before Ohio State takes on Texas in the Big Ten/Big XII Challenge Jan. 5 in historic St. John Arena.

The last and only time Ohio State and Youngstown State met was March 3, 1979, in the Ohio Association of Intercollegiate Sports for Women Tournament held in Akron. The Buckeyes, who finished with a 19-11 record that year under the direction of Debbie Wilson, won 62-56.

Youngstown State has a 2-6 record this season. The Penguins recorded wins at Bowling Green (70-64) and vs. Robert Morris (82-68), but fell to Niagara (80-62), Vanderbilt (91-60), Central Michigan (56-51), Toledo (70-61), Kent State (74-70) and Buffalo (86-80).

In their most recent loss last night in overtime, Buffalo’s (5-1) Erin Lawrenson hit a three-pointer with 1.7 seconds left to force overtime at 67-67. In the extra period, Buffalo Jessica Kochendorfer’s three-point play with 13 seconds remaining captured the 86-80 victory over Youngstown State.

The Penguins overcame a 12-point half time lead and came within 13 seconds of victory twice, but Buffalo executed down the stretch to tie the game at the end of regulation and scored the last 11 points in the final 1:05 of overtime to seal the victory. The Bulls were 11-11 from the line in overtime. Devin Novak is leading the Penguins with 11.4 points per game. Maggie Johnston, Jessica Forsythe and Jen Perugini are adding 10.8, 10.3 and 10.0 points an outing for Youngstown State. Perugini, a 6-2 sophomore, has 12 blocks on the season andJessica Olmstead has earned ten steals thus far.

Now in his 20th season at the helm of the Penguin program, DiGregorio, who owns a career record of 313-219, has guided the Penguins through three league affiliations, an independent status, five consecutive regular-season league championships, five straight 20-win seasons, three conference tournament titles and three trips to the NCAA tournament, including a second-round appearance in 1998. DiGregorio, a two-time coach of the year honoree, looks to improve his squad this year. Entering 2002-03, the Penguins are coming off their second straight losing season with an overall mark of 12-16 last season and a 10-18 record in 2000-01.

Three times this season the Buckeyes have held opponents to under 20 points in the first half of play. Ohio State held Duquesne to 19, Ohio to 11 and Virginia to 19 in the initial 20 minutes of each game.

The Buckeyes have tallied over 40 points in first-half action three times this year. Against Hartford in the Coors Classic (Boulder, Colo.), the team scored 42; in the home-opener vs. Wayne State, OSU scored 47; and against Virginia, Foster’s squad put 43 on the scoreboard in the first half.

In the game against Virginia, Ohio state made it to the charity stripe a season-high 35 times and drained a season-best 27 free-throws. The Buckeyes are shooting .766 (98-128) from the free-throw line.

In the 73-60 victory over Virginia Dec. 18, Courtney Coleman, LaToya Turner, Ashley Allen and D’wan Shackleford combined to score 59 of the Buckeyes’ 73 points against the Cavaliers.

Ohio State has outrebounded every opponent it has taken on this season. The Buckeyes average 36.0 rebounds an outing and their opponents are averaging 25.6 boards per game.

Junior LaToya Turner came alive in the last two games against Arizona and Virginia after a pair of relatively quiet games at UW-Green Bay and Ohio. Turner, a center from Pickerington, earned a double-double against the Wildcats with 14 points and a game-high 12 boards. She also distributed a personal-best five assists against Arizona.

Against the Cavaliers, Turner showed her range by burying jumpers from the free-throw line and dominating underneath the bucket. She finished the night with 16 points, six of which game in the final three minutes of play after Virginia had erased a 27-point deficit to pull within one of the Buckeyes.

Junior LaToya Turner swatted three shots against the Cavaliers of Virginia in the 73-60 victory Dec. 18. Turner holds the fourth-best record for career blocks with 89. Turner currently has 17 blocks on the year.

Four times this season four Buckeyes have scored in double digits in the same game. The last time this occurred was in the 73-60 victory over Virginia Wednesday night. Courtney Coleman, LaToya Turner, Ashley Allen and D’wan Shackleford scored 19, 16, 14 and 10 points, respectively, to lift Ohio State over the Cavaliers.

Freshman Kim Wilburn has made her way into the starting lineup for Jim Foster’s squad in the last three games. In all three contests (at Ohio, against Arizona and vs. Virginia) the Southfield, Mich., native has clocked 34 minutes. Against the Bobcats of Ohio, she earned a personal-best eight points (4-for-4), six assists and four steals. Wilburn upped her career-high assist mark from six to eight vs. No. 19/24 Arizona and against Virginia, she distributed six assists, grabbed five boards and scored five points.

Senior D’wan Shackleford is making an impact from the bench for the Buckeyes this season. Besides a 12-point effort at UW-Green Bay and adding 15 points at Ohio, “Shack” tallied 10 points, five boards and four assists, a mark that ties her personal-best record, against Virginia Dec. 18.

The Buckeyes open Big Ten play against the Wildcats of Northwestern Dec. 31 at 2 p.m. Ring in the new year with Jim Foster and his squad as they begin Foster’s inaugural Big Ten conference campaign.

After opening the season playing five of six games on the road, the Buckeyes will be anxiously looking forward to playing five games in Columbus from now until Jan. 9. While the remaining games in December will all be held at Value City Arena, the Jan. 5 Big Ten/Big XII contest against Texas will be held in historic St. John Arena and will be the first nationally televised game (ESPN2) for Ohio State under first-year head coach Jim Foster.

Sophomore Caity Matter has scored in double figures in six of the first eight games. Matter tallied 13 at Duquesne, 12 in the home opener against Wayne State, 16 vs. Hartford, a career-high 24 at UW-Green Bay, 19 at Ohio and 16 in the victory over a ranked Arizona team.

Senior DiDi Reynolds scored a personal season-high 11 points against the Wildcats of Arizona Dec. 15. Reynolds, a senior guard for Bascom, Ohio, was 4-for-8 from the field, 2-for-5 from three-point land and hit the only free-throw she took for the game. Reynolds also grabbed two rebounds, handed out one assist and earned one steal vs. the Wildcats.

Ohio State has been plagued by turnover troubles in the first few games of the season. However, in the game against Arizona, the Buckeyes turned the ball over a season-low 12 times and ended up with a huge 84-65 victory. The win was the first over a ranked opponent for first-year OSU head coach Jim Foster since he took over at the helm of the Buckeye program this season.

Sophomore Caity Matter, who is second in the Big Ten in three-pointers made per game (2.62), is making her way into OSU history. She has a total of 39 three-pointers over 24 games, including 21 treys in seven games thus far in the 2002-03 campaign. The Bluffton, Ohio, native, who redshirted last season and missed 16 games her freshman year due to injury, drained 18 three-pointers the entire 2000-01 season.

The Buckeyes’ 84-65 victory over No. 19/24 Arizona Dec. 15 marked the first win over a ranked squad for Jim Foster since he took over the reigns of the Ohio State program earlier this season.

In the three home games the Buckeyes have played this season, 6,318 people have been there to support them. The largest crowd was 2,596 last Sunday, Dec. 15, against a ranked Arizona squad.

Jim Foster’s squad has put together six wins so far this season. In the six victories for the Buckeyes, they have beaten their opponents by an average margin of 19.2 points an outing. Before the Virginia game, the average Buckeye margin of victory was 20.1, which ranked third among Big Ten schools.

The Buckeyes are currently ranked second among Big Ten competitors in the category of field-goal percentage. Jim Foster’s squad is .519 (232-447) from the floor. Individually, senior forward Courtney Coleman is leading the league in field-goal percentage with a .795 (58-37) average. Minnesota’s Lindsay Whalen is the next closest player with a .667 (70-105) shooting percentage. Additionally, sophomore Caity Matter leads the conference in shooting accuracy from behind the arc (.477/21-44) and from the free-throw line (1.000/17-17).

Freshman Kim Wilburn, who started at Ohio, against Arizona and vs. Virginia, was ranked fourth with a 1.82 ratio among conference players in the assist-to-turnover-ratio category.

Ohio State is 3-0 against opponents in Value City Arena this season. The Buckeyes beat Wayne State, 100-57, Nov. 22, captured an exciting 84-65 victory over No. 19/24 Arizona Dec. 15 and beat Virginia, 73-60, Dec. 18. Big Ten member schools are defending their home courts well this year by amassing a 37-5 combined league record at the school’s respective homes.

Two games this season that will be held in St. John Arena. After the Buckeyes open their Big Ten season in Value City Arena against Northwestern at 2 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, they will participate in the Big Ten/Big XII Challenge game vs. Texas in St. John Arena at 5 p.m. Jan. 5. The second event in St. John Arena will be the final regular-season game against Michigan at 7 p.m. Feb. 27. The 1993 Final Four team will be commemorated during the battle with the Wolverines.

The Ohio State Buckeyes survived a second-half scare against Virginia and pulled out a 73-60 win Dec. 18 in Value City Arena. Senior Courtney Coleman had a strong night with a game-high 19 points and nine boards. Junior LaToya Turner, sophomore Ashley Allen and senior D’wan Shackleford added 16, 14 and 10 points, respectively.

“A program (like Virginia) that has made it to the NCAA tournament in the past 11 years is going to show desperate streaks in winning a game,” Ohio State head coach Jim Foster said. “In the last 3:15 we became a team, executed and won the basketball game.”

The Buckeyes dominated the first 20 minutes of play and went to the locker room with a 43-19 advantage. Ohio State’s scoring effort was distributed evenly in the first half with Turner and Allen each netting 10 points and Coleman and Shackleford adding seven points apiece.

The Cavaliers started the second half on an 11-0 run, which was eventually snapped 5:04 into the second period by a Shackleford lay-up. Ohio State went flat as UVA continued to fight against their hosts and hover around a Buckeye ten point lead most of the half. Ultimately, the Cavaliers pulled to within one point off a jumper by LaTonya Blue, who scored all 11 of her points in the second half.

However, Foster’s team answered in the final three minutes of play. Coleman hit a layup to send her squad up by three points 20 seconds after Blue’s bucket pulled Virginia within one. A one-point margin was the closest UVA had been to OSU since the score was 3-2. Turner subsequently nailed three shots in a row and Allen and Coleman each drained a pair of free throws to pull away from the Cavaliers. Notably, UVA’s Brandi Teamer scored all 18 of her points in the second half.

Freshman Kim Wilburn, who started in her third consecutive game for the Buckeyes, and sophomore Caity Matter were a combined 5-for-6 from the foul line to end the game and solidify the Ohio State victory. Matter ended up with six points and Wilburn tallied five scores.