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OldGoldFreePress COLUMNISTS | BACK TO Steve'S COLUMNS

PURDUE WOMENS BASKETBALL:
Women's Opponents' Profile #15: Ohio State Buckeyes, 01/22/04


Defensive-minded Buckeyes look for second win in a row against the Boilermakers in Columbus.


Date: 1/21/2004
Author: Steve
© Old Gold Free Press Columnists

    Welcome to the fifteenth opponent profile for the 2003-2004 season. Each profile will include information about the opponent’s women’s basketball team and a player or coach on the team. Web page addresses will follow each section. Look for a profile on each opponent 1-2 days before the tip-off.

    The Team

    Ohio State enters Thursday’s game with an overall record of 10-5, 2-2 in the Big Ten conference. Value City Arena has truly been Home Sweet Home for the Ohio State players, as they have posted an 8-1 record there. Ohio State has beaten Wisconsin and Northwestern in conference play, while losing to Illinois and, in their most recent game, Michigan State. While unranked in the AP and USAToday Coaches poll, the Buckeyes have received 28 and 43 votes respectively.

    Ohio State’s 13-player roster includes three seniors, three juniors, four sophomores, and three freshmen. Ohio State, though, is more experienced than a person might expect at first glance. Two of the three seniors, LaToya Turner and Tanya McClure, are in their fifth collegiate season, junior Caity Matter is in her fourth season, while sophomore transfers Tia Battle and Michelle Munoz enter their third year of collegiate hoops. The squad’s minutes are fairly balanced, with only one starter averaging more than 30 minutes per game. Because of injury, eight different Buckeyes have started games for Coach Jim Foster.

    In conference play, the Buckeyes rank sixth second in scoring margin (+13.0 per game), third in field goal percentage (40.8%), and fourth in three-pointers made (4.75 per game). They also rank third in assists per game (15.0), third in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.09), and fourth in turnover margin (+4.5). The Buckeyes shoot an average of 15.6 three-pointers per game and have connected on 38.0% overall. One of the team’s weaknesses may be its free throw shooting, which currently ranks eighth in conference play at 66.2%.

    Offensively, three players average double figures per game in points (Caity Matter, LaToya Turner, Jessica Davenport), while Brandie Hoskins is just behind at 9.0 points per game. In all games, Turner and Davenport shoot 56.7% and 63.4% from the floor respectively. Matter makes almost three 3-point shots per game, while Hoskins and point guard Kim Wilburn average about 9.5 assists per game between them. Nine players average more than four points per game, so Coach Foster has more than a couple of options on offense.

    Where the Buckeyes especially excel, however, is defense. Currently they ranked at or near the top of the conference in several categories including scoring defense (first, 47.0), FG% defense (first, 31.8%), 3-point FG% defense (first, 17.0%), blocked shots (third, 5.5 per game), and steals (third, 10.75 per game). The Buckeyes have allowed only two teams to shoot better than 40% from the field this year (Rutgers and UCLA) and only two opponents have scored more than 60 points against them in a game (Nebraska and UCLA). In fact, Ohio State’s defense during Jim Foster’s one-and-a-half years in Columbus has stifled opponents so much than only three squads--UCLA, Minnesota, and UW-Green Bay--have shot better than 50% from the field against Ohio State. All those games were played away from Columbus.

    The Ohio State women’s basketball team’s official website can be found at: http://ohiostatebuckeyes.ocsn.com/sports/w-baskbl/osu-w-baskbl-body.html

    The Players

    Junior guard Caity Matter is one of the Big Ten’s deadliest outside shooters. Matter, who leads the Buckeyes with 14.1 points per game, has made more than 38% of her three-point field goal attempts this season. It’s an impressive stat, especially considering than 114 of her 161 total field goal attempts come from beyond the arc. Don’t presume, however, that Matter is a one-dimensional player. She currently ranks third among all Buckeyes in assists and steals and grabs 3.1 rebounds per game.

    Matter, Ohio’s Ms. Basketball for 2000, was named a Second Team All-Big Ten performer by the coaches and Third Team All-Big Ten player by the media last year, two accolades that look good next to her Edward S. Steitz Award, which she earned for being collegiate basketball’s best three-point shooter.

    Caity Matter’s bio on the Ohio State women’s basketball team’s official website can be found at: http://ohiostatebuckeyes.ocsn.com/sports/w-baskbl/mtt/matter_caity00.html

    Sophomore guard Candace Dark, a native of Kingman, IN, and Fountain Central graduate, has taken on a larger role this year for the Buckeyes than in her freshman season. Already Candace has started a game for the Buckeyes and has proven to be an efficient scorer, shooting 52.3% from the floor, 50% from the 3-point line, and 72.7% from the free throw line. She also boasts a 1.2:1 assist:TO ratio and scores 5 points per game. Her two most impressive outings to date may well be against St. John’s, where she went for 11 points, 3 rebounds, and 4 assists, and at UC Santa Barbara, where her 12 points and 1 rebound helped the Buckeyes break the Gauchos’ homecourt winning streak. Look for Candace to continue her best collegiate year during Thursday’s game.

    Candace Dark’s bio on the Ohio State women’s basketball team’s official website can be found at: http://ohiostatebuckeyes.ocsn.com/sports/w-baskbl/mtt/dark_candace00.html

    The Questionnaire Replies

    From junior guard Caity Matter:

    1) What is the oldest memory you have of yourself with a basketball?

    When I was little I remember always having a little ball in my hand following around my uncle who played.

    2) Why did you choose to play at The Ohio State University?

    I wanted to come to a program that had the ability to win games and be close to my family.

    3) What was the most difficult basketball skill for you to master?

    Defense.

    4) Aside from games on the court, what is the best experience you’ve had as a result of playing collegiate basketball (visiting non-U.S. countries, meeting state and national leaders, etc.)?

    Being able to go overseas three times with the Big Ten All-Star team, Ohio State, and USA basketball.

    5) Do women collegiate athletes get the attention they deserve from the national media?

    I think every year women athletes get more and more attention.

    6) What was the biggest challenge going from high school basketball to collegiate basketball?

    The pace of the game and how good of condition you really need to be in to play at this level.

    7) What two words come to mind when you think of Purdue women's basketball?

    Tradition and Hardworking

    From sophomore guard Candace Dark:

    1) What is the oldest memory you have of yourself with a basketball?

    When I was really little, my dad bought me a Larry Bird ball and basket.

    2) Why did you choose to play at The Ohio State University?

    Because of the academics and the girls on the team.

    3) Aside from playing basketball, how have you become a part of the Columbus, Ohio, community?

    I go to our Athletes In Action meetings and attend a lot of other sporting events.

    4) What was the most difficult basketball skill for you to master?

    Ball handling - and it is far from being mastered!!

    5) What was the biggest challenge going from high school basketball to collegiate basketball?

    Being strong enough to compete, being in good enough shape and having confidence.

    6) What accomplishments do you believe signify that a team has achieved success?

    When the team is a better, closer team than the day before.

    7) What two words come to mind when you think of Purdue women's basketball?

    Intense
    Hard Work

    The Game

    The last time Purdue played in Columbus, the Buckeyes put the clamps on defensively and won a hard-fought game, 56-51. Neither team shot particularly well from the field (41.5% for the Boilermakers, 34.5% for the Buckeyes), but Ohio State had 14 more field goal attempts than Purdue due to the Boilermakers’ 20 turnovers in that game. Add fourteen offensive rebounds for the Buckeyes, and shooting percentages matter less and less. The going may be tougher for the Boilermakers this year.

    First, Ohio State is deeper than it was last year, so expect more than seven Buckeyes to appear in the game. Second, Ohio State’s skill level has also increased, as LaToya Turner seems to be returning to form, Michelle Munoz adds muscle off the bench, and the Buckeyes boast not one but two possible Big Ten Freshman of the Year candidates in forward Hoskins and center Davenport. Point guard Kim Wilburn has a year of experience under her belt and Caity Matter looks to be another perimter-shooting thorn in Purdue's side.

    One key to the game if Purdue is to leave with a “W” is limiting turnovers. This has recently become one of the Boilermakers’ strengths, as they average fewer turnovers per game than any other conference team. Also, rebounding will be a key as the 6’5” Davenport and 6’3” Turner will try to control the boards. Despite the Ohio State players’ height, the Buckeyes have been outrebounded by a greater amount per game than the Boilermakers. Games always seem to come down to heart and desire. It'll be no different in Columbus on Thursday.


As news organizations move their stories to an archive, some of the links listed above may become inactive

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