Ohio State Buckeyes
| MESSAGE BOARD
RECORD: 20 - 9
REGION: Mideast SEED: 6
COACH: Jim Foster CONFERENCE: Big Ten
Road to the Final Four ...................................................................................
Everybody should be wary of meeting this blue-collar team. The Buckeyes are playing tremendous basketball right now and are one of the most physical teams in the country. If you go through the lane, they'll bang you. But most importantly, Ohio State also knows how to play ugly basketball, meaning that while it's easy to play when things are going well, the Buckeyes also know how to grind out a game when things get scrappy.
|PLAYER TO WATCH|
The 5-foot-9 junior guard is an excellent shooter, hitting 45 percent of her attempts from the field and nailing 70 3-pointers (36 percent accuracy from downtown) so far this season to lead the Buckeyes in scoring at 14.9 points per game. Opposing defenses can't let Matter hang out unmarked around the arc. Though she doesn't put the ball on the floor that much, she will hit the open looks and can find her teammates when needed (2.1 assists). Matter, the top 3-point shooter in Buckeye history, also broke the single-game Ohio State record when she sank eight 3-pointers on Dec. 1. She's talented, athletic and also tallies 3.9 boards and 1.1 steals.
ANALYSIS BY ESPN'S STACEY DALES-SCHUMAN
Jim Foster's Buckeyes might be peaking at just the right time. Scoring is up, field-goal percentage is up and defense is up. Aggression has taken over and Ohio State is on somewhat of a tear.
Two of the main reasons for the increase in point production are thanks in large part to power bigs LaToya Turner and rookie Jessica Davenport. While Davenport captured Freshman of the Year honors in the Big Ten for her imposing scoring, rebounding and shot-blocking presence in the lane, Turner, a senior, has shined for similar reasons, especially those displayed on the glass.
If you haven't seen her play before, sophomore Kim Wilburn might teach you a thing or two about sharing. A year ago, she set a school record for assists and steals, and already this season has dished out 152 (a 5.2 average) to become Ohio State's all-time sophomore leader in assists, easily surpassing the previous mark (122). She has an eye for the open player and can get the ball there in a flash. Wilburn is one of the main reasons that Ohio State is one of the best passing teams in the country, averaging 17.7 assists per outing.
Acquiring assists is a whole lot easier, however, when you have a scoring threat such as Caity Matter. Matter is very skilled at the catch-and-shoot game and truly understands how to read defenses and maneuver off of screens. As a result, she is the best 3-point shooter in Ohio State history.
Despite Ohio State's sizeable attack, the Buckeyes are a particularly disciplined team with regards to physical play. In fact, they are the best team nationally with a foul count of only 11 per game.
We mentioned Ohio State's knack for sharing the basketball and executing a deliberate offensive attack. To further back this up, the Buckeyes represent the most accurate shooing team in the nation with an average of 51 percent accuracy from the field. High-percentage shots and a controlled attack are the name of the game for Foster and his crew.