The non-conference home docket is highlighted by a contest against the LSU Lady Tigers (Dec. 15), a national semifinalist team from last season that features consensus 2005 Player of the Year Seimone Augustus. Ohio State opens league play at home Dec. 29 vs. Penn State and plays its final two regular season home games against national runner-up Michigan State (Feb. 20) and NCAA qualifier Purdue (Feb. 23). The Buckeyes also play host to a Big Ten-Big XII Challenge game against Oklahoma Jan. 9. The LSU, Oklahoma and Michigan State contests will be televised nationally. LSU will be aired on ESPN and the Oklahoma and Michigan State games will be broadcast by ESPN2.
Ohio State tips off the season Nov. 21 in Value City Arena as the team welcomes Eastern Kentucky, the first of seven home dates with NCAA tournament teams. The Buckeyes and Colonels get the season underway at 7 p.m. Although it switches buildings, Ohio State remains at home for the Buckeye Classic during the Thanksgiving weekend Nov. 26-27 at St. John Arena. Eastern Washington and Western Illinois face off in the opener before Ohio State takes the floor Saturday to attempt to win its third consecutive Buckeye Classic crown against Nicholls State. The winners from the first day meet in the championship game Sunday after the losing teams from the play in the third-place game.
After the Buckeyes close the season-opening homestand with a return trip back to VCA Nov. 30 against Dayton, they start the December schedule with the longest road trip of the season. First, Ohio State treks east for a game at Boston College (Dec. 3) before traveling to the left coast for a date at Southern Cal (Dec. 11). Both the Eagles and Trojans made the NCAA tournament in 2005. USC tied for second in the PAC-10 under first-year head coach Mark Trakh and were lead by a balanced scoring attack that saw seven players average seven points or more per game. Brynn Cameron, a freshman All-PAC-10 honoree last season, led the Women of Troy with 9.8 points per game in 2004-05. BC tied for fourth place in the competitive Big East with a 10-6 mark and went 20-10 overall. Senior forward Brooke Queenan returns as the Eagles' leading scorer at 11.0 points a game.
Four days later, the Buckeyes return to Columbus for another challenge as they welcome the Lady Tigers, who were ranked No. 1 for a better portion of the 2004-05 regular season. LSU is led by 2005 National Coach of the Year Pokey Chapman. The Lady Tigers are coming off a Southeastern Conference championship and a second-consecutive appearance in the Final Four.
After the LSU game, the Buckeyes stay at home for the remainder of the month with mid-week games against Sacred Heart (Dec. 20) and 2005 Mid-Atlantic Athletic Conference champ Canisius (Dec. 22). Penn State comes to Columbus to open league play on Dec. 29. The Buckeyes defeated Penn State, 69-58, to claim a share of the 2005 Big Ten crown in the regular-season finale last year at VCA in front of a Big Ten record 17,525 fans. This season, the Buckeyes must close out the regular season in State College, Pa., Feb. 26.
Conference action gets into full swing on New Year's Day as the Buckeyes travel to West Lafayette, Ind., to play Purdue in the first leg of a two-game road trip that ends Jan. 5 at Northwestern. The Boilermakers are headed by a junior tandem at forward in Katie Gearlds and Erin Lawless. Both combined to score 14-plus points per game last season, while Lawless is the leading returning rebounder at just more than five per game. Comcast SportsNet Chicago will televise the holiday contest between the Buckeyes and Boilermakers. Purdue makes its return to trip Columbus Feb. 23. The Buckeyes and Wildcats play just once in 2005-06.
A Monday night home date against Oklahoma briefly breaks up the league schedule Jan. 9. As part of the 2006 Big Ten-Big XII Challenge and ESPN2's Monday Night Women's Hoops series, the Buckeyes and Sooners hook up at 7 p.m. in VCA. OU returns its leading scorer in Leah Rush (15.5 ppg.) and welcomes freshman Courtney Paris, who helped the United States Under 19 win the FIBA World Championship in July.
After the Big Ten-Big XII Challenge, the Buckeyes head to Iowa City Jan. 12 for the first of seven consecutive in-conference match ups. Next, the Buckeyes come back home for two games against Michigan (Jan. 15) and Indiana (Jan. 19). Iowa's trip to Columbus is set for Feb. 12, while the Buckeyes play Indiana again in Bloomington, Ind., Feb. 5 and travel north to Michigan Feb. 10.
The much-anticipated road trip to East Lansing, Mich., to face the 2005 national runner-up is scheduled for Jan. 22 and also will be carried by CSN Chicago at 1 p.m. The Spartans advanced to the NCAA championship game last season before falling to Baylor, 84-62. Michigan State returns its top two scorers from that national runner-up squad in seniors Liz Shimek and Lindsay Bowen, a preseason candidate for the John R. Wooden Award. Both started all 37 games for the Spartans in 2004-05 and each was named an honorable mention All-American. Bowen and Shimek lead the Spartans to Columbus Feb. 20 for another showcase match up on ESPN2's Monday Night Women's Hoops.
Ohio State faces league foes Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota just once during the regular season. The Buckeyes welcome the Badgers and Illini in the same week, playing host to Wisconsin Jan. 26 and the Illini Jan. 29. Ohio State travels to Minnesota Feb. 16. The Buckeyes and Golden Gophers split a pair of contests last year. The Buckeyes won at home, but Minnesota knocked Ohio State out of the 2005 Big Ten Tournament in overtime last March. The Golden Gophers will be captained by senior guard Shannon Schonrock (9.1 ppg.) and junior Jamie Brobeck (14.4 ppg.).
Here is the complete OSU women's basketball schedule for 2005-06:
Day Date Opponent, Time (TV)Mon 11/21/2005 Eastern Kentucky, 7:00 p.m. Sat 11/26/2005 Nicholls State (at St. John Arena), 3:00 p.m. Sun 11/27/2005 TBA (at St. John Arena), 1 or 3 p.m. Wed 11/30/2005 Dayton Columbus, 7:00 p.m. Sat 12/03/2005 at Boston College, TBA Sun 12/11/2005 at USC, 5:00 p.m. Thu 12/15/2005 LSU, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN) Tue 12/20/2005 Sacred Heart, 7:00 p.m. Thu 12/22/2005 Canisius, 7:00 p.m. Thu 12/29/2005 Penn State, 7:00 p.m. Sun 01/01/2006 at Purdue, 1:00 p.m. Thu 01/05/2006 at Northwestern, 8:00 p.m. Mon 01/09/2006 Oklahoma, 7:00 p.m. (ESPN2) Thu 01/12/2006 at Iowa, 8:00 p.m. Sun 01/15/2006 Michigan, TBA Thu 01/19/2006 Indiana, 7:00 p.m. Sun 01/22/2006 at Michigan State, 1:00 p.m. Thu 01/26/2006 Wisconsin, 7:00 p.m. Sun 01/29/2006 Illinois, 2:00 p.m. Sun 02/05/2006 at Indiana, 2:00 p.m. Tue 02/07/2006 Wright State, 7:00 p.m. Fri 02/10/2006 at Michigan, 7:00 p.m. Sun 02/12/2006 Iowa, 5:00 p.m. Thu 02/16/2006 at Minnesota, 8:00 p.m. Mon 02/20/2006 Michigan State, 7:30 p.m. (ESPN2) Thu 02/23/2006 Purdue, 7:00 p.m. Sun 02/26/2006 at Penn State, 2:00 p.m. March 2-6, Big Ten Tournament, at Indianapolis