Posted: Friday December 8, 2006 3:17PM; Updated: Friday December 8, 2006 4:00PM
Foster said that's led to a bigger offensive arsenal for Hoskins and the Buckeyes. Already a player capable of getting to the basket, Hoskins can now hurt opponents from long range. She's hitting 41 percent from beyond the arc, far higher than the 18 percent efficiency of last season. Hoskins is the team's second-leading scorer behind Jessica Davenport, averaging 17.7 points, and has helped the Buckeyes to a 7-0 start.
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"Brandie made a quick recovery, and it doesn't seem like she's missed a step," said Davenport, OSU's All-America center. "She's calm, and she knows how to pick her spots. That time off, she really re-evaluated what she did. It's paid of for her and our team."
It's not the numbers, though, that impresses Foster the most. Hoskins has made a conscious effort to become a leader on a team that includes five freshmen. When her injury kept her from walking, Hoskins realized she could help by talking.
"Our seniors have done a great job," Foster said. "Brandie had the furthest to come, and she got there. Her road was a little different, but it's easy to follow or listen to someone who's worked so hard to come back the way she has."
And that comeback has fueled Hoskins even more to lead Ohio State deep into March. "People think we're not good enough, but I know that we're a national-championship team," Hoskins said. "I wouldn't say it if I didn't believe it"
Things haven't gone so well for Texas A&M since it reached its highest AP ranking. After jumping to No. 10 in last week's AP poll, the Aggies have gone 1-2. The most recent slip was a 65-59 loss to Washington on Wednesday.
There was a little good news for A&M, though. Sophomore Danielle Gant is filling in nicely for Morenike Atunrase, who fractured her foot during last week's loss to Rice. Gant scored a career-high 24 points on 11-of-13 shooting and grabbed 13 rebounds against Washington.
Smith Still Coming Through
Khara Smith is no longer around to carry the load at DePaul, but the Blue Demons are getting big contributions from another Smith. In her first season as a full-time starter, forward Caprice Smith is second on the team in scoring (16.3 ppg) and rebounding (10.0 rpg). The 6-1 Smith scored 20 points and grabbed 16 rebounds on Thursday as the Blue Demons opened Big East play with an 87-73 win over Rutgers.
Look Out for the Little Guys
The mid-majors are showing they can take out the top teams. On Thursday Middle Tennessee State knocked off Georgia, 70-62. That wasn't the first surprise of the season, either. On Nov. 20, Liberty went into Charlottesville and handed Virginia a loss. Two days later, Hofstra took down Big Ten power Michigan State in East Lansing.