Wittenberg fans watch a men’s basketball game against Wabash on Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019, at Pam Evans Smith Arena in Springfield. David Jablonski/Staff

Women’s basketball: Wittenberg to host game between Division I teams

Ohio State, Valparaiso to open season at Pam Evans Smith Arena

The game matches the Ohio State Buckeyes and Valparaiso Crusaders women’s basketball teams. It is the season opener for both teams.

“To my knowledge, this is the first neutral-site Division I game that’s ever been played on our campus,” Wittenberg Athletic Director Gary Williams said Monday.

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The game gives Wittenberg a chance to showcase its new facilities. The locker rooms at Pam Evans Smith were renovated this year, and a new scoreboard was installed. The new indoor facility, the Steemer, opens in October.

For Ohio State, the game kicks off a November schedule that features road games at Cincinnati and Kent State and home games against Ohio and Connecticut.

“We have a young and exciting team and we’re really looking forward to getting the season started at the Hall of Fame Classic,” said Ohio State head coach Kevin McGuff in a press release. “Playing the game in Springfield will provide a unique experience for our players and will give us a chance to connect with our fans in a different environment. This is also a great opportunity to honor those individuals who have made a significant impact on basketball in Ohio.”

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Pam Evans Smith Arena can seat 3,000 fans. Ohio State averaged 4,336 fans last season. Tickets can be purchased at Wittenbergtigers.com/WBKOhioHallClassic. They cost $10 or $8 for seniors and students.

The Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame is using the game as a platform to share its stories with fans. Wittenberg has seen a number of former coaches, including former women’s head coach Pam Evans Smith and men’s coaches Eldon Miller, Bob Hamilton, Larry Hunter and Bill Brown, enter the hall of fame over the years.

Brian Agler, a member of Wittenberg’s 1977 national championship and a 2014 inductee into the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame, contacted Williams on behalf of the hall of fame in the spring about scheduling the Ohio State vs. Valparaiso game. Agler is now the head coach of the Dallas Wings in the WNBA.

“These are the types of things we hope we can provide for our campus and our community,” Williams said. “We hope to use our facility to attract amazing programs and offer these type of experiences.”

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