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Nov. 8, 2006

Press Conference Video

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Jim Foster, Ohio State women’s basketball head coach, announced the signing of four student-athletes Wednesday at Value City Arena. The Buckeyes added a set of 5-11 guards from Illinois and landed a pair of frontcourt standouts from Ohio.

Jantel Lavender, of Cleveland Central Catholic High School, and Sarah Schulze, from Anna High School in Anna, Ohio, make up the additions from the Buckeye state. Guards Alison Jackson, from Fenwick High School in Oak Park, Ill., and Brittany Johnson, out of East Richland High School in Olney, Ill., will come to Columbus after finishing their senior seasons in Illinois in 2006-07.

“I like the diversity of this class,” Foster said. “All four have the ability to run the floor, shoot the 3-point shot and score off the bounce. This should be a fun group to coach and I look forward to it.”

Lavender, 6-4, is rated as the No. 1 post player in several recruiting publications and ranked as high as No. 3 overall in the country. She averaged 20.7 points and 16.0 rebounds her junior season, successfully defending her Ohio Division III Player of the Year award from 2005. Lavender was a second-team high school All-American selection by Street & Smith and a Parade Magazine Third-Team All-American. This summer, Lavender was selected to play on USA Basketball’s Under-18 Team National Team. A Wendy’s High School Heisman Award finalist, Lavender carries a grade point average of better than 3.85.

Schulze, at 6-1, also is a frontcourt standout. She poured in 23.0 points per game in her junior year, earning district MVP honors, a first-team All-Ohio selection and was tabbed league MVP. She averaged 19.0 points per game in both her sophomore and freshman campaigns and was named first-team all-league and honorable mention All-Ohio as a freshman. Schulze played against current Buckeye point guard Maria Moeller in 2006 and scored 33 points in a tight 59-55 loss to Moeller’s Marion Local team. Schulze carries a 4.0 scholastic grade point average. Jackson and Johnson, both stand at 5-11, adding height to the Buckeye backcourt. Johnson netted 32.0 points a game last season and added seven rebounds a contest from her guard spot. She also was selected for the Team USA Under-18 tryouts. The 2006 Associated Press Illinois Player of the Year, Johnson is a 2006 Street and Smith Preseason All-American and has been named to the All-Illinois teams at least twice by the Champaign News-Gazette, Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times.

Jackson heads into her fourth season as a starter at Fenwick. She posted 14.2 points and 4.3 rebounds a game as a junior and joined Johnson and Lavender at the USA U-18 tryouts this summer. She is a three-time Street & Smith’s Honorable Mention All-American. An Associated Press All-State Class AA second team selection last season, Jackson merited Chicago Sun Times All-Area and Chicago Tribune All-State special mention in 2005 and ’06 and made the Champaign News-Gazette All-State team last season.

The Buckeyes, ranked No. 7 in both the USA Today/ESPN/WBCA and Associated Press preseason polls, also are ranked seventh in the All-Star Girls Report recruiting rankings release Wednesday.

Ohio State Women’s Basketball Class of 2010

Alison Jackson, 5-11 guard, Fenwick High School, Oak Park, Ill.
Four-year starter at Fenwick … averaged 14.2 points and 4.3 rebounds a game in 2006 … USA Basketball selection for under-18 team tryouts … three-time Street & Smith’s Honorable Mention All-American … adidas Top 10 “All American Camp” Invitee in 2005 and `06 … All-Conference selection junior and sophomore seasons … Chicago Sun Times All-Area and Chicago Tribune All-State special mention in 2005 and `06 … Associated Press All-State Class AA second team … Champaign News-Gazette All-State team … netted 10.4 points and six rebounds a game in 2005 … earned adidas Top 10 “All American Camp” participant & all-star after pouring in 9.1 points and 5.3 boards as a freshman … played club basketball for Chicago Hoops Express. Rankings: No. 53 overall in All-Star Girls Report, No. 62 in HoopGurlz.com
Brittany Johnson, 5-11 guard, East Richland High School, Olney, Ill.,
Averaged 32.0 points and seven rebounds a game during sophomore and junior seasons … has scored double figures in 95-of-96 career games … netted 1,045 points in junior year, mark ranks third all-time in Illinois state high school records … selected to USA Basketball team trials under-18 tryouts … preseason Street & Smith Honorable Mention All-American in 2005 and `06 … 2006 Associated Press State Player of the Year … 2006 Champaign News-Gazette State Player of the Year … first-team Illinois Basketball Coaches Association All-State (top vote getter) last two seasons … first-team Associated Press All-State team (top vote getter) as sophomore … first-team Chicago Tribune All-State team and Chicago Sun-Times All-State team as sophomore and junior … first-team Champaign News Gazette All-State team as sophomore … 2005 and `06 Decatur Herald & Review All-Area Player of the Year … also established single-season free-throw percentage record at 90 percent …made 47-consecutive free throws, an Illinois State record … pocketed 125 steals as junior … averaged 26 points and more than six rebounds per game as a freshman … established five school records as a freshman … freshman season honors included second-team Champaign News Gazette All-State … Decatur Herald and Review All-Area player of the year … all-league in volleyball … Southern Illinois Coaches Association All-South team … Champaign News-Gazette Area team. Rankings: No. 33 overall in HoopGurlz.com, No. 63 in All-Star Girls Report
Jantel Lavender, 6-4 center/forward, Cleveland Central Catholic High School, Cleveland, Ohio
Averaged 20.7 points and 16.0 rebounds in junior season … second-team high school All-American pick by Street & Smith … two-time Ohio Division III Player of the Year (2005-06)… 2006 Parade Magazine Third-Team All-American … selected to play on USA Under-18 Team National Team in 2006 … named First Team Preseason All-American Team 2006 by HoopGurlz.com in 2006 … USA Today Junior All-American and Student Sports Junior All-American … Ohio Div. III All-State First Team in 2005 … All-Metro First Team in 2005 … Street & Smith honorable mention All-American in 2004 after averaging 22.0 points, 18 rebounds, four assists and four blocks a game … Nike All-America Camp invitee in 2004 … earned All-District First Team recognition in 2004 … freshman stats included 18.6 points, 15 rebounds and six blocks a game … academic honors include Summa Cum Laude status at 3.85 to 4.2 GPA … a Wendy’s High School Heisman award finalist … lettered three times in volleyball. Rankings: No. 1 center/forward by HoopGurlz.com and All-Star Girls Report; No. 3 overall player by HoopGurlz.com and All-Star Girls Report.
Sarah Schulze, 6-1 forward, Anna High School, Anna, Ohio
Averaged 23.0 points per game in junior season, earning district MVP honors … first-team All-Ohio selection … tabbed league MVP … netted 1,000th career point in junior campaign … played just nine games as sophomore because of injury, but averaged 19.0 points per game … also poured in 19.0 points per game as a freshman … named first-team all-league as freshman and honorable mention All-Ohio … also an AAU All-American in 2006 … played against current Buckeye point guard Maria Moeller in 2006 and scored 33 points in tight 59-55 loss to Moeller’s Marion Local team … also ran cross country and track in high school … won cross 2004 country state championship (Div. III) as sophomore and took the runner-up spot as a senior … four-time district and regional champion … owns school record in cross country … Ohio state track and field champion in 800-meter run and state runner-up in 1600m in freshman year … also holds school record in 100m, 200m, 800m, 1600m … 4.0 scholastic grade point average.

Press Conference Quotes
Coach Jim Foster On recruiting
“The objective is to try and get a freshman for a senior. The next best thing you can do is get someone with Jantel’s (Lavender) ability to replace Jessica (Davenport).”

On the 2007 recruiting class
“I like this class. I like the size of the wings. Brittany (Johnson) puts the ball in the basket and Allison (Jackson) has improved her game off the bounce. I am really pleased with all four of them.”

“I like athletic kids with basketball skills. Sometimes the most athletic kids don’t have the best basketball skills, but this class is really athletic and has really good skill.”

On the recruiting process
“I always like kids who take control of the recruiting process, not kids who let it take control of them. Those kids tend to make better decisions.”