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COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State senior center Jantel Lavender has been named to the 2011 Women’s John R. Wooden Award mid-season watch list, announced Tuesday by The Los Angeles Athletic Club. The list is comprised of 20 student-athletes who, based on this year’s individual performance and team records, are the current frontrunners for college basketball’s most prestigious honor.

Lavender, a two-time All-American and three-time Big Ten player of the year, leads the conference and ranks fourth in the NCAA in scoring at 23.8 ppg. She also leads the Big Ten and ranks seventh with 11.8 rebounds and is third with her .568 FG percentage. Most recently, Lavender recorded 22 points and 22 rebounds in the win over Indiana Jan. 5. Her 22 boards set a Value City Arena record and were the most by a Buckeye since 1976. In honor of her performance, she was named the Big Ten player of the week for a record-tying 17th time in her career.

The Cleveland, Ohio, native has already set Ohio State records for field goals (972) and rebounds (1,227) in a career and is well on her way to breaking Katie Smith’s all-time scoring record of 2,578 points. She is 177 points away from Smith’s record and 518 points shy of Kelly Mazzante’s Big Ten record of 2,919 points. With 2,401 career points, Lavender needs just five points to move into third among the Big Ten’s all-time scoring leaders.

On the rebounding front, Lavender (1,227) is second all-time, recently passing Illinois’ Jenna Smith (1,217). Lavender is 47 away from Indiana’s Denise Jackson’s all-time record of 1,273.

Dominate from the moment she arrived in 2007, Lavender has scored in double figures in all 117 career games, which is the longest active streak in Division I. This season she has scored 30 or more points three times, including a career-high 37 points in the win at Temple.

The Wooden Award All American Team will be announced the week of the “Elite Eight” round during the NCAA Tournament, making it unique among college postseason awards. Transfers, freshmen and medical redshirts are eligible for this midseason list but did not appear on the preseason Top 30. All players nationally who excel throughout the season will be evaluated and considered for the official voting ballot released in March. The National Ballot consists of approximately 20 top players who have proven to their universities that they are also making progress toward graduation and maintaining at least a cumulative 2.0 GPA.

About the John R. Wooden Award
Created in 1976, the John R. Wooden Award is the most prestigious individual honor in college basketball. It is bestowed upon the nation’s best player at an institution of higher education who has proven to his or her university that he or she is making progress toward graduation and maintaining a minimum cumulative 2.0 GPA. Previous winners include such notables as Larry Bird (’79), Michael Jordan (’84), Tim Duncan (’97), Blake Griffin (’09) and Maya Moore of Connecticut (’09). Ohio State’s Evan Turner and Connecticut’s Tina Charles won the Award in 2010.

Since its inception, the John R. Wooden Award has contributed close to a million dollars to universities’ general scholarship fund in the names of the All American recipients. The Award has also sent more than 1,000 underprivileged children to week-long college basketball camps in the Award’s name. Additionally, the John R. Wooden Award partners with Special Olympics Southern California (SOSC) each year to host the Wooden Award Special Olympics Southern California Basketball Tournament. The day-long tournament, which brings together Special Olympic athletes and the All Americans, takes place at The Los Angeles Athletic Club on the Friday prior to the John R. Wooden Award Ceremony.

Follow the candidates and get the latest news throughout the season by logging on to www.WoodenAward.com. For more information on the John R. Wooden Award, please contact the Wooden Award staff at 213-630-5206 or email at woodenaward@laac.net.

2010-11 John R. Wooden Award Midseason Top 20 List

Name Height Class Pos. University Conference
Danielle Adams 6-1 Sr. F/C Texas A&M Big 12
Kachine Alexander 5-9 Sr. G Iowa Big Ten
Angie Bjorklund 6-0 Sr. G/F Tennessee SEC
Jessica Breland 6-3 Sr. F North Carolina ACC
Skylar Diggins 5-9 So. G Notre Dame Big East
Jasmine Dixon 6-0 Jr. G UCLA Pac-10
Victoria Dunlap 6-1 Sr. F Kentucky SEC
Dawn Evans * 5-7 Sr. G James Madison CAA
Brittney Griner 6-8 So. C Baylor Big 12
Amber Harris * 6-5 Sr. F Xavier A10
Shenise Johnson 5-11 Jr. F Miami ACC
Jantel Lavender * 6-4 Sr. C Ohio State Big Ten
Italee Lucas 5-8 Sr. G North Carolina ACC
Maya Moore $#* 6-0 Sr. F Connecticut Big East
Nnemkadi Ogwumike $* 6-2 Jr. F Stanford Pac-10
Kayla Pedersen * 6-4 Jr. F Stanford Pac-10
Danielle Robinson * 5-9 Sr. G Oklahoma Big 12
Ta’Shaouna “Sugar” Rodgers 5-11 So. G Georgetown Big East
Jasmine Thomas * 5-9 Sr. G Duke ACC
Courtney Vandersloot * 5-8 Sr. G Gonzaga WCC
(Players listed alphabetically.)
*indicates player chosen to the 2010 Wooden Award ballot
$ Indicates 2010 Wooden Award All American
# Indicated 2009 Wooden Award winner