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COLUMBUS, Ohio – Jantel Lavender and Samantha Prahalis, members of the No. 10/12 Ohio State women’s basketball team, are among the 30 midseason candidates for the 2010 Women’s Naismith Trophy presented by AT&T, the Atlanta Tipoff Club announced Thursday.

Honoring the Women’s College Basketball Player of the Year, the award will be presented at the NCAA Women’s Final Four April 4 and 6 in San Antonio, Texas.

An All-America, Wade and Lieberman awards candidate, Prahalis leads the Big Ten and is second nationally with 8.0 assists per game. The sophomore from Commack, N.Y., ranks third in the conference with 18.5 points per game in conference play as well. She currently has nine games with 20 or more points and is just the second Division I player since 1999-2000 to average at least 16.0 points and 8.0 assists per game. Prahalis has at least eight assists in 17 games this season and eight games with 10 or more, helping her notch seven double-doubles from her point guard position. Recently, Prahalis made a school-record 48 straight free throws, which was the second-best mark all-time in the Big Ten and fifth-longest in NCAA history.

Prahalis scored a career-high 32 points in the win at No. 19 Michigan State Jan. 9, earning Big Ten player of the week honors, an award she has won a team-high four times this season. Among her other top games was her 26-point, 12-assist and career-high five 3-pointer game in the win at Penn State Feb. 7.

Joining Prahalis on the Wade and Naismith watch lists is center Lavender, who also is a candidate for the Wooden Trophy. An AP Preseason All-American and Big Ten Player of the Year, Lavender has scored in double-figures in all 96 career games, which is the longest active streak in Division I. The junior from Cleveland, Ohio, has posted 17 double-doubles so far in 2009-10, the third-most in Division I. She currently leads the Big Ten with 20.7 points per game, good for ninth nationally and has 19 games with 20-plus points and two 30-point contests. First in the league in field goal percentage (.511) and second in rebounding (10.4), Lavender is just the third Buckeye in program history to record at least 1,800 points, 900 rebounds and 100 blocked shots in a career.

The Big Ten Player of the Week honor Dec. 29 was the fourth of the season and 13th overall for Lavender. Her 33 point, 14 rebound performance against No. 15 California Nov. 29 helped her to the Buckeye Classic MVP. She also was named the Preseason WNIT co-MVP at the start of the season.

Other notable Naismith Trophy past winners include Cheryl Miller (USC), Dawn Staley (Virginia), Candace Parker (Tennessee) and last year’s winner, Maya Moore (UCONN).  For more information, visit www.naismithawards.com or contact:
Eric Oberman
Atlanta Tipoff Club
404-586-8506
eoberman@macoc.com