COLUMBUS, Ohio — Honors continue to pour in for the Ohio State women’s basketball team. Today the WBCA announced that head coach Jim Foster is this year’s RUSSELL ATHLETIC/WBCA Region 6 Coach of the Year while sophomore center Jantel Lavender was named one of the regional finalists for the State Farm Coaches’ All-America Team.
Foster was the Big Ten Coach of the Year for the fourth time in five years in leading his team to its record-tying and fifth-consecutive Big Ten regular season championship and the 2009 Big Ten Tournament title. They enter the 2009 NCAA Tournament as a No. 3 seed in the Berkeley Regional after going 27-5 and 15-3 in conference play. The Buckeyes were ranked as high as ninth in the Associated Press Top 25 poll this season and faced a schedule which consistently ranked among the 25 toughest in the country.
Lavender was named the Big Ten Player of the Year for the second-consecutive season, becoming the sixth player in Big Ten women’s basketball history to earn the award in back-to-back seasons. She was recently named the 2009 Big Ten Tournament Most Outstanding Player and set a single tournament record with 41 rebounds in the three wins over Illinois, Iowa and Purdue. She became only the second player in conference history to complete the statistical triple crown, leading the conference in points (20.0), rebounds (9.9) and a shooting percentage (.549) in conference games while averaging 20.9 points and 10.7 rebounds with 23 double-doubles and a .549 shooting percentage in all games played. Lavender is the only Division I player to rank in the Top 20 in both scoring (8th), rebounding and FG percentage (18th).
The State Farm Coaches’ All-America Team selection committee will review the 52 regional candidates and cut the list to 40 finalists on Thursday, March 25. The 40 finalists will all be in the running for selection to the 10-member State Farm Coaches’ All-America Team. The winners will be announced at the State Farm Coaches’ All-America Team Press Conference at the Renaissance Grand and Suites Hotel on April 4, at 9:45 a.m. CT in St. Louis, Mo.
For the coaches, the winners are selected through a two-level process. The first level is by region, in which coaches from each WBCA geographical region vote for their respective top coach. If a coach has been selected as Regional Coach of the Year, they advance as a finalist to the national level of the selection process along with the other Regional Coaches of the Year in their respective division.
The winners of the WBCA National Coach of the Year for Division I will be honored on Monday, April 6, 2009, at 1 p.m. CT during the RUSSELL ATHLETIC/WBCA National Coach of the Year Luncheon in the Hyatt Regency St. Louis Grand Ballroom. The luncheon is part of the 2009 WBCA National Convention, held in conjunction with the NCAA Women’s Final Four.