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Little takes home Defensive Player of the Year, Prahalis Freshman of the Year and Foster Coach of the Year, Star Allen named third team by both coaches and the media

PARK RIDGE, Ill. The Big Ten Conference office announced on Monday the 2009 All-Big Ten women’s basketball teams and individual award winners. Highlighting the list, Ohio State sophomore Jantel Lavender was named Big Ten Player of the Year for the second consecutive season. Buckeye head coach Jim Foster was named Coach of the Year, OSU point guard Samantha Prahalis was named Freshman of the Year, Buckeye junior Shavelle Little was named Defensive Player of the Year and Purdue freshman Brittany Rayburn was named Sixth Player of the Year.

Lavender earns Big Ten Player of the Year distinction by the conference coaches and media this year, after earning selection by the coaches last season. She becomes the sixth player in Big Ten women’s basketball history to earn the award in back-to-back seasons, joining former Buckeyes Tracey Hall (1986-87) and Jessica Davenport (2005-06-07). The sophomore became just the second player in conference history to complete the statistical triple crown, leading the conference in points (20.0) and rebounds (9.9) per game, as well as shooting percentage (.549) during Big Ten play. She eclipsed the 1,000-career point milestone this season, needing just 53 games to reach the marker, making her the second-fastest Buckeye in history to reach the plateau. Also this season, Lavender was named Big Ten Player of the Week five times, tying her for the conference’s single-season record. Her nine career selections tie her for third on the conference’s all-time list. Lavender also earned unanimous selection to the All-Big Ten first team by the coaches and media.

A freshman under Foster’s tutelage, Prahalis was named Freshman of the Year by the coaches and media. She becomes the second consecutive Buckeye (Lavender) to earn the honor and is the eighth player in program history to receive the nod. The Commack, N.Y., native led the Big Ten in assists throughout the season and finished the regular season with a 5.76 assists-per-game average to rank 15th among all NCAA Division I players. Prahalis led all Big Ten freshmen in scoring, averaging 10.0 points per game, and finished sixth among her classmates with 3.0 boards per contest. She was also named to the All-Big Ten second team by the media and earned honorable mention selection by the coaches.

Lavender’s mentor, Foster was tabbed as the conference Coach of the Year by his peers and by a 22-member media panel. The selection is his fourth in the last five years. The 31-year coaching veteran led Ohio State to its fifth consecutive Big Ten title, a feat previously accomplished only by the 1983-87 Buckeye squads. Under his guidance, Ohio State finished the regular season with a 24-5 overall mark and ranked as high as 12th nationally. The Buckeyes enter the 2009 Big Ten Tournament as the No. 1 seed for the fifth consecutive year, marking an unparalleled run atop the bracket.

A junior for the Buckeyes, Little is the second player in conference history to be named Defensive Player of the Year in consecutive seasons. Her award marks the Buckeyes’ third in the 10-year history of the honor. Little averaged 2.57 steals per game during the 2008-09 campaign and anchored a Buckeye defense that gave up less than 55 points per Big Ten game. On offense, the Ann Arbor, Mich., native contributed 3.2 points and 2.8 rebounds per contest.

Another Buckeye recognized was senior Star Allen who was named to the third team by both the coaches and the media. Allen led the Big Ten in field goal percentage at .545 percent, was ninth in rebounding (7.5) and 19th in scoring at 10.9 per game. She scored a career-high 25 points in her final home game Sunday and just missed a double-double with nine rebounds. She also had four assists and three blocks. Allen, who was a second-team selection in 2006-07, went over 800 points for her career Sunday. In her last five games, Allen has scored 91 points (18.2 ppg) and is shooting 37-of-62 (.597 percent) from the field.

Purdue’s Rayburn becomes the second Boilermaker in the four-year history of the award to be named Big Ten Sixth Player of the Year. The freshman averaged 22.1 minutes of play, contributing 9.0 points, 1.62 assists and 2.1 rebounds per game. The 6-0 guard finished second among all conference freshmen in scoring, third in steals and fourth in assists while helping her team to a top-three seed in the Big Ten Tournament for the fourth straight year.

In addition to the individual honors, the media and coaches each selected three All-Big Ten teams while the coaches also named five-person All-Freshman and All-Defensive teams. Lavender was a unanimous pick by the coaches and the media, while Purdue’s Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton earned unanimous selection to the coaches’ squad. Consensus first-team honors also went to Illinois’ Jenna Smith, Iowa’s Kristi Smith and Penn State’s Tyra Grant. The complete All-Big Ten teams can be found below.

The conference office also announced honorees from each of the 11 women’s basketball squads for the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award. The student-athletes chosen are individuals who have distinguished themselves through sportsmanship and ethical behavior. In addition, the student-athletes must be in good academic standing and have demonstrated good citizenship outside of the sports-competition setting. Honorees for women’s basketball are Illinois’ Lacey Simpson, Indiana’s Andrea McGuirt, Iowa’s Wendy Ausdemore, Michigan’s Carly Benson, Michigan State’s Lauren Aitch, Minnesota’s Kay Sylva, Northwestern’s Ellen Jaeschke, Ohio State’s Maria Moeller, Penn State’s Mashea Williams, Purdue’s Wisdom-Hylton and Wisconsin’s Anya Covington.

2008-09 ALL-BIG TEN WOMEN’S BASKETBALL TEAMS & HONORS

As selected by Big Ten coaches

FIRST TEAM HONORABLE MENTION ALL-FRESHMAN TEAM
Jenna Smith, Illinois Lacey Simpson, Illinois Kamille Wahlin, Iowa
Kristi Smith, Iowa Amber Jackson, Indiana LYKENDRA JOHNSON, Michigan State
JANTEL LAVENDER, Ohio State Megan Skouby, Iowa Kiara Buford, Minnesota
Tyra Grant, Penn State Aisha Jefferson, Michigan State SAMANTHA PRAHALIS, Ohio State
LINDSAY WISDOM-HYLTON, Purdue Kalisha Keane, Michigan State Brittany Rayburn, Purdue
  Samantha Prahalis, Ohio State  
SECOND TEAM Alyssa Karel, Wisconsin PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Jamie Braun, Indiana   Jantel Lavender, Ohio State
Whitney Thomas, Indiana ALL-DEFENSIVE TEAM  
Kachine Alexander, Iowa Lacey Simpson, Illinois DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Allyssa DeHaan, Michigan State Kim Roberson, Indiana Shavelle Little, Ohio State
Emily Fox, Minnesota Allyssa DeHaan, Michigan State  
  SHAVELLE LITTLE, Ohio State FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR
THIRD TEAM Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton, Purdue Samantha Prahalis, Ohio State
Wendy Ausdemore, Iowa    
Ashley Ellis-Milan, Minnesota   SIXTH PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Amy Jaeschke, Northwestern   Brittany Rayburn, Purdue
Star Allen, Ohio State    
Lakisha Freeman, Purdue   COACH OF THE YEAR
    Jim Foster, Ohio State

As selected by Big Ten media

FIRST TEAM THIRD TEAM PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Jenna Smith, Illinois Lacey Simpson, Illinois Jantel Lavender, Ohio State
Kristi Smith, Iowa Jamie Braun, Indiana  
JANTEL LAVENDER, Ohio State Kachine Alexander, Iowa FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR
Tyra Grant, Penn State Ashley Ellis-Milan, Minnesota Samantha Prahalis, Ohio State
Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton, Purdue Star Allen, Ohio State  
     
  HONORABLE MENTION COACH OF THE YEAR
SECOND TEAM Amber Jackson, Indiana Jim Foster, Ohio State
Whitney Thomas, Indiana Wendy Ausdemore, Iowa  
Allyssa DeHaan, Michigan State Megan Skouby, Iowa  
Emily Fox, Minnesota Aisha Jefferson, Michigan State  
Amy Jaeschke, Northwestern Lykendra Johnson, Michigan State  
Samantha Prahalis, Ohio State Brittney Thomas, Michigan State  
  Brianne O’Rourke, Penn State  
  Danielle Campbell, Purdue  
  Lakisha Freeman, Purdue  
  FahKara Malone, Purdue  
  Alyssa Karel, Wisconsin  

UNANIMOUS SELECTIONS IN ALL CAPS

2008-09 BIG TEN SPORTSMANSHIP AWARD HONOREES
Lacey Simpson, Illinois; Andrea McGuirt, Indiana; Wendy Ausdemore, Iowa; Carly Benson, Michigan; Lauren Aitch, Michigan State; Kay Sylva, Minnesota; Ellen Jaeschke, Northwestern; Maria Moeller, Ohio State; Mashea Williams, Penn State; Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton, Purdue; Anya Covington, Wisconsin.