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Thursday, Jan. 15, 2009 7 p.m. ET
Value City Arena Columbus, Ohio

# 15/13 Ohio State (14-2, 5-0 Big Ten) vs. Minnesota (11-5, 3-2 Big Ten)

Radio/Internet – WOSU 820-AM/www.wosu.org (Marty Bannister, Toni Roesch)

Television – Big Ten Network (Lisa Cornwell, Brenda VanLengen)

Series Information
Series Record: OSU leads, 46-9
Last meeting: 2/3/08, OSU 76-62 in Columbus
In Columbus: OSU leads, 23-0
Current streak: OSU-1

COLUMBUS, Ohio — No. 15 Ohio State (14-2, 5-0 Big Ten) will look to stay atop the Big Ten standings Thursday when it welcomes the Minnesota Golden Gophers (11-5, 3-2 Big Ten) to Value City Arena. The game is being televised live on the Big Ten Network with Lisa Cornwell and Brenda VanLengen on the call. The Buckeyes, who are coming off a 67-35 win at Illinois Monday, are going for their ninth-straight win while Minnesota had its three-game win streak snapped with a 74-57 loss at Iowa Sunday.

Streaking
The Buckeyes’ current eight-game win streak is the longest since the 2006-07 season when Ohio State won 17 in a row. The streak is tied for 12th among active streaks in all of NCAA Division I and is the third-longest in the conference this season, trailing Wisconsin’s 10-gamer and Indiana’s nine-game run. The Buckeyes have been dominant since their 9-point loss to No. 2 North Carolina Dec. 3, defeating opponents by an average of 17.9 points, holding teams to just 33 percent shooting, and outrebounding teams by more than eight a game.

Closing in on 1,000
Sophomore Jantel Lavender has 886 points so far in 47 career games and has a chance to tie the great Katie Smith as the fastest Ohio State women’s basketball player to reach the 1,000-point plateau. Smith scored her 1,000th point in her 52nd career game and Lavender needs 114 points (22.8 ppg) over the next five games to tie Smith.
Ohio State players quickest to 1,000 points:
Katie Smith              1993-94 seasons (52 games)
Frani Washington    1978-79 seasons (56 games)
Jessica Davenport  2004-05 seasons (63 games)
Jantel Lavender      2008-09 seasons (886 points though 47 games)

Fastbreak Points
Ohio State is currently ranked No. 6 in the latest RealtimeRPI.com ratings and has the seventh-toughest schedule in the country. Ohio State’s only two losses are to teams currently undefeated and ranked in the Top 10 (No. 6 Auburn, No. 2 North Carolina).

Ohio State leads the Big Ten in scoring margin (+15.3) and assists (16.5) and ranks second or third in scoring (70.7), fewest points allowed (55.4), FG percentage (.445), FG percentage defense (.347), 3FG percentage defense (.296), rebounding (41.2), rebounding margin (+6.9) and assist/turnover ratio (0.94).

Sophomore center Jantel Lavender leads the Big Ten in scoring (21.2 ppg) and rebounding (11.5 rpg) and ranks in the Top 10 nationally in both categories — the only player in the NCAA Division I ranks to rank in the Top 10 in both categories. She also leads the Big Ten with 11 20-point games this season and is fourth in the league in FG percentage (.513).

Lavender has scored in double-figures in all 47 career games. That streak currently ranks sixth in the NCAA among active players according to STATS, Inc.
Current consecutive games of 10+ points:
1. Courtney Paris, Oklahoma  113
2. Robyn Fairbanks, Utah Valley St. 66
3. Rachele Fitz, Marist   49
    Megan Frazee, Liberty  49
5. Morgan Warburton, Utah  48
6. Jantel Lavender, Ohio State  47
7. Sade Logan, Robert Morris  39
    Andrea Riley, Oklahoma State 39
9. Carrie Biemer, Pennsylvania  25
10. Jenna Smith, Illinois  25

Lavender’s 26 career double-doubles in 47 career games trails only Indiana senior Whitney Thomas (28) for the career lead among active Big Ten players. Lavender has 13 so far this season, already matching her total from last season. The Buckeyes are 21-5 when she records a double-double.

Freshman point guard Samantha Prahalis leads the Big Ten and ranks 9th nationally with 6.3 assists per game. She had a season-high 13 assists in the 9-point loss to No. 2 North Carolina Dec. 3. She is the only freshman in the country to rank in the Top 10 in that category. Prahalis is the only freshman in the Top 10 in either scoring, rebounding or assists.

Prahalis’ 9.9 ppg is second among all freshman in the Big Ten and is 25th overall among all conference players. She also is among the league leaders in steals (2.0) and assist/turnover ratio (+1.5).

Senior guard Ashlee Trebilcock is second in the Big Ten in 3FG percentage (.500, 23-46) while classmate Star Allen is second in the Big Ten in FG percentage (.570).

Allen has three-straight double-doubles entering Thursday’s game and is second in the Big Ten in rebounding (9.4) in conference games.

Junior Shavelle Little, the 2008 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, is second in the league with 2.7 steals per game. She has a total of 19 steals through five Big Ten games, a Big Ten-best 3.8 per game in conference action.

Ohio State owns the seventh-best winning percentage (.838) and has the ninth-most wins (109) in all of women’s basketball during the last four full years.

The 15th-ranked Buckeyes have been ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 for 89-consecutive weeks.

Ohio State owns the most Big Ten titles with 11. This season they are attempting to become the first team to win five in a row since the Ohio State teams from 1983-87.

Ohio State has won 86-consecutive regular-season games in Columbus against unranked opponents. The last unranked team to win in Columbus was Penn State, Feb. 3, 2002.

Ohio State has had four Big Ten Player of the Year selections the last four seasons; Jessica Davenport in 2005-07 and Jantel Lavender in 2008.

Big Ten Domination
Ohio State has won 68 of its last 77 (.883) Big Ten regular-season games and 36 of its last 37 (.972) at home. The Buckeyes won the last six games of the 2003-04 season, went 14-2 in 2004-05, 15-1 in 2006 and 2007 and went 13-5 during the expanded 18-game conference schedule last season.

Foster Going for 10th-Consecutive 20-Win Season
With six more wins, Ohio State will record its seventh-consecutive 20-win season. It would also mark the 23rd of coach Foster’s career, his 10th-consecutive overall and his seventh at OSU, the most of any coach at Ohio State. Last year he tied Nancy Darsch who had six 20-win seasons in 12 years as head coach from 1985-97. Foster has done it each year at OSU since his first season in 2002-03, including a 30-win season in 2004-05.

Scouting Minnesota
The Gophers enter Thursday’s game 3-2 in the Big Ten with an 11-5 overall record. They opened the season 8-1 before losing three in a row to South Dakota State, Iowa State and Wisconsin. Since then, they have won three of its last four. All-Big Ten performer Emily Fox leads the team with 13.0 ppg and has 65 assists. Katie Ohm is second in scoring with 11.7 while Ashley Ellis-Milan averages 10.9 and a team-best 8.7 rebounds. Brittany McCoy is second in the league in assists behind Samantha Prahalis with 4.9 per game. The Gophers love to shoot the long ball and are second in the Big Ten in 3FG’s made (101) and 3FG percentage (370). Pam Borton is in her seventh season as head coach with a 143-66 record at Minnesota and a career mark of 212-112 entering Thursday’s game.

The Series
The Buckeyes lead the all-time series with the Gophers, 46-9. The two teams split the season series last year, with each team winning on its home court. Minnesota has never won in Columbus in 23 tries. 

Last Time Against The Gophers
Marscilla Packer isn’t used to being a reserve. But the senior guard was a big reason Ohio State pulled away in the second half for a 76-62 win over Minnesota Feb. 3, 2008. Packer, the second leading scorer for the Buckeyes at 14.8 points per game coming in, didn’t start for the first time this season and for only the second time in the past 54 games. But she still scored 16 points in 27 minutes — 14 in the second half as the Buckeyes increased their 32-27 halftime lead. Packer made three consecutive 3-pointers and a field goal in the lane over a 3-minute stretch to put the Buckeyes ahead 54-43 with 12:09 remaining. The Gophers (15-8, 6-5) couldn’t get closer than 10 the rest of the way. The last time Packer was on the bench at tip-off was March 4 against Penn State in the Big Ten Tournament, when she suffered from an ankle sprain. Packer wasn’t in the starting lineup against the Gophers (15-8, 6-5 Big Ten) because of a “team decision,” said Ohio State coach Jim Foster. He wouldn’t elaborate. Ashlee Trebilcock scored a game-high 19 points, 13 of which came in the second half. Ohio State also got 12 points from Jantel Lavender and Tamarah Riley had 11. Leslie Knight had 16 points for the Gophers, 17 less than she had in a 79-70 win over the Buckeyes on Jan. 24. Zoe Harper added 13 points and 10 rebounds but the team’s leading scorer, Emily Fox, with 16.9 points per game, was held to six points on 2-for-13 shooting.

Ohio State’s Last Time Out
Illinois native Brittany Johnson put on one of her best performances of the season with 14 points on four 3-pointers and Jantel Lavender and Star Allen each recorded double-doubles for the second game in a row as No. 15 Ohio State won its eighth-straight game with a 67-35 win over Illinois at Assembly Hall Monday. Lavender scored 10 or more points for the 47th-consecutive game, the sixth longest streak in the nation. Ashlee Trebilcock added 11 points and Samantha Prahalis dished out a game-high nine assists for the Buckeyes. Lavender finished with 14 points and 14 rebounds and Allen’s night included 13 points and 12 boards. The Buckeyes overcame a slow start and 12 turnovers to lead 27-20 at the half. Ohio State shot 36 percent from the field before the break, but held Illinois to just 29 percent shooting. Ohio State went on a 12-2 run to start the second period to put the game away, not allowing Illinois its first goal until almost 7 minutes in. The Buckeyes shot 64 percent from the field in the second half, and outrebounded the Illini 46-27 for the game. The Buckeyes outscored the Illini 40-15 in the second half overall. Jenna Smith led Illinois with 14 points. Lacey Simpson added 12 points for the Illini, who were 0-for-8 from 3-point range.

OSU Tough at Home Under Foster
Since the start of the 2004-05 season, Ohio State has amassed a remarkable 75-4 record at home and a 65-3 record at Value City Arena (9-1 at St. John Arena, 1-0 at Nationwide Arena). The Buckeyes have posted two perfect home records under head coach Jim Foster, going 14-0 in his first year in 2002-03 and 17-0 in 2004-05.
Buckeyes at home in the Foster Era:
2002-03 14-0
2003-04 13-4
2004-05 17-0
2005-06 16-1
2006-07 16-1
2007-08 16-1
2008-09 10-1
Total 102-8

Fast Starts
The Buckeyes are 12-0 this season when leading at the half and 1-0 when tied (Dayton). The Buckeyes biggest halftime deficit was 10 points at Nebraska before rallying for a 69-65 win Dec. 6. Ohio State trailed by only four points at the half in each of its two losses to UNC and Auburn.

Nearly Perfect
In the win over Delaware State Dec. 16, Jantel Lavender was 12-of-13 from the field for a 92.3 percent clip. It tied for the second-highest FG percentage by a Buckeye since Tracey Hall shot an identical 92.3 percent (12-of-13) Nov. 29, 1984 in a win over Cincinnati. Jessica Davenport holds the Ohio State record for FG percentage (minimum 10 attempts) in a game when she shot 10-for-10 in a 73-67 win over West Virginia in the 2004 NCAA Tournament.

Making a Living at the Stripe
Ohio State has spent a lot of time this season at the free throw line and have made more at the line than opponents have attempted. Ohio State is 230-of-311 (.740) while opponents are 154-of-215 (.716). Eight times this season Ohio State has made more FT’s than opponents have attempted.

Make More, Win More
The Buckeyes are 12-0 this season when they make more free throws than their opponents and were 18-0 last season when accomplishing that feat. They are 2-2 this season when they make fewer from the line.

Good as Advertised
Freshman point guard Samantha Prahalis has been everything the Buckeyes have hoped for and more. Since the first game of the season, she has performed like a veteran, running Ohio State’s offense, finding the open teammate and coming up with one big shot and nifty pass after another. She is second among all Big Ten freshmen and is among the conference leaders with 9.9 ppg and also leads all conference players with 6.3 assists per game — good for 8th best in the nation. She has had four or more assists in all but one game, including a season-high 13 in the nine-point loss to No. 2 North Carolina Dec. 3.

For the complete release, stats and player bios click the PDF above