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Sunday, Feb. 8, 2009 2 p.m. ET
Breslin Center East Lansing, Mich.
#14/12 Ohio State
(19-3, 10-1 Big Ten) at Michigan State (16-7, 9-3 Big Ten)

Radio/Internet – WOSU 820-AM/www.wosu.org (Marty Bannister, Kristin Watt)
Television – ESPN2 (Eric Collins, Candace Parker)

Series Information
Series Record: OSU leads, 45-21
Last meeting: 1/4/09, OSU 67-49 in Columbus
In East Lansing: OSU leads, 17-9
Current streak: OSU-1
Last meeting in East Lansing: 12/30/07, MSU, 60-53
 
COLUMBUS, Ohio — No. 14/12 Ohio State (19-3, 10-1 Big Ten) faces another tough road test Sunday when it travels to the Breslin Center in East Lansing, Mich., for a 2 p.m. tip with Michigan State (16-7, 9-3 Big Ten) who is just two games behind Ohio State in the loss column. These two teams met Jan. 4 in Columbus with the Buckeyes prevailing, 67-49. The Spartans sit in second place in the conference standings at 9-3, one-half game ahead of Minnesota at 8-3 and one game ahead of Indiana and Purdue who are both 8-4.

The game is being televised nationally on ESPN2 with Eric Collins and Candace Parker on the call.

Buckeyes Gunning for Seventh-Consecutive 20-Win Season
With a win Sunday, Ohio State will be one of only three schools in Division I to record 20 or more wins over the last seven seasons according to STATS, Inc. (NOTE: Duke also has 19 wins and plays at North Carolina Monday, Feb. 9) A victory over the Spartans would also mark the 23rd 20-win season of Coach Jim Foster’s career, his 10th-consecutive overall and seventh in Columbus — 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 Ohio State since his first season in 2002-03, including a 30-win season in 2004-05. Below is a breakdown of schools with 20 or more wins over the last six seasons and with at least 19 this year entering the weekend:

  02-03 03-04 04-05 05-06 06-07 07-08 08-09
Connecticut 37 31 25 32 32 36 22
Duke 35 30 31 31 32 25 19
North Carolina 28 24 30 33 34 33 20
Ohio State 22 21 30 29 28 22 19

Taking the Show on the Road
Unlike last season when Ohio State featured one of its younger teams in recent years, the Buckeyes are finding life on the road much more enjoyable this season. After going 6-6 overall and 4-5 in Big Ten road games in 2007-08, the Buckeyes are 6-1 away from home this season and 5-0 in conference play. Their only loss away from home was at now-No. 5 Auburn in overtime Nov. 23 — a game the Buckeyes led by three in the final minute of regulation before a 3-pointer by Auburn in the final seconds sent the game into overtime.

Lavender Tops 1,000 Points in Her Sophomore Season
With her fourth field goal at the 1:50 mark in the first half against Purdue Feb. 5, sophomore Jantel Lavender scored the 1,000th point of her career, becoming the second-fastest player in the history of Ohio State women’s basketball (53 games) to reach the milestone. Katie Smith (1993-96) was the fastest to do it at 52 games. Lavender is the 27th Ohio State player to reach the 1,000-point plateau.

Ohio State players quickest to 1,000 points:
Katie Smith  1993-94 seasons (52 games)
Jantel Lavender 2008-09 seasons (53 games)
Frani Washington 1978-79 seasons (56 games)
Jessica Davenport 2004-05 seasons ( 63 games)

Lavender Also Going for Best First Two-Season Total
The Cleveland native could also set an Ohio State record for the best first two-season scoring total in program history. Katie Smith scored 1,194 points in her first two seasons, Frani Washington scored 1,104 while Jessica Davenport had 1,066. If Lavender continues at her 21.0 ppg pace, she will break Smith’s mark by season’s end. 

Climbing the Charts
The Buckeyes are ranked No. 14 in this week’s Associated Press Top 25 poll and No. 12 in the coaches poll — their highest ranking since the 2006-07 season. The Buckeyes’ highest ranking in 2007-08 was 15 in both the AP and coaches poll in week 12.

Freshman of the Year?
Rookie point guard Samantha Prahalis is making a strong case for Big Ten freshman of the year honors. The Commack, N.Y., native leads the Big Ten with 5.8 assists per game and tops all Big Ten freshmen in scoring (9.8 ppg), steals (37) and ranks fifth in rebounding (3.2).

Scouting Michigan State
Michigan State is 16-7 and nipping at Ohio State’s heels at 9-3 in the Big Ten after winning at Illinois Feb. 5. They have won seven of eight overall after falling to the Buckeyes in Columbus back on Jan. 4. The Spartans are led by junior forward Aisha Jefferson who averages 11.4 points and just over five rebounds per game. Jefferson was a medical redshirt last season and averaged 14.4 points during the 2006-07 campaign. Junior center Allyssa DeHaan is the tallest player in Michigan State women’s basketball history at 6-foot, 9-inches. She averages 10.3 points and 6.6 rebounds this season and is the first player in Big Ten history to block 100 shots in two different seasons. She is second in the Big Ten with 72 so far this season. Last season the Spartans finished 23-14, advancing all the way to the finals of the postseason WNIT. They were 10-8 in conference play overall.  Head coach Suzy Merchant is in her second season in East Lansing.

The Series
The Buckeyes lead the all-time series with the Spartans, 45-21, winning the last meeting, 67-49, Jan. 4 in Columbus. Last season Ohio State and Michigan State met just once as the Spartans won the conference opener in East Lansing, 60-53, Dec. 30, 2007. The Buckeyes are 17-9 against Michigan State in East Lansing.

Last Time Against the Spartans
Jantel Lavender scored 20 points and the Buckeyes took command early to beat Michigan State 67-49. The Buckeyes went on a 16-0 run near the outset and were never threatened while winning their sixth in a row. Lavender chose to shoot from the outside rather than mix it up inside with the Spartans’ 6-foot-9 Allyssa DeHaan. When Lavender wasn’t moving to open spots for shots, power forward Star Allen was chipping in with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Lauren Aitch had 14 points for the Spartans, who never got closer than 14 points over the last 29 minutes. After Brittney Thomas took an assist from Kalisha Keane to tie the game at 2-2 at the 18:46 mark, the Spartans went without a point for the next 6:57. Over that span, they missed all four shots from the field, didn’t go to the free-throw line and had seven turnovers. Meanwhile, the Buckeyes were running off 16 points while hitting 6 of 13 from the field including two 3-pointers and both foul shots and committing just two turnovers. Ashlee Trebilcock made two 3-pointers and Lavender also had six points in the spurt. Ohio State didn’t take its foot off the gas, either, building the lead to 35-10 before the Spartans ran off seven points in the last minute of the half to go into the locker room down 37-17.   The Spartans had more turnovers than points through the first 19 minutes. Ohio State led by as many as 27 points before the Michigan State whittled it down to 16 points in the final minutes. Little created havoc defensively with four steals while adding six points and two assists. Prahalis hit just 2 of 14 shots from the field but had seven assists and four steals. She and Lavender seem to feed off each other, with most of Prahalis’ assists going to last year’s Big Ten player of the year.

Fastbreak Points
Ohio State is currently ranked No. 13 in the latest RPI rankings released by the NCAA. Two of Ohio State’s three losses are to teams currently ranked in the Top 10 (No. 5 Auburn and No. 10 North Carolina).

Ohio State leads the Big Ten in scoring (68.0), fewest points allowed (54.5), scoring margin (+13.5) and field goal percentage (.434) and ranks either second or third in free throw percentage (.760), field goal percentage defense (.350), rebounding (40.1), rebounding margin (+6.3), assists (15.2) and assist/turnover ratio (0.85).

Sophomore center Jantel Lavender leads the Big Ten in scoring (21.0 ppg) and rebounding (11.0 rpg) and is the only player in Division I to rank in the Top 11 in both categories. She also leads the Big Ten with 14 games of 20 or more points this season and is second in the league in FG percentage (.532) behind Indiana’s Amber Jackson (.537).

Lavender’s 28 career double-doubles in 53 career games trails only Indiana senior Whitney Thomas (29) for the career lead among active Big Ten players. Lavender has a Big Ten-best 15 this season. The Buckeyes are 23-5 when she records a double-double.

Lavender has scored in double-figures in all 53 career games. That streak currently ranks fourth in Division I among active players according to STATS, Inc.
   Current consecutive games of 10+ points:
   1.  Robyn Fairbanks, Utah Valley St 71
   2.  Megan Frazee, Liberty 56
   3.  Morgan Warburton, Utah 54
   4.  Jantel Lavender, Ohio State 53
   5.  Sade Logan, Robert Morris 47
   6.  Andrea Riley, Oklahoma State 45
   7.  Jenna Smith, Illinois 31
   8.  Chazny Morris, UMKC 29

Freshman point guard Samantha Prahalis leads the Big Ten and ranks 15th nationally with 5.8 assists per game. She had a season-high 13 assists in the 9-point loss to then-No. 2 North Carolina Dec. 3. She has 13 games with six or more assists and is the only freshman in Division I to rank in the Top 15 in either scoring, rebounding or assists.

Prahalis’ 9.8 ppg is best among all freshmen in the Big Ten and is 23rd overall among all conference players. She also is among the league leaders in steals (1.68) and assist/turnover ratio (+1.36).

Prahalis has 129 assists on the season and is 40 shy of breaking Kim Wilburn’s freshman record of 168 set back in 2002-03.

Senior guard Ashlee Trebilcock leads the Big Ten in 3FG percentage (.491, 28-57) while classmate Star Allen is third in the Big Ten in FG percentage (.531). Allen also is second in the league in offensive rebounds with 3.1 per game.
 
Junior Shavelle Little, the 2008 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, leads the conference with 3.3 steals in Big Ten games.

Ohio State has won 73 of its last 83 (.879) Big Ten regular-season games and 39 of its last 41 (.951) 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.

Head coach Jim Foster is 88-21 (.807) in Big Ten regular-season games at Ohio State.

Ohio State had its 86-consecutive game win streak against unranked teams at home snapped with its 59-56 loss to Minnesota Jan. 15. The last unranked team to win in Columbus was Penn State, Feb. 3, 2002.

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 14th-ranked Buckeyes have been ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 for 91-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 had four Big Ten Player of the Year selections the last four seasons; Jessica Davenport in 2005-07 and Jantel Lavender in 2008.

Last Time Out 
Jantel Lavender had 19 points and 13 rebounds and No. 14 Ohio State pulled away from a halftime deficit to beat Purdue 59-47 Feb. 5. Lavender stretched her career double-figure scoring streak to 53 games the same night she topped 1,000 in career points. Star Allen chipped in with 14 points and Samantha Prahalis had 11 for Ohio State, which won its fifth in a row to preserve a two-game lead in the conference. Prahalis and Maria Moeller had big 3-pointers in the second half as the Buckeyes pulled away.Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton led Purdue with 20 points. Down a point at the half, the Buckeyes took the lead for good with a 12-2 run. After Purdue had just seven turnovers in the first half, Ohio State forced six on the Boilermakers’ first eight possessions. They would finish with 22. And it wasn’t just the turnovers, it was what followed them. Lavender and Allen each scored four points and Prahalis scored four and assisted on a basket apiece for the other two during the surge to start the second half. But that 35-26 lead wilted as Wisdom-Hylton continued to score off putbacks or spin moves. Her follow with just over 10 minutes left cut the lead to 39-38 before the Buckeyes responded on Lavender’s jumper from the foul line and a left-handed reverse layup by Allen. The Buckeyes had misfired on 3-pointers all night — missing all but one of their first 14 shots. But two big 3s down the stretch helped them hold off the Boilermakers. With Ohio State hanging on to a 45-42 lead, the Purdue defense collapsed on Lavender, but she flipped a pass to Prahalis in the corner who hit the 3 to push the lead to 48-42. Ashlee Trebilcock later drove the baseline and fired a pass to Maria Moeller, who hit a shot from almost the same spot as Prahalis had moments before, upping the difference to 51-42. Purdue never got closer than six points again.

Noting the Win over Purdue 
With the win Ohio State remains in sole possession of first place in the Big Ten at 10-1 and improve to 19-3 overall … Ohio State has won five in a row 13 of its last 14 games overall … Ohio State leads the all-time series with Purdue 35-25 and 17-8 in games played in Columbus … The Buckeyes have won the last three meetings with the Boilermakers overall … With her fourth field goal at the 1:50 mark of the first half, sophomore Jantel Lavender scored the 1,000th point of her career, becoming the second-fastest player in the history of Ohio State women’s basketball (53 games) to reach the milestone … Lavender also recorded a game-high 13 rebounds for her 15th double-double of the season and the 28th of her career … Shavelle Little recorded a game-high five steals. She has a total of 20 steals in her last four games (5.0 per game) against the Boilermakers … Star Allen finished with 14 points and went over 700 points for her career. She is averaging just under 12 points in her last nine games … Ohio State is giving up just 49.5 ppg in its last seven games … Ohio State’s defense held Purdue’s Danielle Campbell (8.5 ppg, 8.0 rpg) and Jodi Howell (7.7 ppg) to a combined four points and three rebounds … The Buckeyes are 3-3 this season when trailing at the half. Purdue led 24-23 at the break until Ohio State outscored the Boilers 36-23 in the second half.