Sunday, March 1, 2009 4 p.m. ET
Value City Arena Columbus, Ohio
#14/14 Ohio State (23-5, 14-3 Big Ten) vs. Penn State (11-16, 6-11 Big Ten)
Radio/Internet – WOSU 820-AM / www.wosu.org (Marty Bannister, Kristin Watt)
Television – Big Ten Network (Tom Werme, Patricia Babcock)
Series Record: PSU leads, 30-17
Last meeting: 2/28/08, OSU 87-84 in University Park
In Columbus: PSU leads, 11-7
Current streak: OSU-9
Last meeting in Columbus: 1/28/08, OSU, 89-53
Setting the Stage
Ohio State secured at least a share of its fifth-consecutive and league-best 12th overall Big Ten title Thursday with the win over Wisconsin. The Buckeyes became the first Big Ten team to win five titles in a row since Ohio State won five in a row from 1983-87. The Buckeyes shared two of those conference crowns with the Hawkeyes in 1987 and 1989. The Buckeyes are looking to win the conference outright with a win over Penn State Sunday.
Most Consecutive Big Ten Reg. Season Titles:
Team No. Years
Ohio State 5 2005-09
Ohio State 5 1983-87
Iowa 4 1987-90
A win Sunday would give Ohio State its 800th program victory. Six other schools already have 800 or more victories: Tennessee, Louisiana Tech, Old Dominion, Stephen F. Austin, James Madison and Texas. Tennessee Tech also has 799 entering their game on Saturday.
Ohio State is secured the No. 1 seed in the 2009 Big Ten Tournament next weekend in Indianapolis for a record fifth time.
Sunday marks the final home game for seniors Star Allen and Ashlee Trebilcock. The two will be honored prior to the start of Sunday’s game.
The Buckeyes currently have an RPI of 13 and have the 21st toughest schedule in the country according to RealtimeRPI.com.
Ohio State leads the Big Ten in scoring (68.8), scoring margin (+12.6) and field goal percentage (.442) and rank either second or third in scoring defense (56.1), free throw percentage (.752), FG percentage defense (.359), rebounding (39.4), rebounding margin (+5.6), assists (15.2) and assist/turnover ratio (+0.87).
Sophomore center Jantel Lavender leads the Big Ten in scoring (20.6 ppg), rebounding (10.6 rpg) and is second in FG percentage (.537) behind teammate Star Allen (.545). Lavender is the only player in Division I to rank in the Top 13 in scoring and rebounding. She also leads the Big Ten with 17 games of 20 or more points.
Lavender has scored in double-figures in all 59 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. 76
2. Megan Frazee, Liberty 61
3. Morgan Warburton, Utah 60
4. Jantel Lavender, Ohio State 59
Lavender’s 32 career double-doubles in 59 is the most among active Big Ten players in only her sophomore season. Lavender has a Big Ten-best 19 this season. The Buckeyes are 26-6 in her career when she gets a double-double.
Lavender now was 1,125career points and needs 70 more to break Katie Smith’s record of 1,194 points in her first two seasons as a Buckeye.
Jantel Lavender was named to the Women’s John R. Wooden Award 2009 Midseason Top 20 candidate list Jan. 30. Lavender and UConn’s Maya Moore are the only two sophomores on the list. The Wooden Award is the most prestigious individual honor in college basketball. It is bestowed upon the nation’s best player at an institution of higher education who has proven to her university that she is making progress toward graduation and maintaining a cumulative 2.0 GPA. Lavender also was named to the Naismith midseason watch list Feb. 23.
Ohio State has won 41 of its last 43 (.953) Big Ten regular-season games at home and 77 of its last 89 (.865) overall. 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.
The 14th-ranked Buckeyes have been ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 for 94-consecutive weeks.
The Buckeyes are 19-1 this season when they make more free throws than their opposition and are 37-1 over the last two seasons when accomplishing that feat.
The Buckeyes finished the regular season 8-3 on the road and 7-2 in Big Ten games after going 4-5 last season in conference road games.
The Buckeyes are 19-1 this season when they outrebound the opposition. Their only loss was at now-No. 6 Auburn in overtime.
Head coach Jim Foster is 92-23 in Big Ten regular-season games at Ohio State and 175-45 overall.
Senior Star Allen tied a career-high with 22 points on 9-of-15 shooting in the win at Indiana last Sunday.
Sophomore Brittany Johnson set new personal bests with 18 points and six made field goals, including two from deep in the win at Indiana Sunday. Johnson has 48 points (12.0 ppg) and 11 3-pointers in her last four games.
Freshman Samantha Prahalis dished out nine more assists in the win over Wisconsin and now has 162 on the season. She needs seven more to break Kim Wilburn’s Ohio State freshman record of 168 assists set during the 2002-03 season.
Prahalis leads the Big Ten and ranks 16th 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 16 games with six or more assists.
Prahalis’ 10.0 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 (1.9) and assist/TO ratio (+1.43).
Senior Star Allen leads the Big Ten lead in FG percentage (.545) and is fifth in the league in offensive rebounds with 2.9 per game. Classmate Ashlee Trebilcock is second in the Big Ten in 3FG percentage (.455).
Junior Shavelle Little, the 2008 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, leads the conference with 2.94 steals in Big Ten games.
Ohio State has won 91 of its last 92 games against unranked opponents at home. The Buckeyes had their 86-consecutive game win streak against unranked teams at home snapped with its 59-56 loss to Minnesota Jan. 15, 2009. The last unranked team to win in Columbus before that 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.
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.
Allen Earns Big Ten POW Honors
Senior forward Star Allen earned Big Ten player of the week honors Tuesday in recognition of her performance last week in road wins at Minnesota and Indiana. The honor is the second of her career and the first since 2007. Allen averaged 18.0 ppg, 8.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and shot 62.5 percent from the field in the two victories. Against the Golden Gophers, the senior tallied 14 points while shooting 67 percent (6-of-9) from the floor. She also grabbed nine rebounds and added two assists, a blocked shot and a steal in 34 minutes of play. Then at Indiana, Allen matched her career high with 22 points, including 14 in the second half. She also grabbed seven boards and recorded two assists, two steals and a block. The pair of wins helped the Buckeyes grab sole possession of first place in the Big Ten standings with a 13-3 conference record.
Prahalis Finalist for Nancy Lieberman Award
Freshman phenom Samantha Prahalis has been named one of 13 finalists for the 10th Annual Nancy Lieberman Award which recognizes the nation’s top collegiate point guard in Division I women’s basketball. Prahalis is one of the most gifted and talented point guards to come through the Big Ten in recent years. The award is a national project of the Rotary Club of Detroit honoring the nation’s top collegiate point guard in women’s Division I basketball. The criteria for the award are the floor leadership, play-making and ball-handling skills that personified Hall of Famer, Nancy Lieberman, during her career. Sportswriters from across the country have determined this final nominee list. They will select three finalists from this list and one winner at the beginning of April 2009. The announcement of the three finalists and one winner will be made during the Final Four Weekend (April 5-7, 2009).
Ohio State’s Last Time Out
Jantel Lavender had 21 points and 13 rebounds and Samantha Prahalis fueled the 14th-ranked Buckeyes’ fastbreak to lead the way to a 75-53 win over Wisconsin on Thursday night and help the Buckeyes clinch a fifth-straight Big Ten title. The piece of the title allowed the Buckeyes to match school and Big Ten records. Unlike the four previous titles, this one showed Ohio State — with Prahalis leading the charge like a playground dervish — can get out and run when needed, or it can rely on its 1-2 inside combo of Lavender and Star Allen to muscle teams. Together, they give the Buckeyes more diversity than they’ve had in the past. Prahalis, leading the Big Ten and 17th in the nation in assists at almost six per game, kept the Buckeyes running on both offense and defense. She finished with nine assists and three steals despite not playing most of the second half. Allen added 17 points and Ashlee Trebilcock 11 for Ohio State, which won its fourth game in a row. The Buckeyes clinched the No. 1 seed in the Big Ten tournament while extending their own mark with a 12th Big Ten women’s basketball title. Alyssa Karel scored 13 points, Teah Grant 11 and Rae Lin D’Alie 10 for Wisconsin (16-13, 6-12), which is off until the conference tournament in Indianapolis. Ohio State, up 11 at the half, got off to a sluggish start in the second 20 minutes before Prahalis got going. She tossed a 30-foot, lookaway pass to Lavender for a three-point play, followed that with a quick behind-the-back flip to Lavender for another bucket and then raced the ball down the court and fired a pass to Brittany Johnson for a 3 from the right corner. Those three baskets capped an 8-0 run that swelled the Buckeyes’ lead to 48-31. Their lead never dropped below 15 points again.
OSU Tough at Home Under Foster
Since the start of the 2004-05 season, Ohio State has amassed a remarkable 80-5 record at home and a 70-4 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:
Scouting Penn State
The Lady Lions are 6-11 in the Big Ten and 11-16 overall and have won their last two games at Illinois (67-56) and at home against Northwestern Thursday, 65-50. Junior Tyra Grant is second in the Big Ten in scoring behind Jantel Lavender with 19.9 ppg and also leads her squad with 50 3-pointers. Brianne O’Rourke is second with 10.5 ppg and is second in the Big Ten with 4.5 assists per outing.
Penn State lead the all-time series, 30-17. However, the Buckeyes have won the last nine meetings, including an 87-84 shootout in University Park last season where Jantel Lavender scored a career-high 36 points.
Last Time Against the Lady Lions
Jantel Lavender scored a career-high 36 points and grabbed 16 rebounds as the Buckeyes picked up an 87-84 victory over Penn State Feb. 28, 2008 in University Park. Lavender’s tough, running one-hander in traffic in the lane with 1:47 left gave the Buckeyes an 85-80 lead. But she threw away the ball on an inbounds play with 14.7 seconds left to give the Lady Lions a final shot to tie. amela Gissendanner’s desperation 3-pointer went wide of the bucket with the clock winding down. Gissendanner scored 25 points in her final home game. Janessa Wolff scored a career-high 16 and grabbed 10 rebounds off the bench for Penn State. Marscilla Packer had 18 points for Ohio State despite shooting 4-of-17.
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