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Thursday, Jan. 29, 2009 7 p.m. ET
Crisler Arena Ann Arbor, Mich.
# 15/14 Ohio State
(16-3, 7-1 Big Ten) at Michigan (9-11, 2-7 Big Ten)

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

Television/Internet – Live streaming at www.BigTenNetwork.com

Series Information
Series Record: OSU leads, 44-6
Last meeting: 12/21/08, OSU, 70-50 in Columbus
In Ann Arbor: OSU leads, 20-4
Current streak: OSU-11
Last meeting in Ann Arbor: 2/25/07, OSU, 72-58

COLUMBUS, Ohio – No. 15/14 Ohio State (16-3, 7-1 Big Ten) travels to Ann Arbor, Mich., at 7 p.m. ET Thursday for a meeting with the Michigan Wolverines (9-11, 2-7 Big Ten) at Crisler Arena. This is the second meeting this season after Ohio State won 70-50 Dec. 21 in Columbus. Ohio State is currently a half game ahead of second place Michigan State (7-2) and Indiana (7-2) in the Big Ten standings. The Buckeyes host the Hoosiers at 4 p.m. Sunday at Value City Arena.

Lavender Earns Fourth Big Ten POW Honor
Jantel Lavender took home her fourth Player of the Week award of the season Jan. 27 after guiding Ohio State to a pair of wins to move up to first in the Big Ten. The sophomore opened the week with a season-high 30-point performance on Thursday to lead the Buckeyes as they toppled Illinois, 68-51. Lavender tied her career-high with 15 field goals, shooting 62.5 percent from the floor, also grabbing 12 rebounds to record her 14th double-double of the year. On the road against Purdue on Sunday, the Cleveland, Ohio, native scored 15 of her 21 points in a closely contested second half to give Ohio State the 71-60 victory. She shot 62.5 percent (10-of-16) from the field and had seven rebounds and two blocks in the win. On the week, Lavender averaged 25.5 points and 9.5 rebounds, improving her Big Ten-leading averages to 21.6 ppg and 11.1 rpg. The weekly honor is the eighth of her career, which ties her for fourth all-time in the conference and sets a new Big Ten record for awards won by a player in her freshman and sophomore seasons.

Closing in on 1,000
Sophomore Jantel Lavender has 957 points in 50 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 43 points (21.5 ppg) over the next two 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 (957 points though 50 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 21.6 ppg pace, she will break Smith’s mark by season’s end.

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 5.95 assists per game and tops all Big Ten freshmen in scoring (10.1 ppg), free throw percentage (.811), steals (35) and ranks fifth in rebounding (3.0).

Foster, Matta, Tressel Have Michigan’s Number
Ohio State head coaches Jim Foster (women’s basketball), Thad Matta (men’s basketball) and Jim Tressel (football) are a combined 24-2 against Michigan teams during their tenure at Ohio State. Foster is 9-0, Matta 8-1 and Tressel 7-1. The Ohio State men’s team hosts Michigan Wednesday at VCA.

Scouting Michigan
Michigan is 9-11 and 2-7 in the Big Ten, but has faced one of the more difficult schedules in the conference the 12th-toughest in the country according to RealTimeRPI.com. The Wolverines have notable wins against Kentucky, North Carolina State and ranked teams such as Vanderbilt and Notre Dame. They have also come up short against teams such as Texas A&M, Southern California and Duke. The Wolverines started off 2-2 in the Big Ten, but enter Thursday’s game looking to snap a five-game losing skid. They are coming off a 77-69 loss Monday night at Iowa, a game much closer than the 8-point margin would indicate.

Leading UM this season is senior guard Jessica Minnfield who is averaging a team-best 10.6 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 3.6 assists and is shooting 82.6 percent from the free throw line. Senior Carly Benson is second on the team in scoring with 9.5 ppg followed by Veronica Hicks’ 8.5 ppg.

Head coach Kevin Borseth is in his second season at Michigan with a record of 27-25 at UM and a career mark of 533-235 as of Jan. 27.

The Series
The Buckeyes own a commanding 44-6 lead in the all-time series and have won the last 11 meetings overall, including the last seven by an average of 23.7 points. Ohio State’s last loss to the Maize and Blue was back in 2001, 76-63, in Columbus. Ohio State won the previous meeting this season 70-50 Dec. 21 in Columbus.

Foster Going for 10th-Consecutive 20-Win Season
With four 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 Ohio State since his first season in 2002-03, including a 30-win season in 2004-05.

Fastbreak Points
Ohio State is currently ranked No. 11 in the latest RPI rankings and has the 11th-toughest schedule in the country. 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 (69.8), scoring margin (+14.2) and FG percentage (.441) and ranks either second or third in fewest points allowed (55.6), FT percentage (.764), FG percentage defense (.355), rebounding (39.9), rebounding margin (+6.3), assists (15.8) and assist/turnover ratio (0.93).

Sophomore center Jantel Lavender leads the Big Ten in scoring (21.6 ppg) and rebounding (11.1 rpg) and is the only player in Division I to rank in the Top 10 in both categories. She also leads the Big Ten with 14 20-point games this season and is second in the league in FG percentage (.534).

Lavender’s 27 career double-doubles in 50 career games trails only Indiana senior Whitney Thomas (29) for the career lead among active Big Ten players. Lavender has a Big Ten-best 14 this season.The Buckeyes are 22-5 when she records a double-double.

Lavender has scored in double-figures in all 50 career games. That streak currently ranks sixth in Division I among active players according to STATS, Inc.

Freshman point guard Samantha Prahalis leads the Big Ten and ranks 13th nationally with 5.95 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 10 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’ 10.1 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 (1.84) and assist/turnover ratio (+1.47).

Prahalis has 113 assists on the season and is 56 shy of breaking Kim Wilburn’s freshman record of 168 assists set back in 2002-03.

Senior guard Ashlee Trebilcock leads the Big Ten in 3FG percentage (.500, 26-52) while classmate Star Allen is third in the Big Ten in FG percentage (.529).

Junior Shavelle Little, the 2008 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, leads the conference with 3.57 steals in Big Ten games. She is second in all games with 2.72 per contest.

Ohio State is 51-of-57 (.894) from the free throw line in its last three games. They were 20-of-22 against Minnesota, 10-of-11 vs. Illinois and 21-of-24 in the win at Purdue Jan. 25.

Ohio State has won 70 of its last 80 (.875) Big Ten regular-season games and 37 of its last 39 (.948) 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 85-21 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 15th-ranked Buckeyes have been ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 for 90-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 Against Michigan
Jantel Lavender scored 28 points, including nine during that big surge, to lead No. 18 Ohio State past Michigan 70-50 Dec. 21 at VCA. It was the conference opener for both teams. Ashlee Trebilcock scored 16 points and Samantha Prahalis had 10 points and seven assists for the Buckeyes. They scored 31 points off of Michigan’s 22 turnovers. Veronica Hicks had 13 points for Michigan. Ohio State trailed 4-0 early but then reeled off 22 straight points as the Wolverines went scoreless for almost 8 1/2 minutes. Prahalis scored five points and had four assists in the 22-0 run, with Lavender hitting four field goals and a free throw for nine points. Shavelle Little harassed Michigan’s guards while making two steals and forcing several other turnovers. The Wolverines missed all eight of their shots from the field and had nine turnovers in their 16 possessions after grabbing the quick lead. Over the same span, the Buckeyes hit 7 of 10 shots from the field and made all seven free throws. Lavender had 17 points and six rebounds at the half, while Prahalis had eight points and six assists. After the lengthy drought left them behind by 18 points, the Wolverines cut the deficit to as little as 11 points before Ohio State ran off 11 of the final 13 points in the half to go up 44-22. The lead never dropped below 18 points in the second half.

Last Time Out – Buckeyes Pick up Road win at Purdue
Ohio State’s defense dominated the first half, then the 19th-ranked Buckeyes held on to beat Purdue 71-60 and move into sole possession of first place in the Big Ten. Purdue made just one field goal in the first nine minutes. The Buckeyes led 35-16 at halftime as Purdue barely missed producing its lowest-scoring half in school history. Jantel Lavender, who led the Buckeyes with 21 points, said Shavelle Little’s defensive pressure against Purdue’s guards got the Buckeyes going. “I think that kind of got their guards out of synch,” Lavender said. Ohio State held Purdue to 5-for-18 shooting in the first half and forced 14 turnovers. Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton, Purdue’s leading scorer, played just eight minutes in the first half because of foul trouble. She scored all 16 of her points in the second half. Purdue coach Sharon Versyp credited Ohio State’s defense, but also said her guards played tentatively and her posts didn’t finish. Samantha Prahalis had 13 points and six assists and Ashlee Trebilcock added 12 points for the Buckeyes. Danielle Campbell scored 14 points for Purdue. The Boilermakers have lost two of their past three games after winning the previous four. Purdue got as close as eight points in the second half. Wisdom-Hylton helped the Boilermakers battle back in the second half. Purdue trimmed Ohio State’s lead to 55-46 before Trebilcock hit a 3-pointer as the shot clock expired to make it 58-46 with 4:13 to play. Lavender and Star Allen, Ohio State’s top post players, picked up their fourth fouls with more than six minutes to play. Ohio State picked up its tenth foul of the second half with 6:29 remaining while holding a 54-44 lead. Purdue didn’t take advantage of either situation. The Buckeyes had 12 offensive rebounds in the second half, allowing them to drain the clock and hold off Purdue’s rally.

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