No. 17/18 Ohio State (3-0) hits the road for the first time this season when they take on the 20th-ranked Auburn Tigers (3-0) at 3 p.m. Sunday at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum in Auburn Ala. The game can be heard live on WOSU 820 AM.
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 Buckeyes have been ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 for 81-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 Sate has won 79-consecutive games at home against unranked opponents. The last unranked team to win in Columbus was Penn State, Feb. 3, 2002.
Ohio State is 68-3 at home since the start of the 2004-05 season. The Buckeyes are 95-7 all-time at home under head coach Jim Foster.
Jantel Lavender, the reigning Big Ten player of the week, is second in the Big Ten in scoring with 23.3 points per game and is first with 13.0 rebounds.
Lavender has scored in double-figures in all 34 career games.
Freshman point guard Samantha Prahalis leads the Big Ten with 5.0 assists per game. She had a season-high seven dimes in the win over Army Nov. 16
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.
Ohio State is second in the Big Ten in scoring at 81.7 points per game
Sophomore guard Brittany Johnson recorded career bests of 15 points and four 3FG’s in the win over Syracuse
Auburn won the only meeting last season, 67-58, Nov. 25, 2007 in the championship game of the Buckeye Classic. Ohio State is 2-3 against SEC teams in the Foster era, defeating Kentucky and Ole Miss while falling to LSU twice and Auburn last season.
The Tigers are 3-0 on the year and are currently ranked 20th in both the Associated Press and Coaches’ Top 25 polls. Auburn started the year with a 91-53 win at Alabama A&M, followed by a home win over Temple (95-76) and most recently a 71-45 win at Georgia Southern Nov. 19. Auburn returns four starters from a team that went 20-12 and advanced to the first round of the NCAA tournament. Highlighting the returnees is senior All-SEC performer DeWanna Bonner who is averaging 21.7 points and 7.3 rebounds this season. Alli Smalley is second on the team with 14.7 points this season followed by senior Sherell Hobbs (11.7 ppg) who recently scored her 1,000th career point in the win over Georgia Southern. Nell Fortner (Texas, 82) is in her fifth season a head coach of the Tigers.
Last time Against the Tigers
Ohio State suffered its first loss of the 2007-08 season to No. 24 Auburn, 67-58, last November. Freshman Jantel Lavender led the Buckeyes with 22 points and a season-high 17 rebounds. Tournament MVP Whitney Boddie paced the Tigers with 20 points, 10 rebounds, and seven assists. Sherell Hobbs led Auburn with 21 points on 9-of-13 shooting while DeWanna Bonner chipped in with 16. Ohio State senior guard Marscilla Packer never got going offensively and was held to seven points by Auburn’s perimeter defense. The Buckeyes were 0-of-10 from three and shot just 36 percent in the second half. The Buckeyes trailed 40-30 at the half and were able to cut the Auburn lead to 63-55 on a Tamarah Riley layup with 3:56 left in the game. But that was as close as OSU came in the final minutes. While Ohio State won the battle of points in the paint, 36-26, Auburn was able to turn 14 Buckeye turnovers into 23 points.
Lavender Named Big Ten Player of the Week
Sophomore Jantel Lavender earned the first Big Ten player of the week honor of the season Nov. 18 after leading the Buckeyes to wins over Butler and Army. The sophomore recorded the 14th and 15th double-doubles of her career while dropping 20 or more points in each game.
In OSU’s season-opener against the Bulldogs Nov. 14, Lavender recorded 20 points and a career-high 19 rebounds, also adding four blocked shots and three steals as the Buckeyes earned the 75-56 win. Versus the Black Knights Nov. 16, the Cleveland, Ohio, native shot 11-for-13 (.846) from the floor, scoring 24 of her game-high 28 points in the first half. She also grabbed 10 boards and had four blocks in the 92-58 win. On the weekend, the 6-4 center shot .621 from the floor and .667 from the free throw line to combine for 48 total points. The weekly honor is the fifth of Lavender’s career.
Young, Yet Deep
Ohio State’s starting lineup features a freshman (Prahalis), three sophomores (Lavender, Johnson, Jackson) and one senior (Allen). Among the five, Lavender is the only regular starter from last season. Prahalis, Jackson and Johnson are each are starting for the first time in their careers. Allen started all 32 games two seasons ago, but had only 10 last year after sitting out winter quarter to focus on academics. However, the Buckeyes feature a deep and talented bench this season loaded with experience. Senior Ashlee Trebilcock brings instant offense with her outside shooting ability while junior Shavelle Little, the 2008 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, is arguable the best on-the-ball defender in the Big Ten and one of the best in the country. Junior center Andrea Walker has shown dramatic improvement recovering from a foot injury last season. She has averaged 8.7 points and 5.3 boards in just 15.3 minutes this season. When on the floor with Lavender, the duo has proven to be a tough 1-2 punch inside with their scoring and shot-blocking ability.
Buckeyes Hold Off Syracuse
Jantel Lavender’s third double-double in as many games led Ohio State past Syracuse, 78-71, Wednesday night. Lavender led the Buckeyes with 22 points and added 10 rebounds for the 16th double-double of her career. The Buckeyes built a double-digit lead early in the second half, but had to hold off Syracuse as the Orange pulled to within seven points late. Ohio State committed 21 turnovers in the game, but made up for it with nine three-pointers and its 55 percent shooting in the second half. Buckeye guards Samantha Prahalis and Brittany Johnson added 17 and 15 points, respectively. Prahalis, playing against more than a few of her old friends and teammates from New York, started the game 0-for-6, but settled down and hit 6 of her last 7 and scored 15 of her 17 in the second half. She also added four assists and three steals and handled Syracuse’s full court pressure with ease. The Buckeyes led 34-28 at the half and never relinquished the lead in the second half. Syracuse (2-1) narrowed a 16-point deficit to 61-54 on a layup by Erica Morrow with 6:56 left. But Johnson followed with a 3-pointer and Prahalis added a jumper, and the Orange never got closer than the final margin again. SU’s Erica Morrow had 23 points, Chandrea Jones had 14, Juanita Ward had 11 off the bench and Vionca Murray added 10 for Syracuse. The Buckeyes led 34-28 at the half behind 14 points on 6-of-7 shooting by Lavender and 10 points coming from Johnson. Ohio State led by as many as 10 with 5:17 left in the half when Maria Moeller’s three-pointer from the corner capped an 8-0 run. Alison Jackson finished with eight points — all in the second half — while senior Star Allen added six points and eight rebounds.
For the complete release including player bios, click the PDF above