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Sunday, Feb. 15, 2009 11 a.m. ET
Value City Arena Columbus, Ohio
#18/13 Ohio State
(19-5, 10-3 Big Ten) vs. Northwestern (6-18, 2-11 Big Ten) 

Radio/Internet – WOSU 820-AM / www.wosu.org (Marty Bannister, Toni Roesch) and Buckeye Vision
Television – Big Ten Network (Patricia Babcock, Tracy Warren) 

PROMOTIONS
Celebrate National Girls and Women in Sports Day Pregame autographs by OSU athletic teams
THINK PINK Day Wear pink to the game as Ohio State supports a day of awareness for breast cancer research
Matt the Balloon Guy
Girl Scout Appreciation Day All Girl Scout members and leaders receive $6 tickets with advance purchase
Get to Know Her postgame autograph session with Shavelle Little
Postgame layups on the court 

COLUMBUS, Ohio — No. 18/13 Ohio State (19-5, 10-3 Big Ten) will look to snap a rare losing skid when it welcomes the Northwestern Wildcats (6-18, 2-11 Big Ten) to Value City Arena at 11 a.m. Sunday. The game is being televised live by the Big Ten Network with Patricia Babcock and Tracy Warren on the call.

The Buckeyes have dropped back to back games at Michigan State and Iowa while the Wildcats enter the game coming off a 60-46 loss at Illinois Thursday. This is the second meeting this season between the two schools after the Buckeyes won 68-59 in Evanston on New Year’s Eve behind 15 points and nine rebounds by Jantel Lavender.

Series Information
Series Record: OSU leads, 34-15
Last meeting: 12/31/08, OSU 68-59 in Evanston
In Columbus: OSU leads, 15-6
Current streak: OSU-16
Last meeting in Columbus: 3/2/08, OSU, 74-50

Buckeyes Gunning for Seventh-Consecutive 20-Win Season
One more victory will give the Buckeyes their seventh-consecutive 20-win season. It also will mark the 23rd 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.

History on OSU’s Side After Back-to-Back Losses
Ohio State has lost back-to-back games only three times in the past five seasons and only one time in regular-season play. They have not lost three-straight since the 2003-04 season — the longest losing streak in the Foster era.

Tracey Hall to Have No. 44 Jersey Retired Sunday
Former Buckeye and two-time All-American Tracey (Hall) Yarbrough will have her No. 44 jersey retired at halftime Sunday. She will become just the second women’s basketball player at Ohio State to have her number retired after Katie Smith’s No. 30 was retired in January 2001. Hall played for the Buckeyes from 1985-88, earning first team All-America honors in her last two seasons in becoming the Big Ten’s first two-time Kodak All-American. Hall was the Big Ten freshman of the year and a second team All-Big Ten performer in 1985. She went on to claim the conference’s top honor in 1986 and ’87, while being selected first team All-Big Ten in 1986, ’87 and ’88. (complete bio on PDF)

Lavender Unstoppable at Iowa
Jantel Lavender scored Ohio State’s first 13 points in the loss at Iowa Feb. 12 and went on to score a season-high 32 and tied career bests with 15 made field goals and four blocked shots. She recorded her 16th double-double of the season and the 29th of her career with a team-high 10 rebounds. She also added three assists in 38 minutes of play.

Lavender Tops 1,000 Points in Her Sophomore Season
With her fourth field goal 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 overall 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 has 1,061 career points and 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 21.4 ppg pace, she will break Smith’s mark by season’s end. She needs six more points to pass Jessica Davenport.
Katie Smith: 1993-94 seasons (1,194)
Frani Washington: 1978-79 seasons (1,104)
Jessica Davenport: 2004-05 seasons (1,066)
Jantel Lavender: 2008-09 seasons (1,061)

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 5.7 assists per game and tops all Big Ten freshmen in scoring (9.6 ppg), steals (46) and ranks third in FT percentage (.757 — minimum 2 makes per game) and is fifth in rebounding (3.3).

Scouting Northwestern
The Wildcats are in their first season under new head coach Joe McKeown who left George Washington after last season as the school’s all-time winningest coach with more than 500 victories. He is in his 23rd season of coaching overall. The Wildcats are 2-11 in Big Ten play and 6-18 overall, but dropped a handful of close games during their nonconference schedule, including single-digit losses to Kansas State, Missouri, Marquette, Clemson and DePaul. They are led by sophomore All-Big Ten candidate Amy Jaeschke who ranks in Top 5 in the conference in scoring (14.6 ppg) and rebounding (8.6 rpg) and leads the conference with 3.3 blocked shots per game. Junior Kristin Cartwright is the other Wildcat scoring in double-figures with 10.0 ppg.

The Buckeyes lead the all-time series with Northwestern, 34-15, and have won the last 16 meetings overall. Ohio State won both contests last season, 77-55 in Evanston and 74-50 in Columbus. The Cats last win in the series was Jan. 17, 1999 in Evanston and their last win in Columbus was back on Feb. 7, 1997.

Last Time vs. NU
Jantel Lavender scored 15 points and grabbed nine rebounds as No. 17 Ohio State fought off a stingy Northwestern squad 68-59 at Welsh-Ryan Arena on New Year’s Eve. The win was the fifth straight for Ohio State who improves to 11-2 and 2-0 in the Big Ten while NU dips to 4-10 and 0-3 in league play. Samantha Prahalis added 11 points and six assists and Shavelle Little posted season highs with 10 points and six steals. Ashlee Trebilcock added nine points on three 3-pointers while Brittany Johnson scored eight off the bench. After trailing by as much as 14 points, Northwestern cut the Ohio State lead to six points at the 9:42 mark with an 8-0 run. But Trebilcock’s third 3-pointer pushed the lead back to nine and the Wildcats never came within seven points the rest of the way. Northwestern’s Amy Jaeschke scored a game-high 24 points on 9-of-18 shooting and the Wildcats shot 53.5 percent for the game.

OSU Tough at Home Under Foster
Since the start of the 2004-05 season, Ohio State has amassed a remarkable 78-5 record at home and a 68-4 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:
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: 13-2
Total: 105-9

Fastbreak Points
Ohio State is currently ranked No. 14 in the latest RPI rankings according to RealtimeRPI.com and has the 19th toughest schedule in the country. Two of Ohio State’s five losses are to teams currently ranked in the AP Top 10 (No. 5 Auburn and No. 8 North Carolina) — both by single-digit margins, including one in overtime.

Ohio State leads the Big Ten in field goal percentage (.432) and scoring margin (+11.8) and rank either second or third in scoring (67.4), scoring defense (55.6), free throw percentage (.749), FG percentage defense (.357), rebounding (39.6), rebounding margin (+5.3) and assists (15.1).

Sophomore center Jantel Lavender leads the Big Ten in scoring (21.4 ppg), rebounding (10.8 rpg) and FG percentage (.535) and is the only player in Division I to rank in the Top 10 in scoring and rebounding. She also leads the Big Ten with 15 games of 20 or more points.

Lavender has scored in double-figures in all 55 career games. That streak currently ranks fourth in Division I among active players according to STATS, Inc.

Lavender’s 29 career double-doubles in 55 career games trails only Indiana senior Whitney Thomas (30) for the career lead among active Big Ten players. Lavender has a Big Ten-best 16 this season. The Buckeyes are 23-6 when she gets a double-double.

Lavender also 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.

Freshman point guard Samantha Prahalis leads the Big Ten and ranks 18th nationally with 5.7 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 14 games with six or more assists.

Prahalis’ 9.6 ppg is best among all freshmen in the Big Ten and is 24th overall among all conference players. She also is among the league leaders in steals (1.9) and assist/turnover ratio (+1.36).

Prahalis has 136 assists on the season and is 33 shy of breaking Kim Wilburn’s freshman record of 168 set back in 2002-03.

Senior guard Ashlee Trebilcock is second in the Big Ten in 3FG percentage (.451) while classmate Star Allen ranks third in field goal percentage (.525). 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, also is second in the conference with 2.8 steals in Big Ten games.

Ohio State has won 73 of its last 85 (.858) 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 88-23 (.792) 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 18th-ranked Buckeyes have been ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 for 92-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
Kristi Smith and Kachine Alexander combined for 24 free throws and 36 points to lead unranked Iowa to an 85-75 victory over Ohio State (No. 13 ESPN/USA Today, No. 18 AP). Iowa (15-9, 8-5 Big Ten) was 26-for-32 from the free-throw line to improve to 11-1 at home and deny the Buckeyes (19-5, 10-3) their seventh straight 20-win season. Ohio State trimmed a 13-point halftime defecit to five with 2 minutes left. But the Buckeyes couldn’t capitalize on their opportunities at the offensive end and came no closer. Smith had 20 points and Alexander 16 for Iowa. Kamille Wahlin added 19 and Wendy Audsmore 14. Ohio State, which went just 3-for-9 from the line, took its largest lead of the game at 32-27 on Brittany Johnson’s jumper with 8:17 left in the first half. But Iowa responded with a 20-2 run and took a 47-34 lead into halftime. Miller scored six of her 11 first-half points during the run. Big Ten scoring and rebounding leader Jantel Lavender had 19 of her season-high 32 points in the first half to keep Ohio State in the game. Lavender finished the night 15-for-21 from the field with 10 rebounds for her 16th double-double of the season. Ashlee Trebilcock had 14 points for Ohio State before fouling out while Maria Moeller tied her career-high with 11 points of the bench. Samantha Prahalis finished with nine points and a game-high six assists. She left the game for a couple minutes in the second half with an ankle injury before returning.

Making a Living at the Stripe
Ohio State has spent a lot of time this season at the free throw line and have make almost just as many as opponents have attempted. Ohio State is 335-of-447 (.749) while opponents are 241-of-339 (.700). Eleven times this season Ohio State has made more free throws than opponents have attempted.The Buckeyes are 16-1 this season when they make more free throws than their opponents and were 18-0 last season when accomplishing that feat. They are 2-4 this year when they make fewer from the line. The only time Ohio State made more and lost was Jan. 15 against Minnesota when Ohio State was 20-of-22 at the line to Minnesota’s 4-of-6. However, Ohio State was outrebounded in that game, 34-21.

Fast Starts
The Buckeyes are 15-0 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. The Buckeyes also won at Michigan Jan. 29 after trailing at the half. Ohio State trailed by only four points at the half in losses to current Top 10 teams UNC and Auburn.

Tickets On Sale Now for NCAA First and Second Rounds in Columbus
The Ohio State University is proud to be hosting the First and Second Rounds of the 2009 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament on March 21 and 23 at Nationwide Arena. All-session passes are on sale now. Adult all-session tickets are available for $32.50. Student All-Session tickets are $21.50. Single session tickets go on sale March 18, 2009.
Two easy ways to order tickets:
In person at the Ohio State Athletics Ticket Office (located in SE corner of the Jerome Schottenstein Center near corner of Lane Ave. and Olentangy River Rd.) or call 1-800-GO-BUCKS.

Big Ten Conference Extends Special $45 Ticket Offer for 2009 Women’s Basketball Tournament
The Big Ten Conference has extended its special $45 all-session ticket promotion for the 2009 Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament. The $20 discount, which was originally scheduled to end on Monday, January 19, will now run through Saturday, Jan. 31. All-session tickets will then be available at the regular price of $65. The women’s tournament returns to Indianapolis and Conseco Fieldhouse March 5-8, 2009. The ticket promotion is available through all 11 Big Ten university ticket offices, the Conseco Fieldhouse box office, Ticketmaster outlets, www.ticketmaster.com, or by calling Ticketmaster at (317) 239-5151. The 2009 Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament bracket, along with information on tickets, travel, lodging, tournament history and more, can be found at www.bigten.org and www.indianasportscorp.com. Fans wishing to purchase all-session tickets within their university’s fan block are encouraged to contact their school’s ticket office. Ohio State’s number is 1-800-GO-BUCKS.

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