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Sunday, Dec. 21, 2008 2 p.m. ET
Value City Arena – Columbus, Ohio

No. 18/17 Ohio State (9-2, 0-0 Big Ten) vs. Michigan (6-4, 0-0 Big Ten)

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

Television – Big Ten Network (Mark Neely, Stephanie White)

Series Information
Series Record: OSU leads, 43-6
Last meeting: 1/3/08, OSU 66-42 in Columbus
In Columbus: OSU leads, 23-2
Current streak: OSU – 10

COLUMBUS, Ohio — No. 18/17 Ohio State (9-2) opens Big Ten play Sunday against the Michigan Wolverines who are 6-4 as of Dec. 18 and receiving votes in the Top 25 coaches poll. The Wolverines face Cincinnati Friday before traveling to Columbus.

Fastbreak Points
Ohio State is currently ranked No. 13 in the latest installment of RealtimeRPI.com and have the sixth-toughest schedule in the country. Ohio State’s only two losses are to teams currently ranked in the Top 10 (Auburn, North Carolina). The Buckeyes’ non-conference opponents have a combined record this season of 70-39 as of Dec. 18. As a conference, the Big Ten has the third-best RPI rating and the No. 1 strength of schedule (SOS).

Sophomore center Jantel Lavender leads the Big Ten in scoring (22.4 ppg), rebounding (11.8 rpg) and offensive rebounds (3.7) as of Dec. 18. She ranks eighth nationally in scoring and fifth in rebounding. She also leads the Big Ten with nine 20-point games this season.

Lavender has scored in double-figures in all 42 career games and has recorded a double-double every game this season. She has 24 for her career and the Buckeyes are 19-5 in those games.

Lavender’s 24 career double-doubles in just 42 career games trails only Indiana senior Whitney Thomas (25) for the career lead among active Big Ten players.

Freshman point guard Samantha Prahalis leads the Big Ten and ranks ninth nationally with 6.18 assists per game. She had a season-high 13 assists in the 9-point loss to No. 2 North Carolina.

Prahalis’ 10.8 ppg leads all freshman in the Big Ten and is 18th overall among all conference players.

Prahalis has scored in double-figures in all but five games. In those games, however, she has a total of 40 assists, an average of 8.0 per game.

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 84-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 won 84-consecutive games in Columbus against unranked opponents. The last unranked team to win in Columbus was Penn State, Feb. 3, 2002.

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.

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 22-2 against Michigan teams during their tenure at Ohio State. Foster is 8-0, Matta 7-1 and Tressel 7-1.

OSU Tough at Home Under Foster
Since the start of the 2004-05 season, Ohio State has amassed a remarkable 73-4 record at home and a 63-3 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 8-1
Total 100-8

Buckeyes Among Nation’s Best at Home in Conference Play
Ohio State is 32-1 at home in Big Ten play during the past four seasons and has won 34 of its last 35 overall. The Buckeyes won the last two home contests in 2004, went 8-0 in 2005 and 2006, 7-1 in 2007 and 9-0 in 2008. Ohio State’s last conference loss at home was to Michigan State, 62-59, Feb. 18, 2007. Below is a breakdown of how the Buckeyes stack up with the rest of the nation over the past four seasons:

School               Conference    Record

Old Dominion Colonial 34-0 (1.000)
Middle Tennessee Sun Belt 34-1 (.971)
Hartford America East 32-1 (.969)
Ohio State Big Ten 32-1 (.969)
Temple Atlantic 10 29-1 (.966)
LSU SEC 27-1 (.964)
Gonzaga WCC 27-1 (.964)
UW-Green Bay Horizon 31-2 (.939)
North Carolina ACC 26-2 (.928)
Coppin State MEAC 32-3 (.914)
Tennessee SEC 25-3 (.893)
Liberty Big South 24-3 (.889)
Bowling Green MAC 28-4 (.875)

Last Time Out
Jantel Lavender had a season-high 29 points and 11 rebounds to lead No. 18 Ohio State to a 68-35 victory over Delaware State. Lavender’s only miss among 13 field-goal attempts was a 17-foot jumper 3:13 into the game. Ohio State (9-2) held the Lady Hornets without a field goal for almost 9 minutes and took a 34-16 halftime lead as Lavender nearly outscored Delaware State herself. She had all of her 15 points in the first 11 minutes, and it took Candice Stewart’s layup at the buzzer for the Hornets to surpass her total. The Buckeyes shot 61 percent for the game. Maria Moeller and Sarah Schulze combined to shoot 5 of 6 from 3-point range as the Buckeyes shot 6 of 10 from deep as a team.  Keyhana Wakefield hit a 3-pointer to give the Hornets (2-6) their only lead at 3-2 before Ohio State scored 11 straight points. Ohio State shot 61 percent for the game. The last time the Buckeyes shot 60 percent in a game was March 4, 2007 in a 73-71 win over Penn State.

Nearly Perfect
In the win over Delaware State Tuesday, sophomore Jantel Lavender was 12-of-13 from the field for a 92.3 percent clip. It tied for the second-highest FG percentage by a Buckeye since Tracey Hall shot an identical 92.3 percent (12-of-13) Nov. 29, 1984 in a win over Cincinnati. Jessica Davenport holds the Ohio State record for FG percentage (minimum 10 attempts) in a game when she shot 10-for-10 in a 73-67 win over West Virginia in the 2004 NCAA Tournament.

Scouting Michigan
Michigan is one of the most improved teams in the Big Ten this season. They are 6-4 as of Dec. 17 and have faced one of the more difficult schedules in the conference the fifth-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. Leading UM this season is senior guard Jessica Minnfield who is averaging 11.9 ppg and shooting 93.2 percent (41-of-44) from the free throw line — best in the Big Ten. Senior Stephany Skrba is this week’s Big Ten player of the Week. Her 20-point effort led the Wolverines to a 63-59 win over No. 8-ranked Notre Dame last Wednesday (Dec. 10). Skrba made 10-of-11 FG’s in the victory. Senior forward Carly Benson is the third Wolverine averaging in double-figures with 10.1 ppg and 5.3 rpg. Head coach Kevin Borseth is in his second season at Michigan with a record of 25-18 at UM and a career mark of 531-228 as of Dec. 18.

The Series
The Buckeyes own a commanding 43-6 lead in the all-time series and have won the last 10 meetings overall, including the last six by an average of 24.3 points. Ohio State’s last loss to the Maize and Blue was back in 2001, 76-63, in Columbus. The two teams will meet again this season Jan. 29 in Ann Arbor. 

Making a Living at the Stripe
Ohio State has spent a lot of time this season at the free throw line. Through 11 games the Buckeyes have made more at the line than opponents have attempted. Ohio State is 162-of-216 (.750) while opponents are 112-of-160 (.700). Six times this season Ohio State has made more FT’s than opponents have attempted.

Make More, Win More
The Buckeyes are 7-0 this season when they make more FT’s than their opponents and were 18-0 last season when accomplishing that feat. They are 2-2 this season when they make fewer from the line.

Buckeyes Conclude Challenging Non-Conference Slate
Ohio State did not face a team in the non-conference portion of the season that recorded fewer than 18 wins last season. This season the Buckeyes’ non-conference opponents have a combined record of 70-39 as of Dec. 18. Below is a breakdown of the Buckeyes’ non-conference foes and their 2007-08 record:

School Record Conference Record
Butler 20-10 10-8, Horizon League
Army 18-12 9-5, Patriot League
Syracuse* 22-9 10-6, Big East
Auburn* 20-12 7-7, SEC
Hartford* 28-6 14-2, America East
Boston U 20-12 11-5, America East
Dayton 25-9 9-4, Atlantic 10
North Carolina* 33-3 14-0, ACC
Nebraska* 21-12 9-7, Big 12
Cleveland State* 19-14 10-8, Horizon

* 2008 NCAA tournament team

Good as Advertised
Freshman point guard Samantha Prahalis has been everything the Buckeyes have hoped for and more. Since the first game of the season, she has performed like a veteran, running Ohio State’s offense, finding the open teammate and coming up with one big shot and nifty pass after another. She leads all Big Ten freshmen and is among the conference leaders with 10.8 ppg and also leads all conference players with 6.18 assists per game — good for ninth best in the nation. She has had four or more assists in all but one game, including a season-high 13 in the nine-point loss to No. 2 North Carolina Dec. 3. The Commack, N.Y., has failed to score in double-figures five times this season, but has a total of 40 assists in those contests. She has hit a team-best 17 from 3-point range.

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