No. 18 Ohio State (6-2, 0-0 Big Ten) at Nebraska (6-1, 0-0 Big 12)
Saturday, Dec. 6, 2008 Noon/1 p.m. ET
Devaney Center – Lincoln, Neb.
Radio/Internet – WOSU 820-AM/www.wosu.org (Marty Bannister, Kristin Watt)
Television – None
Series Record: Tied 2-2
Last Meeting: 12/22/07, OSU 86-74
In Lincoln: NU leads, 1-0
COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Buckeyes (6-2) hit the road for the second time this season when they take on the Nebraska Cornhuskers (6-1) at 1 p.m. ET Saturday in Lincoln, Neb. Ohio State is coming off a 9-point loss to No. 2 North Carolina at home Wednesday night while Nebraska won 70-51 Tuesday against Oral Roberts. This is the fifth meeting all-time with the series tied 2-2. Ohio State has won the last two meetings in 2007 and 2004.
Since the start of the 2004-05 season, the Buckeyes are an impressive 15-3 after a defeat. Jim Foster is 27-9 in his Ohio State career after a loss.
Sophomore center Jantel Lavender leads the Big Ten in scoring (22.4 ppg), rebounding (12.3 rpg) and offensive rebounds (4.1) as of Dec. 5. She ranks 14th nationally in scoring and eighth in rebounding. Lavender had 27 points and 13 boards against No. 2 North Carolina Dec. 3.
Lavender has scored in double-figures in all 39 career games and has recorded a double-double in every game this season. She has 21 for her career and the Buckeyes are 16-5 in those games.
Freshman point guard Samantha Prahalis leads the Big Ten with 6.0 assists per game. She had a season-high 13 assists in the 9-point loss to No. 2 North Carolina Dec. 3.
Prahalis’ 12.9 ppg leads all freshman in the Big Ten and is 11th overall among all conference players
Prahalis has scored in double-figures in all but two games. In those two games, however, she has a total of 20 assists (7 vs. Army; 13 vs. UNC).
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 83-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 82-consecutive games at home against unranked opponents. The last unranked team to win in Columbus was Penn State, Feb. 3, 2002.
Ohio State is 71-4 at home since the start of the 2004-05 season. The Buckeyes are 98-8 all-time at home under head coach Jim Foster.
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.
Making a Living at the Stripe
Ohio State has spent a lot of time this season at the free throw line. Through eight games the Buckeyes have made almost twice as many FT’s than their opponents. Ohio State is 130-of-173 (.751) while opponents are only 74-of-105 (.705). Five times this season Ohio State has made more FT’s than opponents have attempted. The Buckeyes are 6-0 this season when they make more FT’s than their opponents and were 18-0 last season when accomplishing that feat. The are 0-2 this season when they shoot fewer.
Scouting the Cornhuskers
Nebraska is 6-1 after opening the season with five-straight wins over Weber State, Creighton, Southern Utah, Denver and Butler. Its only slip-up was at New Mexico (62-51) Nov. 29 before defeating Oral Roberts, 70-51, Dec. 2. Junior forward Cory Montgomery leads NU is scoring with 17.7 ppg and 8.6 rebounds. She had a double-double with 20 points and 11 boards in the win over ORU. Dominique Kelley is the only other Husker in double-figures with 11.1 ppg. Connie Yori is in her seventh season at Nebraska with a record of 112-82. She has a career record of 307-222 in 19 seasons overall.
Last Year vs. Nebraska
Despite a bum knee and a shooting slump, Marscilla Packer showed up just in time for No. 18 Ohio State. Packer hit four critical 3-pointers in the second half to finish with 23 points and the Buckeyes pulled away to beat Nebraska 86-74, ending the Cornhuskers’ six-game winning streak. Jantel Lavender added 21 points and Tamarah Riley scored 11 of her 13 in the second half for the Buckeyes. Danielle Page scored 16 points and Tay Hester and Cory Montgomery each had 14 for Nebraska. Packer hit three 3-pointers from the left corner — she had to reset her feet one time so she didn’t step on the side out-of-bounds line because she was so deep — while Ohio State slowly pulled away. Her third 3 in the span of five Buckeyes’ baskets put them ahead 54-49 before Ashlee Trebilcock’s pass led to an easy layup by Star Allen at the 14-minute mark of the second half. The Buckeyes built the lead to 11 points before the Cornhuskers narrowed it to 71-66 with 4 1/2 minutes left on a free throw by Hester, a 3-pointer by Montgomery and two foul shots by Dominique Kelley. On their next trip down the floor, the Buckeyes passed to Packer on the left wing and she hit another shot behind the arc. The Cornhuskers never threatened again. Packer finished 8-of-11 from the field, including 5-of-8 on 3-pointers.
Last Time Out
In a game of lengthy runs, No. 2 North Carolina saved the best spurt for last. UNC’s Jessica Breland scored 29 points and the Tar Heels held off No. 18 Ohio State for a 72-63 victory. Breland had 21 in the opening half as the Tar Heels opened a 41-37 lead. Cetera DeGraffenreid added 14 points and six assists. Jantel Lavender had 27 points and 13 rebounds for the Buckeyes, who led 52-49 with 11:56 left before missing their next 12 shots with six turnovers over a span of 9 minutes. Star Allen added 12 points, Ashlee Trebilcock had 10 points and Samantha Prahalis had 13 assists. The Tar Heels sealed the outcome with a 17-0 second-half run. Ahead 41-37 at the half, the Tar Heels pulled away at the outset of the second half. They hit their first three shots of the half, while Ohio State missed its first four and had three turnovers over the opening three minutes. Just as suddenly, the game swung the other way. Prahalis had two breathtaking assists. On the first, she dribbled behind her back at midcourt to avoid a defender and then fired a no-look pass to Lavender for a layup. She then lobbed a court-length pass to Allen for a breakaway layup. The Tar Heels went almost six minutes without a point as the Buckeyes ran off 13 points in a row — eight by Lavender. The teams traded baskets until the Tar Heels regained the upper hand as Ohio State suddenly went cold. The Buckeyes led 52-49 on Lavender’s basket with 11:56 left but then didn’t score again until 2:36 left.
Good as Advertised
Through eight games this season, freshman 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 seasoned 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 freshman and is among the conference leaders with 12.9 ppg and also leads all conference players with 6.0 assists per game. She has had four or more assists in all but one game, including a season-high 13 in the 9-point loss to No. 2 North Carolina Dec. 3. The Commack, N.Y., has failed to score in double-figures only twice this season, but has a total of 20 assists in those two contests. She has hit nearly 50 percent of her shots this season, including 15 from long range.
Buckeyes Continue Challenging Non-Conference Slate
Ohio State does not face a team in the non-conference portion of the season that recorded fewer than 18 wins last season. Below is a breakdown of the Buckeyes’ non-conference foes and their 2007-08 record:
|Butler||20-10||10-8, Horizon League|
|Army||18-12||9-5, Patriot League|
|Syracuse*||22-9||10-6, Big East|
|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
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