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COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Tamarah Riley giggled just thinking about it.
  
Asked what she’d remember most about the day, she said, “I’d say after the game, all of us getting together and saying, ‘Not one, not two, not three, but four!”‘
  
Marscilla Packer scored 17 of her 21 points in the second half and No. 18 Ohio State beat Northwestern 74-50 Sunday to become the first team in 18 years to win at least a share of four straight Big Ten titles.
  
“We’ve been talking about it from the beginning of the season — let’s be four-time champions,” Packer said. “It’s kind of weird: Are we really seniors now? It went so fast.”

 
  
The Buckeyes (22-7, 13-5) clinched a tie for the championship with Iowa, which won at Wisconsin 87-78 an hour earlier.
  
Only three schools have won at least four titles in a row. Ohio State grabbed at least a piece of the first five Big Ten crowns from 1983-87. Iowa took home trophies four years in a row from 1987-90.
  
Jantel Lavender had 12 points and 12 rebounds and Riley had 11 points for the Buckeyes, who have won 63 of their last 72 regular-season conference games. They have also won 76 home games in a row against unranked opponents.
  
Championship T-shirts were distributed at midcourt after the game, and the team posed for pictures with the Big Ten trophy.
  
Coach Jim Foster has won 656 games in his 30 years as a head coach in college, but even he was surprised that the Buckeyes could accomplish so much after graduating two-time All-American center Jessica Davenport and her perennial all-conference runningmate, Brandie Hoskins, a year ago.
 
“This was the most difficult because the league was very competitive, deeper than — my guess is — maybe ever,” he said.
  
Then he went over a long list of injuries that plagued his young team, in addition to losing starting forward Star Allen to grade problems.
  
“We figured out how to do a lot of things with the parts that were available and didn’t spend a lot of time dwelling on the parts that weren’t available,” he said.
  
Amy Jaeschke led Northwestern (5-25, 1-17) with 14 points. Nadia Bibbs added 12 for the Wildcats, who have lost 18 of 19.
  
“I have a tremendous amount of respect for Jim Foster and what he’s done,” Northwestern coach Beth Combs said. “If you’re going to come on somebody’s home court and get beat the way we did, I guess the best way I can say this is I’m glad it’s him. His players play hard, they play through adversity. I congratulate him for his fourth straight. It’s not an easy feat, no matter how easy Ohio State makes it look.”
  
The Buckeyes, who have won five of six, will be the top seed in the Big Ten tournament this week at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
  
Ohio State seniors Packer, Riley and Alice Jamen were honored prior to the game. The win gave them a record 109 victories in their career, one more than last year’s seniors.
  
Northwestern hung tough with the Buckeyes for much of the first half before the Buckeyes stretched a narrow lead to 33-20 with a 12-0 run that featured five players scorers.
  
The Buckeyes may have been deprived of an outright title by a scoring error earlier this week at Indiana. A free throw by the Hoosiers was disallowed by a violation with 2 1/2 minutes left, but the officials did not consult with the scorer’s table, which counted the point. Instead of Ohio State having a one-point lead, Indiana ended up tied and eventually forced overtime before winning the game, 69-61.
  
But Foster wasn’t looking back. He was, as a matter of fact, looking to the future.
  
“The first half today I looked out there and we had three freshmen and two sophomores on the floor playing pretty well,” he said. “That’s a lot of fun.”
  
Then, just like Riley and the rest, he flashed a big smile.

Postgame Notes

 Ohio State secured its fourth-consecutive Big Ten regular-season championship Sunday, becoming the first team since Iowa (1987-90) to win four in a row. Ohio State won a Big Ten-record five in a row from 1983-87. Ohio State also holds the Big Ten record with 11 overall.

 The senior class of Marscilla Packer, Tamarah Riley and Alice Jamen recorded their 109th victory to become the winningest class in Ohio State program history. Last year’s senior class held the previous record with 108 wins from 2004-07.

 Ohio State will be the No. 1 seed in the 2008 Big Ten Tournament and will play at 6 p.m. ET Friday, March 7 at the Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Ind.

 Ohio State has now won 63 of its last 72 Big Ten regular-season games.

 Ohio State has won the last 15 meetings with Northwestern.

 Tamarah Riley played in her 128th career game Sunday, two shy of tying Kim Wilburn (2003-06) and Jessica Davenport (2004-07) for the most all-time at 130.

 The Buckeyes have won 76-consecutive games at home against unranked opponents. The last unranked team to win in Columbus was Penn State, Feb. 3, 2002.

 The Buckeyes finished the year 16-1 at home, marking the fifth time in the last six years Ohio State has lost one or fewer games at home. Ohio State is 92-7 at home in Jim Foster’s six seasons.

 Packer finished with a game-high 21 points on 9-of-18 from the floor, including four assists and four steals.

 Riley finished the game with 11 points, her fifth time in the last six games scoring in double figures.

 Freshman Jantel Lavender recorded her 12th double-double of the season with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Lavender scored in double-figures in all 29 regular-season games.

 Sophomore Lesslee Mason-Cox tied her personal best with six points in 13 minutes off the bench.

 The Buckeyes are now 15-0 when holding teams under 60 points, 19-2 when leading at the half, 18-0 when making more free throws and 16-3 when outrebounding their opponents.

Postgame Quotes

Jim Foster, Ohio State head coach
On winning four consecutive Big Ten Conference championships
“This was the most difficult. The league was very competitive. It was deeper than, maybe, ever.”

On the Big Ten and NCAA tournament
“We think we can still get better. I think this team is improving.”

Tamarah Riley, senior forward
On winning four consecutive Big Ten Conference championships
“I feel really proud. We represented the university well. Hopefully the younger girls carry on the tradition.”

Alice Jamen, senior forward
On winning four consecutive Big Ten Conference championships
“It has been a very special four years for me. I’m really proud of what we accomplished and built.”

Marscilla Packer, senior guard
On winning four consecutive Big Ten Conference championships
“We’ve been talking about it since the beginning of the season. It’s exciting, but we don’t want it to stop here.”

Jantel Lavender, freshman forward
On winning her first Big Ten Conference championship
“The freshmen were talking today and we hope we can get four, too. That is just legendary to win (the conference) every year in school.”

Beth Combs, Northwestern Head Coach
On Ohio State
“I have a tremendous amount of respect for Coach Foster. If we had to come anywhere and get beat on their home court, I’m glad it was Ohio State’s. Congratulations to them for winning four-straight Big Ten titles. It’s not easy by any means.”

On Marscilla Packer
“She’s one of the best players in the league and it’s her senior day. She is a great player and she’s in Ohio State women’s basketball history for a reason.”

On the game
“I felt like we were able to stay with them in the beginning. We played decent defense, but then they turned it up a notch. We just weren’t able to maintain.”