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Thursday, Feb. 28, 2008 – 7 p.m. ET
Bryce Jordan Center – University Park, Pa.

No. 18 Ohio State (20-7, 11-5 Big Ten) at Penn State (13-15, 4-12 Big Ten)

Radio/Internet – WOSU 820-AM/www.wosu.org
P-by-P: Marty Bannister; Analyst: Kristin Watt

Television – None

COLUMBUS, Ohio — No. 18 Ohio State (20-7, 11-5) hit a snag Monday in its quest for a fourth-consecutive Big Ten regular-season championship. However, the Buckeyes still control their own fate and can do no worse than a tie for the title if they win their last two games. Ohio State can clinch at least a share with a win and an Iowa loss Thursday.

With the overtime loss Monday at Indiana, the Buckeyes fell back into a tie for first with Iowa (11-5) who hosts Northwestern Thursday night before finishing up Sunday at Wisconsin — one of the hottest teams in the Big Ten right now. After Penn State, Ohio State closes out the regular season Sunday at home against Northwestern. Third-place Purdue is knocking at the door as well at 11-6.

Lavender Sets One Record, Chasing Another
Freshman Jantel Lavender is putting up numbers comparable to the best OSU freshman in school history. With 259 rebounds (9.6 rpg), she is one away from tying the Ohio State freshman record of 260 set by Martha Baker who played in just 20 games during the 1975-76 season. Last week, Lavender set an Ohio State freshman record for field goals in a season and now has 198, breaking the old mark of 189 set by Katie Smith back in 1993. Lavender also is close to the school record for points-per-game average by a freshman with 17.2 per outing. That record also is held by Smith who averaged 18.1 ppg in 32 games during the 1992-93 Final Four season.

Noting The Buckeyes
Ohio State is looking to become the first Big Ten team to win four-consecutive Big Ten regular-season titles since Iowa won four-straight from 1987-90. The Buckeyes own the all-time record with five-straight championships from 1983-87. The Buckeyes also own the most overall with 10.

Ohio State has won 61 of its last 70 (.871) Big Ten regular-season games. The Buckeyes won the last six games of the 2003-04 season, went 14-2 in 2004-05, 15-1 in each of the last two seasons and 11-5 this year.

The Buckeyes have won 75-consecutive games at home against unranked opponents. The last unranked team to win in Columbus was Penn State, Feb. 3, 2002.

The Buckeyes, ranked 18th in this week’s Associated Press Top 25 poll, have been ranked 77-consecutive weeks in the AP poll.

Ohio State leads the Big Ten in scoring (71.6), scoring margin (+12.6), FG percentage (.473) — seventh in the NCAA ranks — assists per game (16.37) and assist/turnover ratio (+1.04). The Buckeyes are second in 3FG percentage (.394) — eighth in the NCAA — rebounding (38.2) and rebounding margin (+4.9). They give up the third-fewest points in the league at 59.0 and have allowed only two teams (Maryland and Purdue) to shoot better than 50 percent this season.

Freshman center Jantel Lavender, a candidate for Big Ten and national freshman of the year honors, is the second-leading freshman scorer (17.2 ppg) and fourth-leading freshman rebounder (9.6 rpg) in the nation (UConn’s Maya Moore leads with 18.4 ppg as of Feb. 26). Lavender, who had 22 points and nine rebounds in the last meeting with Penn State, has 10 double-doubles on the season and has reached double-figures offensively in all 27 games. Her 10 double-doubles are the third-most by a freshman in all of Division I this season. She is the third-leading scorer and second-leading rebounder in the Big Ten overall and is 27th nationally in rebounding. The Cleveland, Ohio, native became the first Ohio State freshman to be named a finalist for the Naismith Trophy, awarded annually to the nation’s top player. Lavender scored a career-high 30 points on 15-of-23 from the field Feb. 7 against the Boilermakers. Her 15 made field goals tied for the fourth-most on the Ohio State single-game list.

Senior guard Marscilla Packer (14.7 ppg) moved into second place on Ohio State’s all-time 3-point list with four makes in the win at Wisconsin. She passed Katie Smith who made 218 from 1993-96. Packer now has 227 career 3-pointers. The record is held by Caity Matter (270; 2001, 03-05). Packer also became the 26th player in school history to score 1,000 points Jan. 17 against Illinois and is only the third Buckeye in history to record at least 1,000 points and 200 3-point field goals in a career. Packer is currently 20th all-time with 1,157 points. Packer leads the Big Ten and ranks 22nd nationally in 3-point shooting with 71 makes (2.7 per game) and also is 12th in 3FG percentage (.437). She has 12 games with three or more 3FG’s with Ohio State 11-1 in those games. She hit six 3-pointers and tied a career high with 32 points in win over Wisconsin Jan. 20. 

Junior guard Ashlee Trebilcock is averaging 12.4  in Big Ten games. Two games ago she scored 18 points, hit four from long range and dished out four assists in the win over the Hawkeyes Feb. 21 at home. At Iowa Jan. 6, she scored a career-high 25 points on 9-of-14 shooting and then equaled that mark in the loss at Minnesota Jan. 24. She is second on the team with 42 3FG’s, ranking her among the Big Ten leaders with nearly 1.6 makes per game.

Starting point guard Shavelle Little, averaging 7.2 points, 3.0 steals and shooting 60.4 percent over her last nine games, has been causing opposing point guards fits this season. She ranks first in the conference and 16th in the NCAA in steals (3.1) and is fourth in the Big Ten in assist/turnover ratio (+1.52). The sophomore point guard has been fighting through a knee injury most of the Big Ten season and is still shooting better than 54 percent from the field and snatching more than three steals per game. She tied her career-high with 11 points in the win over Purdue Feb. 18 where she also had four steals. In the game at Iowa Jan. 6, Little had one of her best all-around games of the season with 10 points, six steals and six assists. In the one-point road loss to Purdue Feb. 7, Little tied a career high with seven steals.

Senior forward Tamarah Riley — 9.8 points, 8.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists over the last six games — has played solid for the Buckeyes in Star Allen’s absence and is shooting a Big Ten-best 62.3 percent from the field in Big Ten play. Riley is coming off the best overall game of her career with 15 points and a career-high 16 rebounds in the overtime loss at Indiana Feb. 25. It marked her third double-double of the season. Riley was instrumental in the win at Wisconsin Feb. 10, recording her second double-double with 11 points and 11 boards. In the recent victory over Purdue, Riley went 5-of-6 from the field for 12 points to go with six rebounds and three assists. Against Indiana Jan. 10 she was a perfect 7-of-7 from the field with 16 points and seven rebounds. She recorded the first double-double of her career with 12 points and 11 rebounds in the home win over Michigan.

Diaper Dandy
Freshman Jantel Lavender ranks second among all Division I freshman in scoring (17.2 ppg) and fourth in rebounding (9.6). She is the only freshman to rank in the Top 5 in both categories. Lavender has 10 double-doubles on the year, the third most among D-I freshman, and has scored in double-figures in all 27 contests. Below is a breakdown of some of the top freshman scorers and rebounders in the country this season.
(NCAA stats as of Feb. 26)
Freshman Scoring:
1.  Maya Moore, UConn (18.4 ppg)
2.  Jantel Lavender, Ohio State (17.2 ppg)
3. Tamara Abalde, Lamar (16.4 ppg)
4.  Stefanie Murphy, Boston College (15.7 ppg)
5.  Megan Mahoney, Fordham (15.5 ppg)

Freshman Rebounding:
1. Tia Lewis, Central Florida (11.3 rpg)
2. Ta’Shia Phillips, Xavier (11.2 rpg)
3. Freda Allen, Southern (9.7 rpg)
4. Jantel Lavender, Ohio State (9.6 rpg)
5. Emma Cannon, Central Florida (8.7 rpg)

Buckeyes Look to “D” Up On the Road
The most notable stats that jump out when breaking down Ohio State’s road woes is its defense and turnovers. The Buckeyes give up an average of only 53.8 points at home and 67.3 on the road — a difference of 13.5 points. They average 9.0 steals at home and only 5.3 on the road and have a +3.4 turnover margin at home and -2.9 away from Value City Arena.

Overall, the Buckeyes are giving up an average of 59.0 points per game — third best in the Big Ten. But more impressive, Ohio State opponents have shot 50 percent or better only twice this season (at #3 Maryland Nov. 30 and Purdue Feb. 18) and average just 38.9 percent against the Buckeyes. OSU held Colgate to a season-low 18.6 percent Nov. 24. The Buckeyes have shot 50 percent or better 10 times and are 10-0 in those games.

Foster Records Ninth-Consecutive 20-Win Season
The win over Iowa Feb. 21 gave Ohio State and head coach Jim Foster their sixth-consecutive 20-win season. It is the 22nd of coach Foster’s career, his ninth-consecutive overall and his sixth at Ohio State, tying Nancy Darsch who had six in 12 years as OSU head coach from 1985-97. Foster has done it each year at OSU since his first season in 2002-03, including a 30-win season in 2004-05. Foster is now tied with Sue Gunter and Rene Portland for eighth all-time with 22 20-win seasons.

Riley Enjoys Career Night
Senior Tamarah Riley has made the most of an unexpected opportunity this season and turned in quite possibly the best all-around game of her career Feb. 25 at Indiana. The Detroit, Mich., native scored 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting and grabbed a career-high 16 rebounds — 10 in the first half — in an overtime loss. Riley single-handedly kept Ohio State in the game, most notably in the first half when she led all players with seven points and 10 rebounds. It was her third double-double of the season before fouling out late in regulation. 

Lavender Named Finalist For Naismith Trophy
Jantel Lavender, one of the top freshmen in the nation this season, is one of 31 finalists for the 2008 Naismith Trophy, awarded annually to the nation’s top women’s basketball player. She is the first Ohio State freshman to be named a finalist for the award. She is one of only two freshman to make the list, joining UConn’s Maya Moore.

Scouting Penn State
At 13-15 and 4-12 in the Big Ten, Penn State is in the midst of a nine-game losing streak. The Lady Lions started out 3-1 in Big Ten play, but have won only once since, a 68-57 win over Michigan Jan. 20 at home. The Lions are coming off a 70-58 loss at Northwestern Sunday. Tyra Grant leads three players in double-figures with 13.8 ppg. Kamela Gissendanner is second with 12.6 ppg and leads with 6.3 rebounds.

Series Information
Penn State leads the all-time series with the Buckeyes, 30-16. However, it has been the Buckeyes dominating of late, winning the last eight, including an 89-53 win Jan. 28 in Columbus. The 36-point margin was the largest margin of victory by OSU in the series history.

Last Time vs. Penn State
Jim Foster was not planning on a big party to celebrate his 650th coaching win. Far from it. “Coaches don’t win any games without good players. It’s a fact of life,’’ Foster said after No. 19 Ohio State’s 89-53 victory over Penn State. “Players win games for coaches – and I’ve had a lot of good ones.’’ One of them is freshman Jantel Lavender, who had 22 points to lead the way for the Buckeyes. Marscilla Packer added 12 points and seven assists and Ashlee Trebilcock had 11 points for Ohio State. The victory kept them in first place in the conference by a game. Tyra Grant had 16 points and Brianne O’Rourke 12 for the Lady Lions (13-8, 4-5), who have lost four of five. Ahead 10-8 after the opening 4 1/2 minutes, the Buckeyes sprinted away with a quick 11-2 run and the lead never fell below nine points again. Lavender started the spurt with a layup off an assist from Tamarah Riley before Packer hit a 3 from the right corner. After Rashida Mark scored for the Lady Lions, Packer hit a pull-up 15-footer and another jumper from the left wing. She then assisted on a Lavender bucket that made it 21-10. The Buckeyes led by as many as 36 points in the second half.

Buckeyes Tripped Up in Bloomington
No. 18 Ohio State saw its three-game win streak come to a halt Monday night at Indiana, falling to the Hoosiers in overtime, 69-61. With Ohio State trailing, 54-52, with under a minute to go in regulation, Jantel Lavender sent the game into overtime with a hook shot off the glass with 29 seconds left as the Buckeyes clamped down on the defensive end of the floor as time expired. The overtime was a see-saw affair in the opening minutes as the lead changed hands six times in the first three minutes. Marscilla Packer, who scored all seven in the overtime and finished with 14 points, drained a deep 3-pointer from the top of the key to put the Buckeyes up 59-58. Then, after IU’s Amber Jackson put the Hoosiers back up with a layup inside, Packer hit a runner off the glass on OSU’s next possession to put the Buckeyes back in front, 61-60 with 2:20 left. The Buckeyes would not score again as Indiana scored the last nine points. After leading by one at the half, Ohio State opened the second half on a 17-6 run, highlighted by 3-pointers from Packer, Shavelle Little and Ashlee Trebilcock to go up, 43-31, with 13:39 left. Ohio State built its lead thanks in large part to senior Tamarah Riley who finished with a career-high 16 rebounds 10 in the first half and 15 points. Ohio State still led by 10 with under 8 minutes remaining before Indiana, behind a game-high 19 points from Jamie Braun, began to chip away at OSU’s lead. Indiana went on a 12-0 run to take the lead 54-52, before Lavender sent the game into overtime. Lavender’s basket was the only Ohio State field goal in the last 7:41 of regulation. The Buckeyes outrebounded the Hoosiers, 43-38, but committed 20 turnovers and gave up 21 points off those miscues.

Noting The Indiana Game
The loss drop Ohio State back into a first-place tie with Iowa at 11-5 with two games remaining.
Tamarah Riley recorded a career-high 16 rebounds 10 in the first half and recorded the third double-double of the season with 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting before fouling out in the second half.
Jantel Lavender finished with 10 points and nine rebounds. She is now one rebound shy of tying Martha Baker’s OSU freshman record for rebounds in a season (260) set back in 1976.
Lavender has scored in double-figures in all 27 games this season.
Ohio State opened the second half on a 17-6 run to open a 43-31 lead, highlighted by back-to-back 3-pointers by Marscilla Packer and Shavelle Little the first 3FG of Little’s career.
With 14 points, Marscilla Packer passed LaToya Turner (1,146; 2000-04) and Lauren Shenk (1,155; 1999-2002) on the OSU all-time scoring list. Packer is now 20th with 1,157 points.
Ohio State played in an overtime game for the first time since Dec. 3, 2005 when they defeated Boston College, 66-61.
Ohio State lost for just the ninth time in its last 70 Big Ten regular-season games.
The loss snaps an eight-game win streak against the Hoosiers.

Packer Dishing it Out
Despite and up and down Big Ten season, senior Marscilla Packer is still regarded as one of the top scorers in the conference. But perhaps the one aspect of her game that often gets overlooked is her ability to spread the ball around and find her open teammates. Over the last 13 games, Packer is leading the Buckeyes with 52 assists (4.0 per game) and tied a career-high with seven in the win over Penn State Jan. 28. She recorded six dimes in the road win at Northwestern and five each in the win against Indiana and in road defeats at Minnesota, Purdue and Indiana.

Foster Picks Up Win No. 650
Head coach Jim Foster, the ninth-winningest active coach in Division I, earned his 650th career win with an 89-53 victory over Penn State Jan. 28. In doing so, he became just the 13th Division I women’s basketball coach to win at least 650 games. Foster, who coached Vanderbilt to the 1993 Final Four, is in his 30th year as a collegiate coach with stops at St. Joseph’s (1979-91) and Vanderbilt (1992-2002) along the way. Two seasons ago, he became the 15th fastest D-I women’s coach to reach 600 wins. He is tied for eighth all-time with 22 20-win seasons.

77 and Counting
The Buckeyes currently sit at No. 18 in the latest Associated Press Top 25 poll (Feb. 25) — the only ranked Big Ten team. It marks the 77th-consecutive week the Buckeyes have been ranked in the AP Top 25. The Buckeyes cracked the Top 25 back on Feb. 23, 2004 and have been ranked every week since.

Packer Has Memorable Week; Joins 1,000-Point/200 3FG Club
Marscilla Packer reached two milestones in the Jan. 17 win against Illinois, becoming the 26th player at Ohio State to score 1,000 points and just the third Buckeye to record at least 1,000 points and 200 3-point field goals in a career. With her only field goal of the game in the final minutes, Packer hit a 3-pointer from the left wing for her 200th-career 3FG and also put her over the 1,000-point mark.

OSU Tough at Home Under Foster
Over the past three-plus seasons, Ohio State has amassed a remarkable 64-3 record at home and a 57-2 record at Value City Arena (7-1 at St. John 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: 91-7
2002-03: 14-0
2003-04: 13-4
2004-05: 17-0
2005-06: 16-1
2006-07: 16-1
2007-08: 15-1

Inside The Numbers
Here are some of the key numbers that have dictated the Buckeyes’ success this year. Most notable, Ohio State is 14-3 this year when outrebounding its opponents, 17-2 when leading at the half, 16-0 when making more FT’s, 14-0 when holding opponents under 60 and 15-1 when scoring more points in the paint. They are 11-1 when Marscilla Packer hits three or more from 3-point range and 13-3 when Ohio State outshoots its opponent from 3-point range.

Third Time’s A Charm
For a third time this season, Ohio State freshman center Jantel Lavender was named the Big Ten Player of the Week in recognition of her performance in wins over Indiana Jan. 10 and Northwestern Jan. 13. She recorded two more double-doubles, averaging 19.0 points and 13.0 rebounds while hitting all six free throws and shooting 50 percent from the field. Lavender is the first Big Ten freshman to win three player of the week honors since Penn State’s Kelly Mazzante during the 2000-01 season. Earlier this year, Lavender became the first Ohio State freshman to receive player of the week honors since Katie Smith during the 1992-93 season. In the win over the Hoosiers, Lavender recorded 23 points and 14 rebounds to help OSU outlast Indiana, 71-59. She was 9-of-17 from the field and hit all five from the charity stripe. Then at NU, she posted 15 points and 12 rebounds.

RPI Update
The Buckeyes are currently No. 29 in the latest Ratings Percentage Index released by the NCAA. Minnesota sits at No. 31, followed by Purdue (36), Iowa (39) and Michigan State (43).

Five Reach Double-Figures
All five starters scored in double-figures in the Feb. 18 win over Purdue, the most this season and the most since six different Buckeyes scored in double-figures in a win over Howard Dec. 17, 2006.

Ohio State in the NCAA Ranks
(NCAA stats as of Feb. 26) OSU ranks among the Top 30 teams in the country in several statistical categories, including FG percentage (7th, .476), 3FG percentage (8th, .394), fewest fouls per game (7th, 13.5), assist/turnover ratio (17th, +1.05), assists per game (21st, 16.3) and scoring margin (23rd, +13.4). The Buckeyes are 41st in scoring (72.0) and 51st in fewest points allowed (58.6).
 Marscilla Packer ranks 22nd in 3FG’s (71-2.7 per game) and 12th in 3FG percentage (.437). Jantel Lavender is 27th in rebounding (9.6) while Shavelle Little is 16th with 3.1 steals per game.

Packer Keeping Pace With 3FG Records
Senior guard Marscilla Packer is among the best 3-point shooters in school history and is second on the all-time list with 227 makes — recently passing up Katie Smith (218) for second place. The career record is 270 set by Caity Matter (2001, 03-05). Packer has hit 71 so far this season, 57 last year, 79 as a sophomore (good for fourth on the all-time single-season list) and 20 as a freshman in 2004-05. She has 12 games this year with three or more 3FG’s and Ohio State is 11-1 in those games. The only loss was Jan. 31 at Illinois when Packer hit four 3’s.

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