COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio State senior center Jantel Lavender was named the Big Ten Co-Player of the Year Monday by a panel of media voters, becoming the first women’s or men’s basketball player in conference history to earn the award four times. Lavender also is the only women’s basketball player among the Big Ten, ACC, Big East, Big 12, Pac-10 or SEC to accomplish the feat. She shares player of the year honors with Michigan State’s Kalisha Keane, who was voted top player by the conference coaches.
Junior Samantha Prahalis was named second team all-Big Ten by the media and third team by the coaches. Sophomore Tayler Hill was named to the all-defensive team by the coaches and was an honorable mention all-Big Ten pick by both the coaches and the media. Freshman center Ashley Adams was named to the all-freshman squad.
Lavender, a unanimous first team all-Big Ten selection by the coaches and media, led the Big Ten in scoring (22.6 ppg), rebounding (10.7 rpg) and field goal percentage (.532) this season en route to her fourth player of the year award. She also ranked in the top 10 in free throw percentage at 80.6 percent (125 of 155) and was fifth in the league with 51 blocked shots. She picked up six conference player of the week honors this season, pushing her career total to 18, the most in Big Ten history. The Cleveland, Ohio, native became the Big Ten’s all-time rebounding leader this season, racking up 1,352 boards in her career. She also is Ohio State’s all-time leading scorer (2,677) and just the second player in conference history to amass 2,600 points.
Lavender became the first Big Ten freshman to win POY honors (coaches) in 2008 when she shared the award with Wisconsin’s Jolene Anderson (media). Lavender won the award outright the previous two seasons. Ohio State has now had a player win POY honors in each of the past seven years after Jessica Davenport won the honor in 2005, ’06, and ’07.
Prahalis, who became Ohio State’s all-time assists leader as a junior, led the Big Ten and ranked fourth in the NCAA with 6.8 assists per game, while ranking 12th in the Big Ten with 14.1 points per game. She finished out the season strong, averaging 8.0 assists per game in the month of February as Ohio State closed out the regular season on a six-game win streak. Prahalis notched the first triple double at Ohio State since the 2006-07 season when she recorded 13 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds against Northwestern Feb. 6.
Hill turned in solid all-around numbers for the Buckeyes in 2010-11, averaging 12.7 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.6 steals. She went to the free throw line a team-high 172 times this season, shooting just under 80 percent from the stripe. Hill flourished down the stretch for the Buckeyes, averaging 14 points and four assists while recording back-to-back 19-point games in wins at Minnesota and vs. No. 23 Penn State.
Adams was slowed by a knee injury in the preseason, but came on strong starting in the middle of January with a breakout game in a win at Illinois. She led the Big Ten in field goal percentage in conference play at .719 percent (46-of-64) and shot 17-of-20 from the floor in her last five games. Over her final 11 games Adams recorded 104 points (9.4 ppg), 67 rebounds (6.1), 19 assists and 32 blocked shots (2.9), including seven in the road win at Purdue.
The coaches and media also selected three all-Big Ten teams, while the coaches picked five-player all-freshman and all-defensive teams. Lavender was a unanimous selection by the coaches and media, while Keane was a unanimous choice by the coaches. The two are joined by Iowa’s Kachine Alexander and Northwestern’s Amy Jaeschke on both the coaches’ and media’s first team, with MSU’s Lykendra Johnson garnering first team recognition from the media and Penn State’s Alex Bentley receiving the honor from the coaches.
The Big Ten also recognized 11 Sportsmanship Award honorees. The student-athletes chosen are individuals who have distinguished themselves through sportsmanship and ethical behavior. These student-athletes must also be in good academic standing and have demonstrated good citizenship outside of the sports-competition setting. Brittany Johnson was Ohio State’s recipient of the award.
The full release and complete list of the all-Big Ten teams and award winners is available at the link above.