#5 Ohio State (17-1, 5-0 Big Ten) vs. Illinois (11-4, 3-2 Big Ten)
Thursday, Jan. 14, 2010, 7 p.m. ET
Value City Arena • Columbus, Ohio

Radio/Internet: WOSU 820-AM/ (Marty Bannister, Kristin Watt)
Live Stats:

Series Record: OSU leads, 40-17
Series in 2008-09: OSU, 3-0
Last Meeting: 12/28/09, OSU, 76-47
In Columbus: OSU leads, 20-3
Current Win Streak: OSU, 4


  • Ohio State takes on Illinois for the second time in 18 days Thursday after posting a 76-47 win over the Illini in Champaign Dec. 28.
  • The Buckeyes lead the all-time series with Illinois, 40-17, and won all three meetings last season, including a 70-53 win in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten tournament in March. Ohio State leads the series 20-3 in games played in Columbus. Illinois has not won in Columbus since Jan. 11, 2001.
  • Ohio State is 13-0 at home this season, 121-9 at home under Jim Foster and 94-5 since the start of the 2004-05 season.
  • Ohio State has won 19 straight games at home and 104 of its last 105 at home against unranked opponents.
  • Ohio State is 22-1 in its last 23 regular season games and 27-2 overall dating to last season.
  • Ohio State’s 17-1 start is the best since the 2006-07 season when the Buckeyes started a program-best 24-1.
  • Since the start of Ohio State’s Big Ten championship run in 2004-05, the Buckeyes have gone 77-12 (.865) in Big Ten play.
  • No. 19 Michigan State was the third ranked opponent Ohio State has played this season. Ohio State defeated then-No. 15 Cal, 83-71, in Columbus before dropping an 83-67 decision to No. 11 Duke Dec. 3 in Durham. The Buckeyes also defeated two other teams currently ranked in the AP Top 25 in No. 15 Oklahoma State (13-2) and No. 18 West Virginia (15-1) in the preseason WNIT.
  • The Buckeyes lead the Big Ten and rank eighth nationally with 82.1 points per game, which includes a 99-point performance Dec. 22 in a win over Western Illinois in Columbus. Ohio State also leads the conference and is eighth in the NCAA with 18.1 assists per game. The Buckeyes are shooting 47.9 percent on the season, good for fourth in the NCAA behind UConn, Baylor and Texas A&M and tops in the Big Ten. They have shot 50 percent or better seven times, including three games of 60 percent or better.
  • Jantel Lavender leads the Big Ten and is ninth nationally with 22.0 ppg. She is already eighth on the school’s all-time scoring list with 1,671 points. If Lavender continues at her career average of 19.9 ppg she will challenge Katie Smith’s school record of 2,578 points.
  • Lavender has scored in double figures in all 84 career games – the longest active streak in Division I.
  • With 864 career rebounds, Lavender sits in fifth place on Ohio State’s all-time list. She is second in the Big Ten with 10.2 boards per game. Lavender also leads the Big Ten with a .534 field goal percentage.
  • Lavender has 46 career double-doubles, the most among active Big Ten players. The Buckeyes are 39-7 overall in her career when she records a double-double. She has nine this season while teammate Samantha Prahalis is second on the team with five.
  • Prahalis, the reigning Big Ten player of the week, leads the Big Ten and is second nationally with 8.1 assists per game this season, behind NCAA leader Courtney Vandersloot of Gonzaga (9.3). Prahalis has five games with 10 or more and has dished out at least eight 11 different times. Prahalis recorded a career-high 14 assists in the win over No. 15 California. With 348 career assists, she is already eighth on OSU’s all-time list in only her sophomore season.
  • Two-time Big Ten defensive player of the year Shavelle Little wrecked havoc in the win at Illinois Dec. 28 with a career-high eight steals off the bench. That is tied for the fourth-best performance on Ohio State’s all-time list and was the most since Kim Wilburn had eight in a win over Canisius Dec. 22, 2005.
  • With 237 career steals, Little needs one more to pass Lisa Cline (1986-89, 237) for fifth place on Ohio State’s all-time list.
  • Head coach Jim Foster won his 700th career game on New Year’s Eve with an 86-60 win at Northwestern. Foster is the ninth-winningest active coach in Division I (by wins) and is 12th all-time in his 32nd season.
  • With a record of 198-48 (.804) in his eighth season at Ohio State, coach Foster needs two more wins to become just the second coach — men’s or women’s — to win at least 200 games at three different schools (C. Vivian Stringer is the other). Foster spent 13 seasons at St. Joseph’s (248-126) and 11 at Vanderbilt (256-99) and before coaching at Ohio State.
  • Ohio State is outscoring opponents by an average margin of +22.4 points. The Buckeyes have won 11 games this season by 20 points or more and have scored at least 90 five times.
  • Ohio State has made 70 more free throws (295) than opponents have attempted (225) this season. The Buckeyes are 16-1 this season and 58-3 since the start of the 2007-08 season when they outshoot their opponents at the free throw line.
  • The Buckeyes have been ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 for 106-consecutive weeks.

Prahalis Named Big Ten Player of the Week
Samantha Prahalis was named the Big Ten’s player of the week Jan. 11 in recognition of her performance Saturday in the 65-62 win at No. 19 Michigan State. She scored a career-high 32 points as she helped the Buckeyes overcome an 11-point deficit in front of a hostile road crowd of 12,412 at the Breslin Center and a nationally-televised audience on CBS. Prahalis also contributed six rebounds, five assists and two steals as Ohio State won its ninth consecutive game, improving to 17-1 overall and 5-0 in Big Ten play. The sophomore’s point total came on a career-high 10 field goals, which included a career-best four three-pointers, while making good on 8-of-13 from the free throw line. She and teammate Jantel Lavender combined to score 52 of Ohio State’s 65 points and scored the Buckeyes’ final 22 points over the last 17:06 of the game.

Last Time out: Prahalis, Lavender Lead Buckeyes Past Spartans, 65-62
Samantha Prahalis scored a career-high 32 points while Jantel Lavender had 20 points and 13 rebounds for the Buckeyes in a 65-62 win in East Lansing Saturday. Both Ohio State stars made clutch plays late to keep the Buckeyes alone in first place in the early conference race. Michigan State missed two shots in the final seconds in a desperate attempt to tie the game. The Spartans had led by as many as 11 points in the first half. Michigan State took a 33-22 first-half lead, energized by a home crowd of 12,412 — third largest in school history. But Ohio State crawled back behind Prahalis and Lavender. Prahalis made 10-of-20 shots from the floor, hitting 3’s from the outside if she was open but also driving if she saw a gap in the Michigan State defense.Michigan State led 35-31 at the half. Sarah Schulze and Prahalis hit 3-pointers to open the second half and give Ohio State a 37-35 lead. The Buckeyes led by as many as five points midway through the second half but Michigan State was able to regain the lead. Prahalis tied the game at 61 on with two free throws with 1:42 left. Two more Prahalis foul shots gave the Buckeyes a 63-61 lead with 1:14 left. Michigan State’s Johnson cut the lead to 63-62 with a free throw. But Lavender answered with two foul shots with 35 seconds left to put the Buckeyes ahead 65-62. DeHaan missed a 3-pointer with 11 seconds left. Brittney Thomas got the rebound and was able to get off a partially blocked shot as time ran down, but she wasn’t in 3-point territory.

Noting the Michigan State Game
Ohio State leads the all-time series with Michigan State 46-22 and 18-10 in games played in East Lansing. They will meet again Feb. 21, 2010 in Columbus … Michigan State (#19/21) was the third ranked team Ohio State has played this season. The Buckeyes are 2-1 against ranked opponents … Ohio State held the Spartans without a field goal for the final 5:57 of the game … The Buckeyes outrebounded the Spartans, 24-18, in the second half and held MSU to 0-of-8 from three-point land in the final 20 minutes … Prahalis also posted career highs with 10 field goals, 20 attempts and four three-point field goals … Jantel Lavender recorded her ninth double-double of the season and the 46th of her career with 20 points and 13 rebounds … Lavender and Prahalis combined to score 52 of Ohio State’s 65 points and scored Ohio State’s final 22 points over the last 17:06 of the game … Lavender also went a perfect 10-of-10 from the FT line.

Scouting Illinois
Illinois owns an 11-4 overall record with a 3-2 mark in the Big Ten after a 64-62 win over Minnesota Sunday in Champaign. Senior Jenna Smith, who has over 1,800 career points, is off to a strong start, leading the Big Ten with 11.4 rebounds and is just behind Lavender in scoring with 20.1 points per game. She also is second in the conference in field goal (.522) and free throw percentage (.833). Fellow classmate Lacey Simpson is fourth in the league with 4.2 assists and leads with 3.5 steals per game. Freshman Karisma Penn is the third-leading freshman scorer in the Big Ten with 11.1 ppg. Jolette Law (Iowa, 1990) is in her third season as head coach in Champaign with an overall record of 40-40.

Last Time vs. Illinois – 12/28/09
Jantel Lavender scored 21 of her 31 points in the first half and a suffocating, high-pressure Buckeyes defense sank the Illini 76-47. Lavender was 14-for-22 from the field for Ohio State and also had eight rebounds before she headed to the bench for good with just under 10 minutes to play. Jenna Smith scored 10 points and a game-high 15 rebounds. Lavender keyed two big first-half runs for the Buckeyes that quickly erased any doubt about the game’s outcome. Illinois had taken an early 9-4 lead. But the Buckeyes answered with a 22-0 run that gave them a 26-9 lead 14 minutes into the game. Ohio State followed the first run a few minutes later with an 11-0 spurt. The Buckeyes led 42-18 at the half and 64-34 with 9:30 to play in the game. Illinois turned the ball over 26 times on the night. Illinois hit 34 percent of its shots on the night, and just 26.9 percent in the first half. Both, according to Law, were due to the defensive pressure by Shavelle Little. The senior guard played 19 minutes off the bench, turning in a career-high eight steals.

Don’t Call it a Comeback
The fact Ohio State has outscored its opponents by an average of 22.4 points may lead one to forget that the Buckeyes have actually trailed at the half four times this season, only to come back and win three of them. Ohio State has trailed at the half at Duke (27-31), vs. Wisconsin (20-28), at Ole Miss (35-36) and at Michigan State (31-35). The only time that Ohio State failed to come back was Dec. 3 in Durham to the Blue Devils. The Buckeyes are 14-0 this season when leading at the half.

OSU Tough at Home Under Foster
Since the start of the 2004-05 season, Ohio State has amassed a remarkable 94-5 record at home and a 81-4 record at Value City Arena (12-1 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  – 16-2
2009-10  – 13-0
Total   –     121-9

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