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Setting the Stage
The Ohio State Buckeyes (30-4) earned a No. 2 seed in the Dayton Regional and will play No. 15 seed St. Francis, Pa. (17-14) at 12:06 p.m. Sunday, March 21 in the first round of the 2010 NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship at the Petersen Events Center in Pittsburgh, Pa. The game will be televised on ESPN2 with Pam Ward and Debbie Antonelli and can be heard on WOSU 820 AM with Marty Bannister and Kristin Watt.

Ohio State is making its record eighth straight appearance in the Big Dance and its 19th overall.

The winner of the Ohio State-St. Francis game will take on the winner of No. 7 seed Mississippi State (19-12) and No. 10 seed Middle Tennessee State (25-5) Tuesday, March 23 at 7 p.m.

Ohio State will be facing St. Francis for the first time. The Buckeyes have never played Middle Tennessee State either and faced Mississippi State only once, a 64-58 Ohio State win in last year’s NCAA second round in Columbus.

The No. 2 seed is the highest for Ohio State since its No. 1 seed in the 2006 tournament. The Buckeyes were a No. 4 seed in 2007, a No. 6 seed in 2008 and a No. 3 seed last season when Ohio State advanced to the Sweet 16. It marks the fourth time in Ohio State’s 19-year NCAA history that the Buckeyes have earned a No. 2 seed (2010, 2005, 1987, 1985). Ohio State reached the Sweet 16 in 2005 and the regional finals in 1985 and ’87 after receiving first-round byes those years.

Foster Making 24th NCAA Appearance, 11th Straight
Head coach Jim Foster is making his 11th-consecutive trip to the tournament and his 24th overall with a record of 31-23 all-time. In Foster’s eight seasons at Ohio State, the Buckeyes have earned No. 1 (2006), No. 2 (2005, 2010), No. 3 (2009), No. 4 (2003, 2007) and No. 6 (2004, 2008) seeds in the tournament. Ohio State has earned at least a second-round finish in five of seven seasons under Foster, including a trip to the Round of 16 in 2005 and 2009.

No. 1 Seed and the Furthest Trip
In 1993, Ohio State received its first No. 1 seed, playing in the east regional hosted in Richmond, Va. The Buckeyes defeated Western Kentucky and Virginia and became the first Big Ten team to advance to a Final Four and to play in a national championship game (vs. Texas Tech). The Buckeyes fell two points shy of the Red Raiders (84-82) in the final game. Ohio State also was the No. 1 seed in 2006, losing in the second round to Boston College (79-69) in West Lafayette, Ind.

NCAA Finishes
Besides the 1993 Final Four trip, the Buckeyes have advanced twice to the Elite Eight (1985, 1987) and have been “Sweet 16” participants on five occasions (1986, 1988, 1989, 2005, 2009). Ohio State’s participation also includes five first (1982, 1984, 1999, 2007, 2008) and five second round (1990, 1996, 2003, 2004, 2006) finishes.

Lavender Wins Third Big Ten Player of the Year Honor, Prahalis First Team All-Big Ten
Jantel Lavender was named the 2010 Big Ten Player of the Year for the third-consecutive year March 1 by both the coaches and the media. She joins former Buckeye Jessica Davenport as the only three-time recipient of the award. Also honored was sophomore Samantha Prahalis, who, along with Lavender, were unanimous selections for first team All-Big Ten honors on both sides. Junior Brittany Johnson, one of the top three-point shooters in the country, was an honorable mention selection from the media while Shavelle Little earned her third-consecutive all-defensive team honor.

Buckeyes Win Second Straight Big Ten Tournament Title; Lavender Named Tournament MOP
Ohio State won the 2010 Big Ten Tournament title March 7 with a dramatic come-from-behind win over Iowa in the championship game, 66-64. The Buckeyes trailed by as much as 16 points, but used a 29-11 run to regain the lead with 3:51 to go.

Jantel Lavender, who set a tournament record with 35 points in the championship game, was named the Most Outstanding Player of the tournament after averaging 27.0 points, 8.3 rebounds and shooting 88.5 percent (23-of-26) from the free throw line.

Samantha Prahalis joined Lavender on the all-tournament team after averaging 16.0 points, 6.3 assists, recording seven steals and hitting all 15 of her free throw attempts. She had 29 points and went 11-of-11 from the line win the semifinal win over Wisconsin.

As a team, the Buckeyes shot 90.5 percent (57-of-63) from the line in the three tournament wins.

Buckeyes Tie Program Record with 30 Wins
Ohio State tied a program record with its 30th win in the Big Ten tournament championship win over Iowa. The Buckeyes also won 30 games during the 2004-05 season.

Seniors Tie Win Record
Seniors Shavelle Little, Andrea Walker, Maria Moeller and Cherise Daniel have 109 wins going into the NCAA tournament, which is tied for the program record with the class of 2008 (Packer, Riley, Jamen). One more win will give them the  school record.

Lavender Passes 2,000 Career Points in Junior Season
With her fourth free throw with 3:51 left in the Big Ten tournament championship game, Lavender eclipsed 2,000 points in her 100th career game, becoming the first Buckeye in program history to reach the milestone in her junior season. She joins former Buckeye All-Americans Katie Smith (2,578) and Jessica Davenport (2,303) as the only other Buckeyes in the 2,000 Point Club. She is the 15th Big Ten player to reach the milestone. Lavender tied a tournament single-game record with 35 points (one shy of her career high) in that game, going 14-of-25 from the field and a perfect 7-of-7 from the line. She also added 10 boards for her 56th career double-double.

Prahalis a Finalist for Nancy Lieberman Award
Samantha Prahalis is one of eight finalists for the Nancy Lieberman Award, which honors the nation’s top collegiate point guard in Division I women’s basketball. The criteria for the award are the floor leadership, play-making and ball-handling skills that personified Hall of Famer, Nancy Lieberman during her career. Sportswriters from across the country will select three finalists from this list and one winner at the beginning of April 2010.  The announcement of the three finalists and one winner will be made during the Final Four Weekend (April 4-6, 2010).

Final nominee list (in alphabetical order):
Alison Lacey – Iowa State
Nadirah McKenith – St. John’s
Samantha Prahalis – Ohio State            
Sam Quigley – DePaul
Andrea Riley – Oklahoma State
Danielle Robinson – Oklahoma
Jasmine Thomas – Duke
Courtney Vandersloot – Gonzaga

Fastbreak Points

  • Ohio State is 8-1 in its last nine postseason games, having won the last two Big Ten tournaments and going 2-1 in NCAA tournnament play last season.
  • Ohio State clinched its 13th and record-setting sixth-consecutive Big Ten championship outright with its win at Minnesota Feb. 14. No team – men’s or women’s – has ever won six straight Big Ten regular season titles.
  • Ohio State clinched a share of the title Feb. 11 with its win over Purdue, becoming the earliest team to clinch the regular season title, both in terms of calendar days and in terms of games remaining. Previously, the earliest was Purdue clinching on Feb. 12 in 1999. No team had ever clinched with four or more games remaining.
  • The Buckeyes lead the NCAA in 3-point shooting at 39.6 percent. They also rank in the top 15 in scoring (8th, 77.9), assists (11th, 16.9), assist-turnover ratio (8th, +1.15) and fewest fouls (3rd, 13.1). The Buckeyes are shooting 45.7 percent overall, good for 14th and tops in the Big Ten. They have shot 50 percent or better 10 times, including three games of 60 percent or better.
  • Ohio State is 24-0 this season when scoring 70 or more and 6-4 when scoring fewer than 70.
  • Jantel Lavender and Samantha Prahalis were both named to the WBCA All-Region 6 Team March 15. The State Farm Coaches’ All-America Team selection committee will review these 52 candidates and cut the list to 40 finalists on Tuesday, March 23. The 40 finalists will all be in the running for selection to the 10-member State Farm Coaches’ All-America Team.
  • Jantel Lavender leads the Big Ten and is ninth nationally with 21.4 ppg. She is already third on the school’s all-time scoring list with 2,004 points. If Lavender continues at her career average of 20.0 ppg she will break Katie Smith’s school record of 2,578 points.
  • Jantel Lavender is third in the Big Ten with 10.2 rebounds per game and leads the conference with a .517 field goal percentage.
  • Jantel Lavender is one of only three players in Division I to average at least 20.0 points, 10.0 rebounds and shoot 50.0 percent.
  • Jantel Lavender has scored in double figures in all 100 career games, the longest active streak in Division I. She also scored in double-figures throughout every game in high school as well.
  • Jantel Lavender has 19 double-doubles this season, the sixth most in Division I, and 56 in her career, the most among active Big Ten players. The Buckeyes are 46-10 overall in her career when she records a double-double.
  • Jantel Lavender is just the second player in Ohio State program history to record at least 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 125 blocked shots in a career. Three-time Big Ten player of the year Jessica Davenport (2004-07) is the other.
  • Samantha Prahalis leads the Big Ten and is second nationally with nearly 8.0 assists per game behind NCAA leader Courtney Vandersloot of Gonzaga (9.3). Prahalis has nine games with 10 or more and has dished out at least eight 19 times. Prahalis recorded a career-high 14 assists in the win over then-No. 15 California and again in the regular-season finale against Northwestern Feb. 25. She had 12 in the win at Penn State.
  • Samantha Prahalis set an Ohio State single-season record with 270 assists this season and needs 13 more to tie the Big Ten record, held by Penn State’s Tina Nicholson (283 during the 1995-96 season. With 473 in her career, she is already fifth on Ohio State’s all-time list in only her sophomore season.
  • Samantha Prahalis has accounted for nearly 50 percent of Ohio State’s offense this season on either field goals or assists. She has 192 field goals and 270 assists, which make up 462 of Ohio State’s 936 field goals this season (49.3 percent).
  • Samantha Prahalis ranked third in the Big Ten with 18.2 ppg in Big Ten play. She had a 32-point performance in the win at Michigan State, 26 in the win at Penn State, 25 on the road at Wisconsin and 29 in the Big Ten tournament semifinal win over the Badgers. Prahalis hit a career-high five three’s in the win at Penn State on six attempts.
  • Samantha Prahalis notched her eighth double-double of the season Feb. 25 with 14 points and 14 assists vs. Northwestern. She had her seventh of the season with 26 points and 12 assists in the victory at Penn State. She also had 23 points and 10 assists in the win over Minnesota Jan. 28, marking the first game in her Ohio State career in which she committed zero turnovers.
  • Samantha Prahalis is just the second Division I player since 1999-2000 to average at least 16.0 points and 8.0 assists per game. La’Terrica Dobin (16.0, 8.1) from Northwestern State was the only other player to do it in 2003-04.
  • Brittany Johnson is shooting 47.6 percent from long range this season, the best in the Big Ten and third-best in the NCAA. She hit 18 3FG’s over a five-game stretch in Big Ten play and leads the Buckeyes with 70 total. In November, Johnson scored a career-high 23 points in the WNIT championship game against Oklahoma State and hit seven 3FG’s, second-best on OSU’s single-game list.
  • Brittany Johnson is on pace to set the OSU single-season record for best 3FG percentage in a season with her .476 clip. The current record is .462 set by Marscilla Packer in 2005-06.
  • Ohio State has made 136 more free throws (553) than opponents have attempted (417) this season. The Buckeyes are 26-3 this year and 68-5 over the last three years when they make more than their opponents at the line.
  • Ohio State finished 19-1 at home this year, setting a program record with 19 home wins in a season.
  • Samantha Prahalis had her Ohio State-record streak of consecutive free throws snapped at 48 Feb. 21 vs. Michigan State. It was the second-longest streak in Big Ten history and the fifth-best in NCAA history.
  • The Buckeyes have connected on a school record 222 three-pointers this season, breaking the old mark of 191 set during the 2004-05 season.
  • The Buckeyes hit a Big Ten-record 17 three-pointers in the win at Penn State Feb. 7, breaking the old mark of 14. They shot 65 percent from long range (17-of-26) and hit 9-of-13 in the second half.
  • Ohio State is 127-10 at home overall under Jim Foster and 100-6 since the start of the 2004-05 season.
  • Since the start of Ohio State’s Big Ten championship run in 2004-05, the Buckeyes are 48-3 in Big Ten games at Value City Arena and 85-14 in Big Ten play overall.
  • Ohio State has won 110 of 112 at home against unranked opponents.
  • Ohio State has played five games against teams currently ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 this season. Ohio State defeated No. 9 West Virginia (92-69) and No. 20 Oklahoma State (93-72), lost to No. 9 Duke and went 1-1 against No. 25 Michigan State. Ohio State also knocked off notable opponents California and Mississippi on the road.
  • A total of 11,827 fans showed up for the Feb. 21 overtime thriller with Michigan State. It marked the second-largest crowd at Value City Arena for a women’s game and the seventh-largest in program history.
  • The Buckeyes have been ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 for 115-consecutive weeks.
  • Jantel Lavender is just the second player in Ohio State program history to record at least 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 125 blocked shots in a career. Three-time Big Ten player of the year Jessica Davenport (2004-07) is the other. Ohio State has four McDonald’s High School All-Americans on its 2009-10 roster. Jantel Lavender and Alison Jackson played in the 2007 contest in St. Louis while Samantha Prahalis played in the 2008 game in Milwaukee and freshman Tayler Hill in 2009.

Ohio State’s Big Ten titles
* co-championship

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