March 28, 2023

Title IX: Player of the Year – Jessica Davenport, Jantel Lavender, Kelsey Mitchell


Ohio State women’s basketball has a rich history, one populated with superstars, role-players, smart students and great people. Among decades of Buckeye women’s basketball, Jessica Davenport, Jantel Lavender and Kelsey Mitchell made their mark – both in the record books and within the legacy and culture of the program and what it’s developed into today.

Each was named Big Ten Player of the Year at least three times, with Davenport being the first to do so in 2005, 2006 and 2007. Lavender remains the only Buckeye to earn the award all four seasons, being named Big Ten Player of the Year from 2008 through 2011. Mitchell is the most recent to earn the award in 2015, 2017 and 2018.

Davenport, a 2012 OSU Athletics Hall of Fame inductee, earned her spot on the All-Big Ten First Team in 2005, 2006 and 2007 after receiving an honorable mention following her freshman season in 2004, in which she was also named Big Ten Freshman of the Year. The two-time All-Big Ten Tournament team selection earned three All-American selections by both the WBCA and USBWA and was a first-team selection by the Associated Press in 2005. Davenport remains the Buckeyes’ lone two-time Chicago Tribune Silver Basketball MVP honoree and also earned the senior class award in 2007. Her long list of awards concludes with the Phyllis J. Bailey Award in 2005.

Davenport continues to hold the NCAA Tournament program records for most rebounds in a game (18 on March 19, 2006) and best field-goal percentage with a minimum of eight made (1.000 on March 20, 2004). She also holds the program’s block record with 384 blocks during her Buckeye career. Among Ohio State program records, Davenport ranks fourth in points (2,303), second in field goal percentage (.604), second in double-doubles (48), third in rebounds (1,094), third in field-goals made (875), fourth in free throws made (544), sixth in free throws attempted (544), eighth in field goals attempted (1,448). The 2003 McDonald’s All-American went on to play in the 2005 World University Games and was a member of the senior national team in 2006 and 2007. In April 2007, Davenport was selected as the No. 2 overall pick in the WNBA Draft by San Antonio.

Lavender, a 2016 OSU Athletics Hall of Fame inductee, became the Buckeyes’ first four-time All-Big Ten First Team selection. The 2008 Big Ten Freshman of the Year was named the MVP of the Big Ten Tournament in 2009, 2010 and 2011. Lavender was a three-time All-American by the WBCA, USBWA and Associated Press and received an honorable mention from the AP in 2008 as a freshman. Her 19 Big Ten Player of the Week nods continue to be the most in program history.

Lavender continues to hold the program records for field goals made (1,142), rebounds (1,422) and double-doubles (77 out of 136 games played). She also ranks second in field goals attempted (2,156), fourth in free throws attempted (702), fifth in blocks (190) and fifth in free throws made (531). The 2007 McDonald’s All-American went on to compete on the 2007 U18 National Team and played in the 2009 World University Games. Lavender, Ohio State’s all-time leading scorer and rebounder at her graduation, was drafted fifth overall in the 2011 WNBA Draft by the Los Angeles Sparks.

Mitchell, a 2018 Ohio State graduate, was also selected to the All-Big Ten First Team all four seasons. The 2015 Big Ten Freshman of the Year went on to earn a spot on the Big Ten All-Tournament Team in 2015, 2016 and 2018 and was the tournament’s MVP in 2018. Mitchell is the only player in program history to be named an Associated Press All-American all four seasons and earn the title of USBWA National Freshman of the Year. She was also a four-time USBWA All-American and a three-time WBCA All-American (with her fourth season receiving an honorable mention). Mitchell received the Big Ten Medal of Honor in 2018.

Mitchell became the fastest player in NCAA history (since 1981) to reach 2,000 career points, doing so in 79 games, and was also the fastest player in Big Ten history to reach 1,000 career points, taking only 41 games. She also finished her career as the NCAA’s all-time three-point leader (497) and made at least one triple in an NCAA record 92-consecutive games. In addition to being Ohio State’s all-time leading scorer (3,402 – 24.5 points per game), Mitchell continues to hold the program records for games played (139), consecutive games started (139), field goal attempts (2,560), three-pointers made (497) and three-pointers attempted (1,286). She ranks second in field goals made (1,120), second in free throws made (665), second in free throws attempted (796), fourth in assists (545), sixth in free throws attempted (.835), eighth in three-point percentage (.386) and ninth in steals (214).  Mitchell owns the top-four single-season scoring performances in program history. Among program history in the NCAA Tournament, Mitchell’s 45 points on March 20, 2016 continue to be the record by 12 points. She also holds program records in the NCAA Tournament for three-pointers made (6), three-pointers attempted (16), free throws made (18) and free throws attempted (22). The 2014 McDonald’s All-American went on to play for the U24 National team in 2017 and was taken No. 2 overall in the 2018 WNBA Draft by the Indiana Fever, where she continues to play at a high level.