Thursday, Feb. 26, 2009 7 p.m. ET
Value City Arena Columbus, Ohio
#14/14 Ohio State
(22-5, 13-3 Big Ten) vs. Wisconsin (16-12, 6-11 Big Ten)

Radio/Internet – WOSU 820-AM / (Marty Bannister, Toni Roesch)

Television –

Series Information
Series Record: OSU leads, 40-14
Last meeting: 1/8/09, OSU 55-42 in Madison
In Columbus: OSU leads, 18-5
Current streak: OSU-13
Last meeting in Columbus: 1/20/08, OSU, 79-74

Fastbreak Points
Sunday’s win at Indiana moved Ohio State sole possession of first place in the Big Ten at 13-3 after Michigan State (12-4) lost at Wisconsin.

The Buckeyes can clinch at least a share of their fifth-straight Big Ten regular-season title with a win over Wisconsin Thursday. They can win the title outright with a win Thursday and a win over Penn State on Sunday. The Buckeyes are trying to become just the second team to win five-consecutive Big Ten regular-season titles after Ohio State won a record five in a row from 1983-87.

Ohio State owns the most Big Ten titles with 11. They are gunning for No. 12 Thursday.

Lavender’s 31 career double-doubles in 58 career games is tied with Indiana senior Whitney Thomas and Illinois junior Jenna Smith for the career lead among active Big Ten players. Lavender has a Big Ten-best 18 this season. The Buckeyes are 25-6 in her career when she gets a double-double.

Ohio State has won 76 of its last 88 (.863) Big Ten regular-season games and 40 of its last 42 (.952) at home. The Buckeyes won the last six games of the 2003-04 season, went 14-2 in 2004-05, 15-1 in 2006 and 2007 and went 13-5 during the expanded 18-game conference schedule last season.

The 14th-ranked Buckeyes have been ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 for 94-consecutive weeks.

The Buckeyes are 18-1 this season when they make more free throws than their opposition and are 36-1 over the last two seasons when accomplishing that feat.

The Buckeyes finished the regular season 8-3 on the road and 7-2 in Big Ten games after going 4-5 last season in conference road games.

The Buckeyes are 18-1 this season when they outrebound the opposition. Their only loss was at now-No. 6 Auburn in overtime.

Head coach Jim Foster is 91-23 in Big Ten regular-season games at Ohio State and 174-45 overall.

Ohio State leads the Big Ten in scoring (68.5), scoring margin (+12.3) and field goal percentage (.439) and rank either second or third in scoring defense (56.3),  free throw percentage (.750), FG percentage defense (.358), rebounding (39.4), rebounding margin (+5.3), assists (15.2) and assist/turnover ratio (+0.86).

Sophomore center Jantel Lavender leads the Big Ten in scoring (20.6 ppg), rebounding (10.5 rpg) and is second in FG percentage (.535) behind teammate Star Allen (.539). Lavender is the only player in Division I to rank in the Top 12 in scoring and rebounding. She also leads the Big Ten with 16 games of 20 or more points.

Lavender has scored in double-figures in all 58 career games. That streak currently ranks fourth in Division I among active players according to STATS, Inc.
   Current consecutive games of 10+ points:
   1.  Robyn Fairbanks, Utah Valley St. 75
   2.  Megan Frazee, Liberty 60
   3.  Morgan Warburton, Utah 59
   4.  Jantel Lavender, Ohio State 58

Senior Star Allen tied a career-high with 22 points on 9-of-15 shooting in the win at Indiana.

Sophomore Brittany Johnson set new personal bests with 18 points and six made field goals, including two from deep in the win at Indiana Sunday. Johnson has 42 points (14.0 ppg) and nine 3-pointers in her last three games.

Lavender now was 1,104 career points and needs 91 more to break Katie Smith’s record of 1,194 points in her first two seasons as a Buckeye.

Freshman Samantha Prahalis dished out four more assists and now has 153 on the season. She is on pace to break Kim Wilburn’s Ohio State freshman record of 168 assists set during the 2002-03 season.

Prahalis finished with 10 points at Indiana and is averaging 15.0 ppg over the last three games.

Jantel Lavender was named to the Women’s John R. Wooden Award 2009 Midseason Top 20 candidate list Jan. 30. Lavender and UConn’s Maya Moore are the only two sophomores on the list. The Wooden Award is the most prestigious individual honor in college basketball. It is bestowed upon the nation’s best player at an institution of higher education who has proven to her university that she is making progress toward graduation and maintaining a cumulative 2.0 GPA. Lavender also was named to the Naismith midseason watch list Feb. 23.

Freshman point guard Samantha Prahalis leads the Big Ten and ranks 17th nationally with 5.67 assists per game. She had a season-high 13 assists in the 9-point loss to then-No. 2 North Carolina Dec. 3. She has 15 games with six or more assists.

Prahalis’ 10.2 ppg is best among all freshmen in the Big Ten and is 21st overall among all conference players. She also is among the league leaders in steals (1.89) and assist/TO ratio (+1.37).

Senior Star Allen leads the Big Ten lead in FG percentage (.539) and is fourth in the league in offensive rebounds with 3.0 per game. Classmate Ashlee Trebilcock is second in the Big Ten in 3FG percentage (.432).

Junior Shavelle Little, the 2008 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, leads the conference with 3.07 steals in Big Ten games.

Ohio State had its 86-consecutive game win streak against unranked teams at home snapped with its 59-56 loss to Minnesota Jan. 15. The last unranked team to win in Columbus was Penn State, Feb. 3, 2002.

Ohio State owns the seventh-best winning percentage (.838) and has the ninth-most wins (109) in all of women’s basketball during the last four full years.

Ohio State has had four Big Ten Player of the Year selections the last four seasons; Jessica Davenport in 2005-07 and Jantel Lavender in 2008.

Allen Earns Big Ten Player of the Week Honors
Senior forward Star Allen earned Big Ten player of the week honors Tuesday in recognition of her performance last week in road wins at Minnesota and Indiana. The honor is the second of her career and the first since 2007. Allen averaged 18.0 ppg, 8.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists and shot 62.5 percent from the field in the two victories. Against the Golden Gophers on Thursday, the senior tallied 14 points while shooting 67 percent (6-of-9) from the floor. She also grabbed nine rebounds and added two assists, a blocked shot and a steal in 34 minutes of play. Then at Indiana Sunday, Allen matched her career high with 22 points, including 14 in the second half. She also grabbed seven boards and recorded two assists, two steals and a block. The pair of wins helped the Buckeyes grab sole possession of first place in the Big Ten standings with a 13-3 conference record.

Prahalis a Finalist for Nancy Lieberman Award
Freshman phenom Samantha Prahalis has been named one of 13 finalists for the 10th Annual Nancy Lieberman Award which recognizes the nation’s top collegiate point guard in Division I women’s basketball.

Ohio State’s Last Time Out
Star Allen tied a career high with 22 points, Brittany Johnson set a career high with 18 points, and Ohio State beat Indiana 79-67 on Sunday to move into sole possession of first place in the Big Ten. Lavender finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds and only took seven shots for the Buckeyes. She didn’t need to shoot much with Allen handling business on the inside and Johnson knocking down jumpers. Allen shot 9-for-15 from the field and Johnson made 6 of 10 shots, including 2-for-5 on 3-pointers. Johnson started the day averaging just over six points per game, though she had scored in double figures her previous two games. It was Ohio State’s third straight win after back-to-back losses to Michigan State and Iowa. Jori Davis scored 17 points, Amber Jackson scored 14 and Whitney Thomas added 10 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists for Indiana. The Hoosiers ran out to a 23-13 lead midway through the first half, but a bank shot by Allen seconds before halftime tied the score at 33 at the break. Ohio State led 63-50 in the second half before Ashlee Mells banked in a 3-pointer and Thomas made another three 11 seconds later to make it 72-67 with a minute left. The Buckeyes made 7-of-10 free throws in the final minute to pull away.

OSU Tough at Home Under Foster
Since the start of the 2004-05 season, Ohio State has amassed a remarkable 79-5 record at home and a 69-4 record at Value City Arena (9-1 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: 14-2
Total:   106-9

Scouting Wisconsin
The Badgers enter Thursday’s game with a 16-12 record and a 6-11 mark in the Big Ten. They gave the Buckeyes some much-needed help on Sunday by knocking off Michigan State, 54-51, in Madison, giving the Buckeyes a chance to win the regular-season title outright by winning its last two games. Seven of Wisconsin’s 11 Big Ten losses have been by single-digit margins, including two in overtime. The Badgers are led by Alyssa Karel’s 13.0 ppg. She also leads the team in 3-point shooting with 47 makes. She led Wisconsin with 12 points and three assists in the win over Michigan State on Sunday.

Last Time Against the Badgers
Jantel Lavender had 16 points and 15 rebounds to help Ohio State beat Wisconsin Jan. 8 in Madison. Lin Zastrow scored 11 points for the Badgers, who missed their first six shots during a four-minute scoring drought at the start of the second half. Wisconsin also missed its final 10 shots of the game. The Buckeyes shot 33 percent (10-of-30) from the field in the first half, but opened the second half with a 7-0 run to gain control. They also outrebounded the Badgers, 46-30.  Seniors Star Allen and Ashlee Trebilcock scored 11 points each for the Buckeyes, who have won the 13-straight meetings against the Badgers. Ohio State led 26-19 at the half behind 10 points and eight rebounds from Lavender and seven points from Allen. The Buckeyes trailed by five early, but held the Badgers without a field goal for more than eight minutes as they jumped to a 24-15 lead at the 5:45 mark.

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