Monday, Jan. 12, 2009 7/8 p.m. ET
Assembly Hall Champaign, Ill.

#16/17 Ohio State (13-2, 4-0 Big Ten) at Illinois (4-12, 0-5 Big Ten)

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

Television – Big Ten Network (Mark Neely, Mary Murphy)

Series Information
Series Record: OSU leads, 36-17
Last meeting: 3/7/08, ILL 64-58 in Indianapolis
In Champaign: Tied 12-12
Current streak: ILL-2

COLUMBUS, Ohio – No. 16/17 Ohio State (13-2, 4-0 Big Ten) will look to stay atop the Big Ten standings Monday when it travels to Champaign, Ill., for an 8 p.m. ET tip with the Fighting Illini (4-12, 0-5 Big Ten). The game will be televised on the Big Ten Network with Mark Neely and Mary Murphy on the call.

The Buckeyes, who are coming off a 55-42 win at Wisconsin Thursday, are going for their eighth-straight win while Illinois, who defeated the Buckeyes twice last season, will be in search of its first conference win.

The Buckeyes’ current seven-game win streak is the longest since the 2006-07 season when Ohio State won 17 in a row. The Buckeyes have been dominant since their 9-point loss to No. 2 North Carolina Dec. 3, defeating opponents by an average of 15.9 points, holding teams to just 34 percent shooting and outrebounding teams by almost seven a game.

Closing in on 1,000
Sophomore Jantel Lavender has 872 points so far in 46 career games and has a chance to tie the great Katie Smith as the fastest Ohio State women’s basketball player to reach the 1,000-point plateau. Smith scored her 1,000th point in her 52nd career game and Lavender needs 128 points (21.3 ppg) over the next six games to tie Smith.

Ohio State players quickest to 1,000 points:
Katie Smith 1993-94 seasons (52 games)
Frani Washington 1978-79 seasons (56 games)
Jessica Davenport 2004-05 seasons (63 games)
Jantel Lavender 2008-09 seasons (872 points though 46 games)

Fastbreak Points
Ohio State is currently ranked No. 6 in the latest ratings and has the sixth-toughest schedule in the country. Ohio State’s only two losses are to teams currently undefeated and ranked in the Top 10 (No. 9 Auburn, No. 2 North Carolina). As a conference, the Big Ten has the third-best RPI rating and the No. 1 strength of schedule (SOS).

Ohio State leads the Big Ten in scoring (70.9 ppg), scoring margin (+14.2) and assists (16.5) and ranks second or third in FG percentage (.443), assist/turnover ratio (0.95), free throw percentage (.742), rebounding (40.9), rebounding margin (+6.1) and 3FG percentage (.367).

Sophomore center Jantel Lavender leads the Big Ten in scoring (21.7 ppg) and rebounding (11.3 rpg) and ranks ninth nationally in both scoring and rebounding. She also leads the Big Ten with 11 20-point games this season and is third in the league in FG percentage (.518).

Lavender has scored in double-figures in all 46 career games. That streak currently ranks sixth in the NCAA among active players according to STATS, Inc.
   Current consecutive games of 10+ points:
   1.  Courtney Paris, Oklahoma – 113
   2.  Robyn Fairbanks, Utah Valley St. – 66
   3.  Rachele Fitz, Marist – 49
        Megan Frazee, Liberty – 49
   5.  Morgan Warburton, Utah – 48
   6.  Jantel Lavender, Ohio State – 46
   7.  Sade Logan, Robert Morris – 39
        Andrea Riley, Oklahoma State – 39
   9.  Carrie Biemer, Pennsylvania – 25
  10. Jenna Smith, Illinois – 24

Lavender’s 25 career double-doubles in 46 career games trails only Indiana senior Whitney Thomas (28) and is tied with Illinois junior Jenna Smith (25) for the career lead among active Big Ten players. Lavender has 12 so far this season.

Freshman point guard Samantha Prahalis leads the Big Ten and ranks 8th nationally with 6.1 assists per game. She had a season-high 13 assists in the 9-point loss to No. 2 North Carolina Dec. 3.

Prahalis’ 10.1 ppg is second among all freshman in the Big Ten and is 24th overall among all conference players. She also is among the league leaders in steals (2.1) and assist/turnover ratio (+1.5).

Senior guard Ashlee Trebilcock leads the Big Ten in 3FG percentage (.524, 22-42) while classmate Star Allen is second in the Big Ten in FG percentage (.560).

Junior Shavelle Little, the 2008 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, is second in the league with 2.73 steals per game. She has a total of 17 steals through four Big Ten games, a Big Ten-best 4.25 per game in conference action.

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.

The 16th-ranked Buckeyes have been ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 for 88-consecutive weeks.

Ohio State owns the most Big Ten titles with 11. This season they are attempting to become the first team to win five in a row since the Ohio State teams from 1983-87.

Ohio State has won 86-consecutive regular-season games in Columbus against unranked opponents. The last unranked team to win in Columbus was Penn State, Feb. 3, 2002.

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.

Big Ten Domination
Ohio State has won 67 of its last 76 (.881) Big Ten regular-season games and 36 of its last 37 (.972) 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.

Scouting Illinois
The Fighting Illini are looking to snap a six-game losing skid Monday. Their last win was Dec. 12 at Milwaukee which was followed by a nine-point loss to No. 2 North Carolina at the Carolina Challenge in Myrtle Beach, S.C. In its last game Illinois dropped an eight-point loss at Michigan, 52-44, Jan. 8. Illinois is led by All-Big Ten performer Jenna Smith who leads the team and tanks among the leauge leaders with 17.7 ppg and 7.5 rebounds. Lacey Simpson leads the team with 8.3 rebounds and ranks first in the Big Ten with 3.1 steals in all games played. She also turns in about 11 points per game. Jolette Law is in her second season as head coach with a 24-27 record heading into Monday night. She led the Illini to the Big Ten tournament championship game last season and to the third round of the postseason WNIT with a 20-15 overall record.

The Series
Ohio State leads the all-time series 36-17, but have dropped the last two meetings, including a 64-58 loss in the quarterfinal round of the 2008 Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis. The series is tied, 12-12, in games played in Champaign. Last season at Assembly Hall, the Illini won by four, 68-64 on Jan. 31, 2008.

Last Time Against The Illini
Marscilla Packer led Ohio State with 19 points in a Big Ten tournament quarterfinal loss to Illinois, 64-58, in Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. Jantel Lavender and Tamarah Riley each had double-doubles with 14 and 13 points, respectively, and 12 rebounds a piece. The Buckeyes failed to reach the Big Ten semifinal for the first time in the 14-year history of the event. Ohio State trailed by as many as 11 midway through the second half, but pulled to within a shot at tying the game on a 3-point attempt from Ashlee Trebilcock with less than 20 seconds to play. Rebecca Harris scored 22 points, Lori Bjork scored 14 points and Jenna Smith added 13 for the ninth-seeded Illini, who reached the semifinals for the first time since 2001.Packer scored 15 of her 19 points in the second half for Ohio State. Bjork made a 3-pointer to give the Illini a 54-43 lead with just over seven minutes to play, but Packer scored 11 points in four minutes, including a 3-pointer that cut Illinois’ lead to 58-54. Illinois led 60-57 and had the ball in the final minute, but Ohio State took possession on a steal by Packer. After a flurry of missed shots, the Buckeyes gained control and called timeout to set up with 21.5 seconds left and the shot clock off. Ohio State’s Ashlee Trebilcock missed a 3-pointer, but teammate Riley was fouled on the rebound. She made the second of two free throws to trim Illinois’ lead to 60-58. Bjork made two free throws with nine seconds left, then Harris made two more to provide the final margin.

Last Time Out
Jantel Lavender had 16 points and 15 rebounds to help Ohio State beat Wisconsin. It was the seventh straight win for the Buckeyes  who took sole possession of first place in the Big Ten with Indiana’s 70-62 loss at Minnesota. Lin Zastrow scored 11 points for the Badgers (12-4, 2-3), 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. Lavender, the Big Ten scoring leader who came into the game averaging 22.1 points per game, has scored in double figures in all 46 games of her career at Ohio State. 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.

Lavender Named Big Ten POW for a Third Time
Jantel Lavender earned Big Ten player of the week honors for a third time this season in recognition of her performance in the wins over Delaware State (Dec. 16) and Michigan (Dec. 21). Lavender averaged 28.5 points, 9.5 rebounds and shot 78.1 percent from the field as the 17th-ranked Buckeyes improved to 10-2 and 1-0 in the Big Ten. In the 68-35 win over Delaware State Dec. 16, Lavender scored a season-high 29 points on 12-of-13 shooting (.923) tying her for the second-highest field goal percentage in school history (minimum 10 attempts). She also had four blocks and 11 rebounds for her 11th double-double of the season and hit all five attempts from the free throw line. Then in the conference opener against Michigan Sunday, Lavender netted 28 points on 13-of-19 from the floor and had eight rebounds as Ohio State defeated Michigan for the 11th-straight time, 70-50. The weekly honor is the seventh of her young career, tying for fifth all-time in the conference records books. Kelly Mazzante of Penn State (2001-04) is the only other Big Ten player to earn seven player of the week selections in her freshman and sophomore seasons. Mazzante needed 26 weeks to accomplish the feat, while Lavender reached the mark in 23.

Nearly Perfect
In the win over Delaware State Dec. 16, Jantel Lavender was 12-of-13 from the field for a 92.3 percent clip. It tied for the second-highest FG percentage by a Buckeye since Tracey Hall shot an identical 92.3 percent (12-of-13) Nov. 29, 1984 in a win over Cincinnati. Jessica Davenport holds the Ohio State record for FG percentage (minimum 10 attempts) in a game when she shot 10-for-10 in a 73-67 win over West Virginia in the 2004 NCAA Tournament.

OSU Tough at Home Under Foster
Since the start of the 2004-05 season, Ohio State has amassed a remarkable 75-4 record at home and a 65-3 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 10-1
Total       102-8

Good as Advertised
Freshman point guard Samantha Prahalis has been everything the Buckeyes have hoped for and more. Since the first game of the season, she has performed like a veteran, running Ohio State’s offense, finding the open teammate and coming up with one big shot and nifty pass after another. She is second among all Big Ten freshmen and is among the conference leaders with 10.1 ppg and also leads all conference players with 6.1 assists per game — good for 8th best in the nation. She has had four or more assists in all but one game, including a season-high 13 in the nine-point loss to No. 2 North Carolina Dec. 3.

Buckeyes Conclude Challenging Non-Conference Slate
Ohio State did not face a team in the non-conference portion of the season that recorded fewer than 18 wins last season, giving the Buckeyes the 6th-toughest schedule in the country this season. Below is a breakdown of the Buckeyes’ non-conference foes and their 2007-08 record:

Fast Starts
The Buckeyes are 11-0 this season when leading at the half and 1-0 when tied (Dayton). The Buckeyes biggest halftime deficit was 10 points at Nebraska before rallying for a 69-65 win Dec. 6. Ohio State trailed by only four points at the half in each of its two losses to UNC and Auburn.

Making a Living at the Stripe
Ohio State has spent a lot of time this season at the free throw line and have made more at the line than opponents have attempted. Ohio State is 222-of-299 (.742) while opponents are 147-of-207 (.710). Eight times this season Ohio State has made more FT’s than opponents have attempted.

Make More, Win More
The Buckeyes are 11-0 this season when they make more free throws than their opponents and were 18-0 last season when accomplishing that feat. They are 2-2 this season when they make fewer from the line than their opponents.

For the complete release and stats click the PDF above