Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2008
Value City Arena – Columbus, Ohio

No. 18 Ohio State (6-1, 0-0 Big Ten) vs. No. 2 North Carolina (8-0, 0-0 ACC)

Radio/Internet – WOSU 820-AM/ (Marty Bannister, Kristin Watt)
Television – Big Ten Network (Mark Neely, Mary Murphy)

Series Information: OSU leads 3-2
Last Meeting: 12/18/80, UNC, 75-67
In Columbus: OSU leads, 2-0

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The competition heats up this week when the 6-1 Buckeyes play host to No. 2 North Carolina at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Value City Arena for the 2008 ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Ohio State is coming off three-straight wins and captured the Buckeye Classic championship with wins on back-to-back days over Boston (72-47) and Dayton (76-61) at St. John Arena. The second-ranked Tar Heels enter the game on an eight-game win streak and are coming off wins on back-to-back days as well with wins against Pacific (98-62) and Oregon State (82-78) at the Junkanoo Jam in the Bahamas.

Fastbreak Points
The No. 2 Tar Heels are the highest-ranked opponent to play in Value City Arena since 1999 when Ohio State lost 64-56 to No. 2 Purdue Jan. 26, 1999.
Sophomore center Jantel Lavender, the Big Ten player of the week two weeks running, leads the Big Ten in scoring (21.7 ppg), rebounding (12.1 rpg) and offensive rebounds (3.8) as of Dec. 1. She ranks 14th nationally in scoring and eighth in rebounding.
Lavender has scored in double-figures in all 38 career games and has recorded a double-double in every game this season. She has 20 for her career and the Buckeyes are 16-4 in those games.
Freshman point guard Samantha Prahalis is second in the Big Ten with 5.0 assists per game. She had a season-high eight dimes in the overtime loss at Auburn and seven dimes in the win over Army. She also is tied for third in the conference in 3-point shooting with 14 makes.
Sophomore forward Sarah Schulze has provided a spark off the bench the last two games with 21 points and five 3FG’s. She recorded career-highs of 11 points and three 3FG’s vs. Dayton Sunday.
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 Buckeyes have been ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 for 83-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 82-consecutive games at home against unranked opponents. The last unranked team to win in Columbus was Penn State, Feb. 3, 2002.
Ohio State is 71-3 at home since the start of the 2004-05 season. The Buckeyes are 98-7 all-time at home under head coach Jim Foster.
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.

Making a Living at the Stripe
Ohio State has spent a lot of time this season at the free throw line. Through seven games the Buckeyes have made twice as many FT’s than their opponents. Ohio State is 124-of-162 (.765) while opponents are only 60-of-81 (.741). Five times this season Ohio State has made more FT’s than opponents have attempted. The Buckeyes are 6-0 this season when they make more FT’s than their opponents and were 18-0 last season when accomplishing that feat. Through the first seven games last season, the Buckeyes were only 82-of-118 (.695) and have already made more free throws (124) than they had attempted at this point last season (118).

Breakdown through first seven games:
2007-08 — 82-118 (.695)
2008-09 — 124-162 (.765)

Scouting The Tar Heels
North Carolina is a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference and is located in Chapel Hill, N.C. with an enrollment of 28,000 students. UNC enters the game 8-0 and ranked No. 2 in the country. They are the defending champions of the ACC, finishing 14-0 in conference play last season. The top seed in the New Orleans region last year, UNC was one win away from the 2008 Women’s Final Four, advancing all the way to the regional final before losing to LSU, 56-50. They finished the season 33-3 overall. Leading the Tar Heels this season is junior forward Jessica Breland who is averaging 13.5 points and 7.0 rebounds. She also has recorded 14 assists, 17 blocks and 13 steals. Three other players average in double-figures, led by senior guard Rashanda McCants (11.6 ppg), sophomore guards Italee Lucas (11.4 ppg) and Cetera DeGraffenreid (11.0 ppg). UNC is coached by Sylvia Hatchell who is in her 34th year as a collegiate coach. She has a career record of 792-275 and is 520-195 in 23 years in Chapel Hill. 

Challenge History
This is the second annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Last season Ohio State lost on the road at No. 3 Maryland, 77-53, while North Carolina defeated Purdue in Chapel Hill, 90-72.

Last Time Out
No. 20 Ohio State found itself in a dog fight with in-state foe Dayton Sunday midway through the second half and overcame a 10-point deficit to win the 2008 Klosterman Buckeye Classic with a 76-61 win over the Flyers. The Buckeyes trailed 49-39 with 12:44 left in the game before going on a 17-3 run over a 6-minute span to take a 56-52 lead which was capped off by a Sarah Schulze 3-pointer. Ohio State did not trail the rest of the game. Jantel Lavender recorded her seventh-straight double-double with 27 points and 11 rebounds (nine of which came after halftime) and claimed Buckeye Classic MVP honors in the process. Samantha Prahalis also was named to the all-tournament team after averaging 15.0 points and 4.0 assists and 2.0 steals in the two victories. Sophomore Sarah Schulze was the spark off the bench for the second-straight game, scoring a career-high 11 points on the heels of three 3-point field goals. Shavelle Little did her usual thing on the defensive end, recording five steals while scoring six points and grabbing six more rebounds.

Buckeyes Continue Challenging Non-Conference Slate
Ohio State does not face a team in the non-conference portion of the season that recorded fewer than 18 wins last season. Below is a breakdown of the Buckeyes’ non-conference foes and their 2007-08 record:

School Record Conference Record
Butler 20-10 10-8, Horizon League
Army 18-12 9-5, Patriot League
Syracuse* 22-9 10-6, Big East
Auburn* 20-12 7-7, SEC
Hartford* 28-6 14-2, America East
Boston U 20-12 11-5, America East
Dayton 25-9 9-4, Atlantic 10
North Carolina* 33-3 14-0, ACC
Nebraska* 21-12 9-7, Big 12
Cleveland State* 19-14 10-8, Horizon

* 2008 NCAA tournament team

Good as Advertised
Through seven games this season, freshman 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 seasoned veteran, running Ohio State’s offense, finding the open teammate and coming up with one big shot after another. She leads all Big Ten freshman and is among the conference leaders with 13.7 ppg and also is second among all conference players with 5.0 assists per game. She has had four or more assists in all but one game, including a season-high eight in the overtime loss at Auburn. She scored 15 of her season-high 17 points in the win over Syracuse and hit three from downtown. She has hit 53 percent of her shots this season, including 14 from long range.

Tickets On Sale Now for NCAA First and Second Rounds in Columbus
The Ohio State University is proud to be hosting the First and Second Rounds of the 2009 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament on March 21 and 23 at Nationwide Arena. All-session passes are on sale now. Adult all-session tickets are available for $32.50. Student All-Session tickets are $21.50. Single session tickets go on sale March 18, 2009.

Two easy ways to order tickets:

In person at the Ohio State Athletics Ticket Office (located inSE corner of the Jerome Schottenstein Center near corner of LaneAve. and Olentangy River Rd.) or call 1-800-GO-BUCKS.

About Ohio State: The Ohio State University Department of Athletics sponsors 36 fully funded varsity teams 17 for women, 16 for men and three co-educational. The department is committed to providing its more than 900 student-athletes with the finest in academic and athletics support in order to ensure a quality and life-enhancing experience. The Department of Athletics is completely self-supporting and receives no university monies, tax dollars or student fees. In Fiscal Year 2008-09, the Department of Athletics will transfer back to the University more than $26 million in assessments, including nearly $13 million in grant-in-aid costs.

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