Sunday, March 2, 2008 – 2 p.m. ET
Value City Arena – Columbus, Ohio
No. 18 Ohio State (21-7, 12-5 Big Ten) vs. Northwestern (5-24, 1-16 Big Ten)
Radio/Internet – WOSU 820-AM/www.wosu.org (P-by-P: Marty Bannister; Analyst: Kristin Watt)
Television – None
COLUMBUS, Ohio — No. 18 Ohio State (21-7, 12-5) can wrap up its fourth-consecutive Big Ten regular-season championship with a win over Northwestern at 2 p.m. Sunday at Value City Arena. The Buckeyes can win the title outright with a victory and an Iowa loss at Wisconsin (1 p.m. ET). Both Iowa and OSU are tied atop the standings at 12-5, with Purdue in third place at 11-6. Seniors Marscilla Packer, Tamarah Riley and Alice Jamen will be honored prior to the game.
Seniors Look to Set Win Mark
With a victory Sunday, not only will Ohio State clinch its fourth-consecutive Big Ten championship, the senior class of Packer, Riley and Jamen will record their 109th victory and become the winningest class in Ohio State program history. Last year’s senior class held the previous record with 108 wins from 2004-07.
Lavender Sets OSU Freshman Records
Jantel Lavender continues to etch her name in the Ohio State record books during her freshman season. She has already set OSU freshman records for field goals (210) and rebounds (275) in a season, breaking the old mark of 189 field goals (Katie Smith, 1993) and 260 rebounds (Martha Baker, 260). Then with a career-high 36 points Feb. 28 at Penn State, she upped her season scoring average to 17.9 points, inching closer to the record of 18.2 set by Smith in 1993. And with 500 points, she also could catch Smith’s record of 578 points in 1993.
Riley Nearing Career Games Mark
Senior Tamarah Riley has a chance to play in more games than any other Buckeye in program history. She played in her 127th career game at Penn State Thursday and is now three shy of tying Kim Wilburn (2003-06) and Jessica Davenport (2004-07) for the most all-time with 130. Riley has played in every Ohio State game over the past four seasons: 35 in 2004-05, 32 in 2006 and 07 and all 28 this year. Marscilla Packer is next among the current group with 123 games.
Noting The Buckeyes
Ohio State is looking to become the first Big Ten team to win four-consecutive Big Ten regular-season titles since Iowa won four-straight from 1987-90. The Buckeyes own the all-time record with five-straight championships from 1983-87. The Buckeyes also own the most overall with 10.
Ohio State has won 62 of its last 71 (.873) Big Ten regular-season games. The Buckeyes won the last six games of the 2003-04 season, went 14-2 in 2004-05, 15-1 in each of the last two seasons and are 12-5 this year.
The Buckeyes have won 75-consecutive games at home against unranked opponents. The last unranked team to win in Columbus was Penn State, Feb. 3, 2002.
The Buckeyes, ranked 18th in this week’s Associated Press Top 25 poll, have been ranked 77-consecutive weeks in the AP poll.
Ohio State leads the Big Ten in scoring (72.1), scoring margin (+12.2), FG percentage (.472) — seventh in the NCAA ranks — assists per game (16.32) and assist/turnover ratio (+1.05). The Buckeyes are second in 3FG percentage (.388) — ninth in the NCAA — rebounding (38.3) and rebounding margin (+5.0). Defensively, they have allowed only two teams (Maryland and Purdue) to shoot better than 50 percent this season.
Freshman Jantel Lavender ranks second among all Division I freshman in scoring (17.9 ppg) and third in rebounding (9.8). She is the only freshman to rank in the Top 5 in both categories. Lavender has 11 double-doubles on the year, the third most among D-I freshman, and has scored in double-figures in all 28 contests. Below is a breakdown of some of the top freshman scorers and rebounders in the country this season.
(NCAA stats as of Feb. 29)
1. Maya Moore, UConn (18.4 ppg)
2. Jantel Lavender, Ohio State (17.9 ppg)
3. Tamara Abalde, Lamar (16.2 ppg)
4. Stefanie Murphy, Boston College (15.7 ppg)
5. Megan Mahoney, Fordham (15.5 ppg)
1. Tia Lewis, Central Florida (11.5 rpg)
2. Ta’Shia Phillips, Xavier (11.1 rpg)
3. Jantel Lavender, Ohio State (9.8 rpg)
4. Freda Allen, Southern (9.79 rpg)
5. Emma Cannon, Central Florida (8.5 rpg)
Night And Day
The most notable stats that jump out when breaking down Ohio State’s road woes is its defense and turnovers. The Buckeyes give up an average of only 53.8 points at home and 68.7 on the road — a difference of 14.9 points. They average 9.0 steals at home and 5.8 on the road and have a +3.4 turnover margin at home and -2.7 margin away from Value City Arena. Overall, the Buckeyes are giving up an average of 59.9 points per game — fourth best in the Big Ten. But more impressive, Ohio State opponents have shot 50 percent or better only twice this season (at #3 Maryland Nov. 30 and Purdue Feb. 18) and average just 39.3 percent against the Buckeyes. OSU held Colgate to a season-low 18.6 percent Nov. 24. The Buckeyes have shot 50 percent or better 10 times and are 10-0 in those games.
Foster Records Ninth-Consecutive 20-Win Season
The win over Iowa Feb. 21 gave Ohio State its sixth-consecutive 20-win season. It is the 22nd of coach Foster’s career, his ninth-consecutive overall and his sixth at Ohio State, tying Nancy Darsch who had six in 12 years as OSU head coach from 1985-97. Foster has done it each year at OSU since his first season in 2002-03, including a 30-win season in 2004-05. Foster is now tied with Sue Gunter and Rene Portland for eighth all-time with 22 20-win seasons.
Riley Enjoys Career Night
Senior Tamarah Riley has made the most of an unexpected opportunity this season and turned in quite possibly the best all-around game of her career Feb. 25 at Indiana. The Detroit, Mich., native scored 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting and grabbed a career-high 16 rebounds — 10 in the first half — in an overtime loss. Riley single-handedly kept Ohio State in the game, most notably in the first half when she led all players with seven points and 10 rebounds. It was her third double-double of the season before fouling out late in regulation. Riley is shooting a Big Ten-best 63.9 percent from the field in conference games.
Lavender Follows Suit
Jantel Lavender followed up Riley’s career night three days later with her best all-around performance of the season at Penn State. Lavender scored a career-high 36 points — tied for fourth on the school’s all-time single-game list and tying Jessica Davenport’s career high — and grabbed 16 rebounds of her own as Ohio State gutted out an 87-84 win in Happy Valley. Lavender was unstoppable, working her jumper, hook shot and spin moves on her way to 12-of-19 shooting. She made her first 12 free throw attempts before finishing the game 12-of-14. She also displayed her passing ability with a career-high six assists and played all 40 minutes.
Lavender Named Finalist For Naismith Trophy
Jantel Lavender, one of the top freshmen in the nation this season, is one of 31 finalists for the 2008 Naismith Trophy, awarded annually to the nation’s top women’s basketball player. She is the first Ohio State freshman to be named a finalist for the award. She is one of only two freshman to make the list, joining UConn’s Maya Moore.
The Wildcats, 5-24 and 1-16 in the Big Ten, picked up their first Big Ten win of the season last Sunday against Penn State in Evanston. Northwestern is led by a pair of talented freshman in Amy Jaeschke (13.5 ppg) and Meshia Reed (9.8 ppg). In the victory over the Lady Lions, senior Nadia Bibbs scored a team-high 19 points while Jaeschke added 17 and Reed 9 points and 10 rebounds. Beth Combs is in her fourth season as head coach.
The Buckeyes own a 32-15 lead in the all-time series with the Wildcats and have won the last 14 meetings overall by an average of more than 23 points. Northwestern’s last win against Ohio State was Jan. 17, 1999 in Evanston, 48-41. Ohio State defeated the Wildcats, 77-55, Jan. 13 in Evanston.
Last Time vs. Northwestern
Ohio State extended its win streak to four with a 77-55 victory at Northwestern behind 18 points from senior Marscilla Packer and Jantel Lavender’s eighth double-double. Northwestern came out red hot, hitting 14 of its first 16 shots. They opened up a 10-point lead with 7:41 left in the half, 28-18, behind 10 points from freshman Amy Jaeschke. But Ohio State went on an 18-2 run to end the half 10 points coming from freshman Alison Jackson in front of her hometown faithful. The Buckeyes then blew the game wide open in the second half as Lavender’s layup capped off a 24-9 run over the first 10 minutes for a 59-39 lead. Ohio State outscored the Wildcats 42-25 in the second period to secure its eighth win in nine games. Lavender finished with 15 points and 12 rebounds while Packer was 6-of-12 from the field and hit four 3-pointers. Northwestern was paced by Jaeschke’s 24 points and eight boards.
Buckeyes Outlast Penn State
Jantel Lavender scored a career-high 36 points and grabbed 16 rebounds as the Buckeyes moved a step closer the Big Ten title in an 87-84 victory over Penn State. Ohio State coach Jim Foster said Lavender played with patience. The approach paid off as Lavender fell one rebound short of her career high and tied her best with six assists. Penn State’s school-record losing streak stretched to 10 games, though the Lady Lions hung close to the Buckeyes all night. Lavender’s tough, running one-hander in traffic in the lane with 1:47 left gave the Buckeyes an 85-80 lead. But she threw away the ball on an inbounds play with 14.7 seconds left to give the Lady Lions a final shot to tie. Kamela Gissendanner’s desperation 3-pointer went wide of the bucket with the clock winding down. It wasn’t the play Washington drew up during a timeout before the last possession. Gissendanner, a senior, scored 25 points in her final home game. Janessa Wolff scored a career-high 16 and grabbed 10 rebounds off the bench for Penn State. Marscilla Packer had 18 points for Ohio State despite shooting 4-of-17. The Buckeyes, seeking a fourth straight Big Ten regular-season crown, can finish in no worse than a tie for the title if they win their regular-season finale Sunday against Northwestern.
Noting the Win at Penn State
With 16 boards, Jantel Lavender set an Ohio State freshman record for rebounds in a season with 275, breaking the old mark of 260 set by Martha Baker in 1976. Lavender also upped her freshman record for field goals in a season to 210.
Lavender finished with a career-high 36 points, tied for fourth on Ohio State’s all-time single-game list. It also marked the most since Jessica Davenport scored 36 on Jan. 27, 2005 Davenport’s sophomore year.
Lavender, who also tied her career-high with six assists, extended her double-figure scoring streak to 28 games and recorded her 11th double-double of the season.
Lavender hit her first 12 free throw attempts and finished the game 12-of-14.
With the win, the Buckeyes will at least tie for their fourth-consecutive Big Ten regular-season championship with a win Sunday against Northwestern (2 p.m, Value City Arena). OSU can win the league title outright with a win and an Iowa loss to Wisconsin.
Ohio State has now won 62 of its last 71 Big Ten regular-season games.
The Buckeyes still have not lost consecutive Big Ten regular-season games since the 2003-04 season.
Ohio State has won the last nine meetings with Penn State.
The Buckeyes made 16-of-17 free throws in the first half and a season-high 24-of-27 (88.9 percent) for the game.
Marscilla Packer, who finished with 18 points, connected on three 3-pointers, the 13th time this year she has made three or more. Ohio State is 12-1 when she hits three or more from deep.
Packer passed Frani Washington (1978-80; 1,173 points) for 19th on Ohio State’s all-time scoring list. Packer now has 1,175 career points in 123 career games.
Maria Moeller came off the bench and recorded career highs with 11 points and three 3FG’s on as many attempts.
Tamarah Riley was the fourth Buckeye in double-figures with 10 points on 5-of-6 from the floor. She is shooting a Big Ten-best 63.9 percent in conference games.
Riley played in her 127th career game, three shy of tying Kim Wilburn (2003-06) and Jessica Davenport (2004-07) for the most all-time at 130.
Ohio State is now 15-3 this year when outrebounding its opponents, 18-2 when leading at the half, 17-0 when making more FT’s and 16-1 when scoring more points in the paint.
OSU Tough at Home Under Foster
Over the past three-plus seasons, Ohio State has amassed a remarkable 64-3 record at home and a 57-2 record at Value City Arena (7-1 at St. John 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: 91-7
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