Ohio State earned a No. 6 seed in the New Orleans Regional and will play No. 11-seed Florida State at 10:30 p.m. ET at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa, Saturday, March 22 in the first round of the 2008 NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship. The game will be televised on ESPN2 (Beth Mowins, Fran Fraschilla and Ron Johnson) and can be heard on WOSU 820 AM.
Ohio State is making its sixth-consecutive and 17th overall trip to the tournament. The Big Ten regular-season champions for a fourth-consecutive year, the 25th-ranked Buckeyes enter the tournament with a 22-8 record after finishing 13-5 in the Big Ten.
The winner of the Ohio State-Florida State (18-13) game will take on the winner of No. 3-seed Oklahoma State (25-7) and No. 14-seed East Tennessee State (21-11) on Monday, March 24 in Des Moines. It will be Ohio State’s first meeting with any of the three schools.
Foster, NCAA and the Buckeyes
Jim Foster is no stranger to NCAA action, having now advanced to the tournament 22 times in his last 25 years of coaching at St. Joseph’s (Pa.), Vanderbilt and Ohio State. In Foster’s first six seasons at Ohio State, the Buckeyes have earned No. 1 (2006), No. 2 (2005), No. 4 (2003, 2007) and No. 6 (2004, 2008) seeds in the NCAA tournament and have upped their overall appearance total to 17. Ohio State has earned at least a second-round finish in four of five seasons under Foster, including a trip to the Round of 16 in 2005.
No. 1 Seed and the Furthest Trip
In 1993, Ohio State received its first No. 1 seed, playing in the east regional hosted in Richmond, Va. The Buckeyes defeated Western Kentucky and Virginia and became the first Big Ten team to advance to a Final Four and to play in a national championship game (vs. Texas Tech). The Buckeyes fell two points shy of the Red Raiders (84-82) in the final game. OSU also was the No. 1 seed in 2006, losing in the second round to Boston College (79-69) in West Lafayette, Ind.
Besides the 1993 Final Four trip, the Buckeyes have advanced twice to the Elite Eight (1985, 1987) and have been “Sweet 16” participants on four occasions (1986, 1988, 1989, 2005). Ohio State’s participation also includes four first (1982, 1984, 1999, 2007) and five second round (1990, 1996, 2003, 2004 and 2006) finishes.
Buckeyes Clinch Fourth-Consecutive, 11th Overall Big Ten Title
Ohio State secured its fourth-consecutive and league-best 11th overall Big Ten title March 2 (co-champs with Iowa). The Buckeyes are the first Big Ten team to win four titles in a row since Iowa won four straight 18 years ago (1987-90). The Buckeyes shared two of those conference crowns with the Hawkeyes in 1987 (17-1) and 1989 (16-2). Ohio State holds the record by winning five-consecutive championships from 1983-87.
Most Consecutive Big Ten Reg. Season Titles
Team No. Years
Ohio State 5 1983-87
Ohio State 4 2005-08
Iowa 4 1987-90
Junior forward Star Allen has regained her eligibility and will be able to participate for the Buckeyes in the NCAA tournament. Allen sat out winter quarter after being ruled academically ineligible. She remained on the Buckeye roster and was permitted to practice with the team throughout the term. Allen missed 18 games during the winter quarter as the Buckeyes went 13-5 in her absence on their way to a fourth-consecutive Big Ten regular-season title. Those five losses were by an average of 5.6 points, including two by four or less and another in overtime.
A preseason All-Big Ten selection and second-team choice last year, Allen started 10 of the first 12 games this season, averaging 8.6 points and 7.1 rebounds, including two double-doubles. Last year she led the Big Ten in field goal percentage (.625) and established a Big Ten record for field goal percentage in conference games, netting 84-121 tries for a .694 clip.
Seniors Set Win Mark
With the win over Northwestern March 2 in the regular-season finale, not only did Ohio State clinch its fourth-consecutive Big Ten championship, the senior class of Marscilla Packer, Tamarah Riley and Alice Jamen recorded their 109th victory and became the winningest class in Ohio State program history. Last year’s senior class of Jessica Davenport, Brandie Hoskins and Stephanie Blanton 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 (222) and rebounds (297) in a season, breaking the old mark of 189 field goals (Katie Smith, 1993) and 260 rebounds (Martha Baker, 1976). Then with the help of a career-high 36 points Feb. 28 at Penn State, she has upped her season scoring average to 17.5 points, inching closer to the record of 18.2 ppg set by Smith in 1993. And with 526 points, she also is closing in on 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 and will tie the school record in the first game of the 2008 NCAA Tournament. She played in her 129th career game in the Big Ten tournament March 7 and is now one away from 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 30 this year. Marscilla Packer is next among the current group with 125 games.
Lavender, Little Pick up Big Ten Honors
Ohio State freshman Jantel Lavender was named the 2008 Big Ten Player and Freshman of the Year and sophomore Shavelle Little was named the Big Ten’s defensive player of the year. Lavender was named freshman of the year by both the coaches and media and player of the year by the coaches only. Lavender becomes the first Big Ten freshman on the men’s or women’s side to receive conference player of the year honors. In addition, senior Marscilla Packer was named second-team all-Big Ten by the coaches and media while junior Ashlee Trebilcock was an honorable mention by the coaches and media.
Lavender is the second-leading freshman scorer and third-leading freshman rebounder in the nation, averaging 17.7 ppg and 9.8 rebounds during the regular season. She shot 51 percent from the field and ranked in the Top 3 in the Big Ten in each of the three categories, including first in rebounding. She became the first OSU freshman to be named to the Naismith mid-season watch list last month and has scored in double figures in all 30 games this season with 13 double-doubles third most by any freshman in Division I. She scored a career-high 36 points tied for fourth on Ohio State’s all-time single-game list and grabbed 16 rebounds in the win at Penn State Feb. 28. In that game she hit her first 12 free throws and finished 12-of-14 overall. Lavender was named the Big Ten co-player of the week for the fourth time March 3 a Big Ten freshman record. Her week was highlighted by two double-doubles, including the career-high 36-point, 16-rebound performance in State College.
Little, who also was named to the all-defensive team, ranked first in the Big Ten with 2.9 steals during the regular-season. She wrecked havoc for opposing point guards all season and set the tone for Ohio State defensively as the Buckeyes gave up just 59 points per game. She recorded three or more steals 13 times and had seven games with five or more, including a season-high seven at Purdue Feb. 18.
Packer led the conference in free throw percentage and 3-point field goals made during the regular-season. She was second in assist-turnover ratio, third in 3-point field goal percentage (.417) and fifth in scoring with six 20-point efforts and a career-high 32-points Jan. 20 against Wisconsin. She became the 26th player in school history to score 1,000 points and is only the third Buckeye in history to record at least 1,000 points and 200 3-point field goals in a career. Packer leads the Buckeyes with 99 assists this season.
Trebilcock has started every game this season, averaging 11.0 points in Big Ten games. She is second on the team with 43 3-point field goals and scored a career-high 25 twice once at Iowa Jan. 6 and the other at Minnesota Jan. 24. She connected on a season-high five 3-pointers in a December win over Ole Miss, scoring 18 points. Trebilcock averaged 2.5 assists and shot 72 percent from the free throw line in the regular season.
Freshman Jantel Lavender ranks second among all Division I freshman in scoring (17.5 ppg) and third in rebounding (9.9) and is the only freshman to rank in the Top 5 in both categories. Lavender has 13 double-doubles on the year, the third most among D-I freshman, and has scored in double-figures in all 30 contests. Below is a breakdown of some of the top freshman scorers and rebounders in the country this season.
(NCAA stats as of March 17)
1. Maya Moore, UConn (17.7 ppg)
2. Jantel Lavender, Ohio State (17.5 ppg)
3. Tamara Abalde, Lamar (16.0 ppg)
4. Megan Mahoney, Fordham (15.4 ppg)
5. Stefanie Murphy, Boston College (15.0 ppg)
1. Tia Lewis, Central Florida (11.5 rpg)
2. Ta’Shia Phillips, Xavier (11.1 rpg)
3. Jantel Lavender, Ohio State (9.9 rpg)
4. Freda Allen, Southern (9.4 rpg)
5. Emma Cannon, Central Florida (8.7 rpg)
Lavender Earns Record Fourth POW Award
Jantel Lavender took home her fourth Big Ten Player of the Week award March 3 after helping the Buckeyes claim a share of the Big Ten title, becoming the first freshman in Big Ten history to earn four Player of the Week honors. Lavender averaged 19.3 points, 11.7 rebounds and 4.3 assists over the final three games of the regular season, posting double-doubles against Penn State and Northwestern to close out the season. The freshman’s best performance came on the road against the Lady Lions when she netted a career-high 36 points, grabbed 16 boards and dished out six assists in a three-point Buckeye win. Lavender has accumulated 13 double-doubles this season. She has also scored in double digits in each of Ohio State’s 30 games this year.
Not In Our House
The Buckeyes have won 76-consecutive games at home against unranked opponents. The last unranked team to win in Columbus was Penn State, Feb. 3, 2002.
Big Ten Domination
Ohio State has won 63 of its last 72 (.875) 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 went 13-5 during the expanded 18-game conference schedule this season.
Packer Keeping Pace with 3FG Records
Senior guard Marscilla Packer is among the best 3-point shooters in school history and is second on the all-time list with 233 makes — recently passing up Katie Smith (218) for second place. The career record is 270 set by Caity Matter (2001, 03-05). Packer has hit 77 so far this season, 57 last year, 79 as a sophomore (good for fourth on the all-time single-season list) and 20 as a freshman in 2004-05. She has 13 games this year with three or more 3FG’s and Ohio State is 12-1 in those games. The only loss was Jan. 31 at Illinois when Packer hit four 3’s. Packer has 77 3FG’s this season, good for sixth on the all-time list. The single-season record is held by Matter who made 106 in 2003.
Score 70, OSU Wins
When the Buckeyes score at least 70 points, they are 17-1 this season. When they are held below that mark, the Buckeyes are just 5-7. Ohio State’s only loss was at Minnesota Jan. 24, 79-70 — a game played without the services of Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Shavelle Little.
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 gave up an average of only 53.1 points at home this year and 68.7 on the road — a difference of 15.4 points. They averaged 9.0 steals at home and 5.9 on the road and have a +3.5 turnover margin at home and -2.7 margin away from Value City Arena. Overall, the Buckeyes are giving up an average of 59.7 points per game — third 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 39.6 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.
Ohio State in the Big Ten
Ohio State leads all Big Ten teams in scoring (71.7), scoring margin (+12.0), FG percentage (.470), assists per game (16.1) and assist/turnover ratio (+1.06). The Buckeyes are second in rebounding (38.2) and rebounding margin (+5.0). Defensively, OSU has given up just 59.7 points and have allowed only two teams (Maryland and Purdue) to shoot better than 50 percent this season. Individually, freshman Jantel Lavender ranks first in rebounding (9.9), second in FG percentage (.519) and third in scoring (17.5). Marscilla Packer led the conference in FT percentage (.883) and 3FG’s made (77-2.57 per game), is second in assist-turnover ratio (+1.74), third in 3FG percentage (.412) and fifth in scoring (15.2). Shavelle Little is tops in the league in steals with 2.8 per game — averaging more than three per game most of the season before a knee injury has limited her playing time down the stretch.
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.
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 Feb. 28. 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.
Last Time Out: Illinios 64, OSU 58
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. 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. Packer scored 15 of her 19 points in the second half. Lavender took just eight shots, but recorded her 13th double-double of the season. 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 OSU 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. 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.
OSU Tough at Home Under Foster
Over the past three-plus seasons, Ohio State has amassed a remarkable 65-3 record at home and a 58-2 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: 92-7
Foster Picks Up Win No. 650
Head coach Jim Foster, the ninth-winningest active coach in Division I, earned his 650th career win with an 89-53 victory over Penn State Jan. 28. In doing so, he became just the 13th Division I women’s basketball coach to win at least 650 games. Foster, who coached Vanderbilt to the 1993 Final Four, is in his 30th year as a collegiate coach with stops at St. Joseph’s (1979-91) and Vanderbilt (1992-2002) along the way. Two seasons ago, he became the 15th fastest D-I women’s coach to reach 600 wins. He is tied for eighth all-time with 22 20-win seasons.
Packer Dishing it Out
Despite an up and down Big Ten season, senior Marscilla Packer is still regarded as one of the top scorers in the conference. But perhaps the one aspect of her game that often gets overlooked is her ability to spread the ball around and find her open teammates. Packer leads the Buckeyes with 99 dimes and ranks 10th in the Big Ten with 3.3 per game. She tied a career high with seven in the win over Penn State Jan. 28 and recorded six in the road win at Northwestern and five each in the win against Indiana and in road defeats at Minnesota, Purdue and Indiana.
78 and Counting
The Buckeyes currently sit at No. 25 in the latest Associated Press Top 25 poll (March 10) — the only ranked Big Ten team. It marks the 79th-consecutive week the Buckeyes have been ranked in the AP Top 25. The Buckeyes cracked the Top 25 back on Feb. 23, 2004 and have been ranked every week since.
43 Points Sets Modern Era Record Low
Ohio State edged Illinois, 43-42, Jan. 17 in Columbus on Maria Moeller’s 3-pointer with 14 seconds remaining. The 43 points scored by the Buckeyes were the fewest in an OSU victory since the 1971-72 season when Ohio State defeated Dayton, 35-27. It was the fewest points overall since an 80-43 loss to Purdue, Jan. 13, 2002, in West Lafayette, Ind.
Packer Has Memorable Week; Joins 1,000-Point/200 3FG Club
Marscilla Packer reached two milestones in the Jan. 17 win against Illinois, becoming the 26th player at Ohio State to score 1,000 points and just the third Buckeye to record at least 1,000 points and 200 3-point field goals in a career. With her only field goal of the game in the final minutes, Packer hit a 3-pointer from the left wing for her 200th-career 3FG and also put her over the 1,000-point mark.
Numbers Don’t Lie
Here are some of the key numbers that have dictated the Buckeyes’ success this year. Most notable, Ohio State is 16-4 this year when outrebounding its opponents, 19-3 when leading at the half, 18-0 when making more FT’s, 15-0 when holding opponents under 60 and 17-1 when scoring more points in the paint and 17-1 when scoring 70 or more. They are 12-1 when Marscilla Packer hits three or more from 3-point range, 14-3 when Ohio State outshoots its opponent from 3-point range and 10-3 when Jantel Lavender has 10 or more rebounds.
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