Ohio State's Lavender and Wisconsin's Anderson Split Big Ten Player of the Year Honors
March 3, 2008
PARK RIDGE, Ill. - The Big Ten Conference office announced on Monday the women's basketball All-Big Ten teams and individual honors. Highlighting the list, Ohio State freshman Jantel Lavender was named Player of the Year by the coaches, becoming the first freshman to win the award, while also sweeping Freshman of the Year honors from both the coaches and media. Wisconsin senior Jolene Anderson was named Player of the Year by a 22-member media panel, becoming the first Badger to take home the accolade. Also receiving conference honors, Iowa's Lisa Bluder was named Coach of the Year, the Buckeyes' Shavelle Little earned Defensive Player of the Year recognition, and the Hawkeyes' Megan Skouby was named Sixth Player of the Year.
Lavender finished the conference schedule ranked third in the Big Ten in scoring with 17.8 points per game and first in rebounding with 9.7 boards per contest. She posted 12 double-doubles on the season, six of which came in conference play, and was the only player in the Big Ten to score in double digits every game this season. The 6-4 center also became the first freshman in conference history to receive four Player of the Week awards.
Anderson finished the 2007-08 campaign as the Big Ten's scoring champion for the second consecutive season, putting up an average of 19.6 points per conference game. The senior became Wisconsin's all-time leading scorer, male or female, earlier this year, and currently owns 2,267 career points. The Port Wing, Wis., native became the first player in Wisconsin history and the 12th in the Big Ten to eclipse the 2,000-career-points mark and currently ranks seventh on the conference's all-time scoring chart.
After leading her squad to a share of the Big Ten title, Bluder earned her second Big Ten Coach of the Year honor, also having earned the award in 2001. The Hawkeyes finished 20-9 overall and 13-5 in Big Ten play, marking the team's first conference championship since 1998 and its first 20-win season since 2004-05. Iowa earned the No. 2 seed in the 2008 Big Ten Women's Basketball Tournament presented by Xbox 360 Live, which is the team's highest seeding since 2001 when the squad went on to win the tournament title. Bluder earned her 500th career victory earlier this season, becoming the third active conference mentor to reach the milestone.
A junior on Bluder's squad, Skouby is the first Hawkeye to be named Sixth Player of the Year in the three-year history of the award. Skouby came off the bench in all 18 conference games, averaging 9.4 points per game on .496 shooting. The junior eclipsed the 1,000-career-points milestone this season and enters the Big Ten Tournament with 1,029 points over three years.
Little is the second Buckeye in the last three years to earn Defensive Player of the Year accolades as Kim Wilburn was honored in 2006. Little led the conference with 3.06 steals in conference games, becoming the first player since Penn State's Jess Strom in 2005 to average over three swipes per game during the Big Ten season. The sophomore also averaged 5.4 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game this year.
In addition to the individual honors, the media and coaches each selected three All-Big Ten teams while the coaches also named five-person All-Freshman and All-Defensive teams. Lavender was a unanimous first-team All-Big Ten selection by the coaches and a unanimous pick to the All-Freshman team. Anderson and Illinois' Jenna Smith were unanimous selections to the media's All-Big Ten first team. Consensus first-team accolades also went to Minnesota's Emily Fox, while Iowa's Kristi Smith was a first-team selection by the coaches, and Michigan State's Allyssa DeHaan earned the same honor from the media. The complete All-Big Ten teams can be found below.
The conference office also announced honorees from each of the 11 women's basketball squads for the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award. The student-athletes chosen are individuals who have distinguished themselves through sportsmanship and ethical behavior. In addition, the student-athletes must be in good academic standing and have demonstrated good citizenship outside of the sports-competition setting. Honorees for women's basketball are Illinois' Lori Bjork, Indiana's Whitney Thomas, Iowa's Stacy Schlapkohl, Michigan's Krista Clement, Michigan State's Alisa Wulff, Minnesota's Leslie Knight, Northwestern's Jenny Eckhart, Ohio State's Alice Jamen, Penn State's Kamela Gissendanner, Purdue's Lauren Mioton and Wisconsin's Brittany Heins.
2007-08 ALL-BIG TEN WOMEN'S BASKETBALL TEAMS & HONORS
As selected by Big Ten coaches
As selected by Big Ten media