Ohio State's Lavender Named Preseason Player Of The Year; Buckeyes Selected To Finish First
Oct. 29, 2009
PARK RIDGE, Ill. - Ohio State junior Jantel Lavender was selected as the Big Ten Preseason Player of the Year by the conference coaches and a panel of media members, the Big Ten Conference announced on Thursday. Lavender's Buckeyes were selected to finish first in the conference standings by both groups.
An All-American and the Big Ten's Player of the Year last season, Lavender earns her second Preseason Player of the Year nod. The junior is a member of the preseason Wade and Wooden award watch lists after finishing last season first in the conference and 11th in the nation with 20.8 points and 10.7 rebounds per game. Lavender is the unanimous Preseason Player of the Year by the coaches and a unanimous member of both the coaches and media Preseason All-Big Ten teams.
Led by Lavender, Ohio State was tabbed by the conference coaches and media to win the program's sixth straight Big Ten title. The Buckeyes return four starters from last year's 29-6 squad that won the Big Ten Championship and Tournament before advancing to the NCAA Sweet 16. Among OSU's returnees are last year's Big Ten Freshman of the Year Samantha Prahalis, a Preseason All-Conference selection, and two-time Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Shavelle Little.
Michigan State was selected to finish second by the coaches and the media, led by Preseason All-Big Ten selection Allyssa DeHaan. A member of the preseason Wade and Wooden award watch lists, DeHaan is the Big Ten's all-time leading blocker and is on pace to break the NCAA's all-time blocks record this season. The Spartans return all five starters from last year's team that went 22-11 and advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16.
The Big Ten coaches selected Minnesota to finish third, while the conference media members tabbed Purdue as their third-place finisher. The Gophers finished 20-12 last season and moved on to the second round of NCAA play, while Purdue ended the year at 25-11 with the program's second Elite Eight appearance in the last three years.
Joining Lavender, Prahalis and DeHaan on the Preseason All-Big Ten team are Illinois' Jenna Smith, a unanimous pick by the coaches, and Penn State's Tyra Grant. Both players are also on the Preseason Wooden Award watch list.
The complete results of the coaches and media preseason polls and All-Conference teams can be found on the below.