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Lavender collects 4th Big Ten Player of the Year accolade

Eric Beiersdorfer / Lantern photographer

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Ohio State center Jantel Lavender on Monday became the first basketball player in Big Ten history to receive the conference’s highest honor four times.

The Big Ten announced that Lavender was named Co-Player of the Year by the media, alongside Michigan State senior forward Kalisha Keane, who was selected by the conference coaches.

“It’s a great honor, well-deserved,” OSU coach Jim Foster told The Lantern. “Heck of an accomplishment for anybody to be named once — but to be named four times is, I mean, just an incredible honor.”

Lavender is the only women’s basketball player in the Big Ten, ACC, Big East, Big 12, Pac-10 or SEC ever to be named her conference’s Player of the Year four times.

The senior Buckeye, who was named Big Ten Player of the Week six times this season, was a unanimous first-team All-Big Ten pick by both the coaches and media.

Lavender was the conference’s leader in scoring, rebounding and field goal percentage, averaging 22.6 points and 10.7 rebounds per game, and shooting 53.2 percent from the field this season. En route to earning her fourth Player of the Year nod, Lavender became the Big Ten’s all-time leader in rebounds with a career total of 1,352 boards.

The Cleveland native also is just the second player in Big Ten history to surpass the 2,600-point mark — to date, she has 2,677 career points.

The conference also recognized several other Buckeyes.

Junior guard Samantha Prahalis was named to the second- and third-team All-Big Ten by the media and coaches, respectively. Sophomore guard Tayler Hill was an honorable mention All-Big Ten pick by the coaches and media. The coaches named Hill to the All-Defensive team and freshman center Ashley Adams to the All-Freshman team.

In 2008, Lavender became the first freshman in the Big Ten to be named Player of the Year. She shared the award that year with Wisconsin’s Jolene Anderson, before exclusively winning the award the following two years.

“I think (it was) deserved — more than deserved,” Foster said. “Terrific, very happy for her, as for all of our players who were honored.”

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