Buckeyes going for 4

The Indiana women square off Monday evening at Assembly Hall with No. 18 Ohio State in a game televised on the Big Ten Network. After a Thursday win over Iowa, the Buckeyes, who have been ranked in the AP poll for 76 consecutive weeks, moved into sole possession of first place in the conference standings. With three games left, the team is making a bid for a fourth straight league title (regular season) for the second time in school history. The Buckeyes previously accomplished the feat with five Big Ten crowns in a row from 1983-87.

No easy task for the Hoosiers, who have fallen to Ohio State in eight straight meetings. The Buckeyes come in as the highest scoring and best-shooting team in the conference. Freshman center Jantel Lavender, the heir to departed Jessica Davenport and beyond, averages 17.5 ppg. Lavender and junior guard Ashlee Trebilcock both scored 18 points in the 69-56 decision over the Hawkeyes.

Also, senior Marscilla Packer (14.7 ppg) has drained the most 3-pointers in the Big Ten this season, and the top two players in the conference’s average steals category will be on the floor as Buckeye point guard Shavelle Little leads IU’s Kim Roberson by 11 in the same amount of games played.

Indiana senior Nikki Smith is doing an internship with the BTN as a campus correspondent this semester. You can check out some of her responses to the network’s Question of the Week, and if you notice, she picked Iowa earlier this month to win the women’s Big Ten title this year. So, a win tonight will not only boost the Hoosiers’ chances for a coveted top-5 seed in the conference tourney but also keep her prediction in line, as the Hawkeyes trail OSU by a half game.

A reminder that Sunday, March 2nd has been designated “Head to the Hall” day by IU Athletics. The women play Penn State at 4 p.m. and want to try and set the record for fan attendance at an on-campus game in the state of Indiana. Purdue drew 14,124 to Mackey Arena in 1999 for the current mark. Smith will be honored as she plays in her last regular-season game. Doors will open at 1:30 p.m. as the men’s game at Michigan State will be shown on the video board in Assembly Hall beginning at 2 p.m.