Lavender and Keane named Top Big Ten Performers
From Big Ten Press Release
PARK RIDGE, Ill. – The Big Ten Conference announced the women’s basketball all-conference teams and individual award winners on Monday.
Michigan State’s Kalisha Keane was selected as the Big Ten Player of the Year by the conference coaches, while Ohio State’s Jantel Lavender earned top billing from the media.
Photo by Jim Davidson
Lavender’s award marks her fourth Player of the Year honor, making her the only women’s or men’s basketball player in conference history to earn the award four times. She is also the only women’s basketball player among the Big Ten, ACC, Big East, Big 12, Pac-10 or SEC to accomplish the feat.
Lavender led the Big Ten in scoring and rebounding, posting 22.6 points and 10.7 rebounds per game this season en route to her fourth Player of the Year award. She picked up six conference Player of the Week honors this season, pushing her career total to 18, the most in Big Ten history. The Cleveland, Ohio, native became the Big Ten’s all-time rebounding leader this season, racking up 1,352 boards in her career. She is also just the second player in conference history to amass 2,600 points.
Keane becomes the first player in Michigan State history to be named Big Ten Player of the Year after leading the Spartans to the Big Ten title, their first outright conference crown and their third overall. The senior averaged 16.2 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.4 steals per game this season, starting all 29 games for the Spartans. She led Michigan State in scoring on 15 occasions and posted 20 or more points nine times.
Spartan head coach Suzy Merchant received the nod from her peers and the media as conference Coach of the Year. Merchant earns top billing among Big Ten coaches after guiding Michigan State to the conference crown for the first time in her tenure. The Spartans put together a 25-4 overall record and a 13-3 conference ledger under her tutelage, marking their eighth-straight 20-win season. The award is the third in Michigan State history and the first by a Spartan coach since Joanne P. McCallie earned top honors from the media in 2005.
The coaches and media also selected three All-Big Ten teams, while the coaches picked five-player All-Freshman and All-Defensive teams. Lavender was a unanimous selection by the coaches and media, while Keane was a unanimous choice by the coaches.
OSU's Samantha Prahalis was named to the second team by the media and was named honorable mention by the coaches. Tayler Hill was honorable mention on both polls.
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