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All-American Jantel Lavender keeps honors rolling in

Ohio State center Jantel Lavender earned a spot on the Associated Press first team All-America on Tuesday.

Lavender is the first basketball player in Big Ten history to earn All-American status four times and the only women’s basketball player in any major conference to accomplish the feat. It was Lavender’s second time making the first team.

“To be named among the nation’s best is always a tremendous honor, and it’s great to see your hard work pay off,” Lavender said in a press release from the OSU athletic department.

Lavender, the only four-time Big Ten Player of the Year, averaged 22.8 points and 10.9 rebounds a game, good for fifth and 15th in the NCAA, respectively, during the 2010–11 season.

She earned her record third Big Ten Tournament Most Outstanding Player award this year, after scoring a tournament single-game-record 37 points against Michigan State on March 5. The Buckeyes also made it to the Sweet 16 for the second consecutive year, losing to No. 1 seed Tennessee.

Over the course of her career, Lavender accumulated 2,818 points, an OSU record, and 1,422 rebounds, the all-time Big Ten mark. The center scored in double figures in an NCAA-record 136 games, every contest of her career.

Other notable members of the first team include Connecticut forward Maya Moore, the favorite for player of the year, and Brittney Griner, a 6-foot-8 center from Baylor.

OSU coach Jim Foster’s reaction to the announcement was straightforward.

“It’s just a reward for a terrific season,” he said. “Her numbers speak for themselves.”

As for how he plans to replace perhaps the best player in OSU women’s basketball history, Foster said the key was to spread the responsibility around.

“We don’t ask one player to do it,” he said. “We ask all players to step up to fill the role.”

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