Feb. 27, 2012
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Senior point guard Samantha Prahalis was named Big Ten player of the year by the coaches and the media Monday, making it eight years in a row that a Buckeye has won the top individual honor. Prahalis also was the only unanimous first team all-Big Ten selection on both sides as well.
Joining Prahalis on the first team is junior guard Tayler Hill, who also was named to the all-defensive team, as voted on by the coaches, for the second year in a row. Junior guard Amber Stokes joined Hill on the all-defensive team and also won Big Ten defensive player of the year honors. Sophomore Ashley Adams was given honorable mention honors by the media.
Prahalis concluded a stellar regular season, leading the Big Ten with 22.5 points per game in conference play. She also led the Big Ten in assists (6.5) and minutes played (37.5) and ranked among the top 5 in free throw percentage (.837), steals (2.3), 3-point field goals per game (2.1) and assist/turnover ratio (2.0). She is a Lieberman, Wooden, Wade and Naismith award finalist, ranks second on the Big Ten's all-time assists list (889, three away from the record) and ranks fourth on Ohio State's career scoring list (1,967). Last Thursday on her senior night at Value City Arena, she set an Ohio State single-game record with 42 points in the win over Minnesota, breaking Katie Smith's previous record of 40 set back in 1994. In that game she hit a career high seven 3FGs and 15 FGs overall. Prahalis, who also was a unanimous first team selection in 2010, had 13 20-point games this season, including three 30-point, one 40-point and four 10+ assist efforts.
Hill led the Big Ten in scoring with 20.7 ppg in all games, good for 12th best in Division I, and also led the conference with 76 3FGs and ranked third with 2.5 steals per game. She scored in double-figures in every game this season, including 18 20-point efforts and one 30-point game in the overtime win over Florida State in November. She enjoyed one of her best games with 27 points while hitting 7 of 8 from 3-point range in the win over Indiana Feb. 16. In January, Hill scored 28 points, including 5 3FGs in the win over Iowa. Hill's 20.7 ppg was the highest scoring increase by an individual in the Big Ten this season, up from 10.4 ppg (+10.3).
Stokes was her usual self on the defensive end of the floor for the Buckeyes with her relentless pressure, often forcing turnovers and errant passes, allowing her teammates to pick off the next pass. While she averaged 1.2 steals, stats do not even begin to tell how Stokes changed games with her quickness and athleticism on the defensive end of the floor. Offensively, she averaged just under eight points (7.9) in conference play while shooting just under 50 percent to go along with 3.4 rebounds.
Adams ranked first in the Big Ten with 2.9 blocked shots per game and 3.3 in Big Ten games. She shot a Big Ten-best 56.8 percent from the field in conference games while averaging 7.2 points and 6.7 rebounds. She scored in double figures 10 times, had 10 or more rebounds six times and recorded three double-doubles.
The Buckeyes are the No. 2 seed in the 2012 Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis this weekend and will play the winner of No. 7 Michigan and No. 10 Illinois at 11:30 a.m. Friday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Ohio State Big Ten Players of the Year:
1986 - Tracey Hall
1987 - Tracey Hall
1989 - Lisa Cline
1996 - Katie Smith
2005 - Jessica Davenport
2006 - Jessica Davenport
2007 - Jessica Davenport
2008 - Jantel Lavender (Coaches)
2009 - Jantel Lavender
2010 - Jantel Lavender
2011 - Jantel Lavender (Media)
2012 - Samantha Prahalis
Ohio State Big Ten Defensive Players of the Year:
2006 - Kim Wilburn
2008 - Shavelle Little
2009 - Shavelle Little
2012 - Amber Stokes
Smith Named to WNBA 20 Greatest Players