Women’s Basketball: Jantel Lavender Sets Value City Rebounding Record as #20 Ohio State Handles Indiana 83-65
After breaking their three game losing streak on Sunday against Bethune-Cookman, #20 Ohio State returned to Big Ten action tonight by hosting Indiana. The Hoosiers entered the game 8-6 but were 2-0 in the Big Ten. The Hoosier’s Big Ten record is a bit of surprise when you realize that they have the worst field goal shooting percentage in the conference and they give up the most points. Despite that fact, the Hoosiers have been a middle of the pack team in the conference the past few years but always seems to pull off one or two big upsets a year, making them a team that you have watch out for.
Indiana made the smart decision to open the game in a 2-3 zone as Ohio State has struggled against zones this year, in large part due to their inability to hit shots from beyond the arc. Both teams struggled to begin the game as Indiana lead 10-8 at the midpoint of the first half. Ohio State struggled to shoot and Indiana controlled the tempo, slowing the game down and not giving the Buckeyes the chance to run. A Samantha Prahalis drive to the basket drew a foul and resulted in two made free throws which sparked the Buckeyes to an 8 to 2 run to take the lead 16-12. At this point the Buckeyes started hitting their shots and started to increase the tempo to one that was more to their liking. Ohio State’s lead continued to grow as the half continued and they went into the locker room up 32-19. After going 3 of 12 from the floor in the first 10 minutes of the game, the Buckeyes finished the half by shooting 10 of 19, though they did not hit a 3-pointer in the half.
Indiana came out of the break fired up; scoring 6 straight points to begin the half and cut the Buckeye lead to 32-25. The Buckeyes woke up at this point and the teams began to trade baskets, with the Buckeyes slowly adding to their lead. Ohio State lead by 16, 57-41, with just over 9 minutes remaining but Indiana was not done, going on an 8 to 2 run to cut the Buckeye lead to 10 points. A Sarah Schulze hit a three pointer and followed it up with a steal to spark the Buckeyes put up 13 unanswered points to extend their lead to 72-49 with five minutes remaining, putting the game out of reach. Ohio State kept up the attack the rest of the game and earned their first Big Ten win of the season 83-65.
For the game the Buckeyes shot 47% while holding the Hoosiers to 36%. After not hitting a single three pointer in the first half, Ohio State made 4 in the second half to finish the night 4 of 16 from beyond the arc, pretty good considering they missed their first nine from long range. The Buckeyes handled the zone much better tonight than they had earlier in the season and they will continue to see it until they can start hitting their outside shots. Last season Ohio State was the best three pointing team in the nation and if they can find their stroke, they can force opposing teams to play more man-to-man defense which will really up the paint for Lavender to go to work.
Samantha Prahalis lead the Buckeyes with 23 points on 9 of 14 shooting including going 3 of 6 from beyond the arc. After being in a shooting slump for much of the season, it is nice to see Prahalis shooting well and taking good shots. Sammie committed five turnovers in the first half, one of which was a pass that was needlessly flashy, but settled down and took better care of the ball in the second half, committing only one turnover after the break.
Several players had new career hires tonight. Indiana’s Whitney put up a career high 20 points. Ohio State’s Jantel Lavender set a new career mark, and Value City Arena record, in rebound with 22, to go with 22 points and 5 assists; an all around impressive night for her. Sophomore guard Amber Stokes had a career high 10 points and provided a nice spark of energy when she was on the floor.
After a sluggish start to the game where they struggled to hit shots, the Buckeyes showed an impressive energy and intensity that lead to them blowing the game wide open. The OSU defense also looked good, pressuring Indiana and forcing the Hoosiers to use more of the shot clock than they wanted. The Buckeyes also showed tenacity on the boards, out-rebounding the Hoosiers 45 to 34. This was a welcome change from the lackadaisical effort shown the Buckeyes during their three game losing streak. Tayler Hill continues to be the most improved player for Ohio State and showed several nice drives to the basket tonight while putting up 12 points. Sarah Schulze looked almost scared to shoot the ball in the first half but seemed to find her confidence in the second and finished the game with 7 points.
The question still remains whether the Buckeyes have learned their lesson from their loosing streak and are in the process of turning around a season that was in Jeopardy last week. Tonight’s performance was a positive sign but a bigger test looms on Saturday in the form of a road match-up with Iowa. Like Ohio State, Iowa was one of the preseason conference favorites but have struggled recently, losing their first two Big Ten games and having to rally to beat Minnesota tonight. The game will be Saturday at 4:00pm and will be televised on CBS.