After climbing to 12th and 14th in the polls, the Ohio State women’s basketball team faced Southern University tonight in the second straight easy game for the Buckeyes after surviving a tough three game stretch two weeks ago. Despite the mismatch in talent, the game did pose a challenge for the Buckeyes, could they keep up their intensity and focus for another easy opponent?
Ohio State opened the scoring as Darryce Moore, starting for the second straight games, made a pair of free throws but Southern quickly hit a basket to tie it up. The Buckeyes then went on a 17-2 run to take a lead that they would never again relinquish. OSU extended their lead to 26-6 just past the halfway point of the half. The Jaguars responded by hitting a three-pointer and then an inside jumper to cut the lead to 15, the closest that they would get. Ohio State kept building its lead and the Buckeyes went into the locker room leading 44-24.
The second half was more of the same as Ohio State kept expanding their lead and Southern could only watch. A scary moment occurred in the second half as Samantha Prahalis fell to the floor in pain after her lower leg collided with the leg of a Southern player. Prahalis managed to walk off the court with the assistance of a trainer and fortunately later returned to the bench and the game. This is the third time this season that Prahalis has had to be helped off the court by a trainer, at least two times do to lower leg issues. I have to wonder if she has some nagging type injury and possibly needs some time off in order to fully recover. The Buckeyes did not miss a beat though and coasted to an 83-49 victory.
For the game, Ohio State shot 53% from the floor, 40% from beyond the arc. The Buckeyes held the Jaguars to only 31% shooting, though Southern did hit 40% from three-point range. OSU won the rebounding battle 34 to 29 but they are still giving up too many offensive boards which are turned into easy baskets; the post players are going to have
to work on blocking out more.
Tayler Hill led the Buckeyes with 21 points off of a very good shooting night, going 9 of 14, while also dishing out 4 assists. Hill was also a force on the defensive end, coming up with 5 steals. Samantha Prahalis and Darryce Moore joined Hill in the double-digit scoring column, posting 17 and 12 points, respectively. Prahalis added 6 assists while Moore pulled down 6 boards. This is the second start for Moore, taking the starting spot normally occupied by freshman Kalpana Beach who is still recovering from a possible concussion that resulted after taking an elbow to the head against Oklahoma. Moore has done a great job in the starting spot and her performance raises the question as to who will be the starter when Beach is healthy, either way both will continue to share time at the 4-spot as they are both too good to keep on the bench. Center Ashley Adams had a good defensive night, recording 4 blocks to go along with
6 rebounds and 7 points.
Foster used the lopsided score to once again get the bench involved in the game, 11 Buckeyes saw the floor and ten of them scored. Freshman guard Maleeka Kynard had perhaps her best night of the season, scoring
6 points and grabbing 3 rebounds. Forward Martina Ellerbe came off the bench to show off her range, hitting a three-pointer for the second game in a row, she also had 4 rebounds and 2 blocks. Foster is utilizing the bench far more this year than he has in recent years and that will pay off as it helps the younger players to develop faster. Some of the impact of this can already be seen by the emergence of Darryce Moore, which now presents the nice problem of having too many forwards who deserve a lot of playing time; a very nice turn of events as in recent years the four position has tended to be the weakest spot on the floor for OSU.
This was not an exciting game by any stretch but it was still a good game for Ohio State. The Buckeyes did not take the easy route; instead they showed good focus and intensity in handling an outmatched opponent. After some stumbles against lesser teams last year, it is nice to see that this team is coming ready to play every time out. The win improves Ohio State’s record to 9-0, giving the team its best start in 11 years. Ohio State will get more of a challenge on Saturday when they travel to Berkley to face Cal at 5:00pm.