Buckeyes Dominate Boilers
By Tony Gerdeman
Led by 21 points and nine rebounds from All-American center Jantel Lavender, and 17 points from both Tayler Hill and Brittany Johnson, the Buckeyes (14-9, 5-6) derailed the Boilermakers (16-9, 6-6) 90-67, giving Purdue their worst conference loss of the season.
Not to be outdone by her backcourt teammates, point guard Samantha Prahalis also contributed twelve points and twelve assists.
A back-and-forth first half ceased being such with about six minutes to play. The Buckeyes, leading 27-25, would go on a 17-7 run to end the half.
The first half saw five ties and eight lead changes, but Purdue's 13 turnovers were too much to overcome. The Boilermakers simply had too many empty possessions to be able to challenge. Be it the four steals that Ohio State nabbed, or the numerous offensive fouls away from the basket. Purdue just didn't give themselves enough opportunities to keep up with a Buckeye offense that was clicking on most cylinders.
They didn't help themselves on the defensive end either. The Boilermakers had no answer for the Buckeyes' inside game—Ohio State scored 24 points in the paint in the first 20 minutes.
Perhaps the ultimate story of the first half, however, was the fact that the Buckeyes went to the foul line 15 times making 12). The Boilermakers didn't even attempt a single foul shot.
Purdue coach Sharon Versyp felt that their aggression on defense was negated by early foul trouble.
“They got to the foul line 15 times in the first half, so we couldn't play defense,” she said.
“So that kind of set the tone. All of our post players were on the bench and two of our guards were on the bench. So we've never had a situation where we couldn't play, and had the calls that we had today. We're trying to be aggressive, but they broke us down a little bit.”
“It's hard to be aggressive,” said guard Brittany Rayburn, agreeing with her coach.
“We play a very aggressive defense, and we were afraid to play aggressive defense because we had so many people in foul trouble. It's hard to be aggressive on defense when you're afraid you're going to have people foul out. I think that really set us back.”
Continuing to set Purdue back was the fact that the Buckeyes were able to extend their halftime lead right out of the gate, opening up a 58-34 advantage with 15:39 to play in the second half. They were hitting from all corners, most especially Brittany Johnson's, who had two three-pointers in a two-minute span to give Ohio State their largest lead of the game.
The Buckeyes would continue to build on the lead, which would eventually swell to 30 points with 7:42 remaining. From that point on, the two teams would essentially trade baskets and fouls until the clock finally ran out.
For the game, the Buckeyes forced 22 turnovers, including nine steals. They scored 21 points off of those turnovers. They also blocked seven shots.
“I thought our defensive intensity was very good,” said coach Jim Foster.
“It was collective and very active. I thought our defense started to make a difference, and then our ball reversal started to kick in.”
Because of that ball movement, Ohio State outscored Purdue 46-26 in the paint.
“Jantel was very strong with the ball and took her time,” said Foster.
“And because of that, you're going to get some fouls. I thought Taylor and Sammy had the ability to get the basket, or to go on the floor and penetrate some seams to get us some good shots, as well as get fouled.”
It was a complete team effort by the Buckeyes, and one that everybody had been waiting for.
“It was fun,” said Lavender.
“The most fun part about it was the fact that we played together. We made the extra pass. And I think everybody was on the same page defensively. It built our momentum and it was just exciting and fun.”
Up next for Ohio State is a trip to Minneapolis to play the ninth-place Gophers (11-12, 3-7) at 3:00 pm.
Game Play by Play
Season Stats Year to Date
• Ohio State played its second regular-season game at Nationwide Arena Thursday evening. The Buckeyes are 4-0 all-time at Nationwide after winning first and second round NCAA tournament games in 2009 and a regular season game vs. Cleveland State in 2008.
• Ohio State has now won the last six meetings with Purdue in Columbus. The Boilers’ last win in Columbus was Jan. 22, 2004 at VCA.
• For the second time this season, Ohio State scored more than 90 points. The last time the Buckeyes scored more than 90 points was a 95-84 victory vs. Oklahoma in Columbus. Ohio State improves to 12-2 on the season when scoring more than 70+ points.
• Ohio State ended the first half on a 17-0 run in the final 5:50 to go into the break with a 44-27 lead.
• For the fifth time this season, Ohio State scored more than 40 points in the first half with a 44-point effort. The Buckeyes previously scored more than 40 points vs. USC Upstate (46), Bethune Cookman (46), Michigan (46) and Oklahoma (45).
• Ohio State caused a season-high 22 turnovers after causing 21 on two previous occasions. The Buckeyes’ previous Big Ten best was 19 vs. Michigan State Jan. 16.
• In its five Big Ten wins, Ohio State is scoring 78.4 points per game while holding opponents to 62.8 ppg (+15.6), 44.8 percent from the field and 39.3 percent from three.
• Ohio State is 138-13 at home overall under Jim Foster and 111-9 since the start of 2004-05.
• Ohio State has made more free throws (369) than opponents have attempted (348) this season, which has been a recipe for success for the Buckeyes in recent years. Ohio State is 13-3 this year and 82-9 since the start of the 2007-08 season when they make more than its opponents at the line.
• After recording her first-career triple double (13 points, 10 assists, 10 rebounds vs. Northwestern Feb. 6) and the Buckeyes’ first since Jessica Davenport’s (17 points, 10 rebounds, 11 blocks) triple-double at Minnesota Feb. 8, 2007, Samantha Prahalis notched her fourth double-double of the season on 12 points and 12 assists.
• Jantel Lavender is the second-leading active scorer in the NCAA (2,558) behind UConn’s Maya Moore (2,740).
• Scoring 10+ points in all 125 career games, Lavender tied the NCAA record for the longest active streak for double-digit points in Division I.
• With 17 points, Brittany Johnson eclipsed 900 points for her career. She now has 915 career points. Johnson also moved into fifth place all-time in the Ohio State records book, surpassing Jamie Lewis with 184 3FGs after shooting 5-for-6 from behind the arc.
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