Johnson's Clutch Threes Lift Buckeyes
By Tony Gerdeman
Brittany Johnson hit five
three-pointers in the second half, including the game winner with
just 0.7 seconds left on the clock, as the Buckeyes (17-9, 8-6) went
into West Lafayette and came away 76-74 winners over the Boilermakers
The win keeps the Buckeyes in the hunt
for a top-five seeding in the Big Ten Tournament which would earn
them a first-round tournament bye.
For a while it looked like
the chance of securing a first-round bye just wasn't in the cards
for Ohio State. Purdue built a 25-14 lead just 9:34 into the first
half thanks to tremendous shooting, including 3-3 from three-point
As hot at the Boilers were, Ohio
State couldn't have been colder. Jantel Lavender started the game
2-8 from the field, and her teammates weren't much better.
Lavender wouldn't stay cold for long,
however. After starting 2-8, she would make three of her next four.
Ashley Adams and reserve forward Alison Jackson would follow suit
with makes of their own, cutting Purdue's lead to just 34-31.
The Boilermakers led at the half 38-31,
but the Buckeyes quickly opened the second half with a designed play
to get guard Brittany Johnson a look at a three-pointer.
“We ran the first play of the second
half for Brittany because she had none in the first half,” said
Buckeye coach Jim Foster. “And as soon as that one went down, I
felt pretty good.”
After five minutes of play, Ohio State
had tied the game at 40-40. Over the next six minutes, however,
Purdue would go on a 16-6 run, building a ten-point lead with 8:52 to
play in the game.
Then, with less than eight minutes to
play in the game and their backs against the wall, the Buckeyes unleashed some fury. A three-pointer
from Tayler Hill cut Purdue's lead to seven points. After a Purdue score, Brittany Johnson then hit another three-pointer
to cut the lead to six.
Another three-pointer just over one
minute later would cut Purdue's lead to three at 62-59 with 4:40
remaining. The Boilermakers would regain momentum and take a
five-point lead with under two minutes to play. Brittany Johnson
then hit yet another three, cutting the Purdue lead to 70-68.
“We chipped away and stayed in touch,
and executed when we had to execute,” said Foster
The Buckeyes, however, just could not
get a stop. Purdue forward Drey Mingo scored 12 points in the final
five minutes, and was unstoppable possession after possession. Ohio
State finally got a break when guard Courtney Moses missed an open
three-pointer with 52 seconds to play.
Down 72-70, Buckeye point guard
Samantha Prahalis eyed a three-pointer and drilled it, giving the
Buckeyes their first lead since the game was 2-0 and just 44 seconds
left on the clock.
Not to be outdone, Boilermaker
guard Antoinette Howard would power her way for a bucket with 21
Buckeye coach Jim Foster would then
call a timeout with 14 seconds to play to devise his team's best plan
That plan of attack led to an open
three-pointer from the baseline for Brittany Johnson that found
nothing but net with 0.7 seconds remaining. The Buckeyes exploded.
The Boilers deflated. A desperation baseball pass following a Purdue
timeout was be intercepted, and the clock struck zeroes with
Ohio State coming out the 76-74 victors.
“We were just going to run a two-man
play with Sammy and Jantel, and we work on that baseline play a lot,
and when they came at Jantel, she knew that Brittany was going to be
standing there,” said Foster.
“It was a great contested shot,”
said Purdue guard Brittany Rayburn. “There was nothing else we
could have done on that defensive play. It was a great shot and it
was well contested. We did all we could.”
“It was a great basketball game,”
said Purdue coach Sharon Versyp.
“We continued to battle, it came
down to the last second, but obviously Johnson hit a very, very tough
shot. Both teams couldn't get any stops at the end, so maybe it was
just whoever had the ball at the end.”
“I've seen this coming,” admitted
“I think it was the group. It was the seniors. All of
them contributed tonight.
"For whatever reason this team is
figuring it out late in the year, and I'd rather be good now than a
great team in November and December.
"And if this is what it takes
for this team to progress and grow, then we've learned from our
Up next for the Buckeyes is a trip to
East Lansing to face the first-place and 11th-ranked Michigan State
Season Stats Year to Date
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