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Established October 31, 1996
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Last updated: 02/21/2011 1:48 AM

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Women's Basketball
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 (18-10, 8-7).

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 land.

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 seconds remaining.

Buckeye coach Jim Foster would then call a timeout with 14 seconds to play to devise his team's best plan of attack.

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 Foster.

“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 experiences.”

Up next for the Buckeyes is a trip to East Lansing to face the first-place and 11th-ranked Michigan State Spartans.

Box Score
Season Stats Year to Date

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