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Last updated: 02/27/2011 9:29 PM

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Women's Basketball
Total Team Effort Propels Buckeyes in Blowout of Badgers
By Tony Gerdeman

Jantel Lavender scored 20 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in leading Ohio State (19-9, 10-6) in a 80-47 win over the second-place Badgers (15-13, 10-6), clinching a first-round bye in the Big Ten Tournament in the process.

In the last home game for four senior Buckeyes, Ohio State played stifling defense and efficient offense, controlling the game from the outset on their way to the blowout victory.

The game started out innocently enough, with the Badgers getting out to a 4-0 lead on Ohio State. The Buckeyes would then go on a 34-4 run over the next 14 minutes with Wisconsin missing 19 consecutive field goal attempts.

Ohio State led 39-14 at the half. Lavender actually outscored Wisconsin 16-14 in the first half. She shot 6-10 from the field in the first 20 minutes. The Badgers shot 5-31, including 0-7 from the three-point line.

“Ohio State’s a very talented basketball team,” said Badgers' coach Lisa Stone. “

They demonstrated that today. Poor shooting affected our defense. Our offense affected our defense. We called on our seniors to be their best. Our shots just didn’t go in. We missed 19 straight shots in the first half. That’s the game.”

The Badgers found their shooting stroke in the second half - relatively speaking- when they shot 12-36 from the field. Their 33% second-half shooting more than doubled their 16.1% first-half field goal percentage.

The second-half lead for Ohio State ballooned to 40 points at 80-40 with 2:23 remaining in the game.

Even though Lavender put up her standard 20 points and 10 rebounds, it was a complete team effort for the Buckeyes. Fellow post-player Ashley Adams scored eight points, grabbed seven rebounds and blocked four shots.

Samantha Prahalis scored 15 points and handed out seven assists. Brittany Johnson was 3-6 from three and scored nine points, and Tayler Hill scored 12 points and pulled down five rebounds, but it wasn't just Hill's offense that impressed her opponent on the day.

“Whether she's at the off guard or the point guard, she's doing a good job of seeking her offense, which is a scary thought,” said Stone.

“She's just an all-around great player. I think a lot of people want to talk about offense, but she's their best defender.”

It was Hill and company's defense that held the Badgers to just 25.4% shooting for the game. Wisconsin's two top scorers, Lin Zastrow and Alyssa Karel shot a combined 4-30 on the afternoon.

It wasn't just the starters contributing for the Buckeyes. They got a very solid performance from their bench as well. Included in that contribution was a three-pointer from senior forward Sarah Schulze, who was playing in her first game at home since tearing an ACL against Michigan State six weeks earlier.

“They gave me the option to play and I said ‘Why not',” said Schulze, talking about her decision to postpone season-ending surgery.

“I can never get this back. Even though I’m not 100 percent I can still get in and bang around a little bit. I’m just happy to be able to play and have that second chance to be on the court. I was soaking it up.”

The win caps off an incredible turn around for the Buckeyes, who were at one time 4-6 in the conference and staring up at nearly everybody else. Since then, however, they have reeled off six consecutive wins against the most formidable of Big Ten opponents.

“They understand what they had to do and they’re doing it on a daily basis,” said Buckeye coach Jim Foster.

“They’re not content with who they were. I just think we’ve evolved into the team we’re capable of being. This team has had to deal with a lot this year. We’ve been behind and rushing to catch up. Our players understand what their jobs are and they’re doing it. When they’re listening to the coaching staff and they’re paying attention, that’s when we have fun.”

When asked if his group was now one of those teams that no other teams wanted to play, he offered up a wry smile.

“I think we’re in a very good place and we understand how we got here, which is more important,” he said.

“We had to earn it.”

Up next for the Buckeyes is a second-round game in the Big Ten Tournament against the #4 seed Iowa Friday night.

Box Score
Game Play by Play

Season Stats Year to Date

Postgame Notes

• Ohio State has won its last 11 games on senior day (regular-season home finales). Its last loss came back during the 1999-2000 season.

• Seniors Alison Jackson, Sarah Schulze, Brittany Johnson and Jantel Lavender played in their final game at Value City Arena Sunday. The quartet was honored in a pregame ceremony. This senior class has combined to win 101 games, three Big Ten regular-season titles and two Big Ten tournament championships.

• Ohio State has won the last 18 meetings with Wisconsin and the last nine in Columbus. The Badgers have not won at Value City Arena since Jan. 16, 2000. The 18 straight wins is the longest streak in the series history.

• The Buckeyes limited Wisconsin to just 14 points in the first half, a season best by the Ohio State defense for either half this year.

• A 17-0 run during a five-minute span in the first half after trailing 4-0 helped Ohio State take a 39-14 lead at the half.

• The Buckeyes are averaging 79.7 points per game over their current six-game win streak while giving up 64 (+15.7).

• In its 10 Big Ten wins, Ohio State is scoring 77.4 points per game while holding opponents to 58.4 ppg (+19.0).

• Jantel Lavender is the second-leading active scorer in the NCAA (2,677) behind UConn’s Maya Moore (2,816).

• Lavender holds the NCAA record with 10 or more points in 130 consecutive games -- every game of Lavender’s career.

• Lavender recorded her 15th double-double of the season and Ohio State’s 24th overall this season.

• Samantha Prahalis has recorded 56 assists over the last seven games, an average of 8.3 per game.

• Ohio State is 140-13 at home overall under Jim Foster and 113-9 since the start of 2004-05.

• Ohio State is 16-2 this season when scoring 70+ points and 12-0 when scoring at least 80. They are 3-7 when scoring fewer than 70.

• Every Buckeye able to play saw action in the game Sunday. Aleksandra Dobranic and Amy Scullion are out because of injury.

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