Restless Buckeyes dominate early and often in 88-48 rout of Charlotte
By Ben Axelrod
A day after returning to Columbus on a red-eye flight from California, the No. 11 Ohio State women’s basketball team (11-0) didn’t shown any signs of jet lag on Monday afternoon as it beat Charlotte (5-5) 88-58 at Value City Arena.
“We made it a point not to rest because we’re tired,” OSU senior guard Samantha Prahalis said after the game.
In what can best be described as a total team effort from start to finish for OSU, 11 of the 13 Buckeyes who played on Monday scored against a 49ers team that never trailed by fewer than 10 points after the first seven minutes of the game.
“Our trust is building in each other. You know when a lot of people score, that’s a good thing,” Prahalis said. “We’re just kind of cooking.”
OSU junior guard Tayler Hill led the way for the Buckeyes with 25 points on 10-of-13 shooting and Prahalis added 19 points and seven assists to the OSU effort.
“My teammates were finding me. I was getting open three’s in the corner. They were attacking and the defense was collapsing,” Hill said. “That’s why I was so efficient tonight.”
Behind six points from OSU freshman forward Kalpana Beach, the Buckeyes jumped out to a 14-8 lead with 14:38 remaining in the first half. That would be as close as Charlotte would get to OSU for the rest of the game. An ensuing 30-6 run gave the Buckeyes a 44-14 advantage and put the game well out of reach for the 49ers with more than five minutes remaining in the first half.
“I was disappointed with our effort. I thought we had a better game plan than we showed,” Charlotte coach Cara Consuegra said. “Unfortunately, we just didn’t start well and then it just kind of tumbled from there.
Charlotte answered back with a mini-run of their own, closing out the first half on a 10-2 spurt, but after Hill scored eight consecutive OSU points to open up the second half, the 49ers never managed to get the Buckeyes’ lead to fewer than 23 points.
Despite the lack of rest the Buckeyes have had since their 77-75 win over California on Saturday, OSU coach Jim Foster said he wasn’t surprised by his team’s stellar effort on Monday.
“When I woke up yesterday morning and I felt good, I knew we didn’t have any problems,” Foster said. “Fatigue? How? Why? You have all the energy in the world. You’re doing something you love. I mean, is it really tough to go hang out on a Saturday night in Union Square in San Francisco? It’s like one of the five greatest cities in the world. Is that hard? That’s not hard.”
OSU’ is hoping that its short-rested win over Charlotte is just a sign of things to come this week. The Buckeyes will return to action less than 24 hours after Monday’s final buzzer sounded for a 2 p.m. tip with Southern Utah, before hosting Washington State on Thursday night at The Schott. Prahalis said that the Buckeyes will welcome the challenge of playing three games in four days.
“We like it. It’s just a good test for us,” Prahalis said. “We don’t want to use it as an excuse that we’re tired or whatever so it’s just a good test to how focused we could be.”
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