Buckeyes Send Noles Away in Overtime to Claim Victory in Big Ten/ACC Challenge
By Tony Gerdeman
COLUMBUS, Ohio—Tayler Hill scored 31 points Wednesday night including the Buckeyes' last eight points during the final 34 seconds of regulation to erase a six-point deficit and send the game to overtime. Her heroics in regulation allowed No. 17 Ohio State (6-0) to take a 78-75 win over Florida State (3-5).
Hill, who came into the game averaging 19.6 points per game, hit 11-24 shots from the field and four of her nine three-point attempts.
Her final two three pointers cut the Seminoles' lead to one point with eleven seconds to play. Her layup with two seconds remaining in regulation tied the game and sent it into overtime. She also added six steals on the defensive end.
"She played great," said Florida State coach Sue Semrau.
"I think she probably felt like during their run like she had nothing to lose, and was loose, took those shots, and they happened to fall."
"It's crazy," said Samantha Prahalis of Hill's performance.
"It really is crazy, but it's not at all surprising. We know Tayler is a great player and down the stretch I have complete faith in her."
This was a game of runs, and it was a seven-minute run by Florida State which gave them a 26-17 lead with 5:22 to play in the first half.
The Buckeyes had trouble with guard Alexa Deluzio and post player Cierra Bravard all night long. They combined for eleven points in that stretch and turned a one-point lead into a nine-point lead.
Bravard, who is from Sandusky, scored 27 points and pulled down twelve rebounds.
The Buckeyes closed the first half strong, however, and outscored Florida State 16-5 over the final 5:02, to take a 33-31 lead at the half.
Ohio State maintained that lead until a three pointer by Deluzio made it 51-50 Seminoles with 9:40 to play. Florida State then stretched that to a 59-52 advantage with 6:12 remaining, and it looked like the Buckeyes were just about done.
A three pointer from the baseline by Raven Ferguson cut the lead to four, and a conventional three-point play from Kalpana Beach cut it all the way to one.
Florida State stood their ground, however, and rebuilt their lead all the way back up to 65-58 with 2:48 to play. Ferguson then hit another baseline three to make it a four-point game with 1:22 to play.
Two free throws by Bravard made it 67-61. That's when Hill took over.
A deep three pointer with 34 seconds to play cut the lead to three. Florida State missed the front end of a one-and-one. Prahalis came down the court and got two open looks at three pointers but couldn't connect.
Natasha Howard rebounded the second Prahalis miss and was fouled. She made one of two free throws, making it 68-64 with 16 seconds to play. Hill came down the floor and hit another deep three to cut the game to one. Prahalis fouled Tay'ler Mingo on the inbounds, and fouled out in the process. Mingo only made one of her two free throws, which made it a 69-67 lead for Florida State with ten seconds remaining.
Hill got the ball, as everybody knew she would, drove to the basket and dropped in a layup with two seconds to play. Florida State didn't get a shot off and the game went to overtime tied at 69-69.
"We were just determined," Hill said of her team's manic comeback in regulation. "I felt like if we played like that all game, then we wouldn't have had to be in that situation."
A layup by Bravard made it 75-73 Noles with 1:09 to play in overtime. Hill was then fouled, but only made one of her two free throws. She answered right back, however, and hit a layup to give the Buckeyes the 76-75 lead with 30 seconds remaining.
A turnover on a jump ball by Bravard forced the Noles to foul Hill on the inbounds. After only making one of her first four free throw attempts of overtime, she calmly sank her final two, giving the Buckeyes the 78-75 lead with 13 seconds to play.
"There were some inappropriate words to myself at first, because I missed the first three," Hill said of the things going through her mind as she stepped to the line for her final two free throws.
"I just had to step to the line and focus. I knew they were clutch free throws. It was down the stretch. I just stayed focused on the rim. I blocked out the crowd. I blocked out everything else. It was just back to practice shooting free throws."
With 3.5 seconds to play, however, Florida State had one last shot, but their inbounds pass was intercepted by Ashley Adams, ending the game.
A brief skirmish then took place as Florida State attempted to foul Adams, and several Buckeyes took exception. This prompted Florida State to take exception to Ohio State's reaction, but eventually cooler heads prevailed.
"I have no idea what happened," coach Jim Foster said of the scrum.
"I have no idea. I was on my way down, I had turned around because somebody had said something to me, and then I was turning back to shake the coach's hand, and I couldn't find the coach. I looked and it was just players milling around. I have no idea what happened. I'll have to see it on film."
"Cierra [Bravard] ran into Ashley and Ashley stood her ground," explained Hill. Speaking of Hill, her 31 points were a career high, as were her six steals.
"She made plays," Foster of the game that Hill played.
"She wanted the responsibility of the game, and made plays. And defended. That's what good players do."
Four Buckeyes scored in double figures. Aside from Hill, Ashley Adams scored thirteen points, and Beach and Prahalis each scored eleven. Adams also grabbed a career-high fourteen rebounds, and Prahalis dished out eleven assists, as each player recorded a double double.
Up next for the Buckeyes is their first road trip of the season, as they will travel to Oklahoma on Sunday for a 3:00 pm game.
Season Stats Year to Date
· In just their second meeting, Ohio State and Florida State are tied in the all-time series at one apiece. The Seminoles won the previous meeting, 60-49, in the opening round of the 2008 NCAA Tournament in Des Moines, Iowa.
· The game vs. Florida State was the first overtime contest for the Buckeyes since Feb. 21, 2010, a 71-68 Ohio State setback to Michigan State.
· The Buckeyes improve to 21-13 all-time vs. teams currently in the ACC and now are 2-3 in the brief history of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
· Ohio State has scored 70 or more points in each of its games this season. Additionally, with the win Wednesday night, the Buckeyes improve to 51-5 in the month of November under head coach Jim Foster.
· Ohio State has owned the lead at halftime in each of its six games this season.
· Ohio State is 146-13 at home overall under Jim Foster and 119-9 since the start of the 2004-05 season.
· Senior guard Samantha Prahalis and sophomore center Ashley Adams became the first Buckeye duo to record a double-double in the same game since March 19, 2011 vs. UCF in the NCAA tournament. Prahalis scored 11 points and dished out 11 assists, while Adams had 13 points and 14 rebounds.
· Adams also added a career high 14 rebounds.
· Junior guard Tayler Hill led all scorers with a career-best 31 points. She had a personal high in steals with six and also added seven rebounds.
· Redshirt junior guard Amber Stokes recorded a career high in steals with five.
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