Buckeyes Pass Stern First Half Test in 73-50 Win Over Howard
By Tony Gerdeman
Spurred on by an all-around effort that saw eight players play at least nine minutes, the #18 Buckeyes (3-0) got a 73-50 victory over Howard (1-3) on Tuesday night.
Guard Tayler Hill scored 18 points and hit 3-8 three-pointers to lead Ohio State in scoring. Freshman post player Kalpana Beach only played 18 minutes due to foul trouble, but in those 18 minutes she managed to pull down twelve rebounds.
Point guard Samantha Prahalis only scored eight points, but she dished out seven assists and grabbed five rebounds. Reserve post player Darryce Moore scored 15 points in 18 minutes to give the Buckeyes a tremendous low-post presence off the bench.
Ohio State started the game on a 10-0 run thanks to an offense that attacked the basket. All five field goals made were layups.
Howard didn't quit, however, and stayed with the Buckeyes throughout the first half, actually cutting the Ohio State lead to 27-24 with 4:43 to play. The Buckeyes then closed out the half on a 10-4 run.
Part of Howard's resurgence was the fact that the Buckeyes turned the ball over eleven times and the Lady Bison came away with nine steals. They outscored Ohio State 12-9 on points off of turnovers in the first 20 minutes.
“I think we were just throwing some long passes and we weren’t in the right spaces and that’s why we were off,” said coach Jim Foster.
“We were standing still and relying too much on the three in the first half.”
Despite the Buckeyes shooting 61.5% from the field in the first half, Howard just wouldn't go away.
“We didn't come out without any energy,” Hill explained.
“We came out lax. We were just flat, all around, offense and defense before the game.
“We're young, but I think we have veteran guards and I think that me, Amber [Stokes] and Sam [Prahalis] have to realize that when we're lacking energy or lacking intensity, we've got to find a way to pick it up.”
They found a measure of that intensity in the second half and went back to attacking the basket, with mixed results.
“We missed about 15 layups, all of us as a team,” Hill said.
“Collectively we missed a lot of layups. It was just a lack of concentration all around today, and that's why we weren't finishing.”
While the layups weren't falling in the second half, the Buckeyes did manage to make the most of their misfortune by grabbing ten offensive rebounds and scoring thirteen second-chance points, after only grabbing two offensive rebounds and getting blanked on second-chance points in the first half.
Gradually through the second half, the Buckeyes continued to extend their lead, and they did so despite shooting just 38.2% from the field. The keys, were the second-chance points and the lack of turnovers. After giving it away eleven times in the first half, Ohio State turned it over just five times in the second half.
The Buckeyes' largest lead of the game came on their final basket of the game, which was fittingly (or ironically) a Tayler Hill layup.
All thirteen Buckeyes played in the game for the first time all season. Redshirt freshman Amy Scullion finally made her Ohio State debut after battling injuries her first season. She scored two points in five minutes on 2-3 shooting from the free throw line.
In all, ten Buckeyes scored in the game, giving defenses a plethora of problems to look forward to in the future.
“We feel that we have a lot of people that can contribute,” Foster said.
“We've got to get a feel and a sense, and I think that's one of the things where we'll be a little uneven until we get a flow in rotation orientation. But we were able to get all thirteen players in, and I think all thirteen players had something on their stat sheet, whether it was assists or baskets or rebounds.”
Despite the loss of Buckeye great Jantel Lavender in the post, Ohio State hasn't yet lacked in that department. Center Ashley Adams only scored four points, but she grabbed seven rebounds, blocked two shots, and continued to display her passing prowess with six assists. Coupled with Beach and Moore, Ohio State seems to be in fairly good hands.
“Darryce, you can see a big difference compared to last year,” said Stokes.
“She's more confident. She's going to the basket. She's doing nice moves. She's making nice passes. She's patient. I think it's helping us a lot. We need our post players—it can't always be the guards.”
And for her part, Moore made the explanation a simple one.
“Their players were smaller than me so it was easier to score,” she said. “My teammates did a good job finding me.”
Up next for Ohio State is the second of three games this week when they host Stony Brook on Friday afternoon at 2:00 pm.
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