Prahalis, Taylor lead No. 8 OSU women, 84-71By RUSTY MILLER, AP Sports Writer Monday, Jan 2, 2012
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP)—Even Ohio State’s 1-2 punch recognizes the problems it causes.
“It’s probably hard for them,” Tayler Hill said.
“What are you going to do, double one of us?” Samantha Prahalis added. “It’s difficult.”
Prahalis scored 30 points and Hill added 28 to rally No. 8 Ohio State from a 15-point first-half deficit for an 84-71 victory over Iowa on Monday. The Buckeyes (15-0, 2-0 Big Ten) are off to their best start during the NCAA era.
“For them to account for 58 of their team’s points is amazing,” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said.
Ohio State’s 15-game winning streak is the school’s longest since winning 17 in a row during the 2006-07 season. The Buckeyes won a school-record 20 in a row in 2005-06 and also in 1984-85. They have won 26 of their last 27 games, the only loss to top-seeded Tennessee in a 2011 NCAA regional semifinal.
After falling behind by 15, the Buckeyes scored 23 of the next 26 points to take the lead and then pulled away. Shooting 35 percent behind the arc coming in, Ohio State made 10 of 15 3-pointers, including 4 of 6 by Prahalis and 5 of 7 by Hill, the Big Ten scoring leader.
Prahalis had 13 points during the 23-3 run, with Hill scoring eight and Ashley Adams two. Prahalis, who finished with seven assists, had the helping pass on three of her teammates’ buckets in the spurt.
“We just had to get after it harder. It’s that simple,” said Ohio State coach Jim Foster.
The Hawkeyes had taken control at the outset, cycling passes around the perimeter to open shooters while the Buckeyes struggled to guard them. Even when they missed, Johnson was there to score on a putback.
Morgan Johnson, who led the Hawkeyes (9-6, 1-1) with 25 points, made two free throws that capped a 6-0 run for a 9-4 lead. Then on consecutive possessions Kelly Krei and Jaime Printy, who finished with 13 points, made 3-pointers to push the Iowa advantage to 22-12. Another 3 by Krei and Printy’s driving layup boosted the lead to 37-22—with the Hawkeyes in control of the ball and under 5 minutes left in the half.
But just that quickly, the game swiveled Ohio State’s way.
The Buckeyes, a step slow all day on defense, suddenly started covering shooters and Iowa started missing. The Hawkeyes were just 1 of 8 from the field with four turnovers over the final 5 minutes while Ohio State went 6 of 10 from the field, making three of four 3-pointers and both free throws.
“They started hitting their shots in transition,” said Iowa’s Kamille Wahlin, who had 17 points. “Transition is really their game. Prahalis and Hill push it so well. Once they got that confidence going, it’s hard to stop them.”
Hill, who finished the half with 15 points, had eight straight points for the Buckeyes at one point—including back-to-back 3-pointers that seemed to energize the Buckeyes.
Ohio State didn’t let up to start the second half, either.
Prahalis put the Buckeyes ahead to stay when she made a 3 at the 18:45 mark. Amber Stokes followed with a stepback baseline jumper before Prahalis converted a free throw and then popped in a jumper from the elbow to make it 47-40. The Hawkeyes had mustered just three points over more than 8 minutes.
Prahalis later scored on a four-point play—she was fouled while making a 3 from the right wing—to push the lead to 70-55 with 9 1-2 minutes left.
Iowa, which has lost 16 of the last 18 meetings with Ohio State, closed within eight points with 90 seconds left, but the Buckeyes pulled away again.
Off to a surprising start—the Buckeyes were unranked in the preseason— now they’re trying to maintain their momentum in conference play.
“We have a board in our locker room that has the records of every team in the league,” Foster said. “We want to be at the top, and we were in the (preconference) season. So we moved that column over. Now we started the Big Ten column. And we want to be on top in that.”
Follow Rusty Miller on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/rustymillerap .