No. 9 Ohio State women roll past Indiana 75-54By RUSTY MILLER, AP Sports Writer Thursday, Feb 16, 2012
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP)—Tayler Hill said for a while her Ohio State teammates were trying too hard to “be a Sam.”
Then, after getting accustomed to being without Big Ten scoring leader Samantha Prahalis, the ninth-ranked Buckeyes settled down and took off.
Hill scored 27 points and the Buckeyes never trailed in handing Indiana its 13th straight loss, 75-54 on Thursday night, despite not having Prahalis, who was out with the flu.
“We had some people trying to make the plays, trying to be a Sam,” said Hill, who went 7 for 8 from 3-point range. “But if we just make the simple plays, the layups and the open shots will come.”
Averaging 21. 8 points in conference play along with being one of the nation’s assist leaders with 6.7 a game, Prahalis was a huge loss. She had hit for 77 points over the last three games.
Prahalis had started the last 48 games for the Buckeyes and had been in the starting lineup in 126 of her 127 career games.
Still, the Buckeyes adapted.
“She didn’t participate in shootaround this morning and did some things through the course of the day to try to be ready. But she was just too drained. There was no juice there,” coach Jim Foster said of Prahalis, who spent the first few minutes of the game on the bench before going home. “Other people had to step up a little bit.”
A lot did. Amber Stokes added 14 points and a career-high seven assists, while Kalpana Beach matched a career high with 13 points. Ten players scored, 11 had rebounds and eight had assists in the rout.
“What went wrong is the No. 9 team in the country showed up,” Indiana coach Felishia Legette-Jack said. “(Their) point guard went down, but this is a team that knows how to win, that has a history of winning.”
Ohio State (23-3, 10-3), which has won the last nine meetings with Indiana, never trailed while staying in a tie for the top spot in the Big Ten.
Hill’s perimeter shooting performance ranked among the top ones in school history. Brittany Johnson also went 7 for 8 from behind the arc in the Women’s Preseason NIT championship game in November of 2009.
The Buckeyes won the first meeting at Indiana 73-55 on Jan. 26. In that game, Hill and Prahalis each had 18 points, with Prahalis adding nine assists and five rebounds. The Hoosiers led by a point at the half before the Buckeyes outscored them 48-29 in the final 20 minutes.
This one was never that close—even without Prahalis.
“I kind of figured she might not be playing so I knew we would be all right,” Beach said. “Everybody just had to pick up a little extra.”
Ohio State was quickly on top 5-0 and was up by double figures most of the night—despite 22 turnovers and having some difficulty with Indiana’s zone defense.
The Hoosiers trailed just 43-34 after Danilsa Andujar’s shot inside, but then the Buckeyes took control.
Beach hit a 10-footer and after an Indiana miss, Stokes made a pull-up jumper from the right elbow. Hill hit a layup and Raven Ferguson took a long pass and hit a layup to push the lead to 51-34.
The Hoosiers never got closer than 15 points again.
“It was the ball reversal and the penetration,” Hill said of what sprung Ohio State’s offense. “Amber would penetrate and then she’s got three or four people committed to her, so now you have the kickout pass or you’ve got the layups that are wide open. When we reverse the ball, it’s hard to guard us.”
Aulani Sinclair had 23 points and Quaneisha McCurty 11 for the Hoosiers (5-21, 0-13).
“One player out doesn’t mean that (Foster’s) team is going to surrender to anybody,” Legette-Jack said. “I don’t think Tayler Hill’s a shabby player. Amber Stokes is a pretty darned good player, as well. They have a system that’s been working for them. One player does not make the system. That was evident tonight.”
The Buckeyes next travel to No. 12 Penn State on Monday with first place in the conference on the line.
“We’re going to be ready to play,” Foster said. “Looking forward to it.”
Follow Rusty Miller on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/rustymillerap .