STATE COLLEGE, Pa. -Jantel Lavender scored 26 points and Tayler Hill added 18, but Ohio State couldn’t contain Penn State guards Alex Bentley and Maggie Lucas who combined for 39 points as the Nittany Lions pulled out the 80-71 win.
Bentley had 21 points and seven assists while Lucas added 18 points, hitting six 3-pointers for the Nittany Lions (18-5, 7-2 Big Ten). Penn State, which leads the NCAA hitting 44 percent of its 3-pointers, made 7 of 12.
“Our biggest problem was not taking care of the ball,” Ohio State coach Jim Foster said. “We had some opportunities and we were in just too much of a hurry. You can’t do that on the road and expect to win the game.”
The Nittany Lions capitalized on defense, scoring 20 points off of 13 turnovers. Penn State also had eight steals on the afternoon.
Penn State remained tough on defense in anticipation of the Buckeyes going on a big run to regain the lead, much like their late 17-4 run to overcome a 15-point deficit in the team’s game last year. However, Ohio State trailed the whole game and was unable to put a large string of points together at any point.
“We were anticipating for them to go on a run the whole time,” Julia Trogele said, who had 14 points and four steals. “They just didn’t have the juice and we did a great job of containing them.”
After trailing by six at the half, Ohio State cut the lead to three early in the second, but quickly found themsleves down 13 with 13:51 left after Lucas hit one of her six threes on the afternoon. Ohio State would play hard and eventually cut the deficit to seven several times, but came no closer as Penn State grabbed 11 second-half rebounds and hit its free throws down the stretch.
Despite having four players score in the double digits, Ohio State couldn’t produce enough on defense to stop their opponent. Penn State committed 13 turnovers, a vast improvement from their 24 against Illinois in their previous game.
Samantha Prahalis added 11 points and five assists for Ohio State while Brittany Johnson chipped in with nine, all on three-pointers. With her 26 points, Lavender topped 2,500 for her career and now trails Katie Smith’s scoring record by just 57 points.
Ohio State is back in action next Sunday at home against Northwestern. Game time is 5 p.m.
The Associated Press contributed to this report