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COLUMBUS, Ohio – With Iowa focused on stopping Jantel Lavender and Samantha Prahalis, No. 8 Ohio State used its depth to win the game.

Brittany Johnson scored 13 of her 18 points in the second half to rally the Buckeyes to an 86-82 victory over Iowa on Thursday night.

“They started double downing on Jantel because on the first half they couldn’t stop her,” Johnson said. ”They were focusing more on her so she kicked it out. I hit my shots.”

Prahalis finished with 22 points – 11 in each half – and Lavender added 18 to help Ohio State (22-3, 10-2 Big Ten) improve to 17-0 at home.

“I’ve always felt that they’re the best two-person game in the league and maybe the whole country,” Iowa coach Lisa Bluder said.

Jaime Printy scored 22 points, Kachine Alexander had 16 of her 20 in the second half, and Kamille Wahlin added 18 for Iowa (11-11, 4-7).

The Hawkeyes were more proficient on the perimeter, making 11 of 21 3-pointers while Ohio State was 8 for 17. However, the Buckeyes were 28 for 34 on free throws, and Iowa was just 9 of 13.

“You can’t let the other team shoot that many free throws,” Bluder said.

After trailing by four, Ohio State tied the score at 69 with 6:15 left thanks to two 3s by Johnson around a layup by Wahlin.

“We wanted to set a tempo,” Ohio State coach Jim Foster said. “We wanted a pace because we thought we could go deeper in the bench. The pace is what I thought got them in foul trouble. We had fresher bodies that we could keep the tempo.”

Lavender’s layup gave the Buckeyes the lead for good at 74-72 and Prahalis followed with 3.

Iowa, which led 44-43 at halftime, was down 81-78 with the ball in the final minute but Shavelle Little stole the ball from Alexander. Prahalis was fouled with 26 seconds left and made both shots to push Ohio State’s lead to 83-78.

Little stole the ball from Wahlin with 21 seconds left, was fouled and converted one free throw.

Little, the conference defensive player of the year the past two seasons, had four steals in 10 minutes.

“That was my fault,” Bluder said. “I should not have had Kamille bring the ball up against her. We know what a great defensive player (Little) is.”

Postgame Notes

  • Iowa has never won at Value City Arena in nine tries. The Hawkeyes’ last win in Columbus was Feb. 20, 1998 in Ohio State’s final season at historic St. John Arena.
  • The Buckeyes lead the all-time series with Iowa, 27-25, and have won 12 of the last 13.
  • Thursday was the only meeting between the teams during the regular season.
  • Ohio State is a perfect 17-0 at home this season. The 17-0 record ties the best home mark in program history also set during the 2004-05 season. Foster and the Buckeyes also went undefeated at home in 2002-03, tallying a 14-0 mark.
  • Ohio State is 125-9 at home overall under Jim Foster and 98-5 since the start of the 2004-05 season.
  • Since the start of Ohio State’s Big Ten championship run in 2004-05, the Buckeyes are 46-2 (.958) in Big Ten games at Value City Arena and 81-13 (.861) in Big Ten play overall.
  • Ohio State has won 23 straight games at home and 108 of 109 at home against unranked opponents.
  • Ohio State is 18-2 after a loss since the 2004-05 season and 26-6 overall under Jim Foster in regular-season games.
  • The 28 free throws made by Ohio State were a season high.
  • Iowa shot 61.5 percent (8-of-13) from behind the arc in the first half.
  • Ohio State attempted 17 free throws in the first half and made 13.
  • Iowa set the Value City Arena record for 3-pointers made by an opponent, making 11. The previous record was 10. For the game, Iowa was 11-of-21 (52.4 percent) from behind the arc.
  • The teams combined to make 19 shots behind the arc.
  • Ohio State is now 4-1 this season when trailing at the half.
  • The Buckeyes are 19-0 this season when scoring 70 or more points.
  • Ohio State (10-2) holds a three-game lead on Penn State (7-5) in the Big Ten with six games remaining. The Nittany Lions fell to Michigan State, 65-44. The Buckeyes and the Nittany Lions will face each other just once this season when OSU travels to State College this Sunday, Feb. 7.
  • Jantel Lavender leads the Big Ten and is 11th nationally with 20.9 points per game. She is already fifth on the school’s all-time scoring list with 1,798 points. If Lavender continues at her career average of 19.8 ppg, she will challenge Katie Smith’s school record of 2,578 points. She also is second in the Big Ten with 10.4 boards per game and is first with a .506 field goal percentage.
  • Lavender has scored in double figures in all 91 career games, the longest active streak in Division I.
  • Samantha Prahalis leads the Big Ten and is second nationally with 7.8 assists per game behind NCAA leader Courtney Vandersloot of Gonzaga (9.2). Prahalis has six games with 10 or more assists and has dished out at least eight 14 different times. Prahalis recorded a career-high 14 assists in the win over No. 15 California. With 398 career assists, she is already seventh on Ohio State’s all-time list in only her sophomore season.
  • Prahalis ranks fourth in the Big Ten with 18.1 ppg in Big Ten play. She has 162 (20.3 ppg) in her last eight games, including a 32-point performance in the win at Michigan State.
  • Junior guard Brittany Johnson is shooting 55 percent (16-of-29) from long range in her last five games. She was 4-of-7 vs. Iowa. Johnson leads the Big Ten in 3FG percentage at .495 in all games.
  • Ohio State has made 98 more free throws (405) than opponents have attempted (307) this season. The Buckeyes are 21-2 this season and 63-4 since the start of the 2007-08 season when they outshoot their opponents at the free throw line.
  • The Buckeyes have been ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 for 109-consecutive weeks. They are ranked eighth in the most recent poll released this week.  

Postgame Quotes

Jim Foster, Ohio State head coach
On the second half
“We played harder. We got some key stops and there was a point in the second half where we could have separated ourselves from letting them back in the game. That is the next step. They have very good guard play.”
 
On the heavy rotation of players in the first half
“We wanted tempo. We wanted to force the action and we wanted the game to be fast. We did not want it to be a half court game. It’s refreshing to be able to go up and down the court in a Big Ten game. I am sure it was a much more fun game to watch.”
 
Jantel Lavender, junior center
On Jaime Printy
“She makes the deep shots. You really have to jam her so she doesn’t get the shot she wants.”

On her ankle
“It’s cold tub time. We are in the middle of the season and there is a lot of banging going on out there. I need to ice it down more.”

Samantha Prahalis, sophomore guard
On the game
“We fought to the end and didn’t fold.  We faced adversity and came through in the end.”
On her defensive prowess
“The coaches told me I can make a play defensively to spark us. I took that personally and used it as motivation.”

Brittany Johnson, junior guard
On her three-point shooting in the second half
“They started to double down on Jantel in the second half. They couldn’t stop her in the first half and were more focused on her. She kicked it out and I made my shots. Overall, we did a good job.”

On the game
“It was tough. It went down to the wire. We played 40 minutes and got stops at the end. Those stops are what won us the game.”

On Iowa making 11 three-point baskets, an opponent record in Value City Arena
“We knew already they were a good three-point shooting team. We have to extend our defense more (in the future). We’ll watch film and tweak some things.”

Lisa Bluder, Iowa head coach
On the game
“I am proud of my team’s efforts. Congratulations to Ohio State for their effort. Brittany Johnson’s back-to-back threes really hurt us. We turned the ball over too many times in the second half. On the free throw line, they had 34, we had 13. We put them at the line too many times.”
 
On Brittany Johnson
“We were in zone defense and she was on the weak side and they did a great job of getting her the ball. We should have been more aware of her. We respect her as a three-point shooter.”
 
On guards Jaime Printy and Kamille Wahlin
“Jaime had a great game. Kamille had a great game. To walk out of here with a loss is not good. You cannot let a team have that many free throws.”