COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State stormed out of the gates and never looked back in an 80-47 win over Wisconsin Sunday at Value City Arena, sending a message that the Buckeyes will be a team to be reckoned with this postseason.
Playing in their final games at Value City Arena, Jantel Lavender, Sarah Schulze, Brittany Johnson and Alison Jackson combined to score 36 points, led by Lavender’s 20. The senior from Cleveland, Ohio, who recorded a double-double in her very first collegiate game at VCA in 2007, closed out her career with a double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds.
After Wisconsin opened the game on a 4-0 run, the Buckeyes answered with a 17-0 run over a 5-minute span to take a 17-4 lead as the route was on. The Buckeyes eventually led 39-14 at the half, holding the Badgers to 16.1 percent from the field (5-of-31) as Wisconsin missed 19 in a row at one point. Ohio State, meanwhile, shot 51.7 percent in the first 20 minutes and were led by Lavender’s 16 points and three blocks.
The Badgers never got closer than 21 points in the second half. Leading 39-18 at the 18:04 mark, Ohio State blew the game wide open with a 14-2 run over the next 3 1/2 minutes, highlighted by two three pointers from Johnson, to extend its lead to 53-20.
Defensively, Ohio State held Wisconsin’s top two scorers, Alyssa Karel (15.0 ppg) and Lin Zastrow (13.9 ppg), to just nine and four points, respectively, on a combined 4-of-30 from the field.
Samantha Prahalis was on her game early Sunday afternoon, scoring 15 points and dishing out seven assists with just one turnover. Tayler Hill chipped in with 12 points and five boards and Ashley Adams turned in another solid all-around game with eight points, seven boards and four blocks. Johnson finished with nine on three 3-pointers.
The Buckeyes head to Indianapolis next week for the 2011 Big Ten Tournament at Conseco Fieldhouse. The complete tournament seedings and bracket will be announced later Sunday evening.
• Ohio State has won its last 11 games on senior day (regular-season home finales). Its last loss came back during the 1999-2000 season.
• Seniors Alison Jackson, Sarah Schulze, Brittany Johnson and Jantel Lavender played in their final game at Value City Arena Sunday. The quartet was honored in a pregame ceremony. This senior class has combined to win 101 games, three Big Ten regular-season titles and two Big Ten tournament championships.
• Ohio State has won the last 18 meetings with Wisconsin and the last nine in Columbus. The Badgers have not won at Value City Arena since Jan. 16, 2000. The 18 straight wins is the longest streak in the series history.
• The Buckeyes limited Wisconsin to just 14 points in the first half, a season best by the Ohio State defense for either half this year.
• A 17-0 run during a five-minute span in the first half after trailing 4-0 helped Ohio State take a 39-14 lead at the half.
• The Buckeyes are averaging 79.7 points per game over their current six-game win streak while giving up 64 (+15.7).
• In its 10 Big Ten wins, Ohio State is scoring 77.4 points per game while holding opponents to 58.4 ppg (+19.0).
• Jantel Lavender is the second-leading active scorer in the NCAA (2,677) behind UConn’s Maya Moore (2,816).
• Lavender holds the NCAA record with 10 or more points in 130 consecutive games — every game of Lavender’s career.
• Lavender recorded her 15th double-double of the season and Ohio State’s 24th overall this season.
• Samantha Prahalis has recorded 56 assists over the last seven games, an average of 8.3 per game.
• Ohio State is 140-13 at home overall under Jim Foster and 113-9 since the start of 2004-05.
• Ohio State is 16-2 this season when scoring 70+ points and 12-0 when scoring at least 80. They are 3-7 when scoring fewer than 70.
• Every Buckeye able to play saw action in the game Sunday. Aleksandra Dobranic and Amy Scullion are out because of injury.
Jim Foster, Ohio State head coach
On the evolution of Ohio State this season
“They understand what they had to do and they’re doing it on a daily basis. They’re not content with who they were. I just think we’ve evolved into the team we’re capable of being. This team has had to deal with a lot this year. We’ve been behind and rushing to catch up.”
On the current state of Ohio State
“Our players understand what their jobs are and they’re doing it. When they’re listening to the coaching staff and they’re paying attention, that’s when we have fun.”
On the upcoming Big Ten tournament
“I think we’re in a very good place and we understand how we got here, which is more important. We had to earn it. It’s certainly going to be more interesting than it looked a few weeks ago.”
Alison Jackson, senior guard
On the importance of the bench
“I think the bench is very important because when the starters are tired we need to get them energy. Whether it’s cheering, stealing, or rebounding, not just points. It’s all aspects when coming off the bench.”
Brittany Johnson, senior guard
On emotional aspect of senior day
“I guess I was just focused on the game. I probably will become emotional when I get home and read everything everyone wrote to us. I’m happy we got a win.”
On turning the season around
“We definitely pulled it out. We came together. We got tired of people talking about us so we wanted to prove people wrong, so we did.”
Jantel Lavender, senior center
On the game
“I’m just glad we won. We played like we didn’t want to lose on senior night. We played as a team. We played great defense. I cried at the beginning. I broke down because it just seemed like it was overwhelming at that time. I just know how we’ve been practicing and how we’ve been playing in our last five games. I didn’t expect anything less”
On the team’s improvement
I think I mentioned a while ago everybody needs to understand their roles for us to be a good team. I think that’s what we’ve done. I just think as a whole that’s why we are coming together. Everybody is really playing their role and playing their role well. That’s why we are looking better as a team.”
On the team’s turnaround
“I think we are showing who we are. We may have had a slump, but we have a really strong team. We have a great senior class. We don’t want it to be over. We had to start doing everything even the little things in practice. I’ve always thought this team was a good team and it’s just really starting to show because everybody’s on the same page. I think that’s what we’re starting to do and that’s why the season is starting to turn around.”
On the senior class
“I think we want to be remembered for playing hard and really getting after it. I think as a senior class we’re nice but we’re instructional. We want to be remembered as the class that never wanted to leave and that’s the legacy we want to leave behind.”
Sarah Schulze, senior forward
On playing today
“They gave me the option to play and I said ‘why not.’ I can never get this back. Even though I’m not 100 percent I can still get in and bang around a little bit. I’m just happy to be able to play and having that second chance to be on the court. I was soaking it up. This was the first time I’ve played at the Schott since I got hurt.”
Lisa Stone, Wisconsin head coach
On Ohio State
“Ohio State’s a very talented basketball team. They demonstrated that today.”
On Wisconsin’s play
“Poor shooting affected our defense. Our offense affected our defense. We called on our seniors to be their best. Our shots just didn’t go in. We missed 19 straight shots in the first half. That’s the game.”
On Ohio State’s offense
“When we weren’t scoring, Ohio State was. Jantel [Lavender] has however many double-doubles, but there’s more than Jantel Lavender to Ohio State. They’ve got a great shooting guard in Brittany Johnson and a great point guard in Samantha Prahalis. Everything’s going through 42 [referring to Lavender]. That’s not a secret. They were able to celebrate senior day better than we were.”
On looking forward to the Big Ten Tournament
“We’ve got to have a short-term memory and get ready for the Big Ten Tournament. We could be playing Friday or we could be playing Thursday. If we’re playing Thursday, we have a chance to get more wins.”
On Ohio State’s improvement
“They’re using their size better, and they’re just playing harder.”
On Ohio State guard Tayler Hill
“Tayler [Hill] is doing more scoring, whether she’s at the off guard or the point guard. She’s doing a much better job of seeking her offense.”
On Ohio State guard Amber Stokes
“I think a lot of people always want to talk about offense, but I think she’s great on defense. I think Amber Stokes is the fastest player in the Big Ten.”
On Ohio State center Ashley Adams
“I think she’s surprising because she’s got great size so you want to attack her, but she moves pretty well. She’s not really a surprise to us because we’ve waited so long and watched her play. If she’s in front of you, between you and the basket, she’s got an advantage because of her size.”