Lavender scores 17 points as Ohio State holds on to first place in league
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Jantel Lavender scored 17 points and Brittany Johnson added 13 as No. 15 Ohio State held off Michigan 52-44 Thursday night.
Star Allen added 11 for the Buckeyes (17-3, 8-1 Big Ten), who overcame 20 turnovers to hold onto their conference lead.
Courtney Boylan and Melinda Queen scored 10 points each for Michigan (9-12, 2-8), which lost its sixth straight.
The Wolverines only shot 27 percent in the first half, but took a 23-22 lead at halftime by forcing 12 turnovers by the Buckeyes. Michigan also went 8-for-11 from the free-throw line, while Ohio State made the only shot they took.
The teams traded the lead for the first 10 minutes of the second half, with Ohio State’s turnovers preventing them from pulling away.
The Buckeyes defense tightened up midway through the final period, though. They held Michigan without a point for nearly five minutes and built a 46-39 lead.
Boylan scored the next five points, but Johnson answered with a 3-pointer to make it 49-44 and the Buckeyes sealed the game from the free-throw line.
With the win Ohio State remains in sole possession of first place in the Big Ten at 8-1.
Ohio State has won the last 12 meetings with Michigan and leads the all-time series 45-6 and 21-4 in games played in Ann Arbor.
Ohio State head coaches Jim Foster (women’s basketball), Thad Matta (men’s basketball) and Jim Tressel (football) are a combined 26-2 against Michigan teams during their tenure at Ohio State. Foster is now 10-0, Matta 9-1 and Tressel 7-1. All three teams swept their respective season series from Michigan in 2008-09.
Ohio State has won 11 of its last 12 games overall.
Ohio State has won 71 of its last 81 Big Ten regular-season games and 37 of its last 39 at home.
Head coach Jim Foster is 86-21 in Big Ten regular-season games at Ohio State.
Lavender has scored in double figures in all 51 career games, the sixth-longest active streak in Division I. She finished with 17 points and nine rebounds.
Lavender now 974 career points in 51 games and can tie Katie Smith as the fastest Ohio State women’s player to score 1,000 points against Indiana Sunday. Smith was the fastest at 52 games, while Frani Washington did it in 56. Lavender needs 26 points Sunday to tie Smith.
Sophomore Brittany Johnson finished with 13 points off the bench with three 3-pointers. She has scored 48 points and has connected on 11 3-pointers in her last five games.
Senior Star Allen finished with 11 points, seven rebounds, four steals and two blocks.
Ohio State shot just one free throw in the first half and made 16-of-20 in the second.
Ohio State is 15-1 this season when they equal or make more from the free throw line.
Ohio State is 68-of-78 (.871) from the free throw line in its last four games.
The Buckeyes are 13-1 this season when they outrebound the opposition. Its only loss was at now-No. 5 Auburn.
Prahalis now has 119 assists on the season and is on pace to break Kim Wilburn’s Ohio State freshman record of 168 dishes set during the 2002-03 season.
Ohio State won for the second time in five tries when trailing at the half. The other win was at Nebraska.
Ohio State held Michigan to 2-of-20 shooting from the 3-point line.