Ohio State avenges earlier home loss to Golden Gophers, remains in tie for first place in Big Ten at 12-3
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Samantha Prahalis scored 17 points to lead 20th-ranked Ohio State in a 73-62 victory at Minnesota on Thursday night, keeping the Buckeyes in first place in the Big Ten race and avenging an earlier loss at home to the Gophers.
Prahalis snapped a shooting slump with a season-high 18 points against Northwestern last Sunday. Jantel Lavender and Star Allen had 14 points apiece for the Buckeyes (21-5, 12-3), who remained tied with Michigan State atop the conference.
Emily Fox led Minnesota (18-8, 10-5) with 18 points, but the Gophers missed their chance to sweep Ohio State for the first time in the program’s history and saw their hopes of winning their first Big Ten title effectively end. They’re tied for fourth place with Indiana, behind Purdue — which stayed a half-game behind the Buckeyes and Spartans.
Ohio State (21-5 overall) trailed, 30-26, at the half, but took advantage of numerous Minnesota turnovers and jumped out to a game-high 14-point lead midway through the period. Ohio State shot 65 percent in the second half after shooting just 34 in the opening 20 minutes.
Brittany Johnson knocked down four 3-point field goals to contribute a dozen points. Allen led the Buckeyes with nine rebounds.
Ohio State is at Indiana Sunday. Game time is 4 p.m. on ESPN2.
The win keeps Ohio State in a tie for first place in the Big Ten with Michigan State at 12-3 after the Spartans defeated Michigan Thursday.
Ohio State leads the all-time series with Minnesota 47-10 and 18-7 in Minneapolis.
The Buckeyes shot 65 percent in the second half as they outscored Minnesota 47-32 after halftime.
Ohio State’s defense held Ashley Ellis-Milan to just five points on 2-of-12 shooting.
Ohio State has won 75 of its last 87 Big Ten regular-season games and 40 of its last 42 at home.
The Buckeyes are 17-1 this season when they outrebound the opposition. Their only loss was at now-No. 3 Auburn.
The Buckeyes also are 17-1 when they make more free throws than the opposition and are 35-1 over the last two seasons when accomplishing that feat.
Head coach Jim Foster is 90-23 in Big Ten regular-season games at Ohio State.
The Buckeyes are 4-5 this season when trailing at the half.
Ohio State improves to 6-2 in Big Ten road games this season after going 4-5 last year away from home. Its final conference road game is at Indiana Sunday.
Sophomore Jantel Lavender finished with 14 points after sitting most of the first half in foul trouble. She has scored in double figures in all 57 career games, the fourth-longest active streak in Division I.
Lavender now was 1,092 career points and needs 113 more to break Katie Smith’s record of 1,194 points in her first two seasons as a Buckeye.
Freshman Samantha Prahalis dished out a game-high nine assists and now has 149 on the season. She is on pace to break Kim Wilburn’s Ohio State freshman record of 168 assists set during the 2002-03 season.
Prahalis has 15 games with six or more assists.
Prahalis finished with a team-high 17 points and hit 7-of-8 from the FT line.
Junior Shavelle Little recorded five more steals, her 13th game with three or more.
Little also tied a season high with six boards.
Sophomore Brittany Johnson tied a career best with four 3-point field goals and set a new personal best with three steals.
Star Allen nearly missed a double-double with 14 points and nine boards.
Andrea Walker tied a season-high with four blocked shots.