COLUMBUS, Ohio – When the Buckeyes couldn’t shake pesky UNC-Wilmington, they knew exactly who to call on.
Jantel Lavender scored 17 of her 25 points after halftime and Samantha Prahalis had 21 points and 11 assists, leading No. 7 Ohio State to an 88-69 win over UNC Wilmington on Sunday.
Lavender outscored the Seahawks 9-0 on her own to balloon a seven point lead to 16 with just under five minutes to play.
“We started running the floor really well,” Lavender said. “We started reversing the ball and making the extra pass.”
Prahalis scored the first seven points of the second half after having just five in the first as the Buckeyes built on a 32-27 advantage.
Lavender also had 11 rebounds and the Buckeyes (5-0) eventually wore down the Seahawks (4-1).
“We were outmanned and outlasted,” UNCW coach Cynthia Cooper-Dyke said. “Against the No. 7 team in the nation you can’t blow layups and miss defensive assignments.
Brittany Johnson added 17 points and Sarah Schulze a career-high 14 rebounds for the Buckeyes, who play Virginia on Thursday before a high-profile matchup against No. 11 Oklahoma next weekend.
Kristen Hanzer had 14 points for the Seahawks (4-1).
Lavender became Ohio State’s career leader in field goals with 879, breaking the mark set by Jessica Davenport from 2004-07.
“Jantel hit the ground running as a freshman. She hasn’t stopped running yet,” Ohio State coach Jim Foster said. “If you win a lot of games you’ve got to have good players and records are going to fall. Jantel is setting a standard that’s tough to beat. We’re talking November and she’s already broken a four-year record.”
• Ohio State is 130-10 at home overall under Jim Foster and 103-6 since the start of 2004-05.
• Ohio State has won 113 of 115 games at home against unranked opponents.
• The meeting Sunday was the second between Ohio State and UNC Wilmington. The Buckeyes now have a 2-0 series lead, having also won, 70-42, Nov. 25, 2003 in Columbus.
• Ohio State is averaging 77.0 points per game so far this season while shooting just under 50 percent (49.12) from the field.
• Ohio State has made more free throws (83) than opponents have attempted (53) this season. Last season Ohio State made 125 more free throws (573) than opponents attempted (448), going 27-3 when they outshoot opponents at the line. Ohio State is 5-0 this year and 74-5 over the last three-plus years when they make more than their opponents at the line.
• Ohio State scored a season-high 88 points Sunday. Additionally, the Buckeyes had a season high 33 field goals, 25 assists and seven steals.
• After owning a slim six-point lead at the 6:45 mark in the second half, Ohio State went on a 22-7 run the next 5:35 to take its largest lead at 21 and finished the game on a 22-9 run.
• Jantel Lavender set an Ohio State career record with 879 field goals, surpassing Jessica Davenport’s 875, set from 2004-07.
• After recording 11 rebounds Sunday, Lavender now needs seven more to tie and eight to break Tracey Hall’s 22-year-old school record of 1,115 set from 1982-85.
• Lavender has scored 10+ points in all 107 career games, the longest active streak in Division I.
• Sarah Schulze recorded a career-high 14 rebounds. Twelve of Schulze’s rebounds were on the defensive side of the court.
Cynthia Cooper-Dyke, UNC Wilmington head coach
On her overall thoughts on the game
“I thought we played really well for 35 minutes. Unfortunately, we lost focus for the last 5-7 minutes. We committed too many turnovers and allowed them to get out on the fast break. We fought hard, but against the No. 7 team you can’t blow layups and defensive assignments. With that said, I’m pleased with our effort.
“We stuck to our game plan, but we were outmanned and outlasted. We like to run, but they kept us off the offensive glass and kept us out of fast breaks. They had a bigger guard on our point guard, which shut down passing lanes. We played well overall, we just got outplayed at the end.”
On what UNC Wilmington did well for the first 35 minutes
“We switched defenses to give them different looks. We didn’t allow Ohio State to get started in transition and that helped us stay in the game. We executed on offense. We had good opportunities despite our missed layups. In the end we relaxed and got unfocused and OSU pounced on us and took advantage.”
Jim Foster, Ohio State head coach
On rebounding and the transition game
“We did a good job in the second half of rebounding on the defensive end. They were jamming our rebounders early, which was something we hadn’t seen before. Once we figured it out, our transition game really opened up.”
On adjusting offensively with the return of Samantha Prahalis
“Without a doubt it’s a work in progress. Still, I thought we did some good things in the second half. We worked together more and relied on everyone out on the court.”
On Ohio State being a target
“We have to have an understanding that we are targeted by our opponents. We are a big game on a lot of people’s schedules. Teams are going to come out and play us hard every night.”
Jantel Lavender, senior center
On Ohio State’s run to end the game
“We started to run the floor better and made the extra pass. We paid closer attention to detail and ran our plays the way they are meant to be run.”
On the next two games vs. Virginia and Oklahoma
“It’s going to be a challenge. They are two very different teams with two very different looks. Both teams should be great preparation for what we might face in the NCAA tournament.”
On setting the Ohio State career field goals record
“I honestly had no clue that I broke the record. When they announced it during the timeout, I wasn’t even paying attention because I was listening to what Coach Foster had to say.”
Sarah Schulze, Ohio State senior forward
On getting 14 rebounds in the game
“Coach told us before the game to be ready and that we needed to box out. We took it seriously and really hit the boards.”
On the upcoming schedule vs. Virginia and Oklahoma
“It’s really exciting to play good teams. But it comes down to being ready for them and Coach Foster always has us ready. It will be exciting to play this next week.”
Tayler Hill, Ohio State sophomore guard
On UNC Wilmington’s effort
There really aren’t many bad teams at this time of the year. Everyone comes to play and to compete. We have a big target on our back. We’ve won six straight Big Ten championships and I was a part of one last year, so I think everyone wants a piece of us.”