COLUMBUS, Ohio — Samantha Prahalis is doing her best to make up for Monday’s miss.
The sophomore guard had 23 points, 10 assists, six rebounds and no turnovers in 31 minutes Thursday night for Ohio State (No. 6 ESPN/USA Today, No. 4 AP) in an 81-58 victory over Minnesota.
“I don’t think you can’t take it personally,” she said of her missed layup that would’ve tied it Monday night, a game Ohio State lost 63-61 at Purdue and snapped the Buckeye’s 12-game winning streak.
“I wanted to get back out and play and play better than I did Monday,” she said. “I’m never going to wash that away. I’ve just got to play better. I owe it to my team to be there mentally and physically the whole game. Monday I really wasn’t.”
Jantel Lavender added 20 and 11 rebounds for the Buckeyes (21-2, 9-1 Big Ten). Kiara Buford led Minnesota (11-9, 4-5) with 14 points and Zoe Harper had 13.
Prahalis was all over the court against the Gophers and had 19 points and nine assists in the first half as Ohio State took a 55-26 lead.
“She played a great game,” Lavender said. “She took her time. She delivered the ball. She was a great leader. You couldn’t really see any mistakes.”
Among Prahalis’ passing gems were a half-court chest pass to Lavender; a full-length lob to a streaking Tayler Hill and a no-look, between the legs back pass to Sarah Schulze that gave the Buckeyes a 24-13 lead.
The Gophers were trying to match last season’s 59-56 win in Columbus — Ohio State’s only loss at home to an unranked team in 108 games — and were at 19-13 after 7 minutes thanks to hitting all three 3-pointers.
But Ohio State’s transition game was too much for the Gophers, who trailed by 35 with 5:30 to play before making the score respectable against the Buckeyes’ reserves.
“It was an absolutely embarrassing display of basketball by our team tonight,” Minnesota coach Pam Borton said. “I don’t think anybody showed up to play. Very disappointing.”
Ohio State coach Jim Foster sensed his team was eager to get back on the court and so was he.
“I’m just glad I’m not a football coach. They play once a week; two days and we’re back. We keep playing games,” he said. “You have to snap back. You can’t get down. You can’t pout. You just have to clear your head.”
Minnesota, who hosts Indiana on Sunday, has lost all three games since starting guard China Antoine (knee surgery) was injured.
“We’re absolutely a completely different team [without her] — defensive pressure, point guard-wise, handling pressure, scoring,” Borton said. “The past three games we’ve struggled on both ends of the floor.”
• Ohio State has made 83 more free throws (368) than opponents have attempted (285) this season. The Buckeyes are 20-2 this season and 62-4 since the start of the 2007-08 season when they outshoot their opponents at the free throw line.
Jim Foster, Ohio State head coach
On the team’s play
“We had a lot of good things going. There was a ton of ball movement and great three-point shots. There were a ton of shots in general. We had few turnovers and the defense had a ton of energy.”
On the performance of Samantha Prahalis
“She finished with 10 assists and she was 3-of-5 on threes. She didn’t miss any foul shots and she made a lot of fantastic decisions. When the ball moves around a lot, we’re difficult to guard. She did that for us tonight.”
On rebounding from the loss at Purdue
“People like to dwell on the losses. The team just wants to get out and play again. We had to snap back into our game. We can’t get down and pout. We have to work very hard to come back and we did that tonight.”
Jantel Lavender, junior center
On bouncing back from the loss at Purdue
“We just wanted to get a win and play like we usually play. We had to reverse the ball and get good looks. Coming off of a loss you are hungry. “
On Ohio State’s performance
“We were aggressive and active and everyone was pressing the ball. It was an extreme team effort tonight.”
On Samantha Prahalis’ play
“She was amazing and played great tonight. She took her time and delivered the ball. You need that in a point guard.”
Samantha Prahalis, sophomore guard
On coming back from the loss at Purdue
“I really wanted to get back out and play this game better than I did on Monday. We are all on the same page. We all wanted to get back.”
On her 10 assists
“I would not have my assists without my teammates finishing their shots. As Jantel said, we played as a team and we need to do that.”
Pam Borton, Minnesota head coach
On Minnesota’s expectations after Ohio State’s loss to Purdue
“It was a big challenge and they are a great team on their home court. They came out strong. We bounced back on a 7-0 run but never recovered after that.”
On Minnesota’s performance
“We had too many turnovers, missed layups and missed easy shots inside. Also they had six offensive rebounds and a lot of second shots. Those were the two glaring things tonight.”
On the difficulty of coaching against Prahalis and Lavender
“Of course it made no difference tonight but Prahalis is a better scorer this year and she gives people wide open looks.”
On Ohio State having 10 steals for the game
“They are a good defensive team. With Little and Prahalis, they create good pressure up front.”