Michael Periatt / Asst. sports editor
Ohio State hoops remains undefeated on the young season as the women’s basketball team followed up the men’s 85-50 thrashing of North Florida on Monday by knocking off Howard, 73-50, Tuesday night at the Schottenstein Center.
Buckeye basketball has a record of 7-0 to begin the season, with the third-ranked men at 4-0 and the 3-0 women, who moved up to No. 18 and No. 19 in the latest AP and USA Today rankings, respectively.
Freshman forward Kalpana Beach, making her third-straight start to begin her career, was a force on the boards, notching 12 rebounds in 18 minutes of play. Sophomore forward Darryce Moore was just as impressive offensively, contributing 15 points to go along with 7 rebounds in her 18 minutes off the bench.
Redshirt junior guard Amber Stokes, who scored nine points, said that Moore has taken a big step forward after not seeing much action during her freshman season.
“You can see a big difference compared to last year,” Stokes said. “She’s more confident and she’s going to the basket, she’s doing nice moves, nice passes, she’s patient. I think it’s helping us a lot. We need our post players, it can’t always be the guards.”
The production from the younger players was a big help as senior guard Samantha Prahalis had somewhat of a down game, shooting 3-of-12 from the floor for 8 points, well below her 18.5 per game average. However, she did contribute a team-high seven assists.
OSU began the game on a 10-0 run, but Howard, aided by 12 points off of 11 first-half turnovers by the Buckeyes, kept pace the rest of the half as OSU entered halftime leading 37-28.
Coach Jim Foster said that Howard was playing an unconventional zone defense and that OSU switched from running its zone offense in the first half to its man-to-man offense in the second half to adjust to the unique look.
“I think we were just throwing some long passes, our spacing wasn’t what it needed to be (in the first half),” Foster said. “And that’s why we went to what we went to and I think it made a big difference.”
The difference was apparent in the Buckeyes’ ability to take better care of the ball, committing just five turnovers. The defense was sharp, holding Howard to 23.5 percent from the field in the second half, allowing OSU to extend its lead.
The Buckeyes continue non-conference play with two home contests this weekend, a Friday game against Stony Brook at 2 p.m. followed by a Sunday matchup against No. 20/23 LSU at 5 p.m.