The Ohio State women’s basketball team will continue play in the Preseason Women’s National Invitation Tournament tonight against Alabama-Birmingham.
After winning their first two games of the tournament, the Buckeyes have retained their No. 3 ranking in both the AP and Coaches Poll.
UAB is coming off a year in which they finished just 10-20, good for a ninth-place finish in Conference USA.
Though OSU cruised to a 91-72 victory Sunday over Bowling Green, coach Jim Foster said the game exposed his team’s youth. Moving forward, Foster said, the Buckeyes need to mature.
“We are a young team,” Foster said. “We have a sophomore and a freshman guard playing. We still have to learn it’s a game of 40 minutes playing hard. We can’t just play for 20.”
Junior center Jantel Lavender, a preseason All-American, echoed her coach’s sentiments.
“All teams will come out hard,” Lavender said. “We cannot get lackadaisical.”
Inexperience aside, the Buckeyes are one of the deepest and most talented teams in the country. Freshman guard Tayler Hill, one of the newcomers Foster mentioned, scored a career-high 19 points Sunday.
“She can drive and she can shoot,” sophomore guard Samantha Prahalis said of Hill. “Having players like her and Jantel makes my job as point guard easier.”
Hill was one of four Buckeyes to score at least 15 points in the team’s last game, a widespread contribution Prahalis said OSU strives for.
“We play well as a team,” Prahalis said. “When we play together, we are at our best.”
The Buckeyes take on the Blazers tonight at 7 p.m.