Like a boulder gathering momentum as it barrels down the mountainside, the Ohio State women’s basketball team continued to roll this weekend with back-to-back victories in the Buckeye Classic.
Jantel Lavender’s huge game fueled an 83-71 victory over the No. 15 California Golden Bears. Lavender finished with 33 points and 14 rebounds.
Her 11 points in a 15-0 stretch proved to be the difference in the second half.
Lavender took what the defense allowed.
“I just took my time,” Lavender said. “I saw they were forcing me left and saw the advantages once the double teams were coming late.”
Samantha Prahalis pitched in with a double-double, notching 14 assists to go with her 14 points. It was her fourth double-double of the young season. Sarah Schulze pitched in with five three-point baskets to give her 15 points for the day.
Coach Jim Foster is happy with what he has in his floor general Prahalis.
“She’s as good as there is in the open court and improving in the half court,” Foster said. “She has a good sense of the game, and as we grow she starts to find her wings.”
It was California’s second loss to a Top 10 team in the span of eight days, as the Golden Bears (3-2) struggled to contain the No. 3 Buckeyes (8-0).
In Saturday’s game against IUPUI, the Buckeyes won 88-33 despite Lavender’s struggles from the field. She was five of 15 and scored a season-low 12 points.
Prahalis picked up the slack, scoring 12 points and dishing out 10 assists.
Lavender didn’t let her struggles finding her shot frustrate her on the court.
“Sometimes your shots don’t fall, and there are going to be days like that,” Lavender said. “There’s no need to panic because everybody can do great things on this team.”
Foster credited a spirited practice for his team’s defensive performance in holding IUPUI to 33 points.
“We played hard and had a good game defensively for 40 minutes,” Foster said. “I was encouraged by our intensity. We had a significant defensive practice [Friday], and it carried over well today.”
With defense as their main focus, the Buckeyes remain perfect as they head into their ACC/Big Ten Challenge game against No. 12 Duke.