The Ohio State women’s basketball team set a positive tone for the OSU basketball doubleheader on Friday night at the Schottenstein Center.
Prior to the No. 3-ranked men’s basketball’s victory against Jackson State, the No. 24-ranked OSU women defeated Temple, 70-66. The Buckeyes led by as many as 16 points in the second half, but Temple closed the deficit to two points with 9.8 seconds left in the game. Senior guard Samantha Prahalis hit two free-throws to rescue OSU from a full collapse and improve the Buckeyes’ record to 2-0.
Prahalis and junior Tayler Hill carried the Buckeyes as the guard tandem accounted for more than half of OSU’s scoring with 44 combined points.
Despite the victory, Prahalis said the team was disappointed with how it finished the game, allowing the Owls to make a run at the end.
“I just think we should have closed it out better,” she said. “We shouldn’t have won by four points. I don’t think that’s good.”
Coach Jim Foster said he was happy his players weren’t satisfied with their performances.
“I think that that’s why they’re good basketball players,” Foster said. “They want to win, but they want to play well and they want to get better.”
The Buckeyes made 7-of-8 free throws in the final two minutes to help preserve the victory. Foster said the Buckeyes’ ability to concentrate and make free throws was the biggest factor in his team’s win.
“(With) a lot of teams that’s how you lose those (close) games,” he said. “The other team gets on a run at that last moment, makes shots and they put you at the foul line and you miss foul shots. Well, we made our foul shots.”
The first half scoring was back and forth and featured 10 lead changes. Neither team lead by more than four points until the Buckeyes pulled out to an eight-point lead just before halftime.
The Buckeyes came out of the gate strong in the second half. After allowing the Owls to score the half’s first four points, OSU went on a 17-5 run to take a 16-point lead with 10:08 to play.
From there, the Owls went on a run to pull within two points before the Buckeyes finally put the game away with Prahalis’ two free-throws in the closing seconds.
Temple coach Tonya Cardoza said that, despite the comeback, the Owls lacked energy at the start of the game.
“I wish (the energy) was there to start the game. The one thing about our team is we’re going to fight until the end,” Cardoza said. “We’re not a group that gives up. If you follow our team, no matter who we play against, we’re going to play until the very end.”
Foster said the Buckeyes will remember the Temple win come March.
“At the end of the season, that’s what we’re going to look back on,” he said. “That’s how you win games. You have to be tough between the ears. I like playing hard nose teams this time of the year.”
The Buckeyes entered the Associated Press Top-25 poll this week after defeating Tennessee State, 78-51, in their season opener last Sunday. OSU is No. 24 in the AP poll and No. 25 in the USA Today poll.
Honoring the victims of the Oklahoma State plane crash
Prior to the start of the game, there was a moment of silence for the victims of a plane crash that killed Oklahoma State women’s basketball coach Kurt Budke and assistant Miranda Serna. The pilots of the plane were also killed in the crash.
The Buckeyes continue non-conference play Tuesday with a game against Howard at the Schottenstein Center at 7 p.m.