Lantern file photo
A senior night celebration in college sports is always memorable, but no one could have expected the performance Ohio State women’s basketball’s senior guard Samantha Prahalis produced in her farewell to the Schottenstein Center Thursday.
Prahalis, the lone senior on the OSU squad, celebrated her final home game in grand fashion, setting an OSU single-game record with 42 points while leading the No. 8-ranked Buckeyes to an 81-56 win against the Minnesota Golden Gophers.
Prahalis record-shattering night comes on the heels of a loss to No. 11 Penn State Monday, 84-66. The memory of that loss appeared to be far from the senior’s mind just three days later.
Prahalis and the Buckeyes came out on the attack against Minnesota, jumping to a 14-2 lead at 10:51 in the first half. The guard eventually finished the opening stanza with 22 points.
The Buckeyes didn’t relent in the second half, and neither did Prahalis.
Prahalis hit back-to-back 3-point shots early in the second half to give OSU a 17-point lead at 51-34.
Then, with less than three minutes to play, the OSU athletics record book was rewritten.
Prahalis sank two free throws and set the record scoring mark in OSU women’s basketball history before taking the bench to a standing ovation.
The win was also a bit of payback for the entire Buckeyes squad.
Thursday’s win avenges the loss OSU suffered to the Golden Gophers earlier this season — Minnesota defeated the Buckeyes, 76-65, Jan. 29 in Minneapolis.
The Golden Gophers were led by freshman guard Rachel Banham with 18 points and and four rebounds. Banham was followed by sophomore forward Micaella Riche with 14.
While PSU clinched a share of the Big Ten regular season title, OSU still has a chance to grab a piece of the crown. If the Buckeyes defeat the Nebraska Cornhuskers Sunday, and Nittany Lions lose to Minnesota that day, OSU can earn a piece of the regular season championship.
OSU’s game versus the Cornhuskers in Lincoln, Neb., is set for 4 p.m.