Buckeye Women Cruise On Senior Day

Ohio State seized a 17-4 lead in the early going and never look back en route to an 80-47 win against visiting Wisconsin on Sunday afternoon in Columbus. Jantel Lavender led Ohio State with 20 points and 10 rebounds as the Buckeyes ran their winning streak to six.

Senior Day at Ohio State was a laugher almost from the start as the women's basketball Buckeyes crushed Wisconsin 80-47 on Sunday afternoon in Columbus.

The Buckeyes (19-9, 10-6) fell behind 4-0 and were scoreless for the first 2:26, but when they got going, there was no looking back.

Samantha Prahalis scored the first Ohio State basket on a floater in the lane to start a 17-0 run that spanned 5:35.

Jantel Lavender had 11 points during the spurt, and the senior forward along with freshman center Ashley Adams made life difficult for the Badgers in the paint.

The visitors threw up a variety of shots but could not get much of anything to fall.

After opening 2 for 3, the Badgers missed 19 consecutive shots from the field and fell behind by as many as 26 in the first half.

Wisconsin endured a 14-minute stretch without a field goal, and at the five-minute mark was shooting 9.1 percent (2 for 21).

The Badgers (15-13, 10-6) finished the half at 16.1 percent (5 for 31) and trailed 39-14.

The Buckeyes, meanwhile, were 15 for 29 (51.7 percent) in the opening half and enjoyed an advantage in every other major statistic aside from free-throw shooting percentage, where Ohio State was 6 for 7 and Wisconsin went 4 for 4.

Life was particularly rough for Alyssa Karel and Lin Zastrow, Wisconsin's two leading scorers on the season.

Karel, a senior guard, went 2 for 14 with nine points while Zastrow, a senior post player, went 2 for 16 and tallied four points.

"We challenge our seniors to be at their best and shots didn't go in," Stone said."They're our go-to players and I feel really bad for them. Their shots didn't go in today. I thought we got really good looks early on, but when we weren't scoring, Ohio State was."

Lavender scored 20 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead Ohio State in her last game at Value City Arena.

The crowd of 5,509 gave her a standing ovation when she went to the bench for good with 4:02 left in the second half.

"I'm just glad we won," she said. "We played like we didn't want to lose on senior night. As a team we played great defense." Fellow senior starter Brittany Johnson added nine points while classmates Alison Jackson and Sarah Schulze came off the bench to score four and three points, respectively.

Asked which he appreciated more, his offense that scored 80 points while shooting 51.8 percent or the defense that allowed 47 on 25.4 percent shooting, Ohio State head coach Jim Foster said for the first time this year he could not decide.

"I think we're in a very good place and I think we understand how we got to this place, which is very important," he said of a squad that close the regular season on a six-game winning streak. "We don't think it was owed to us. We don't think it was a divine right. We had to earn it."

Speaking of his seniors, he added, "These four have made a lot of adult decisions that are going to help them in whatever they decide to do. They're not walking out with a chippy, I-know-it-all attitude. They've learned some things that will help them in life."

They received a boost against the Badgers from junior Prahalis (15 points, seven assists) and sophomore Tayler Hill (12 points, five rebounds).

The evolution of that pair along with the development of freshmen such as Adams has the Buckeyes heading into the postseason feeling good about themselves.

Their outlook is far different than it was Feb. 6 after a surprising 74-68 loss to Northwestern dropped them to 4-6 in the Big Ten.

"When everybody was in a panic I thought it was still redeemable because I've done it before," Foster said. "I've seen teams figure it out and different stages of the season."

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