Frontcourt Duo Leads Buckeyes Past Indiana

Against a scrappy Indiana squad, Ohio State got a big night from its frontcourt with solid support from the guards en route to a 71-59 win over Indiana at home Thursday night.

Behind 39 points from its two-person starting frontcourt, No. 19 Ohio State women's basketball held off Indiana 71-59 at Value City Arena on Thursday night.

Freshman center Jantel Lavender poured in 15 of her team-high 23 in the first half then let senior power forward Tamarah Riley do the heavy lifting after intermission.

Riley had 14 of her 16 in the second half, including several crucial buckets as Ohio State (12-3, 3-1) regained and then protected the lead down the stretch.

Meanwhile, as that duo pounded away down low, guards Marscilla Packer and Ashlee Trebilcock took advantage of the space they created and a lesson learned from their Hoosier counterparts.

Indiana (9-7, 2-2) guards Jamie Braun and Kim Roberson hurt the Buckeyes again and again on drives to the hoop and finished with 25 and 11 points, respectively. That aggressiveness seemed like a good idea to Packer, who had 10 points in the second half and 17 for the game. Trebilcock added nine for the game, seven after intermission.

Riley, too, had success driving to the basket along with a variety of crafty post moves.

"You've just got to read the defense," Riley said. "I like driving and you've just got to wait for your opportunity. The lane was open. They were overplaying the guards on the wings so I had an open lane."

Packer said the difference was deciding put the same kind of pressure on their opposing defense that the Hoosiers were throwing at them.

"And I think we got some good shots. Ashlee got to the basket a few times and so did I, so it was just not settling for outside shots all the time," Packer said.

OSU head coach Jim Foster said pace was a factor in the frontcourt as well.

"Once Jantel took her time and made some good reads, I think she played very, very well," Foster said. "I think Tam's play gave (Lavender) some confidence. Tam played, you know, steady, a little slow, made some good strong post moves. I think players sort of watch each other and pick up from each other."

Lavender, who grabbed 14 rebounds to post her seventh double-double of the season, agreed with her coach.

"She takes her time," Lavender said. "As a senior, that's a good role model for the freshman. Coach always tells us to take after her because she takes her time with her moves and she scores."

In the second half Ohio State blistered the nets with a 68.2 field goal percentage, making 15 of 22. They shot 29 of 49 for the game (59.2 percent).

The Hoosiers erased a 30-27 halftime deficit by scoring 12 of the first 14 points after the break.

They took their largest lead, 39-32, on a layup by Amber Jackson with 16:45 showing on the clock, but the Buckeyes battled back with seven points in a row to knot the score again, this time at 39 on a driving bank shot by Trebilcock.

Indiana regained the lead at the other end with a short jumper by Braun, but that was short-lived as Packer hit a jumper from the foul line.

After Jackson missed two free throws, Riley put the Buckeyes ahead for good with a three-point play made possible by a great pass into the post by Trebilcock.

Over the next six minutes the Buckeyes were able to grind out enough points to extend their lead to eight, 57-49, by the arrival of the eight-minute mark.

The Hoosiers cut the lead to four with baskets by Roberson and Thomas, but again Riley quelled the rally with a hoop and harm.

She produced another three-point play with a driving layup and free throw then answered another Thomas layup with one of her own.

Jackson and Trebilcock then traded buckets, but trailing 64-57 with 1:16 to go, the Hoosiers would score just one more basket while Ohio State closed the game out making 7 of 8 free throws.

The Buckeyes beat the Hoosiers for the eighth straight time.

Ten Big Ten teams were in action on the night and given Minnesota's 66-57 loss at Illinois, Purdue's 56-51 home win over Michigan and Penn State's 72-53 home win over Northwestern, the Buckeyes, Boilermakers and Nittany Lions replaced the Golden Gophers atop the league standings with identical 3-1 conference records.

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